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

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

Postby mjr » 15 Jan 2020, 11:14am

mattheus wrote:
PDQ Mobile wrote:It was the fact that walking dark clad on rural roads is so demonstrably dangerous (suicidal even) that seemed to me to go some way towards answering the OP's initial premise?


It's a very safe activity. Good for the heart too!


Until you allow car drivers onto those roads. Even then it's very safe, if they drive with due care.

Indeed. It is not the walking that is dangerous!

Driving a decent B road at 30, 40, more is not necessarily excessive nor has anyone suggsted it is. I'd see an unlit dark person or animal easily in that. I spent years riding country lanes with only dim "never readies" without riding into the frequent animals. However, driving blind at 30+ definitely is excessive. It's careless at best, reckless and lethal at worst and it's sad that somone posts otherwise on a cycling forum.
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Re: Why does ‘cyclist wearing dark clothing' exist as a contributory factor in KSIs

Postby Mike Sales » 15 Jan 2020, 11:15am

mattheus wrote:
PDQ Mobile wrote:It was the fact that walking dark clad on rural roads is so demonstrably dangerous (suicidal even) that seemed to me to go some way towards answering the OP's initial premise?


It's a very safe activity. Good for the heart too!


Until you allow car drivers onto those roads. Even then it's very safe, if they drive with due care.


The signs "Dangerous Bridge" or "Dangerous Bend" tend to induce a wry smile as I ride round or over the allegedly aggressive road feature.

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

Postby amediasatex » 15 Jan 2020, 12:46pm

PDQ Mobile wrote:What I tried to put forward was the argument that ALL road users have a responsibility to be a tad visible.
A simple idea!


All well and good, except that there will always be road users that do not do this, whether they be sheep, cow, fallen tree or human being. And given that is the case you have to fall back to driving to that assumption. What we have is a slow march to put the responsibility 'to be visible' over the responsibility to drive to conditions.

I'm not saying being visible* is bad idea, just that it should not be a focus of campaigns to improve road safety, nor should it be used as a contributory condition of blame. All that does is divert from the real cause of danger and i another way to avoid the very hard and difficult job that needs doing in terms of changing mindsets about driving. A careful observant driver with a functional vehicle, driving to conditions should not collide** with something in their path day or night. If they do then they've failed on one of those aspects or been unlucky enough to encounter one of the truly rare cases of an unavoidable accident rather than a lack of anticipation or care.

Thought experiment for you....

How will things change if/when there is proper AI and automation in charge of our vehicles?
Do you think we'd see automated vehicles continuing to drive the way humans currently do, or will they be a lot more cautious and safe at the expense of saving a second here or there at great risk to other users?

If the answer to that is yes, then we're doubly screwed.
If the answer to that is no, then why should we not hold human drives to the same level?

* note; being visible != wearing high-viz
** the fact that they do, and so regularly, is evidence of how low we set the bar and how little we hold people to account

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

Postby PDQ Mobile » 15 Jan 2020, 1:00pm

mjr wrote:
mattheus wrote:
PDQ Mobile wrote:It was the fact that walking dark clad on rural roads is so demonstrably dangerous (suicidal even) that seemed to me to go some way towards answering the OP's initial premise?


It's a very safe activity. Good for the heart too!


Until you allow car drivers onto those roads. Even then it's very safe, if they drive with due care.

Indeed. It is not the walking that is dangerous!

Driving a decent B road at 30, 40, more is not necessarily excessive nor has anyone suggsted it is. I'd see an unlit dark person or animal easily in that. I spent years riding country lanes with only dim "never readies" without riding into the frequent animals. However, driving blind at 30+ definitely is excessive. It's careless at best, reckless and lethal at worst and it's sad that somone posts otherwise on a cycling forum.

But would you see those things?
In the dark and wet with oncoming bright .lights
There is a cyclist on here that cycled into a grey post on a grey morning. Nasty. And in my view the post was at fault- in all seriousness.

Drivers are not 100% perfect.
It is a question of mitigating risk - and for practically no effort.

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

Postby Icsunonove » 15 Jan 2020, 1:22pm

On my ride home last night there was a tree across the road. The police were there inspecting a car with a smashed front end. I trust the 'tree with dark bark' box was duly ticked.

The obvious lesson is we should only grow Silver Birch near to roads.

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

Postby mjr » 15 Jan 2020, 1:29pm

PDQ Mobile wrote:
mjr wrote:Driving a decent B road at 30, 40, more is not necessarily excessive nor has anyone suggsted it is. I'd see an unlit dark person or animal easily in that. I spent years riding country lanes with only dim "never readies" without riding into the frequent animals. However, driving blind at 30+ definitely is excessive. It's careless at best, reckless and lethal at worst and it's sad that somone posts otherwise on a cycling forum.

But would you see those things?

Well, I always have so far. Mistakes happen, as I mentioned, but then it's my fault far more than theirs and almost anything they did wouldn't excuse my failure to drive correctly, much less make driving blind at 30mph reasonable or anything like it!

