Road Safety News

Compulsory hi-vis gear gets thumbs down from UK bikers

Thursday 30th June 2011

Following the news that compulsory hi-vis jackets for motorcyclists are among a raft of new traffic laws to be introduced in France, a Road Safety GB motorcycling expert has warned against similar measures being adopted in the UK.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, motorcycling organisations in the UK have also given the French initiative a cool reception.

A statement on the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) website says: “We have a right to choose how and when we travel and a duty to watch out for each other. We have a right to expect that others will treat us reasonably and a duty to treat others with care when we share the road.

“But that does not mean we should surrender our enjoyment of life or personal liberty simply to satisfy a set of theories about road safety, or because it suits political ambitions, or because those entrusted with a position of authority have since forgotten why they were first entrusted.”

Speaking on behalf of Road Safety GB, Dave Glanville, West Yorkshire’s specialist PTW RSO, said: “Compulsory hi-vis clothing for any road user group is not ideal and not something we would want to see in this country. What is needed is a common sense approach on an individual basis by road users themselves and a commitment from all road users to pay full and proper attention to the road environment.

“Good conspicuity is not just about what a rider wears or whether they have lights on the bike, but also about good road positioning, speed and direction – as well as considering the blind spots and vision limitations of other drivers and vehicles around them.

“Hi-vis clothing is unlikely to improve conspicuity on bright sunny days when visibility is good and it may even lull people into a false sense of security. However, we would always advise people to wear it in poor weather or low light conditions, when some drivers may struggle to see and identify a motorcycle and rider or indeed a cyclists or pedestrian.”

For more information contact Dave Glanville on 0113 2475804.


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The argument "Hi viz doesn't work because I wore it and I was knocked off" is quite ridiculous - what is relevant is whether wearing Hi Viz reduces the chance of not being seen and whether it reduces the chances of being involved in a collision. It is my firm belief that it does indeed reduce the chance of not being seen. As an example: I was recently at a roundabout in quite heavy rain, my side windows had running water on them, it was very difficult see a motorcyclist, wearing all black, going round the roundaout - in a situation like this, where the bike's headlight wasn't visible to me due to the angle between us, if the rider had have been wearing a bright jacket, then the ease with which I could see them would have increased substantially. I have to confess that I almost didn't see them, I only saw them when looking onto the roundabout for the 3rd time on approach (pillar's were not an issue to obstructing visibilty).
John, Manchester

Agree (12) | Disagree (22)

I think that all car drivers should have to ride a motorcycle before they pass a car test, then they would have a better understanding of what goes on around them. Then the need for Hi Viz wouldn't be an issue, wear it if you want, not because you've been told too!
Ade Richardson, West Cornwall

Agree (42) | Disagree (11)

For all the uninformed individuals that have posted comments such as "Where is the evidence"..."Show me the facts"....

We all need to read, and inwardly digest the comments written by ex-police RPU officers/ NHS paramedics.

Staying alive in order to carry out their daily tasks is their "bread and butter" so to speak. Listen to the professionals who have spent the majority of their working lives avoiding incidents and inconsiderate road-users, either during routine patrolling or blue-light runs, both day and night. Just because youre machine is marked with battenburg, blue lights and two-tones, does not provide a "cloaking shield". It does however, reduce your risk and increase your conspicuity. Job done, enough said...

We all have the choice....I aim to stay alive....
2429 - Bristol

Agree (10) | Disagree (7)

So it's not OK for bikers to wear black and camouflage themselves as per a previous comment, buts it's perfectly OK for drivers to have black cars with tinted windows.
What next? All new cars only come in day-glo yellow?
steve, devon

Agree (23) | Disagree (7)

The day will come when everyone pedestrian, biker, cyclist and horse rider on our roads will be told to wear hi-vis vests, hard hats and safety boots and possibly banks of flashing lights on themselves and there will still be idiots who say 'sorry mate I didn't see you'.
Nik Cornwall

Agree (26) | Disagree (5)

It's clear that the wearing of hi vis clothing does not and cannot increase the number of injuries or fatalities on the roads. It is also clear that at least a few accidents don't happen as the result of riders wearing hi vis. If wearing it prevents one crash in one hundred, it must be worth it.
Martin, Redditch

Agree (19) | Disagree (17)

Why do so many bikers like to camouflage themselves? Black everything!!! Do they think it looks cool? Well, it doesn't!

