Why do bikers wear such bright clothing these days?
Look at this one; he dressed like a construction worker with a bright yellow-green shirt. How silly.
For us riders, every detail to attract attention and make our presence known counts when dealing with a distracted driver.
We bikers had our fill of the most popular excuse car drivers tell us after a close call or a crash.
‘’I didn’t see you’’…
Such a classic line!
The Reason Why Motorcyclists Wear Bright Clothing
Motorcycle riders wear bright clothing to increase their visibility to other road users around them. The purpose is to reduce the risk of an incident and with reasons. The most common causes of accidents for motorcyclists involving a car are left turn maneuver and distracted driving. Both events imply the driver didn’t see the motorcycle.
Motorcycles can be as much as five to six times smaller than cars, making them harder to spot on the roads.
The reasons we motorcyclists wear bright clothing? We don’t trust drivers to look as well as they should.
So we highlight ourselves to give drivers an advantage to see us better.
Dressing up as a construction worker might look silly and a bit excessive, but it is effective.
It is not even funny the number of times motorcyclists have close calls with drivers that didn’t bother to check properly. (I speak from personal and scary experiences)
Here are a few examples that give us rider trust issues toward car drivers.
- Quickly changing lanes without notice
- Making U-turns last minutes and crossing multiple lanes
- Backing out of entryways
- Failure to yield
- Distracted and speeding in parking lots
- Glued to their cellphone
That is why some bikers like me take it a step further and wear hi-visibility neon clothing.
If a car driver hit me while I’m wearing this and I hear this freaking sentence again…
‘’I didn’t see you!’’
Say what now?
I am the same color as a giant alien neon banana.
Please explain how you failed to see me…
My Personal Experience Wearing Bright Hi-Visibility Clothing While Riding A Motorcycle (Results)
I started wearing a Hi-visibility motorcycle jacket in the last riding season.
My thoughts in a nutshell? Is it effective? Is it even worth it?
I noticed a massive difference for the better in the behavior of car drivers around me.
The purpose to make me more visible so drivers don’t collide with me is working; there is no doubt about it.
Even if I have to look out for the occasional clumsy driver, it is a welcome respite.
Coming up to an intersection with a car wanting to turn is a stressful situation for a rider.
We never know for 100% if that car will pull in front of us, and it happens often.
As usual, I see drivers make a quick botched overlook, then start to go forward…
And then they slam the brakes, making it evident that they saw me coming their way and making them realize they were about to make a mistake.
The bright Hi-Visibility color seems to startle them to stop.
Fine by me.
Before, it wasn’t clear if the car waiting at the stop sign or light saw me or not.
Rather than waiting at a complete stop, they simply continued creeping up while waiting for me to pass, so it wasn’t obvious.
Now it is most of the time.
Other Benefit Of Wearing Hi-Visibility
There are other advantages that I did not expect from wearing bright yellow.
Long story short; Car drivers are now way more polite in their driving around me.
For example, I now get very few events of a car tailgating me, insisting that I go faster. (I drive the speed limit)
I also get way more respect for my minimal riding space or ”bubble” if you prefer.
I don’t have many drivers pass me, only to cut me off way too close anymore.
My theory is that we bikers carry the negative reputation that we are all jerks and drivers treat us like jerks or unimportant.
By wearing hi-visibility fabric it negates the stereotype.
Instead, it gives the impression of a rider that would like to enjoy a nice riding session without something terrible happening.
And I appreciate car drivers that respect that.
Thump up to you if you recognize yourself In that statement. 🙂
Should It be Mandatory For Motorcyclists To Wear Bright Clothing?
No. It should not fall on the shoulder of motorcyclists to make car drivers lazier to look for their presence.
It is the responsibility of every motorist to check their surroundings and make maneuvers according to the situation.
Otherwise, where does it stop?
Any pedestrian that gets out of their house will have to wear a hi-visibility vest as construction workers do?
What about bicycles? Do we dress them as Christmas trees to make them more noticeable?
Then shouldn’t every car should be a neon color from now on?
Where do we draw the line before it becomes out of place and illogical?
I agree that wearing bright clothing help a lot for the visibility of motorcyclist, but the real problem lies elsewhere.
We are in the age of distracted drivers, and it is getting out of hand.
No matter how we bikers dress, if drivers have their eyes glued to a screen rather than looking up, it won’t make a difference.
Wearing bright colors and hi-visibility clothing is on a volunteer basis and it should stay that way.
Please, put your cellphone down, people, and be in the proper state of mind to take the wheel.
For a car, a fender bender due to inattention might not be a big deal.
But for a motorcycle or a bicycle rider, even a minor collision is a whole other story.
We bikers know very well that cars and trucks can hurt us way more than the other way around.
Motorcycles riders know that we are vulnerable, and the first line of defense is visibility.
That is why some of us two-wheelers wear bright clothing.
We want our presence acknowledged before something happens that we all are going to regret.
Drive and Ride safe.
External Photo Sources In order of appearance.