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Up until a couple of days ago I've been riding in a black A* leather jacket. My experience was lots of people riding up my butt, barely containing themselves from pulling in front of me, etc. Like they saw me, but didn't really register that I'm real.

So I bought a Bilt hi vis vest and have been wearing it a couple of days. Huge difference in behavior from drivers around me. It's almost as though their brain has a new loop..."he wants me to see him, so I will". I say that because there is just no way I wasn't seen before, but for some reason with the vest it's like they no longer have an excuse to write my presence off. :cheers:
 

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It is a revealing change, isn't it? My Versus is red, it has extra tail/brake lights, and I wear either a red or yellow helmet/jacket/gloves combination. My objective is to be seen. Or at least give myself a good chance of being seen.

It's certainly a personal preference, but I don't understand the black on black on black phenomenon. Stealth is good for military aircraft but not for motorcycles in my humble opinion. To each his own I suppose.
 

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Yep i went with the Hi-Viz Jacket a good while back and looking like a 6'2" 280lb Banana seems to get you noticed....:D

Untitled by weljo2001, on Flickr
 

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I try not to respond to most of these posts but I really like this one. Hi Vis usually equates to 'old dude riders'. I'm old but not ready for the 'road worker on 2 wheels' look. Not that it's a bad look I just don't feel it's necessary if you always ride aware and you have some decent moto experience. It does make some people feel safer though. I just wave to the brightly clothed motorcyclist and say; "yes I can see you mr old rider, just ride like you own the road and I will try not to hit you". If you are a commuter I kind of get it but you have to admit when most American riders hop on their bikes, it's time for cool. After all, isn't that why you bought it in the first place?
 

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I try not to respond to most of these posts but I really like this one. Hi Vis usually equates to 'old dude riders'. I'm old but not ready for the 'road worker on 2 wheels' look. Not that it's a bad look I just don't feel it's necessary if you always ride aware and you have some decent moto experience. It does make some people feel safer though. I just wave to the brightly clothed motorcyclist and say; "yes I can see you mr old rider, just ride like you own the road and I will try not to hit you". If you are a commuter I kind of get it but you have to admit when most American riders hop on their bikes, it's time for cool. After all, isn't that why you bought it in the first place?
Maybe when I bought my first bike at 16. Since then I've gotten a lot wiser. I think it's kind of sad when grown folks try to play cool by buying/riding a motorcycle. It's a pretty stupid reason as it tends to trump safety. I ride to commute, and to enjoy riding. I don't give a flying ***k what anybody thinks of me while I ride. I wear a hi viz Hit-Air airbag vest. Overnight I saw a complete change in how NYC cagers reacted to my presence/drove differently around me.

Game bonus: Hi vis is like camouflage to cops. I think it has something to do with "That guy is clearly safety conscious- The odds of him being a jackass that stunts on the street are far lower" or something like that. Imho hi vis is a win for everybody. See and be seen! :thumb:
 

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Remember how you never saw any Versys until you bought one? (feel free to replace Versys with the vehicle of your choice). The same thing will happen when you wear h-viz. All those folks who saw you before? Now you notice them noticing you and ascribe it to your new day-glo outfit. At least that's what I believe is happening here. I have both a hi-viz jacket and an all black outfit that I alternate between depending on the weather. Can't say I notice any difference in how traffic reacts around me.

I did a lot of reading some years back on how to be visible. We are really talking how to achieve the opposite of effect of camouflage so how does camouflage work? Matching the color of your background is part of it but is much less a factor than breaking up your outline. Hell, they even painted SHIPS in garish colors in irregular patterns to break up their outline before radar came along and made that irrelevant. So if you want to maximize your visibility you need an outfit in one solid color so folks can see a human shape. Try finding a hi-viz outfit that does not have slashes of black across it to make it look somewhat decent. They are out there, I've seen one guy on the road in a 100% lime green outfit and boy, is he visible. But most of these hi-viz jackets have black patterns on them that will break up your outline. If I'm riding on a bright sunny day then I feel every bit as visible in full black than in hi-viz. Grey wet days then my hi-viz jacket comes out.
 

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I'm a commuter who doesn't own a car. I used to wear a hi-viz jacket, but now I wear a gray-and-black Roadcrafter. But I have always worn a solid-white helmet (currently an Arai RX-Q in "diamond white"). No pattern, just white. And I think a white helmet does the same job as a hi-viz jacket. People notice it. Maybe they're pausing for a second to make sure I'm not a cop, but I think it's more likely that the white helmet pops out of the background.

