Why does ‘cyclist wearing dark clothing' exist as a contributory factor in KSIs

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The utility cyclist
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Re: Why does ‘cyclist wearing dark clothing' exist as a contributory factor in KSIs

Postby The utility cyclist » 13 Jan 2020, 11:06pm

PDQ Mobile wrote:It is a simple statement of fact that of you walk enough on narrow unpavemented rural roads on a dark nights with dark clothing and no torch then you will eventually one day die.

It is that simple.

And many have died.

With a pedestrian's back to the traffic on a wet dark night and with a car coming the other way it is very hard for a driver to pick out the pedestrian.

I guess this obvious and genuine risk transposes over into a dark cyclist to some extent. Though obviously a cyclist will have a front light at least.

I am not a wearer of hi viz.
But I wear something "cheery" and always have reasonable lights at night with some bits of reflective stuff too. Not masses of reflective but something to give a driver a fair crack at seeing one.

Daytime is less clear cut.
But it used to be said yellow vehicles were safer than grey or fawn.

Where is your evidence, so far the actual real life facts not guesswork prove that people in hi-vis etc are not magically protected, in the mean time due to forcing these safety aids the focus of attention is taken away from those doing the harm. We saw this instantly in Aiustralia post helmet rules.
cycling and pedestrian injury/death rates were coming down, there was a spate of police interventions on speeding motorists just before the helmet rules were brought in, post helmet laws that stopped, the focus was on cyclists not wearing helmets/ Not only did the KSI rate go up significantly for cyclists it went up massively more than for pedestrians, the cycling numbers fell through the floor due to the rule and it's never recovered. Even now in the last few years cycling as a rate has gone backward numerically and yet is more dangerous, impossible given the safety aid they force on their citizens :roll: comparing 1985/86 to 2011 cycling in Queensland dropped by 70%, NSW 36% and so on, only Tasmania saw an increase in cycling between these periods. Even one of the more recent studies in Australia says that hi-vis is a load of balony, if the ockers are saying it then it must be true given their love in for helmets!

UK has since helmets and hi-vis have become a thing have seen MORE KSIs of people on bikes, best case scenario if you massage the figures you get a falling rate that is significantly LESS than pedestrians who do not wear helmets or hi-vis (anywhere near like that for those in bikes). Even motorcyclists have fared better in terms of safety rates in the period where these so called safety aids have increased in numbers, that's despite the cycle ways in London and elsewhere, better junction design, that's despite zero increase in cycling journeys across the country!

The facts simply do not support your notion that going about in black on a black night compared to wearing hi-vis and a helmet means you have an increased chance of being killed, this is an outright fallacy.

That the facts also show us that police and other organisations discriminate on the back of zero evidence, using the excuse of 'wearing dark clothing' to let off motorists who are breaking the law and ignoring one of the most important rules in the HC, this means that matters will not improve, they haven't improved despite the increases in wearing of hi-vis and helmets and yet KSI reporting STATS19 will still blame cyclists for not wearing when we know it does not make an iota of difference on the road and erodes away rights and freedoms whilst taking focus away from those doing the harm.

PDQ Mobile
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Re: Why does ‘cyclist wearing dark clothing' exist as a contributory factor in KSIs

Postby PDQ Mobile » 14 Jan 2020, 12:22am

^^^
I didn't say hiviz would protect you but that it would help a driver see you in pitch dark conditions.
Or a torch- sensibly always carried by mickf. He knows about walking on dark lanes.

I said what I said about being killed on unlit rural roads because there is no verge or pavement and a dark clad pedestrian is sometimes almost invisible to a driver until very late.
I have experience as both driver and pedestrian on such roads.
To walk along one without being aware of the real danger that lurks is to invite disaster.
Every year peds are killed here in N Wales for just that reason.

I am not making judgements about drivers or peds, though there are both abroad with little awareness of the real danger.

To make oneself visible to a fast approaching vehicles makes a good deal of sense, especially if there is no room to find safe refuge, sunken lanes and b roads are particularly bad.

If that applies to peds then I can see a similar danger to an unlit, unreflective cyclist.
It is the extreme situation yet transposed to other more urban road situation I feel there is good cause to make oneself visible.

It's up to you, don't wear anything bright if you like, but if you walk one dark night round here for a good few miles on some of our unlit roads without torch or reflective or at least light colours, then I assure you if you survive you will never do it again willingly.

Bikes`n`guns
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Re: Why does ‘cyclist wearing dark clothing' exist as a contributory factor in KSIs

Postby Bikes`n`guns » 14 Jan 2020, 1:18am

Simple reason

Car drivers assume they own the roads so any reason they can find for killing someone else is valid.