If they try to hide then they can't be surprised when other don't see them.

Manufacturers must take a lead, design in hi-vis & reflective materials. The cost will be minimal & the benefits seen for themselves - on our roads instead of hospitals.
Concerned about casualties

Agree (26) | Disagree (39)

Charge, convict and sentence motorists who kill motorcyclists with murder of some degree, and sentence them accordingly, i.e., say up to 10 years in jail, vehicle confiscated, with time off for passing various Advanced Driving Tests given free, voluntary, of course. The problem is that to get real justice you would have to change a cultural history in which the judiciary convict and sentence offenders more on a basis of whether they are persons or non-persons rather than on actual guilt. Automobile owners are still considered as persons (just) and motorcycle owners as non-persons, hence the effectiveness of a SMIDSY. Enforce the above approach and accidents involving the SMIDSY and any other inane excuse would drop dramatically if not disappear.
P.S., Hi-Viz Rules!!!

Agree (17) | Disagree (11)

OK....Imagine this.... a situation arises on a motorway along a mile or so stretch of roadworks. Amidst a backdrop of, say, 20 - 30 road repair workers wearing, for example, orange vests along the same stretch, a biker wearing the same colour of hi-vis is in the lane nearest the roadworks. As he/she approaches, a car/lorry/bus/van, it pulls out into his/her path and the rider is knocked off and killed or seriously injured.

The four wheeler driver says after the accident... "I thought they were a road worker because of the hi-vis vest, I just didn't see the bike.

That is just an example, obviously. It does however highlight the fact that EVERYTHING to do with this argument revolves around the observation taken by other drivers. 'Won't see, can't see' is the adage that applies best.

I will never wear hi-vis, I will never pay a fine related to refusal to wear and I will staunchly defend my rights to wear what I want and to be responsible for my own safety. I don't think I'll be alone.

Incidentally, I have ridden motorcycles for over 35 years and the rider's responsibility is to 'ride' in a manner in which he does not compromise their own and others safety. That is about positioning, speed relative to conditions and amongst many others, attitude, not about forcibly making a minority wear a colour to identify them.... Ooohh...that just smacked of the yellow stars Jews were made to wear by the Nazis....Hmmm... *thinks*
Jim, Bishop Auckland

Agree (20) | Disagree (10)

The reason that cyclists/motorcyclists should wear fluorescent yellow gear during the day is that drivers can be 'blind' to them. Drivers may be looking but sometimes they just don't see cyclists!

Drivers often day-dream and don't give their full attention to road users. This is known as 'inattentional blindness' (wikipedia):

Inattentional Blindness means that we may not see something at all unless we are paying attention to it. See the playing basketball video: on the 'Be Seen On A Bike' website.
Chris Street, Ringwood, Hampshire

Agree (13) | Disagree (3)

Lets just get things into perspective. Seen from the eyes of a motorcyclist [49yrs on bikes] unless there is legislation to say so then many motorcyclists will not wear High Vis.

That said, there are many many accidents, indeed many fatal or serious accidents that do not involve anything else other than the rider and unless a tree jumped out at them then they have in the main only themselves to blame. High vis will in no way prevent that person having an accident.

We have all, I am sure, seen some motorcyclist acting like a numpty on the roads and unfortunately we may believe that they have got what they deserve when they are indeed involve in an accident.

However much a jaundices view that may be those circumstances can only represent a very very small minority or bikers. We may pass or be passed by many bikers on numerous occasions and they generally give us no cause for concern. Indeed many car drivers and other motorists give a consideration by moving in towards the kerb to enable a motorcyclist to pass ever more safely and for which I am always grateful and always show my hand in gratitude. That's the vast majority.

The greatest danger is in my opinion for the young and inexperienced and those are mainly to be found around and about town where they are in greater numbers commuting to and from work, in all weathers and at times when its dark [6 months or the year at least] there is also the greatest volume of traffic [school runs account for about 90% of most traffic just before school starts] and we have vehicles stopping and starting and hurrying and parking in dangerous positions on bends and corners etc. Very dangerous circumstance for the biker.

So understanding all that and also the fact that a motorcyclist is by the nature of his machine in greater danger of injury than a car driver one has to find balance, somewhere.