In the dark and wet with oncoming bright .lights
There is a cyclist on here that cycled into a grey post on a grey morning. Nasty. And in my view the post was at fault- in all seriousness.

And in my view, both were at fault, but that seems too shades-of-grey for some of the all-or-nothing types.

Drivers are not 100% perfect.
It is a question of mitigating risk - and for practically no effort.

I disagree entirely that it's "practically no effort" only to walk (or even only to walk in low light conditions) when you have certain clothes with you, or to get, maintain and use a decent lantern. Both are really wasteful (hi-vis is mostly plastic and only lasts a few washes) and limiting and de-facto requiring them will probably cause more people to drive more, especially out in non-streetlit rural villages.

And let's not beat around the bush: if you are going to carry a light when walking for this reason, torches are rubbish because walkers cannot point them towards traffic from both (or all, if near junctions) directions at once. It should be a lantern.
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Re: Why does ‘cyclist wearing dark clothing' exist as a contributory factor in KSIs

Postby rfryer » 15 Jan 2020, 1:48pm

I find this subject challenging, and there have been some helpful posts.

On the one hand, it is self-evident that road users need to take responsibility for not crashing into stuff. And that includes poorly visible stuff, like trees, animals, accident victims, etc.

On the other hand, the powers-that-be mandate that some things on the road must be clearly visible, creating an environment with tail-lights, reflective/illuminated signs and road furniture, etc. None of these should be necessary, if drivers took the above point seriously.

This latter behaviour is in conflict with the first; road users will naturally use their personal perception of risk to avoid crashing into stuff. When almost everything is clearly visible, then the risk of a poorly visible thing is much reduced, to the point that it becomes "negligible". Plus, for many hazards of this type (eg trees or rocks in the road) the likely casualty is the driver, and we increasingly have cars with high safety standards, meaning that a small risk of crashing amounts to a minuscule risk of personal harm.

In summary, as a result of legally mandated safety standards, we have an environment where drivers will inevitably perceive less personal risk and drive with less care than they would otherwise. Like it or not, if sharing that environment, I owe it to myself and my family to be sufficiently visible.

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

Postby mattheus » 15 Jan 2020, 1:50pm

It's clear that PDQ is diligently avoiding the concept that the Dangerous Equipment Users should be taking most of the responsibility. I think it's a safe inference that he doesn't agree with it, and we've wasted enough bandwidth on failing to persuade him.

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

Postby mjr » 15 Jan 2020, 2:07pm

rfryer wrote:Like it or not, if sharing that environment, I owe it to myself and my family to be sufficiently visible.

I am sufficiently visible. I do not know how to be invisible. Please could you tell me how to be invisible? Because there are some cycleway obstructions that I'd like to remove and that would be easier if I was invisible.
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Re: Why does ‘cyclist wearing dark clothing' exist as a contributory factor in KSIs

Postby PDQ Mobile » 15 Jan 2020, 2:08pm

mattheus wrote:It's clear that PDQ is diligently avoiding the concept that the Dangerous Equipment Users should be taking most of the responsibility. I think it's a safe inference that he doesn't agree with it, and we've wasted enough bandwidth on failing to persuade him.

Not so really.
But I think some responsibilty lies with (in cited case) the ped (or cyclist).
I would love more pavemented and shared use lanes longside roads roads but that is simply not happening here in rural Wales in the near future.


Don't agree with mjr's lantern theory though.
A torch shone and waved directly at approaching traffic is more effective IMV.

My genuine concern is to improve safety for all but under the circumstances that prevail at the moment.

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

Postby The utility cyclist » 15 Jan 2020, 2:15pm

PDQ Mobile wrote:
mattheus wrote:
PDQ Mobile wrote:It was the fact that walking dark clad on rural roads is so demonstrably dangerous (suicidal even) that seemed to me to go some way towards answering the OP's initial premise?


It's a very safe activity. Good for the heart too!


Until you allow car drivers onto those roads. Even then it's very safe, if they drive with due care.

I take the point, and even do it myself on really narrow lanes always listening though! And I would carry a small torch.
There are however roads where I would not do it dark clad and torchless unless absolutely desperate.
Then I would always assume I had not been seen by an oncoming car and really "hide" in the hedge or a gateway etc. i would also walk facing the oncoming traffic.

It is a space shared by drivers and others.
They are "allowed" onto them!

And everybody has a duty of care, that duty is to try to make things safe.

You're still pushing the onus to stay safe on the vulnerable party, there is no equity, none whatsoever, as proven time and again, this continues to erode rights/freedoms of the vulnerable and increases the brashness and ignorance of the law of those in machines that kill and maim with impunity, to the point that the law is no longer applied by the police/justice system and those doing the killing are let off from punishment or a weak ineffective punishment that rarely matches the crime and indeed that which is laid down by the law.

