pwa wrote:I have been used to working in environments where everyone is wearing hi-viz and in those environments I find it useful.
This gives you a good first stab of reasoning that it might be a good idea for general use on the road, but only
as a first stab. If it turns out that it doesn't seem to help much then that first stab should be filed under "well, it was at least worth looking in to" and then move on.
However, we have a situation instead where (along with helmets) it has become orthodoxy to the point that in the UK very little attention is paid to anything else. "Cycle safety" to many means hi-viz and helmets, The End. And the more pople go on about them, the more important they seem, and the more important they seem the more people go on about them, and so on. So its mostly about cultural values, not about actual safety.
pwa wrote:I think if there ever was any doubt about this matter in the minds of the non-cycling public, those days are long gone. For as long as I can remember it has been assumed by most people, rightly or wrongly, that the wearing of high visibility clothing on the roads makes you safer. That is disputed on this Forum, where people take a more in depth interest in the matter, but out there on the streets most folk think it is a fact. Even if they are wrong about this, if a cyclist ends up being run over and they are wearing a black top it is likely to be seen as a contributing factor by the general public. The driver who did the deed will feel better because of it. Personally, I don't want to give them that excuse for feeling a bit better about what they did.
So on this point we're in Furious Agreement, that the perception of cycle safety is badly borken. The issue then moves on to the twin issues of can we fix it, and that everyone buying in and wearing the stuff probably makes it a bit worse.
For your parting point, cyclists are an outgroup, and people in general will rationalise things so it's not their fault. Someone might rationalise away killing me as I wasn't in hi-viz, but make no mistake, the same driver would rationalise killing you that it wasn't their fault. And in either case the cry would be for more "cycle safety", which in the public discourse means more helmets and hi-viz.
Part of the problem is that the "road safety" lobby is largely run on the same lines as transport planning: the bottom line is throughput of motor traffic, and that guides the narrative that it's the job of cyclists to get out of the way and look after themselves. I'd strongly suggest a read of Robert Davis' Death on the Streets
, now freely downloadable at https://rdrf.org.uk/death-on-the-streets-cars-and-the-mythology-of-road-safety/
(of particular interest might be the stuff on visibility from Page 143). Now we are starting to challenge the idea that as many cars as possible may be less important than people, and with good examples of safer countries with saner systems, and a climate emergency that suggests we just might
be better off deprecating cars, we have an opportunity to push the debate to actual
safety before its too late.
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...