Why wear black?

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Why wear black?

Postby [XAP]Bob » 31 Dec 2019, 8:39am

Bmblbzzz wrote:I guess from that you ride a recumbent?

Primary ride has been a recumbent (trike or bike) for over a decade.
I now can’t ride two wheels, am vaguely considering an upright trike, since it would be easier to tow the wheelchair with a par of wheels at the back and a flat are between to strap the footplate to.

It’s always amazed how many people have taken the trouble to say that I’m invisible, for too low, and have had to just say “oh yeah” when I point out both that I am higher than the white lines/cats eyes and more importantly, they have seen me to talk to, so I can’t be that hard to see. When I further point out that I’m the same height as a lotus Elise... you get the picture.

Anecdotally (though with consecutive years cycling the same route on upright vs ‘bent) I’d suggest that a bent (with no special clothing) is far more visible than an upright (even with high is everywhere).
That tells me that it’s not being seen that is the biggest issue, but being ignored.

I *do* have a reflective slap band in the pannier, for when I don’t have my bright yellow/RR gloves on - the increased “obviousness” of a turning/braking/wait signal at night is, in my experience, a positive move - additionally it is one that “costs” me nothing in terms of convenience/practicality.


I don’t explicitly choose black to wear on a bike, but my fashion sense is limited - and the choice is often not wide. I wouldn’t choose to wear flouro colours to anything other than an 80s disco, and I don’t cycle to many of those.
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those can extrapolate from incomplete data.

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Re: Why wear black?

Postby Bmblbzzz » 31 Dec 2019, 10:49am

[XAP]Bob wrote:That tells me that it’s not being seen that is the biggest issue, but being ignored.

Absolutely, and the same for bents, uprights, bikes, trikes, and not least on feet.
I wouldn’t choose to wear flouro colours to anything other than an 80s disco, and I don’t cycle to many of those.

Me neither; I hold them at home, in private, as DJ and dancer in one! :lol:

wearwell
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Re: Why wear black?

Postby wearwell » 31 Dec 2019, 11:18am

I'm probably repeating what's already been said but my experience especially on busy main roads is that hi viz bright yellow tops are really effective. You can feel the difference if you put one on, over your black T shirt. Especially if it's rush hour. Traffic immediately gives you wider passing space, or slows down etc.
It's automatic reflex to high viz yellow - could be police, roadworks, emergency services.

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RickH
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Re: Why wear black?

Postby RickH » 31 Dec 2019, 11:23am

wearwell wrote:I'm probably repeating what's already been said but my experience especially on busy main roads is that hi viz bright yellow tops are really effective. You can feel the difference if you put one on, over your black T shirt. Especially if it's rush hour. Traffic immediately gives you wider passing space, or slows down etc.
It's automatic reflex to high viz yellow - could be police, roadworks, emergency services.

My experience when I first got a hivis jacket was the opposite.

I soon dubbed it my "cloak of invisibility" as the number of car pulling out of side streets causing me to have to brake increased noticeably! :? That's my anecdata anyway. :D

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Re: Why wear black?

Postby Bez » 31 Dec 2019, 12:54pm

wearwell wrote:You can feel the difference if you put one on, over your black T shirt. Especially if it's rush hour. Traffic immediately gives you wider passing space, or slows down etc. It's automatic reflex to high viz yellow


Yesterday I noticed a lot of drivers unusually stopping to let me through on country lanes.

Not sure whether I should attribute this to my front light, lack of helmet, yellow boots, or what. But the light is new and I'd like to feel reassured about the money I spent on it, so I'm going to say it's the light. So you should get a light like mine, because traffic immediately gives you more space and slows to a stop: it's an automatic reflex to a nice light.

wearwell
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Re: Why wear black?

Postby wearwell » 31 Dec 2019, 1:04pm

Bez wrote:
wearwell wrote:You can feel the difference if you put one on, over your black T shirt. Especially if it's rush hour. Traffic immediately gives you wider passing space, or slows down etc. It's automatic reflex to high viz yellow


Yesterday I noticed a lot of drivers unusually stopping to let me through on country lanes.

Not sure whether I should attribute this to my front light, lack of helmet, yellow boots, or what. But the light is new and I'd like to feel reassured about the money I spent on it, so I'm going to say it's the light. So you should get a light like mine, because traffic immediately gives you more space and slows to a stop: it's an automatic reflex to a nice light.

