Road Safety News

Road safety team trials new cycle jacket

Wednesday 30th January 2013

City of York Council’s road safety team has been trailing a new hi-vis jacket that aims to maximise cyclists’ visibility.

Created by Bristol Oilskin & Overall Co, the bespoke jacket features angled fluorescent bands as well combined red and yellow panels to provide maximum visibility on the road.

The jacket is made from high performance fabric ‘Bootex’, which is lightweight and breathable as well as 100% waterproof and windproof.

Trish Hirst, City of York road safety officer, said: “The team use their bicycles as their primary transport at work all year round, and this means being out in all weather conditions.”

Jayne Ward, a school crossing patrol officer in York, said: “The contrast of colours really worked and are very vibrant. The coat certainly got me noticed when I was cycling around York.

Trish Hirst added: “We are a year in, and the jackets have been in regular use, but they are still fit for purpose with many years wear left in them.”

For more information about the jackets contact Andrew Fox at Bristol Oilskin on 01934 414142.


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Firstly may I say a big thank you for all your comments. These are both welcomed and much appreciated.

I just thought I would point out that there is scientific evidence from a official Notified Body proving that the use of contrast colour is more effective then a solid single colour.

In addition the design of this jacket (as with our School Crossing Patrol coats) has supporting evidence obtained from again an official Notified Body that specialise in eye perception to show that tests carried out have provided evidence that both our SCP Coats and our cycle jackets out perform the conventional/standard HV garments on the market. Finally this is supported by the inclusion in new ISO standard for HV Warning Clothing, ISO 20471, to this effect and due to be published later in the year.
Andrew Fox - Bristol Oilskin & Overall Co. Ltd

Agree (3) | Disagree (0)

There have been many, many road safety reports and papers since the 1970's some of which relate to the usage of headlights and some include the wearing of Hi Vis . These reports were specifically designed for the safety of motorcyclists.

They are from all over the world. Two of the latest are out of Australia and the last in November from New Zealand. Published by the DfT on their website. It makes interesting reading.
bob craven Lancs

Agree (0) | Disagree (1)

The effectiveness of any Hi-Viz garment increases with distance. At distances of less than 100 metres, they are no better or worse as an aid to perception than any other colour of garment as there are then other factors that come into play. The effectiveness, even at distance of Hi-Viz is massively reduced if there is any dirt on the surface or any fading due to UV exposure.
Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon

Agree (3) | Disagree (0)

If Bristol Oilskin are thinking of doing a motorcyclists' version (stronger materials with built in body armour) I'll volunteer to try it out! (Not crash test it).
Martin A Suffolk

Agree (1) | Disagree (0)

I cannot agree with the comments that suggest that Hi vis does work under all lighting circumstances and therefore such a comment cannot be made and an argument for them being worn is erroneous.
bob craven Lancs

Agree (1) | Disagree (7)

I like Richard Owen’s idea of using evidence to evaluate road safety interventions, especially his desire to see scientific trials being used. As he states, it would probably be impossible to use scientific trials to test hi-vis jackets (separation of test and control groups needs to be done by random selection) but there are many other road safety interventions where effectiveness is difficult, if not impossible, to determine without scientific trials.
Dave, Slough

Agree (5) | Disagree (0)

According to the Cochrane Collaboration report in 2009 ( there have been no trials assessing the effect of visibility aids on pedestrian and cyclist-motor vehicle collisions and injuries. There are however many studies that look at the effect of visibility aids on drivers’ responses. These studies show various measures ‘work’ but there has been no analysis on the link between this and casualties.

Finding out the true answer would probably be very difficult, if not impossible, and would require very large sample sizes with a separate control group. So, we know they help improve visibility but can’t prove the link to casualty reduction. On balance I would say then that high visibility clothing should be recommended, but not necessarily compulsory.

I doubt any cyclist would seriously believe that wearing high-viz means that motorists are guaranteed to see them. When cycling I always assume the motorist hasn’t seen me – even if they are looking straight at me!
Richard Owen, Banbury

Agree (17) | Disagree (1)

They look very good but the problem of wearing such a jacket is that when the sun goes down or in other dark circumstance such as inclement weather they are not as visible. Also they need to be kept very clean in order to do their job well and as regards their reflectivity it does diminish as time goes by.

In low light conditions and when wet with a lot of variable lights from other vehicles, shop windows, street lighting etc.they may even conflict or camouflage the rider.

They are of greatest value when directly in front of the light source so when
appearing from any side on a main road they will have little effect except when directly in the car's headlights.

Conspicuity and therefore Hi.vis has been an issue and subject of numerous reports and recommendations for motorcyclists since the 1970s and still there is the same argument for them and without any clear conclusion.

Finally they may lure the rider into a false sense of security making him/her believe that they have been seen when they havn't.
bob craven Lancs

Agree (6) | Disagree (6)