I would much rather see a form of instruction following on from the one day CBT where greater emphasis on placed on defensive riding skill [town advanced maybe]. After all it takes between 20 and 40 hours of training that gets a car driver through a test and on the road by themselves. Perhaps the trainees can wear high vis at the same time [oh they don't they when undertaking the direct access course].
Bob Craven

Agree (4) | Disagree (0)

Perhaps we should reconsider renaming this article

"MAG reunited" ?
Tony S, Bristol

Agree (0) | Disagree (1)

Give us the proof it works.

Moreover, educate car drivers. Sometimes I wear urban dayglo - commuting or motorway. That is my choice and my choice is also that it is pink and not the cloned yellow we see all the time.

If everyone wears the same then individuals don't stand out and disappear. One only has to look at the Dutch video produced when the 'daytime headlights' first reared its ugly head. There we see proof that a bike with lights on if all other traffic has lights on just disappears.

I wonder at the IQ of the people who make these suggestions and try to impose them without proof. Education and proof is what is required and not imposing ill conceived and unwarranted ideas by powers that be just to make themselves feel good.
Anne Gale, South Glos

Agree (4) | Disagree (4)

Following on from my previous, it seems that something got lost in translation - or rather, not all the story has been told.

From UK France – halfway down the page (hidden amongst the other articles) in English.

UPDATE – 21 June 2011:

"Further to the bikers’ demonstrations that took place last Saturday throughout France and paralysed the entire nation (read below), Michèle Merli, in charge of France’s road safety and working closely with Claude Guéant – current French interior minister, has made herself heard on national radio. According to Ms Merli, it would appear that the bikers have totally misunderstood the proposed obligation for all to wear a fluorescent high visibility yellow vest! Ms Merli has said that it has never been a question of wearing that vest but rather propose (not impose?!) to the bikers that they wear a little yellow strap around their arm so that they can be better seen by motorists (...)".

Whether anybody agree that a yellow arm band will make the slightest difference is besides the point. What is the point is that this whole eruption of "compulsory Hi Viz jackets" has been blown out of proportion and is just scaremongering. As per Ms Merli's comments, it was a proposal to wear an arm band - not compulsion to wear a jacket. Equally, articles about the Irish having compulsory day glo/Hi Viz is not true – it was a proposal in a consulation, that has gone nowhere, possibly because the Irish government is bankrupt and road safety is no longer high on the agenda of things to do.

What an incredible waste of time and energy!
Elaine Hardy, Northern Ireland

Agree (5) | Disagree (3)

I have two main concerns about hi-vis jackets:

1.It gives the rider a false sense of security.
2.If everyone ends up wearing them people will just ignore them. So those who are doing dangerous tasks will be ignored, thus undermining the point of wearing hi-vis in the first place.
Alan Jones, Wiltshire

Agree (5) | Disagree (7)

I have worn Hi-Viz (Sam-Brown and vests), but it still didn't stop a myopic car driver pulling out on me and colliding with me resulting in a broken shoulder blade.

The problem is not one of being visible to other road users, but one of other road users actually looking!

There should be compulsory eye sight tests every three years, and any 'sorry I didn't see you' be made an automatic admission of guilt!
George Legg, North Somerset

Agree (11) | Disagree (1)

There are loads of "educational" information out there regarding getting other drivers looking and seeing motorcyclists.

In Northern Ireland we have our own campaign for other vehicle drivers to see us which includes links to videos around the world including one to "Avoiding Idiots On The Daily Commute To Work – Dublin".

I think there could be an argument until the cows come home on Hi-Viz but the song in the above video ;-) perhaps highlights that it is attitude and awareness that needs changed and will that ever happen.

Ian mentions a "little wiggle" when riding the bike, see MAG – How Close is Too Close – March 2006 pdf 168kb explains it a bit more.
Trevor Baird, Northern Ireland

Agree (1) | Disagree (1)

In response to David Short's comments regarding Hi Viz jackets. I recall when Mr Short was the Campaigns Manager for MAG UK and proposed to have the employees of MAG wearing Hi Viz jackets.

At that time, Mr Short argued that the wearing of Hi Viz jackets was necessary for insurance purposes and to protect MAG from any claims by its employees. Two employees opposed this proposal, for the following reasons, 1) there was no onus on the MAG staff to wear Hi Viz for insurance purposes; 2) the view that the wearing of Hi Viz was and should remain a personal choice. 3) there was no empirical evidence - one way or the other - that Hi Viz would actually make the slightest difference in the avoidance of a "SMIDSY".

