It has come to this folks… to be safe riding on roads; we have to dress up as exotic petrol-powered neon-colored parrots. XD
Lousy joke and shenanigans aside, I think we can all agree on a logical and solid statement here.
”Wearing bright colors while riding is one of the most effective ways to be seen by other road users.”
Being visible will increase your ”survival” chances against the big bad blind car drivers.
And one of the most efficient ways to be visible is to consider wearing a High Vis Vest.
Also, by wearing such an item, you send a clear message…
”Hey, I would like not to die today and also to enjoy my riding in peace thank you.”
So here are the top three Hi Vis vests for motorcyclists available that you should consider.
Best Hi Vis Vest For Motorcycle Riders
Oxford Hi Vis Active Bright Vest
It is the best choice on a ratio of the best price to quality for a high vis motorcycle vest.
I like the three vertical elastic bands on each side of the vest to give you a snug fit without having to fiddle with adjustment straps or velcros.
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Compression fit
- Breathable lining
- Full frontal zip
- Highly reflective
- No pocket
LKN Motorcycle Vest Safety
If you are a little short on your budget but would still like to have a vest meant for motorcycle use, this is what I would suggest.
- Zipper closure
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Elactic cords for compression fit
- Mesh back collar
- Only available in size M/L
- Side adjustement elastics cord tend to loosen while riding
Olympia Blaze Hi-Viz Vest
If you are thinking of buying a more high-end high visibility, comfortable product that will last you years and years, this is it.
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Lot of airflow mesh pannels
- Rip-stop nylon
- Designed to military specifications
- Two storage pockets plus interior pocket for cell
- See through vinyl ID chest pocket
- Comfort micro fiber lined collar
- Not much reflective material in the front
- Expensive product
Does High Visibility Vests Really Improve Motorcycle Safety?
Yes, according to a case study made by the University of Auckland in New Zealand, High Visibility gear worn by a motorcycle rider reduces the chances of an accident with another vehicle by up to 37%
Although the study is not recent (published in 2004), I think the results are still relevant today in this day and age of distracted drivers.
If you would like to look at the study, you can find it by clicking here.
So dressing up as a construction cone help us come home safe and ride another day… but how does it truly help?
How do High-Vis vest make it safer for riding a motorcycle?
High visibility clothing increases the chance of other roads user to notice a motorcycle rider and adjust or correct their driving accordingly.
How do car drivers keep failing to acknowledge we are RIGHT beside them and cut us off with the classic response of ”I didn’t see you”?
The way a human brain treats visual information relayed by the eyes causes riders to be ”invisible” to car drivers.
We, humans, are constantly looking and scanning our surroundings consciously or not for what could be a threat to us. That is a basic survival instinct.
And the most obvious thing that your brain will register as a danger is something bigger than you.
For example, if you suddenly turn around and there is a giant grizzly bear 10 feet away, the first thing your head will tell you is ”that is important” ”that a threat”.
So at first glance, the brain sees BIG things as important. But this also works in reverse for smaller things.
Here How This Human Instinct Makes It Dangerous for Motorcycle Riders.
The human brain is lazy; it will not give us all the visual information our eyes see. That means our brain filters things that it thinks don’t deserve attention, and we don’t ”see them”.
When someone drives a car, its brain will subconsciously consider the size of the vehicle as its new default volume size.
”I am no longer the size of a human; I am the size of a car now”.
That means something smaller than the driven car, like a motorcycle, will be filtered as unimportant by the brain.
And that is how car drivers don’t ”see us”.
Since we can’t be bigger on a motorcycle, wearing bright colors is the second best thing to do.
Wearing High-Vis while riding will force the human brains of car drivers around us to regard us as something of interest rather than ignore us.
I could go on and on about how our brain perceives the world, but here is a video by Fortnite, one of my favorite youtube channels on the subject.
It will explain how road users truly see around them and how it affects us motorcyclists and what to do about it.
Alternative Hi-Viz Vests That Can Be Used For Motorcycle Use
Work Safety Vest For Motorcycle Riders
Is it a good idea to use a regular work hi-vis vest for motorcycle riding?
Yes, absolutely, but there are a couple of features you should look for that will make a Hi-Vis vest more suitable than others for riding.
Choose a vest with a zipper front closure, Avoid velcro closure
You do not want velcro in the front because it tends to open the vest on its own, and the velcro loses its strength over time.