What light is it? (I assume you aren't selling them!) As car driver I certainly notice modern bike lights they are amazing compared to the EverReady bike lights of yesteryear.

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Re: Why wear black?

Postby Bmblbzzz » 31 Dec 2019, 1:13pm

You noticed this yesterday? It's the Chrimbo effect. People are in a good mood.

De Sisti
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Re: Why wear black?

Postby De Sisti » 31 Dec 2019, 2:38pm

wearwell wrote:I'm probably repeating what's already been said but my experience especially on busy main roads is that hi viz bright orange or pink tops are really effective.

FTFY

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Cunobelin
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Re: Why wear black?

Postby Cunobelin » 31 Dec 2019, 4:44pm

[XAP]Bob wrote:
Bmblbzzz wrote:I guess from that you ride a recumbent?

Primary ride has been a recumbent (trike or bike) for over a decade.
I now can’t ride two wheels, am vaguely considering an upright trike, since it would be easier to tow the wheelchair with a par of wheels at the back and a flat are between to strap the footplate to.

It’s always amazed how many people have taken the trouble to say that I’m invisible, for too low, and have had to just say “oh yeah” when I point out both that I am higher than the white lines/cats eyes and more importantly, they have seen me to talk to, so I can’t be that hard to see. When I further point out that I’m the same height as a lotus Elise... you get the picture.

Anecdotally (though with consecutive years cycling the same route on upright vs ‘bent) I’d suggest that a bent (with no special clothing) is far more visible than an upright (even with high is everywhere).
That tells me that it’s not being seen that is the biggest issue, but being ignored.

I *do* have a reflective slap band in the pannier, for when I don’t have my bright yellow/RR gloves on - the increased “obviousness” of a turning/braking/wait signal at night is, in my experience, a positive move - additionally it is one that “costs” me nothing in terms of convenience/practicality.


I don’t explicitly choose black to wear on a bike, but my fashion sense is limited - and the choice is often not wide. I wouldn’t choose to wear flouro colours to anything other than an 80s disco, and I don’t cycle to many of those.



The "not being seen/being ignored" is why the best visibility aid that I have ever had is the Air Zound. It is amazing how many drivers suddenly see you with a 110 db reminder!

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Cunobelin
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Re: Why wear black?

Postby Cunobelin » 31 Dec 2019, 4:51pm

[XAP]Bob wrote:Primary ride has been a recumbent (trike or bike) for over a decade.
I now can’t ride two wheels, am vaguely considering an upright trike, since it would be easier to tow the wheelchair with a par of wheels at the back and a flat are between to strap the footplate to.



OT - but anyway
I ride a Catrike, Gekko and Kettweisel, so I know well the fun of recumbents. I also have some experience with mobility issues

When my wife has two chairs, an Invacare Bora and a smaller folding chair. We purchased a Christiana Trike. Brilliant piece of kit that easily takes the folding wheelchair. This allowed us to travel into town on her electrically assisted recumbent and then we would use the wheelchair in town and repack it into the Christiana for the return

Back on topic - I have NO problems with cars seeing the Christiana despite it being totally black!

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mjr
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Re: Why wear black?

Postby mjr » 1 Jan 2020, 1:26am

De Sisti wrote:
wearwell wrote:I'm probably repeating what's already been said but my experience especially on busy main roads is that hi viz bright orange or pink tops are really effective.

FTFY

Congrats for using the color tag and quote background to demonstrate how they have lower contrast against grey winter skies than black!
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

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Cunobelin
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Re: Why wear black?

Postby Cunobelin » 1 Jan 2020, 9:36am

RickH wrote:
wearwell wrote:I'm probably repeating what's already been said but my experience especially on busy main roads is that hi viz bright yellow tops are really effective. You can feel the difference if you put one on, over your black T shirt. Especially if it's rush hour. Traffic immediately gives you wider passing space, or slows down etc.
It's automatic reflex to high viz yellow - could be police, roadworks, emergency services.

My experience when I first got a hivis jacket was the opposite.

I soon dubbed it my "cloak of invisibility" as the number of car pulling out of side streets causing me to have to brake increased noticeably! :? That's my anecdata anyway. :D



There was some work done by the DfT about drivers and perception of cyclists.