What he and indeed many supporters of "Conspicuity at all costs" fail to consider is that ultimately, the responsibility of good riding requires skill, concentration, attention and a strong sense of ones own mortality.

I am surprised that Mr Short, once Campaigns Manager for MAG UK should write that "I always wear HI Viz and always have headlights on, (something else that MAG campaigned against)" considering he signed up to MAG's philosophy when he took employment with this organisation.
Elaine Hardy, Northern Ireland

Agree (2) | Disagree (1)

I suppose it depends on whether we want to deal with the major route cause - road users not paying proper attention - which will be of benefit to all road user groups or whether we want to further alienate a group of road users who are already difficult to engage with and distrustful of the road safety 'industry'.

Personally I'd rather see promotion of appropriate hi-viz use in conjunction with the teaching and encouragement of behaviours (as mentioned by Ian) which also increase conspicuity. Research may well show that hi-viz allows the wearer to be seen from further away (it would be hard to imagine that it wouldn't) but it still relies on the person looking in the first place.

If you don't look for something, you don't see it.

Honor, I believe Gaultier is working with Dayglo at the moment, perhaps he'll be in touch next week...
Dave, Leeds

Agree (5) | Disagree (0)

Kevin, Wigan. I neither wear hi-viz nor ride with my headlights on in daylight and very rarely do drivers pull out in front of me. What could you think that is due to?

I would suggest that you have to help 'drivers look properly'. What I do (and had been doing for some time before I even knew it was a 'theory') is a little wiggle on approach (when they are looking in your direction, obviously) as this movement attracts attention even if the driver is not looking, they see the movement.

(Check out Z-line, looming response and change blindness if you want to know more).
Ian, Taunton

Agree (1) | Disagree (4)

Yes indeed Honor, those involved in the promotion of hi-viz in all sorts of working environments might well be mistaken. All I'm asking is for some evidence that they are not.

Clearly you have no more information on whether 'being seen' reduces the numbers of incidents any more than I. The paper you linked to is of interest, but I wonder why they avoid measuring how much someone dressed in black is 'conspicuous' in their experiment?

My concern is that unqualified people are making/promoting/advocating the use of hi-viz without ANY evidence that it reduces incidents. And this is not just wrong, it is unprofessional.
Ian, Taunton

Agree (0) | Disagree (4)

I spent 22yrs of the 32 I served as a Police motorcyclist and 15yrs of that training riders at the most advanced levels. I cannot remember how many RTC's involving motorcyclists, sometimes fatal I attended. Conspicuity is a huge factor in motorcyclists safety, move on. I would not leave home without wearing a hi viz on my bike.
Brian Westlake-Toms, South Wales

Agree (15) | Disagree (3)

I haven't yet found any information about anyone studying the effectiveness of hi-viz wear in use by motorcyclists. There is an American study that compared the effectiveness of hi-viz wear used in spring and autumn in a rural area, used by pedestrians - seeking to see if orange or green-yellow was more effective - and also found that long sleeved jackets were more effective than sleeveless waistcoats. This study is "Seasonal variations in conspicuity of hi visibility garments" MARY LYNN BUONAROSA and JAMES R. SAYER, University of Michigan, Nov 2007.

Clever colleagues are trying to get a copy of the Cranfield study into the effectiveness of hi viz worn by horse riders. I will post this if/when it is located. However, hi viz clothing for road workers, in industry, on the railways and in most other industrial, construction and highway settings rather suggests that an awful lot of people do think it works in those environments. They may all be wrong.

Personally and unscientifically, as a car driver, I have frequently found that I have seen a motorcyclist or cyclist or horse rider who is wearing a reasonable area of hi viz material more easily and, I believe, sooner, than I would have done without the hi viz. This is true both in rural and urban areas by day or by night.

Personally, I use it and I think it helps. No cure-all, but it helps. That'll do for me.
And still no call from Chanel - do they not read this website?
Honor Byford, North Yorkshire

Agree (5) | Disagree (0)

Would someone please point me to where there is some empirical EVIDENCE that wearing hi-viz is a benefit?

Clearly those arguing in favour of its use (be it voluntary or compulsory) will be able to do so, as they are not basing their arguments on nothing other than subjective personal opinion are they?

Ian, Taunton

Agree (1) | Disagree (4)

While it is sensible for high any valuable road user to take such precautions, I don’t think it should be mandatory.