An open vest flapping in the wind while riding is very distracting, so avoid front velcro Hi-Vis vests.
Other things to consider when choosing a work Hi-Vis vest for motorcycle riding.
Choose a vest your size to have the snuggest fit you can. It will avoid the annoying excess fabric waggling as you ride.
If you plan to have the vest over a motorcycle jacket, aim for a size up of what you usually choose.
If you ride in the high heat of summer, you want a light vest as breathable as possible, so choose one with mesh fabric.
My Work Safety Vest Pick for You
Work High Visibility Vest Straps / Harness
Another interesting alternative you can borrow in Hi Vis work equipment for riding your motorcycle is a ”harness” or ”strap” style.
It has a more minimalist design that might be harder to spot over long distances, but it nevertheless goes along well for motorbike use.
- Almost no frabric to waggle in the wind
- Elastic desing for a snug fit
- Easy to put on and take off
- Can be ajusted
Interested in a High Vis Vest Straps / Harness?
White Highy Reflective Visibility Vest For Bikers
If you don’t like the idea of dressing up with a similar color to a baby chicken, this vest might be a good alternative for you.
Everything you see in white is reflective material. Safe to say that if somebody shines a headlight on you at night, you will be as noticeable as the sun in the evening.
I like the concept; it is mainly made of mesh and comes with side adjustment straps for a proper fit and a back pocket for your items.
It is a vest intended for night runners, but it will do great for a motorcycle rider to be extra visible at night.
Black Hi-Vis Vest With Motorcycle
Yet again, an excellent alternative if you are feeling shy about wearing neon yellow and orange.
Be aware that it will not help you in the day, but it increases your visibility at night by reflecting headlights beam.
True to my word, I found a model with mesh fabric and a front zipper that is more appropriate for motorcycle use.
High Visibility Motorcycle Vest Police
I guess there was a certain logic when an old rider told me he found the sure way for people to be careful while driving around him.
Here is what the old geezer told me.
”Just wear a Hi-Vis vest that looks like a police or security uniform. people sure will mind their driving manner around you.”
It might have been a great idea if it wasn’t this disrespectful and borderline illegal.
Even if you are not using an actual police hi-vis uniform vest but something similar, you still might get in trouble. You could be accused of impersonating a police officer. Don’t take that chance.
Secondly, even if I am not a fan of police interactions, I respect that they have a challenging and necessary job to do.
So show respect and don’t try to disguise yourself as one of them when you are not.
If you want to be seen and send car drivers the message of being careful and leaving you in peace, a regular Hi Vis vest is enough.
Other Ways To Make Yourself Visible
The most effective alternative to a High Vis vest to make yourself visible while riding is to wear bright colors. A second efficient way is to install reflective stickers in strategic places to increase your visibility at night.
After neon yellow and orange, the next best color to be visible is red.
It is one of the most noticeable colors to humans increasing our visibility.
So if you plan to buy a bike or a motorcycle jacket, choosing the color red is not that bad of an idea.
Otherwise, any bright color will make a positive difference.
There are a couple of key places you can stick this on your bike or yourself to make yourself more visible.
- The back of your helmet
- On the ”forehead” of your helmet
- Your suspension forks
- On the tail or your saddelebags if you have any
- The back of your boots
- Your handlesbars
- Each side of your bike frame
- Anywhere ele you think is a good place
The great thing about reflective tape is that you can make it look like it is part of the motorcycle, so it doesn’t look that badly out of place.
Conclusion Are Motorcycle High-Visibility Vests Worth It?
Let make a clear statement
His Vis won’t decrease your chances of making it to your destination in one piece.
Up to you to decide if wearing Hi-Vis is your cup of tea.
I know some riders will never wear anything that decreases or ruin their ”cool” factor.
That perfectly alright if the ”cool” and ”looking badass” thing is why you enjoy riding, nobody is pushing you to change that.
For me, I find neon yellow an attractive color in general.
I don’t know why…
Guess my brain is not wired correctly, or my mother dropped me on the head when I was a baby.
At least it makes it easy for me to wear my ”colors” and suit up in Hi vis for riding.
But even then, never expect Hi-vis gear to make you ”safe” on the road; it is not a magical solution; it only diminishes a safety issue.
Enjoy your ride but always be alert; that is the true key to staying safe.
Take care. Ride safe.