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Posted: 31 Jan 2006, 9:06am
I'm a fairly new cycle instructor. I'm confused about whether to advise trainees to wear reflective clothing or not. One of my students is a very nervous returnee to cycling but always wears a black coat and dark clothing, whatever the time of day or year. I have recommended a hi-vis which I know she's got, but she hasn't worn it. I feel she'd be a lot safer with it on, especially as the roads are quite busy where she lives - what would other instructors do in this situation?
Posted: 31 Jan 2006, 9:49am
I'm not an instructor but I might try to sughgest something intermediate - a black coat is about as bad as it gets and a full blown hi vis jacket can make one feel a bit silly, even though they are sensible. Perhaps pursauade her to wear a colour like red so she can still be seen reasonably well without having to perhaps feel silly.
Only my opinion though.
Posted: 31 Jan 2006, 2:45pm
If she was *very* nervous I'd ask her to wear the reflective jacket but stress it would be for the early parts of the training only. You also need to be appreciative of any 'embarrassment' factors and perhaps hold training away from her immediate home locality.
If a jacket is a no-go, suggest a Sam Brown belt. I've always found that these are much more acceptable to adults than the jackets, and I always carry one as part of the 'training kit'.
But if all reflectives are a no-go, I would still continue the training but keep stressing the need to be visible - both in clothing colour and of course by correct road positioning.
Of course there are also strong arguments that reflective clothing creates a false situation and it certainly affects how other road users treat you when carrying out training.
Posted: 2 Feb 2006, 3:43pm
Thanks guys for the tips. The Sam Brown belt idea is a good one, I'll give it a go. It is a tricky one as she's very keen on safety in all other ways but I also take the point about it creating a false situation a la cycle proficiency mode - my son is currently doing this with large triangular warning signs posted up and down the road plus all students in hi-vis vests: talk about unreal situation!
Posted: 4 Feb 2006, 3:02pm
Jules i'm not an instructor either but i commute and am a HGV driver so often see cyclists during my shift.
During daylight hi-viz clothing is much more visible and definitly aids visibility. After dark hi-viz is much less effective and reflective garments are easier to see, some gilets, jackets and tights which appear black in daylight are designed to have reflective qualities at night.
At this time of year my ride to work is in the dark so i wear highly reflective clothing and for the way home in daylight use a hi-viz vest over the top, just the cheap type used by transport workers etc. which also folds up small and goes in my back pocket. You can get these from Arco or similar.
Posted: 5 Feb 2006, 9:39am
One problem I have had with a roadworker's style High Vis vest is that they flap up and stop me looking over my shoulder easily. May not be a problem for everyone but for me it seemed to outweigh the benefits as I wear bright clothes anyway and reflective stuff at night.
Posted: 29 Mar 2006, 12:54pm
Reflective/Hi-Vis clothing is less imortant than road positioning. A cyclist my be lit up like a christmas tree but if they ride so they are hidden behind parked vehicles, curves in the road, etc they are still unsafe. When you are right in front of another road user, if they look ahead they will see you. This is not to say that there aren't situations when reflective or Hi-Vis clothing is advisable. The best thing you, as an instructor, can do is to give your trainee the necessary knowledge and confidence to make the decision herself.
Posted: 29 Mar 2006, 10:39pm
Go to www.urban-glow.com
- the vest is designed by another NSI and I can honestly say that the website doesn't do it justice. If your client likes black then this is your answer.
Yes, it is slightly more expensive than most but it is also very practical and surprisingly visible for a black basis. I met the instructor responsible for designing it when I was at my father's as they live in the same town and had never met him, never seen a photo of him and had forgotten he sent me details of the website months ago now.
It was dusk when we were to meet at a cafe down town and then this cyclist materialised, surprisingly visible in the vest and I realised very quickly, before he'd even dismounted who it was yet I'd previously dismissed it because initially the web photos just don't do it justice.
I now have two of my own that my adult clients wear - one of whom is the wife of a police officer who himself, is contacting Steve with a view to buying one!
Posted: 30 Mar 2006, 12:59pm
I think ive said it before on this subject - I ride a cycle and a motorcycle. having had police training on the MC there is no way I would go on either without a hi-vis jacket. I know it looks silly, but so does being splattered. if you can explain to those you are training in a way that being visible would give them more confidence on the road... all the better
Posted: 31 Mar 2006, 10:21am
Hi vis is far from infallable though - there are motorists who simply look and still don't see, don't look at all or see you and still hit you through incompetence, negligence or deliberate assault! I think at the end of the day motorists are supposed to drive such that they can stop within the distance they can see to be clear, if there is a cyclists there, even in all black, then they surely cannot see the road to be clear. Motorists should be looking, rather than cyclists expected to make themselves glow as if they were radioactive! Besides, many many drivers do not bother to switch dipped headlights on when it is seriously reduce visibility! That said, being hit hurts whether ir not you are in the right so it is always wise to make yourself conspicuous, and it will give the idiot victim blamers one less thing to tell you off for.
Posted: 31 Mar 2006, 4:42pm
The trouble with Hi Viz is the bog standard colours are so common that unless there are blues and twos to accompany it, one doesn't tend to see them any more and that is what I like about Steve's vests., the dayglo tape has the reflective strips on top in the middle and it is in the shape of a chevron as in road markings .. golooksee, I think that is what made it stand out so much!
Posted: 31 Mar 2006, 6:18pm
talking to some drivers this morning, who were on a cycling course, they confirmed what I have always thought.
They do see hi-vis clothing but they can, in effect, be distracted by it.
They may then not see those wearing ordinary clothing.
Should we be encouraging such a situation by using dayglo.
Just a thought.