Bottom line is the majority of drivers are self righteous "I own my road" ********.

And I drive 9 different vehicles.

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Re: Why does ‘cyclist wearing dark clothing' exist as a contributory factor in KSIs

Postby Vorpal » 14 Jan 2020, 8:40am

PDQ Mobile wrote:^^^
I didn't say hiviz would protect you but that it would help a driver see you in pitch dark conditions.
Or a torch- sensibly always carried by mickf. He knows about walking on dark lanes.

I said what I said about being killed on unlit rural roads because there is no verge or pavement and a dark clad pedestrian is sometimes almost invisible to a driver until very late.
I have experience as both driver and pedestrian on such roads.
To walk along one without being aware of the real danger that lurks is to invite disaster.
Every year peds are killed here in N Wales for just that reason.

I am not making judgements about drivers or peds, though there are both abroad with little awareness of the real danger.

To make oneself visible to a fast approaching vehicles makes a good deal of sense, especially if there is no room to find safe refuge, sunken lanes and b roads are particularly bad.

If that applies to peds then I can see a similar danger to an unlit, unreflective cyclist.
It is the extreme situation yet transposed to other more urban road situation I feel there is good cause to make oneself visible.

It's up to you, don't wear anything bright if you like, but if you walk one dark night round here for a good few miles on some of our unlit roads without torch or reflective or at least light colours, then I assure you if you survive you will never do it again willingly.

I think that the Utility Cyclist's point was that there is no evidence to support your theory that walking around in dark clothing is more likely to result in death than having lights, reflectors, etc.

The evidence does support increased visibility; meaning that drivers can identify cyclists or pedestrians from further away.

However the outcome--that is statistics for pedestrians and cyclists--show mixed results. There are slightly more studies that find cyclists in hi viz have more crashes, but the difference is very small. There are a few studies that show a benefit to biomotion reflectors (e.g. leggings that make the pedalling / walking motion clear).

Cycling UK's brief on hi viz is a reasonably good summary of the available research. It does miss out a few of the studies linked above on this thread.

The Cycling UK brief does touch on one important aspect of conspicuity aids. Many people overestimate the benefits of conspicuity, and may, therefore, believe that drivers have seen them when they have not. IMO, this is a significant contributor to the lack of demonstrated benefit in using conspicuity aids.
https://www.cyclinguk.org/sites/default ... iz_brf.pdf
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Oldjohnw
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Re: Why does ‘cyclist wearing dark clothing' exist as a contributory factor in KSIs

Postby Oldjohnw » 14 Jan 2020, 8:49am

Trying to figure out why any vehicle - car or bike - bothers with rear lights or reflectors.
John

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Re: Why does ‘cyclist wearing dark clothing' exist as a contributory factor in KSIs

Postby mattheus » 14 Jan 2020, 8:54am

Mick F wrote:
Oldjohnw wrote:If cyclists are in fact the most vulnerable of road users, why not wear brighter clothing, just on the off chance that you are even a tiny bit more visible?
I agree with this statement.

I see no statement there.

I'm wondering if john has found any answer to his question? There are (at least) 42 pages of information available, just from the last couple of months. There MUST be answer there somewhere for him!

kwackers
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Re: Why does ‘cyclist wearing dark clothing' exist as a contributory factor in KSIs

Postby kwackers » 14 Jan 2020, 9:03am

Oldjohnw wrote:Trying to figure out why any vehicle - car or bike - bothers with rear lights or reflectors.

That's easy.
Having rear lights or reflectors allows vehicles behind you to drive faster or pay less attention with the presumption you'll have them.

This of course makes things more dangerous for groups that previously never needed such things - pedestrians for example. Which is why you see more and more pedestrians (and their dogs) wearing hi-vis and see more and more drivers complaining about pedestrians when they don't.

At one point we could have joked about fitting pedestrians with lights but even that is no longer a joke as you see more and more actually wearing armbands and headbands with lights (and their dogs too).
How long before drivers complain when they see pedestrian without lights? How little attention will they be taking?

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Re: Why does ‘cyclist wearing dark clothing' exist as a contributory factor in KSIs

Postby Vorpal » 14 Jan 2020, 9:15am

The utility cyclist wrote:So, we know that people who don't look/see whilst operating motorvehicles kill and maim and then use the excuse well they had dark clothing but still mow down those with bright clothing anyway.

Why do local authorities, or should that be police investigators include ‘cyclist wearing dark clothing' as an excuse or as a contributory factor when there's no evidence that this is in fact able to increase safety through wearing, should this in fact be 'person/motorist failed to look properly' in each and every case?