Any person who cannot see anyone in jet black or any other colour variation in ANY conditions and not avoid them or be able to stop in good time to avoid collision/making the person feel fear of harm is in direct contravention of the law and HC, this is indisputable, carrying on with attempting to make yourself safer by taking on the burden of making yourself visible has clearly had zero effect in improving matters, it's futile and also contributes to making matters worse, we know this, it's again indisputable because the powers that be and even yourself and other cyclists are insisting that vulnerable parties must have a duty of care. Walking/cycling in dark clothes does no harm to anyone, driving and ignoring the law/HC does.
It's bonkers that you and the rest cannot see the error of your thinking and why this is damaging for cycling, walking and the safety of everyone. :?
Last edited by The utility cyclist on 15 Jan 2020, 9:24pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby The utility cyclist » 15 Jan 2020, 2:24pm

rfryer wrote:I find this subject challenging, and there have been some helpful posts.

On the one hand, it is self-evident that road users need to take responsibility for not crashing into stuff. And that includes poorly visible stuff, like trees, animals, accident victims, etc.

On the other hand, the powers-that-be mandate that some things on the road must be clearly visible, creating an environment with tail-lights, reflective/illuminated signs and road furniture, etc. None of these should be necessary, if drivers took the above point seriously.

This latter behaviour is in conflict with the first; road users will naturally use their personal perception of risk to avoid crashing into stuff. When almost everything is clearly visible, then the risk of a poorly visible thing is much reduced, to the point that it becomes "negligible". Plus, for many hazards of this type (eg trees or rocks in the road) the likely casualty is the driver, and we increasingly have cars with high safety standards, meaning that a small risk of crashing amounts to a minuscule risk of personal harm.

In summary, as a result of legally mandated safety standards, we have an environment where drivers will inevitably perceive less personal risk and drive with less care than they would otherwise. Like it or not, if sharing that environment, I owe it to myself and my family to be sufficiently visible.

And yet this does nothing to increase your safety, only contribute to the thinking that if you're not 'visible', whatever that actually means, because we know that 'visible' has no real meaning when people aren't looking or acting, that you are in the wrong and are to blame if you get killed or injured, such that if you're not 'visible', you're a Darwin award winner.

Also this never applies if you drive a motor, I asked police why they weren't giving advice to motorists to wear body armour and helmets and adorning their vehicles in 'visible' colours when one was killed in a crash, yet when that's a cyclist they go into full on Bulls@@@ discrimination mode and ply the whole helmet and hi-vis routine.

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

Postby rfryer » 15 Jan 2020, 2:47pm

The utility cyclist wrote:
rfryer wrote:In summary, as a result of legally mandated safety standards, we have an environment where drivers will inevitably perceive less personal risk and drive with less care than they would otherwise. Like it or not, if sharing that environment, I owe it to myself and my family to be sufficiently visible.

And yet this does nothing to increase your safety, only contribute to the thinking that if you're not 'visible', whatever that actually means, because we know that 'visible' has no real meaning when people aren't looking or acting, that you are in the wrong and are to blame if you get killed or injured, such that if you're not 'visible', you're a Darwin award winner.

I disagree, I believe that with the environment we have, many drivers will be driving with the assumption that hazards will be lit, reflective, or at the very least painted white. I might call that "careless", you might call it "murderous", many others would call it "normal". That aside, I truly believe that by my chances are better if I fit their model of what a road hazard looks like.

The utility cyclist wrote:Also this never applies if you drive a motor, I asked police why they weren't giving advice to motorists to wear body armour and helmets and adorning their vehicles in 'visible' colours when one was killed in a crash, yet when that's a cyclist they go into full on Bulls@@@ discrimination mode and ply the whole helmet and hi-vis routine.

It does apply - motors are forced to display lights in order to be seen by other careless motorists. I can't say why there isn't a high-viz drive for car paintwork, but I'd guess it's a combination of perceived public resistance to the notion, and also that cars tend to be large and centre-lane (ie hard to miss even if you only glance) while cyclists are small, and often crawling along the gutter.

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

Postby fastpedaller » 15 Jan 2020, 2:51pm

PDQ Mobile wrote: i would also walk facing the oncoming traffic.



And everybody has a duty of care, that duty is to try to make things safe.

It's not always cut and dried though, the 'rule' may not be the best ....
If you are on a fairly narrow (say 3m width) road, with a RH bend with hedges, do you walk on the RH side facing the oncoming traffic (but hidden from them) or on the LH side (albeit slightly closer to the traffic approaching from behind) and make yourself visible to traffic from both directions?

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

Postby rfryer » 15 Jan 2020, 2:54pm

mjr wrote:
rfryer wrote:Like it or not, if sharing that environment, I owe it to myself and my family to be sufficiently visible.

I am sufficiently visible.

Good for you. I'm not totally convinced that I am, in all road conditions.
mjr wrote: I do not know how to be invisible. Please could you tell me how to be invisible? Because there are some cycleway obstructions that I'd like to remove and that would be easier if I was invisible.

I can't help with invisibility, I'm afraid. But I think there's a very large gap between "invisible" and "as easy to spot at a glace as 99% of other road hazards". I prefer to aim toward the latter.

There's also an enormous gap between "as easy to spot at a glace as 99% of other road hazards" and "the most in-your-face, over-the-top, unmissable get-up I can buy". I prefer the first to the second. Which means that, in many cases, adequate lighting is sufficient.