You could take this kind of safety logic to its extreme, and suggest that the reason for higher KSI rates for motorcycles is because they are exposed (compared to say car divers who are enclosed within their vehicle) and therefore argue that motorcycles should be banned because of this risk?

As suggested – should all vehicles be painted day-glow colours?

Should all pedestrians have to be kitted out in HiVis (or helmets)?

The benefits of HiVis should be promoted though education, not enforcement.
Adam, Hants

Agree (5) | Disagree (0)

If anyone thinks this is a good idea just talk to any Police motorcyclist who has had someone SMIDSY them whilst wearing such HiViz (oh and blues & twos going!)
Tony S, Bristol

Agree (3) | Disagree (1)

The transport minister is asking for ways in which all road users would be more protected and at a lesser risk of injury on our roads. Either by legislation or passively. By far the greatest number of two wheeled riders are at risk in towns and conurbations [90% of accidents happen within 5 miles from home]. Most accidents in towns involve another vehicle and take place at junctions and roundabouts [about 40% of accidents at roundabouts involve a two wheeler and another vehicle]. Fortunately they are the least injurious accidents and few [fortunately] are fatal [as compared with high speed accidents on country roads on corners and bends].

There will definitely be resistance by racing bike owners who would not wish to cover there expensive leathers with dayglo, as would some cruiser gang [sorry] club members.

So let the French do what they do best, object! and hope it never happens.
Bob Craven

Agree (2) | Disagree (1)

I have ridden motorcycles of all sizes and types on the road for 38 years now and regularly commute 55 miles each way in all weathers to and from work. There is no doubt that the more conspicuous you are the less chance there is of being knocked off. I always wear HI Viz and always have headlights on, (something else that MAG campaigned against). Yes, not everyone will see you but most will. As a car driver, as many motorcyclists are and therefore much more 'bike aware' there are still those "Where the chuff did he come from", moments by bikers travelling too fast without being conspicuous. The good news is that more real world bikers are waking up and smelling the coffee and every day on my travels I see more bikers wearing Hi vis. At my annual pilgrimage to the TT races, (37years) riders are wearing hi viz. Its simply common sense. More and more clothing manufacturers are producing good quality non nerdy Hi viz clothing, Dianese are even producing leather suits with air bags incorporated. Excellent I say, costs will come down over time and make them more affordable for every day riders.

The tragic fact is that however self righteous and morally correct a biker may be one will always come off a poor second best in a road collision. With a casualty rate that far outstrips any other road user group it is inevitable that society will look at means of reducing the unacceptable level of PTW casualties.

Motorcycle interest groups, instead of railing against everything that has the noble cause of casualty reduction at its heart should work positively with everyone. Hard wired lights, ABS, 100bhp limits are all issues that have been 'protested about' with the result that the organisations lack credibility at the negotiating table.

The world fortunately is moving on and in the real world of motorcycling riders are making choices, more are riding in Hi viz. As the older vehicle fleet reduces newer bikes are all hard wired and ABS is percolating its way to smaller capacity machines and not just the domain of the top end market.

Should Hi vis be compulsory? Not yet but more proactive campaigns to promote their use and the clear benefits would be good. Voluntary compliance is always better than compulsion. But! If casualty rates do not reduce then one can hardly expect society to sit back and accept the current state of affairs.
David Short, Calderdale Road Safety Team

Agree (12) | Disagree (2)

Any defence lawyer worth their fee knows that a client who says they 'simply didn't see them' stands a more than reasonable chance of getting off because of the history of case law surrounding the issue. And not many people when faced with a dead body and a police officer would say 'I didn't look'. Using that as a justification to force vulnerable road users to wear hi-viz is wrong.

On the flip side of that a motorcycle rider in hi-viz sat in someone's blind spot still wont be seen. A cyclist undertaking a long vehicle at a junction wont be seen. A pedestrian emerging from behind a high vehicle wont be seen regardless of what they're wearing. If a horse rider is 4 foot from the curb on a blind bend does the fact they've got a hi-viz bib on make them safe?

The behaviour is the key, not what you dress it up in.
Dave, Leeds

Agree (3) | Disagree (4)

If a driver uses SMIDSY as an excuse or explanation for hitting and injuring or killing a motorcyclist (or anyone else on the road for that matter) the decision to prosecute and on what charges is a matter for the CPS in conjunction with the police. The driver doesn't get to choose to let him or her self off just by claiming SMIDSY. However, that doesn't absolve any road user, especially vulnerable road users such as cyclists, bikers or horse riders (include myself in the last group) from taking sensible and reasonable precautions for their own safety, including making themselves visible to other road users. It isn't an "either-or" matter it's a question of being sensible and reasonable and taking some responsibility for yourself as well as expecting that others will look out for you.