How can we get this changed so that instead of the victims being blamed and an excuse given as to the collision to shift blame when we know that it's the criminal at fault for their failure to observe the law/HC?
This is a part of the victim blaming BS that occurs across all police forces and shifts the balance as to fault, it shifts it in a discriminate way as this is not applied to those in motorvehicles but is likely to also be used against pedestrians as well.

I think that organisations like Cycling UK, Ramblers, BHS, and others should take this up as a campaign issue, and ask to have the victim blaming crap removed from the causes & factors.

They should potentially add categories for infrastructure design (i.e. no segregated facilities) instead.
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Re: Why does ‘cyclist wearing dark clothing' exist as a contributory factor in KSIs

Postby amediasatex » 14 Jan 2020, 9:26am

I said what I said about being killed on unlit rural roads because there is no verge or pavement and a dark clad pedestrian is sometimes almost invisible to a driver until very late.
I have experience as both driver and pedestrian on such roads.
To walk along one without being aware of the real danger that lurks is to invite disaster.
Every year peds are killed here in N Wales for just that reason.


Which is precisely why the focus and action should be on getting *drivers* to realise the danger they pose and adjust their action accordingly.

I understand the danger you're referring to, it is a reality, but the onus of responsibility should fall on the party presenting/causing the danger, not the party on the receiving end.
ie: in your quote above the reason peds are killed in N Wales (and elsewhere) is not that they were insufficiently visible, it's that drivers were insufficiently cautious.

At the moment in our current society we are on the other side of the fence, or at least teetering on the point of tipping where instead of acknowledging and tackling the actual cause, we are falling into the trap of accepting that nothing can be done to tackle the cause, and thus looking at (largely ineffective) ways to put responsibility on the victims. All this does long term is reinforce the notion that the cause of the danger can carry on like before, and that the vulnerable will be left to deal with it.

Walking or cycling down a country road is not dangerous. it only becomes dangerous when a third party introduces a source of danger, in this example by driving a car, thus the responsibility should be on them to operate it safely, if that means slowing down on dark country roads to give yourself more time to spot dark pedestrians (or animals/fallen trees/debris) then that is the correct course of action, not to carry on at a speed where you can't see things in time, or to hope those obstacles can be made more visible.

It's telling to look at how things are different on a site where even driving a small forklift at 10miles per hour requires a banksman and hyper-vigilance, because there on site they have the risk/responsibility dynamic the right way round, if *you* are the cause of a danger to others, then *you* are the responsible party, on our roads it's flipped on it's head.

Basically there needs to be a mindset shift in the way operating a vehicle is perceived, and that won't be an easy or quick thing to achieve. In fact I barely know where to start, but I know perpetuating 'contributory causes' and more hard-core victim blaming are definitely not part of it.

* FWIW - Yes I do drive a car too, but unlike most other drives I am very aware of the damage they can do to our soft squishy bodies even at low speed. Modern cars and modern life have largely insulated people from the reality of the danger they pose.
Last edited by amediasatex on 14 Jan 2020, 9:33am, edited 4 times in total.

Mike Sales
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Re: Why does ‘cyclist wearing dark clothing' exist as a contributory factor in KSIs

Postby Mike Sales » 14 Jan 2020, 9:30am

amediasatex wrote:Which is precisely why the focus and action should be on getting *drivers* to realise the danger they pose and adjust their action accordingly.

I understand the danger you're referring to, it is a reality, but the onus of responsibility should fall on the party presenting/causing the danger, not the party on the receiving end.
ie: in your quote above the reason peds are killed in N Wales (and elsewhere) is not that they were insufficiently visible, it's that drivers were insufficiently cautious.

At the moment in our current society we are on the other side of the fence, or at least teetering on the point of tipping where instead of acknowledging and tackling the actual cause, we are falling into the trap of accepting that nothing can be done to tackle the cause, and thus looking at (largely ineffective) ways to shield the victims. All this does long term is reinforce the notion that the cause of the danger can carry on like before, and that the vulnerable will be left to deal with it.

Walking or cycling down a country road is not dangerous. it only becomes dangerous when a third part introduces and source of danger, in this example by driving a car, thus the responsibility should be on them to operate it safely, if that means slowing down on dark country roads to give yourself more time to spot dark pedestrians (or animals/fallen trees/debris) then that is the correct course of action, not to carry on at a speed where you can't see things in time.

It's telling to look at how things are different on a site where even driving a small forklift at 10miles per hour requires a banksman and hypervigilance, because there on site they have the risk/responsibility dynamic the right way round, if *you* are the cause of a danger to others, then *you* are the responsible party, on our roads it's flipped on it's head.

