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Safest Cycling Colour?(10 posts)

Safest Cycling Colour?muncher
Nov 21, 2001 6:29 AM
I have been doing an idle survey during my commute on the colours of stuff people cycling in for safety reasons, and did a bit of follow-up with car driving folk. The results were a little odd. Cyclists thought that fluro yellow was the safest colour, but car drivers opined that cyclists looked like @ssholes in that gear, like they were staking some sort of claim to the road, and that it was irritating/challengeing - hence, didn't generally command respect/deference.

So - do you just take the rough with the smooth and just be happy that they don't think that AND run you over as they can at least see you? Or, do you go for something a little more "neutral" and gets drivers' backs up a little less?

For the record, I have a fairly loud Red rain jacket that I commute in this time of year and loudish red lycra tights that seems to work pretty well - nicely visable, but not "in your face" too much.

Thoughts anyone?
Never thought of yellow as an "in your face" kinda colourKristin
Nov 21, 2001 8:59 AM
In any regard, I wear mostly black. More stylish. Goes with most accessories, bikes, shoes, etc...
Hmmm...muncher
Nov 21, 2001 9:30 AM
Wonder if there is a gender issue here? Joking! :~#

Black-good for stealth, bad for visibility. Would be good for me though with 2 red, one blue/white and one orange bike - I just never know WHAT to wear. Actully my club kit is green/red/white so that clashes nicely with everything anyway...
try again...muncher
Nov 21, 2001 9:33 AM
flourescent yellowDog
Nov 21, 2001 9:08 AM
No doubt about it, flourescent yellow stands out best. Being seen is number one for safety. Forget about the strange "staking a claim to the road" comment. That's just weird. I suppose school busses are doing the same thing? Do people want to run over children because school busses stake a claim to the road?

Just yesterday, I was driving to work in the dark and relatively light fog at the time. Two cyclists were riding together along the road coming toward me on the other side. One I saw a block away, the other not until I was right with them. The one I saw had a flourescent yellow wind breaker on, the other a red jacket. Made a huge difference.

Bright yellow isn't particularly cool, in fact it's sort of nerdy. But, when my life is at risk, I'll take nerdy and alive vs. cool and dead.

Dog
I've always thought that youlook271
Nov 21, 2001 1:57 PM
had to own at least one yellow windbreaker for cycling in your lifetime. It seems that everyone has one. Mine needs replaced. I think that I'll try one of those illumnite jackets. Seems like a good idea. You can never be too visible!
oh, yesDog
Nov 21, 2001 4:00 PM
I certainly do. Don't like windbreakers, though, as they seem to flap in the wind too much. I prefer a vest.

I do have regular yellow full Goretex rain gear, but it looks like something you'd wear on a fishing boat in the north Atlantic.

But, I do have flourescent yellow and orange jerseys, too. I only wear them at night.

Dog
re: Safest Cycling Colour?rollo tommassi
Nov 21, 2001 9:10 AM
Your finding of "car drivers think we are irritating" and that we "don't command respect" when wearing flourescent is very interesting. I've not heard that myself, but it it's one more depressing attitude from drivers....

There are two philosophies: one is that loud is better (not accounting for fashion/taste), the other is that loud is bad, as the driver actually fixates on the object and steers towards it.

Color theory suggests that Red is best as it 'excites' more of the rods/cones in the eye, therefore creating more electro-chemical response in the brain (increase in cognitive awareness). However, I recall a State Highway Patrol study that indicated White to be a better color on the road as it doesn't conflict (ie, blend in) with any other color on the road. This may be true only in the environment of a highway, however, where the predominant color scheme is earthtones or concrete grey.

I have a yellow flouro rain jacket, but otherwise I cover myself in blinking lights. I literally have up to six of those little LED flashers on me, so it's kind of a joke, and I think people 'get it'. I see nothing wrong with making yourself visible - it is a major concern of motorcyclists, so if motos 'stake' their share of the road, do they not command respect from drivers?

Because this is what I've learned about sharing the road: You can be ON FIRE, have FLAMES dancing off the top of your head, and the DRIVER will say "I thought I smelled something burning, but I didn't see anyone on a bike!" ;)
Yellowcolor
Nov 21, 2001 10:46 AM
The physics of light and optics makes bright colors like yellow reflect the most light and cause excessive stimulation. Yellow more than any other color temporarily jolts the brain. The color red causes you to use more of your eyes color decoding cones and actually causes fatigue and an over stimulation that can lead your eye to shift it's color perception to a transparent blue or bluish green when first looking away from red. This confusion makes red a less desirable color for visibility than yellow.
How can there be TOO MUCH visibility?Retro
Nov 21, 2001 12:16 PM
I'm always amazed at how hard it is to have a conversation about color, visibility and safety without someone using the phrase "looks dorky" or mentioning that they wear black because it's cool.
Excuse me, folks, but they're different issues. Do I LIKE fluoro yellow? Hell, no. I also think I look better without a helmet than with one, and I'd really rather not wear glasses, so my piercing blue eyes are more clearly visible. But I WEAR fluoro yellow, and a helmet, and glasses, because they help keep me alive and undamaged on the bike. If drivers think I look like an asshole, fine with me. At least they can see me. I can't even imagine what's going through the heads of the people I see riding at night, in black, on Interstate 80 west of Reno...