Why Bikers Don’t Wear High Visibility Gear

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July 29, 2019
Edward Smith

Why Bikers Don’t Wear High Visibility Gear

We’ve been told motorcycle high visibility gear saves lives. Yet, for the most part, bikers don’t wear it. What is it about the gear that causes bikers to turn away? Some wear it only under certain circumstances, others find it goes against the image of a biker, and some prefer certain fashion styles. Let’s take a look at why this reluctance to wear high visibility gear exists and how to group riders according to their preferences. Learning which styles might be acceptable to certain groups may help promote the use of high visibility gear and help motorcyclists avoid serious injuries.

Obtaining Legal Advice After a Motorcycle Accident

Although studies show that greater conspicuity while riding a motorcycle can perhaps lessen the risk of an accident, it is not legally required. If a motorcycle rider suffers injuries in an accident, the help of a lawyer to obtain compensation is invaluable. The lawyer will immediately send investigators to the accident site to perform reconstruction, which can prove exactly how the collision occurred and who was at fault. In addition, the lawyer reviews existing evidence that includes the police report for accuracy and interviews witnesses to the crash. Traffic cameras mounted on poles or from local businesses are also a valuable source of information. Once the lawyer is satisfied that the evidence of negligence is strong, it is used in negotiations with the insurance company. Should the insurance provider balk at paying what is needed for compensation, the lawyer will take this evidence to civil court.

Studies in High Visibility Gear

A study funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Governor’s Highway Safety Association looked into the issue. Eighteen study groups in Los Angeles, Ann Arbor, MI, Rockville, MD. and Austin, Texas were established. Two categories were set up. The first involved gender and the second centered on the types of bikes the participants favored. The following groups were used:

  • Men who use touring bikes
  • Men who use sports bikes
  • Women who ride all types of bikes
  • Women and men who use scooters 
  • Women who are passengers on motorcycles

Differences in Gear Choices

The groups were asked to give their opinion of high visibility gear and what type of style they felt was appropriate for them:

  • Male cruiser and regular bike riders: Bikers in this group said they did not feel high visibility gear helped them avoid accidents. Instead, they said they relied on riding maneuvers. They also favored loud exhausts and enhanced lighting. Overall, they said they preferred leather to textile jackets. Due to the style associated with big bikes, the riders said they preferred black but would use a jacket with high visibility materials woven into the jacket. This approach would allow them to wear clothes that look black in the daylight and reflect light at night. 
  • Male sports bike riders: This group wore high visibility gear about 23 percent of the time. They said that the addition of color to make the gear more attractive was important to them. However, those riders who always wore high visibility gear were seen as being less adventurous. 
  • Male touring bike riders: Riders in this category were more inclined to wear high visibility gear. However, some members said that they were chided for doing so by other bikers. 
  • Women bike riders: The number of women bikers did not allow the researchers to divide the riders into groups. On the whole, women used reflective gear the most, yet the vast majority of women riders were not inclined to do so. This was associated with the women’s dislike for green and yellow reflective colors.  

Watch the following video presented by Ed Smith on what you should know about motorcycle accidents: 

Similarities in Preference

One thing that eliminated the dislike for high visibility gear was bad weather. The quest for fashionable styles was left behind when inclement weather occurred. This is more than likely due to the high incidence of bike accidents in bad weather due to lack of visibility. In addition, rainwear often leaves fashion behind and instead favors practicality.

Ways to Make High Visibility Gear More Palatable

The study participants agreed that there were ways to make high visibility gear more desirable. One was to obtain celebrity endorsement. Another was to insist that all manufacturers use high visibility material in biker clothing. This was based on the idea that if everyone used it, it would become acceptable.

Why Is Conspicuity So Important?

Conspicuity is important to bikers because if a motorist can’t see you, the chance of an accident is greatly increased. For starters, bikers are less visible due to their relatively small size. Second, wrong or right, the motorists are not used to looking for a motorcycle. By using high visibility gear, the chance that a biker will be seen is increased.

Sacramento Motorcycle Accident Attorney

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento motorcycle accident attorney. Motorcycle accidents can be lethal to bikers. When an accident happens, you need the insight an injury lawyer can provide. Call me at (916) 921-6400 or at (800) 404-5400 for free and friendly advice. You can also reach me online if it is more convenient for you.

I have been helping clients obtain the compensation they deserve in all types of car accidents, wrongful death, and traumatic brain injury for more than 37 years. 

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If you would like to read more information about my practice, please go to the following pages:

Photo Attribution: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4B1xBoYsS30; https://pixabay.com/photos/rider-fashion-motor-biker-834432/

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