Long paper, but one of the findings was that the more you fit a "cyclist" image then the less likely the driver is to concede speed, space or caution.

The implication is that by wearing HiViz, you are deemed more competent and can, therefore "cope" with a fast close pass, so there is no need for the driver to react with caution!!!

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Re: Why wear black?

Postby Bonefishblues » 1 Jan 2020, 9:45am

Cunobelin wrote:
RickH wrote:
wearwell wrote:I'm probably repeating what's already been said but my experience especially on busy main roads is that hi viz bright yellow tops are really effective. You can feel the difference if you put one on, over your black T shirt. Especially if it's rush hour. Traffic immediately gives you wider passing space, or slows down etc.
It's automatic reflex to high viz yellow - could be police, roadworks, emergency services.

My experience when I first got a hivis jacket was the opposite.

I soon dubbed it my "cloak of invisibility" as the number of car pulling out of side streets causing me to have to brake increased noticeably! :? That's my anecdata anyway. :D



There was some work done by the DfT about drivers and perception of cyclists.

Long paper, but one of the findings was that the more you fit a "cyclist" image then the less likely the driver is to concede speed, space or caution.

The implication is that by wearing HiViz, you are deemed more competent and can, therefore "cope" with a fast close pass, so there is no need for the driver to react with caution!!!

...which may have meant the survival of this young man on his recent mercy dash:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-l ... e-50851639

But what in whatever means that a number of drivers didn't stop even in the face of this?

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Re: Why wear black?

Postby Bmblbzzz » 1 Jan 2020, 10:13am

Cunobelin wrote:
RickH wrote:
wearwell wrote:I'm probably repeating what's already been said but my experience especially on busy main roads is that hi viz bright yellow tops are really effective. You can feel the difference if you put one on, over your black T shirt. Especially if it's rush hour. Traffic immediately gives you wider passing space, or slows down etc.
It's automatic reflex to high viz yellow - could be police, roadworks, emergency services.

My experience when I first got a hivis jacket was the opposite.

I soon dubbed it my "cloak of invisibility" as the number of car pulling out of side streets causing me to have to brake increased noticeably! :? That's my anecdata anyway. :D



There was some work done by the DfT about drivers and perception of cyclists.

Long paper, but one of the findings was that the more you fit a "cyclist" image then the less likely the driver is to concede speed, space or caution.

The implication is that by wearing HiViz, you are deemed more competent and can, therefore "cope" with a fast close pass, so there is no need for the driver to react with caution!!!

I wonder if it's really to do with perceived competence? It could be that by dressing in hi-viz you are perceived as more cautious and therefore timid, easy to dominate. This perception is probably largely subconscious on the part of the driver. As an example of the way this works, the other day I saw a bunch of kids (early teens) on mtbs and bmxs riding in a "pack", pulling wheelies and stunts - one was even standing on the saddle while pulling a wheelie going down a steep (and busy) hill (very impressive handling) - in the centre of town. All dressed in standard teenage clothing. Drivers were giving them a very wide berth; greater following distance than normal, no attempts to overtake, lots of room around them. I reckon this is because the kids, while obviously technically "competent", were riding in an ostentatiously un-cautious, diligaf, manner.

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Re: Why wear black?

Postby Cowsham » 1 Jan 2020, 10:24am

Marcus Aurelius wrote:
[XAP]Bob wrote:
Marcus Aurelius wrote:‘Cos it’s en flique innit. Black also ‘slims’ you. Once you’ve had black, you never go back, apparently.

All black gear, in dark / foggy conditions is just pure Darwinism in action though. Black with high reflect bits on anything that moves, is great because moving high contrast things do get you noticed.



No - as you pointed out - it tends to be cyclists with good lights, which are far more effective than 'not wearing black'
I put black socks on this morning, then fell over because I couldn't see where my feet were...

Lights, no matter how good, are less effective if you’re approaching perpendicularly to the cyclist. That’s when the contrast of black / moving high reflect comes into its own.


Nearly killed a guy wearing all black gear at a bend in the road -- he hadn't realised his rear light had went out ( faulty ) I only missed him cos I saw a feint glimmer from one of his muddy pedal reflectors at the last moment or he most certainly would be dead.

I wear two rear lights and hi vis top and backpack. Yes I look like a dork but it's better than dead. You will be cool enough when your dead.