Another benefit of the white helmet is that drivers can see head movement better than with a helmet with graphics on it. They can see when I do a shoulder check. And when I'm proceeding straight through an intersection, and a driver is pausing to turn right on red to go in my direction, I look at them, give a stern "no" shake of my head, and it freezes them and they wait to turn until after I pass. Because they notice my head moving.

I'm all for hi-viz jackets and they work great, but don't discount the effectiveness of a solid-white helmet.

Also, I agree with goat12: Some cops, when they see highly visible ATGATT, they switch off the part of their brain that says, "Hooligan alert! Pay close attention." Not all cops, though. I haven't been ticketed on my motorcycle, but I've had a couple of cops pull up next to me at stoplights and berate me for riding too fast around traffic circles and how they've had to remove dead motorcyclists off the road with a shovel. I just nod and say, "Yes, officer," while thinking, "That's why I'm wearing a 'Stich, idiot." A few cops can't tell the difference between ATGATT and a pirate outfit.
 

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Another doubter on the hi-viz thing. I'm in the black/gray gear group mostly because I rarely have to wash it. ;) I do usually buy white helmets but that's mostly because I'm a plain vanilla guy. I've been commuting in this color gear for over 2 decades.

Riding regularly is a lot more important to me than whether other road users are actively aware of my presence. I maintain my skills both for in traffic riding (riding in traffic demands a specific skill set) and riding in general (regular dirt biking plus pushing a little in safe street situations). I rarely have close calls simply because I work on being aware of where other vehicles are and I try to contanstly work on my skills. I had some surgery a few years ago that kept me off the bike for about a month and I had many close calls when I was back on the road until I was back on top of my traffic skills. There is no better case, IMO, for riding year round.
 

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If this thread becomes a "how to increase you chances of being seen by people who are Not Looking for you", I am definitely subscribing. Please add to the list :)

+1 white helmet
+1 conspicuity vest
+1 on the various tail-light brake-light flashers
 

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I hear ya, Marylander. Year-round riding is very helpful in keeping up your skills and your habits of situational awareness.

I started riding only in 2009, but I rode bicycles on the street for many years before that. I rode a bicycle to elementary school almost three miles away, back during the Nixon administration. Riding bicycles on the street that long, I developed uncanny skills of observation and prediction. Marylander has done the same thing.

I know what drivers are going to do before the drivers have decided what they're going to do. I like to point this out when my wife is driving the minivan: I'll say, "That green car is going to swerve into our lane." And then it does.

Drivers tend to be thoughtless and indecisive, but they give away little signals that are, like, subliminal, I guess. Developing these observational skills keeps a motorcyclist safe. But never, ever, discount conspicuity. It doesn't prevent all accidents, but it prevents some of them.
 

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Interesting point about the year round riding, and I agree. Also- When asked what makes for a safe city rider the other day I put a good amount of thought into it before deciding that the answer is: Being a good car driver first. I say this because I see, on a daily basis, indications/cues from other drivers that have allowed me to avoid their stupidity. My feeling is that an inexperienced car driver would have no concept of what to look for; and on a bike is no place to learn on the job, imho...
 

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Up until a couple of days ago I've been riding in a black A* leather jacket. My experience was lots of people riding up my butt, barely containing themselves from pulling in front of me, etc. Like they saw me, but didn't really register that I'm real.

So I bought a Bilt hi vis vest and have been wearing it a couple of days. Huge difference in behavior from drivers around me. It's almost as though their brain has a new loop..."he wants me to see him, so I will". I say that because there is just no way I wasn't seen before, but for some reason with the vest it's like they no longer have an excuse to write my presence off. :cheers:
I've noticed that MOST drivers stop further back behind me at lights/ stop signs since I started wearing a HiVis vest, and a friend (who I gave a vest to at Christmas) has spoken of the same effect.
 

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Very interesting. At same time, not surprising. Human behaviour can be so bizarre.

I ride in a retina scorching hi-viz yellow Motorcross jersey with some cool white graphics. White full face helmet.

I throw MX CE2 rated elbow/forearm guards under the jersey. Kevlar jeans and heavy duty work boots. That's enough.

I try to balance protection without looking like I should be on a scooter. It's also hot as balls down here most of the time.
 

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I average 25,000 miles a year on two wheels. I ride like I am invisible regardless of what I am wearing. I have all black leathers, silver mesh, and other color gear.

When I wear the high viz people can 't help but notice me. They give me wide berth, and wait an inordinate amount of time for me to pass by when they waiting to pull out or turn left in front of me.

I can also ride up the breakdown lane past cops stuck in traffic because they assume I am one of the road workers.

I also have additional lighting on my touring bikes.
 
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