Basically there needs to be a mindset shift in the way operating a vehicle is perceived, and that won't be an easy or quick thing to achieve. In fact I barely know where to start, but I know perpetuating 'contributory causes' and more hard-core victim blaming are definitely not part of it.


Precisely. Well argued.

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Re: Why does ‘cyclist wearing dark clothing' exist as a contributory factor in KSIs

Postby Mike Sales » 14 Jan 2020, 9:37am

I was once walking back to the cottage I lived in on Ynys Mon in the early hours of the morning after a student party. This was several miles along winding country lanes, with hedges and of course unlit.
The same night a car rally was coming the other way. They were not racing officially, as I understand it. Nevertheless they were hurtling around blind corners with lights blazing.
At least I could see them coming in good time to leap into the hedge.
An unpleasant experience. I doubt I would have trusted to hiviz or a torch to keep me safe.

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Re: Why does ‘cyclist wearing dark clothing' exist as a contributory factor in KSIs

Postby Tangled Metal » 14 Jan 2020, 9:41am

Wasn't there some research that based on accident rate for car colours the boy racer, hot hatch dayglow yellow car was the most likely to be in an accident but dull, pensioner grey was least likely?


I wonder if hi viz vs stealthy black safety debate is partly affected by user type. I mean it could be reasonable to expect the cyclist donning hiviz and reflectives is more likely to be cycling conservatively and in a more safety conscious way. Effectively self adjusting to compensate for danger from other road users. I doubt any colour safety research takes into account user effects and compensates to determine pure colour related effects, even if that's remotely possible.

In car research I guess it's simply based on accident rate as a percentage of numbers of that colour of cars based on insurance claims.

I'm not commenting on whether I believe hiviz should be contributory in records just that I reckon research into the matter is most likely incomplete and not to be taken heed of.

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Re: Why does ‘cyclist wearing dark clothing' exist as a contributory factor in KSIs

Postby mjr » 14 Jan 2020, 10:15am

Oldjohnw wrote:Trying to figure out why any vehicle - car or bike - bothers with rear lights or reflectors.

To avoid the small risk of being delayed and ticketed by misguided police officers. Rear bike lights sufficient for that plus very long life rechargeable batteries can be bought for under €10 now and may well suffice for 10-20 years. It's a much easier problem than finding a good front light.
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Re: Why does ‘cyclist wearing dark clothing' exist as a contributory factor in KSIs

Postby PDQ Mobile » 14 Jan 2020, 10:56am

I take a different view.
The responsibility of care falls on both parties as road users.


The obvious example is the car driver momentarily visually compromised on a narrow road by an oncoming vehicle.
30 or 40 mph is not unreasonable in such a circumstance yet fast enough to be dangerous to the unseen.
There is a distance of road ahead of that driver that is a peril for anything poorly visible or practically invisible.
Even cyclists have hit obstacles under such circumstances!
There is a man on here (cyclist) that hit a black cow!
........
I understand your point Mike S about the racers/rallyists.

Yet given a straight road I do think you would have been safer with a torch and visible clothing.
It is your awareness of the danger on bends that sees you wisely stuck in the hedge. The torch won't help much there although it might still just save you.


I am not condoning such driving but it is a simple fact of life that many local drivers (and cyclists!) are quick.
They know the road and it is not unreasonable IMV that other road users make themselves visible.

One fatality I am distantly aware of on the Llêyn Penisula was a young mother who killed a man who had been drinking. He was walking on the nearside in dark clothes and carried no torch.
It is a tragedy that ruins lives.
And there are many such instances.

I also understand Tangled's point about car colour.
To take the overall accident statistics is pretty meaningless because of the factors he suggests.(young men like bright cars!).
More meaningful would be accidents where cars were struck after pulling out of junctions or were struck stationary etc.

To drive or cycle on rural roads at night is to be constantly aware of many potential hazards. People drive into fallen trees!
The dark clad pedestrian or cyclist without a torch or lights not least amongst them.
In the rain or mist the danger is significantly higher.

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Re: Why does ‘cyclist wearing dark clothing' exist as a contributory factor in KSIs

Postby mjr » 14 Jan 2020, 11:11am

PDQ Mobile wrote:The obvious example is the car driver momentarily visually compromised on a narrow road by an oncoming vehicle.
30 or 40 mph is not unreasonable in such a circumstance [...]

I disagree vehemently and wish for any driver believing that to lose their licence ASAP (sorry PDQ). We absolutely must recalibrate our country to not accept people driving blind into spaces at lethal speeds. It may happen in error sometimes but it is not reasonable behaviour!
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