My offer to Chanel still stands but they haven't rung me yet.
Honor Byford, North Yorkshire

Agree (4) | Disagree (0)

It stuns me, given all the work done to reduce death and serious injury on our roads in the past few decades, that a driver can still kill a vulnerable road user, say 'I didn't see them' and face no further consequence. Other than perhaps living with themselves afterwards.

Failure to look properly has been the major contributary factor in collisions for years and yet 'I didn't see them' is still a useable defence to a prosecution for death by careless or dangerous driving? What message does that send out?

Should the onus be on vulnerable road users to be seen or less vulenerable road users to actually look and pay attention to the road environment?

Making people wear hi-viz is only a sticking plaster, we need to deal with the cause first.
Dave, Leeds

Agree (4) | Disagree (1)

Whilst I cannot argue against a person's right to live their life as they want to, within the rules of society, it never fails to amaze me at how vociferously people will defend their right to ignore safety aids. Lycra wearing champions of pedal power demand the right to expose their cranium to contact with the tarmac instead of wearing wimpy crash helmets, (which apparently reduce impact speed by 11 mph so I understand) so I cannot expect motorcyclists to be any different.

Last week someone did mention to me that some schools in my area refuse to use reflective tabards on their pupils as it "May confuse a driver"

Personally, I believe people need legislation for their own benefit, (Seat Belts, Compulsory Crash Helmets, Alcohol Limits for Drivers) and the KSI figures for the country as a whole bear this out.

Still, I have never felt the urge to throw myself screaming from the top of a tower, attached to 30 metres of knicker elastic, but it is my right to do so.

Enough rambling. If it saves lives, do it, and to hell with how you look.
Steve Barber, Northampton

Agree (5) | Disagree (3)

A continuity of 'passing the buck'.

"Sorry Mate, I Didn't See You" (SMIDSY).

And so the more vulnerable are made to further suffer ignomy and discrimination. Is it any wonder they protest? Whenever visibility is an issue, it becomes the minority group that is made to comply with some form of legislation aimed at 'Safety'. Yet it is the largest and more powerful vehicles in terms of mass and inertia that are seemingly exempt from such discrimination.

As has been stated by others, no matter the size, brilliance, or even loudness of the vehicle, many will not see, as they do not look. They do not hear as they do not listen or have deafening sound systems preventing them. They do not have a responsible attitude towards other road users. Such desires to make all "Be Seen" is but a buck passing exercise in blame transference. "You weren't wearing a Hi-viz . . . You didn't have your headlight on, etc. If all vehicles were painted in orange day-glo, had lights on all day, the same complacency of those who wish to drive and ride 'casually' with regard to others safety, then accidents will continue, until we all park up and die.

Legislate and be damned. It might make a difference, and so no-one could say we didn't try.

It might also be said: 'They have no understanding.'
Derek Reynolds, St Albans

Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

I don't have the research myself, only summary notes from it - it was undertaken on behalf of the British Horse Society by Cranfield. I will contact the BHS Safety officer and ask her if she can provide more info.
Honor Byford, North Yorkshire

Agree (1) | Disagree (0)

The Highway Code is consistent in its advice that vulnerable road users (Pedestrians, Cyclists, Motorcyclists and Horseriders)should wear light coloured clothing in daylight and reflective clothing/accessories at night.

It would be interesting if Honor shared the research on Horseriders with us.
John Doyle

Agree (2) | Disagree (0)

First of all it is a political move by the French Govnmt. Just as they introduced a not exceeding 100 bhp for motorcyclists last year. This government has gone for 20 mph in towns which will be coming to you all in the next couple of years. Also reduced speed limits on urban roads is another we will have to accommodate.

As regards the French proposal it does not apparently cover under 125cc. so a lot of riders in cities etc will not be as visible in high density traffic say whilst commuting as others on major roads. Its usefulness is therefore limited. As will be its consequences.

As regard conspicuity there is a paper or several out about trials that took place in some antipadian island and it found in favour of the use of high vis and also white helmets. It gave some stats on the subject and I believe that France could possibly be using these as support for their decision.

