now you see me…

It’s dark at 6:00 am (and cold, but that’s a different story). The darkness (and the cold) has thinned out the already svelte bike commuting crowd. Of the bike commuters left, I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who refuses to wear a neon yellow top. I have my reasons.

They’re ugly.

Random San Jose cyclist

And, I’m not even sure hi-vis jackets and vests work all that much better than other visibility solutions. There doesn’t seem to be much out on the interwebs linking blindingly yellow clothing to cycling safety, “there seems to be even less research on the effectiveness of high-visibility clothing for the bicyclist than for the motorcyclist.”

Much of the clothing I wear is black or gray but also has built in sections of reflecting fabric making me, at least somewhat, visible in the dark. But, more than that, the flashing white headlamp and the red taillight I ride with in low light should do more to make me visible than even the brightest yellow (and unlike reflective clothing, my lights don’t rely on others having their lights on).

Many cyclists out there probably look at my refusal to wear hi-vis clothing and think it’s foolish (much the same way I look at people who eschew helmets). In fact, one thing “research” turned up was a high number of websites suggesting, with no data to support the claim, that wearing hi-vis clothing is a must. Some may even feel that Hi-Vis clothing is the most stylish and fashionable trend in cycling since spider helmet covers. Which helps explain the guy I saw this morning in a bright yellow jacket without any lights on his bike.

I’m not convinced on either count.

Image by Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious

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  1. #1 by Andrew Simone (@asimone) on October 27, 2011 - 10:22 am

    You wouldn’t catch me dead in hi-vis gear, nobody looks good in neon and flashing lights are more the adequate in low light conditions. Black and gray, ftw, particularly since it doesn’t show dirt or grease as easily.

    • #2 by Michael on October 27, 2011 - 10:41 am

      I knew you’d be on my side, Simone.

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