They as are all the EU countries supporting the reduction of KSI by all road users by 2020 and these are ways which they consider might reduce such accidents.

Not to say that it will of course.

On the other hand MAGs is wrong in what it says but right in respect that its other road users that need to take account of motorcycles. This stance when most serious accidents occur on faster country roads on bends and overtaking manouvers. They are right that high vis will not help in those situations but it should be doing more to persuade those who would commit to foolhardy practises to decease from doing so. We cant blame other vehicles for everything and have to look at our own stupidity, so MAGs it will not be well accepted but start with your own. You cannot blame all the ills on others and say motorcyclists are not to blame and have to accept there is a responsibility that your own members fail to accept. Its always someone elses fault but you are doing nothing about it and complaining when someone else steps in with something. This attitude at the top makes you an ostrich.
Bob Craven

Agree (2) | Disagree (0)

Hi viz may make you more visible in the depths of winter, but after witnessing cars pull out on full size fire engines with lights and sirrens on, a bright vest isnt going to help, if some one can't be bothered to look it doesn't matter what you are wearing. Just ride defensively and concentrate.
Mark, Leicester

Agree (1) | Disagree (2)

I use class 3 HiViz and also ride with my headlight on all year round. No-matter what we wear, it doesn't stop drivers pulling out in front of us. Drivers need to look properly before pulling out of a junction or changing lanes.
Kevin, Wigan

Agree (6) | Disagree (0)

Well, hey why stop at motorcyclists, let's paint all cars, vans n lorry's in Dayglo to. Hey make it law too. All pedestrians should also wear a high vis bib in case they want to cross the road at a non designated crossing, what works for one works for another ........
Mark, Wolverhampton

Agree (2) | Disagree (1)

There are already online campaigns around the issue such as MAG's 'Say no to day-glo'. They're one of the UK's largest motorcycle user groups representing over 10,000 riders... and UK riders are joining the demonstrations in France. The media forms part of the backlash, MCN reaches over 50 000 riders - you only have to look at the sort of comments there are appearing in online forums across the country to see the negative feelings this has generated among riders.
Dave, Leeds

Agree (1) | Disagree (0)

I think the same was said about seatbelts and helmets. There is no evidence of a backlash beyond the media saying there is, but it will be interesting to see how this is introduced and develops in other countries and whether it works, is accepted or not.
Honor Byford, North Yorkshire

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Honor, there's a difference between advice and compulsion, it's about personal responsibility - something our current government are apparently quite keen on.

Horses don't have head & tail lights so they don't stand out so well, they tend not to use dual carriageways and motorways either. If a driver hits a horse and rider (or a cyclist or motorcyclist) and says I didn't see you because you weren't wearing hi-viz clothing is that a good enough excuse? I would hope not. How much later does a driver looking at their satnav, mobile phone or ipod see a rider on a rural road?

We have just got to the point in this country where riders are using hi-viz as personal choice in the appropriate conditions as part of their safer riding plan, something I applaud but the move by other EU countries to make it compulsory is creating a back lash against the use of hi-viz clothing here and could lead us to take a big step backwards.
Dave, Leeds

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Interesting that we are offering different advice to motorcyclists than to horse riders and cyclists - who are exhorted to wear hi viz at all times. What little research there has been into conspicuity and the effectiveness of hi viz wear for ordinary road users (and it is far too little) was into hi viz clothing for horse riders. This demonstrated that, on a rural road, a horse and rider using hi viz clothing would be seen by a driver up to 3 seconds earlier. At 25 mph this is an additional 111 feet, at 35 mph it is 166 feet. Hi Viz is recommended to them throughout the year and particularly in spring and summer when trees are in full leaf and create numerous areas of shadow in both town and country - areas in which the single road user is less visible. Wet and overcast days also make the individual road user harder to spot. I would recommend using hi viz all year round - sensibly. We do not need to plaster ourselves from head to foot but a sensible item or items is a good investment. The problem is the lack of research into non PPE standard clothing to tell us what works best. We are seeing more and more two or three colour hi viz wear that is completely untested for effectiveness. Does this patchwork effect act as camouflage and make you less visible? or more so? we don't know. But at least if the French are making it compulsory, we might see some more stylish offerings. If Chanel or YSL are involved, I and my team hereby volunteer to road test their collections.
Honor Byford, North Yorkshire

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