Road riders wearing black – why?

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  • Road riders wearing black – why?
  • Gary_M
    Member

    I really don’t understand this trend for having lights on during the day. We’ve been fine for years without them, I can understand in low light but daylight is pointless.

    metruscan
    Member

    Try not to wear black on the road (or mtb if I’m off the beaten track. Would like to be found if I’m knocked out..) Anything that makes us cyclists more visible to some motorist on their phone must be a good thing..

    mikey74
    Member

    Bright colours don’t work at night. Reflectivity and lighting are your friends in the dark.

    As a driver, I have come across riders on the road in hi-viz gear and they didn’t stand out that well. Green clothing against a green background (here in the countryside)? You are better off wearing plain reds, blues etc. IMO.

    edlong
    Member

    . If I’d been doing the recommended 50mph, I would have been lucky not to hit him.

    The roads would be a hell of a lot safer for all of us if people (and unfair to overly criticise one post that reflects the norm) would stop
    conceptualising speed limits as targets.

    I’ve got one of those (black) nightvision jackets, shine a light at it and I look like Tron. Okay, probably a bit more like that fat bloke in Running Man. I’ve got loads of reflective bits all over the rest of my (black) kit. I also have lights, several. If you don’t see me then a yellow t-shirt wasn’t going to change that.

    kcr
    Member

    This is me, easily spottable.

    Actually, in that photo I would say your upper body breaks up and blends in to the green background quite effectively!
    I’m sure it works better against a road, but it makes the point that visibility is very dependent on conditions. There was a study about this published recently that suggested dark colours provide better contrast in some circumstances, where the background is lighter. I guess that until we have adaptive chameleon skin clothing, brighter colours are likely to be best in most conditions, however.

    Anyway, back to the OP; why do a lot of cyclists wear black? Same reason that clothes and bikes went fluoro in the 90s: Fashion.

    mrmo
    Member

    as you don’t actually have to be able to see, what you wear on the road as a cyclist is fairly academic.

    I know there are rules about vision, but they don’t preclude the colour blind, the single eyed; they don’t stop people not wearing glasses.

    As for whether black is good or bad, time and place, black in snow is good, white in snow is bad. bright colours are pointless at night, low sun blinds drivers so they won’t see you so clothing is irrelevant.

    And what a cyclist is wearing when the driver is sending a text doesn’t really matter.

    Premier Icon garage-dweller
    Subscriber

    There is a line between going day glow and ninja that you need to tread to have half a chance of being seen in any light conditions.

    The responsibility for road safety is one that is shared amongst all road users. In a car I use lights to see with and be seen by and the same applies with clothing choice on the bike.

    No-one ever seems to think about the relative differences between a vehicle and a cyclist in terms of reflectivity of light, surface area, etc.

    And there is heaps of non black kit out there if you want it that isn’t tat

    riderideride
    Member

    Black hides the sweat

    IanMunro
    Member

    And the fat.

    Premier Icon Jon Taylor
    Subscriber

    Hi Gary

    I really don’t understand this trend for having lights on during the day

    I suggest you read this guy’s post. Still don’t understand why some people ride with lights on in daylight?

    I came close to hitting a guy on a bike, in a 50 zone the other day. Very, very contrasty light, lots of areas of shadow and blinding light, twisty road – the kind of conditions which have more than once made me pack in a ride and go home.

    I was driving according to the conditions but at the end of the day, you’ve got to make progress.

    Saw the guy in a deep pool of shadow, at the very last moment and stamped on the brakes. Waited a moment until it was safe to overtake. If I’d been doing the recommended 50mph, I would have been lucky not to hit him. If he’d had a flashing rear light, I’d have seen him earlier.

    Premier Icon seosamh77
    Subscriber

    rode in the darkness for years in black, tbh it’s not as dangerous as you think, fairly easy to avoid cars at night, specically if you don’t have any issues with using pavements.

    These days I still wear black, but if you don’t notice the mj872 i’m using, well, ye probably need yer eyes tested! ๐Ÿ˜†

    Premier Icon iainc
    Subscriber

    If I’d been doing the recommended 50mph,

    . I so hope that’s sloppy English ๐Ÿ™

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    rode in the darkness for years in black, tbh it’s not as dangerous as you think, fairly easy to avoid cars at night, specically if you don’t have any issues with using pavements.

    That would be in a build up area then, out in the country the cars are going a lot faster and the only option is a ditch/hedge or wall normally.

    Still in my general observations over here in tasmania there are still too many people on bikes who are not aware of road position, upcoming hazards, traffic and being seen. Yes if a car hits them it might not technically be their fault but time to wake up and be responsible. Unless you have some psychic powers your not going to be able to influence the drivers with happy moral high ground thoughts so time to do it with your actions.

    compositepro
    Member

    Serious q as i dont know

    Do cyclist need lights by law if its dark and have to follow the same highway code as cars do

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    compositepro – Member
    Serious q as i dont know

    Do cyclist need lights by law if its dark and have to follow the same highway code as cars do
    there is only 1 highway code, it covers all road users. Not sure on the legality vs [other enforcement] over some of the rules though.

    For those that haven’t read it it’s always worth reading the current version to see whats changed since you last read it (5 mins before driving test?)

    compositepro
    Member

    Actually if it was law cyclists had to use lights or a road requirement for vehicles surely they would be sold as a standard item fitted to a bike or unremovable as per your car motorcycle truck moped…..so maybe its lawful to ride without having em fitted

    Wonder how the plod view it if its dark and you get run over not using illumination

    Premier Icon imnotverygood
    Subscriber

    No, you have to have lights on the bike by law when it is dark. You don’t during the day

    Solo
    Member

    Road riders wearing black – why?

    I’m between teams, new kit hasn’t arrived yet.
    ๐Ÿ˜‰
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    ๐Ÿ˜†

    johnellison
    Member

    Wearing black on the road is symptomatic of the “it’ll never happen to me” culture, viz –

    1) I wear black because it looks good (read as, I’m incredibly vain);
    2) Wearing light or bright colours is gay (read as above, plus not at ease with my sexuality);
    3) If I get knocked off by a driver, it won’t be my fault (read as, I’m not prepared to take responsibility for my own actions – I can always blame someone else);

    It’s the same set of factors which drives the “I never wear a helmet because it’ll ruin my hair/make me sweaty/look like a nonce/not do any good/I don’t ride fast enough to do any damage if I do fall off”.

    Self preservation is a good thing, as is taking responsibility for your own actions rather than blaming everyone else.

    I’m not advocating head to toe flouro, god no; but everything I can do to make myself more visible, I will. White and blue are my choices for daylight riding, but as has already been mentioned, reflectivity and lighting take priority at night.

    plus one
    Member

    The ambulance crew on lifting you injured off the road will take more care of you if your wearing black…

    I find it harder to understand the opposite tbh, why are people being encouraged to wear it when riding events like the Sky Ride, a completely closed road event with no cars and all participants riding at < 10mph?

    WTF?

    creedy
    Member

    On my commute to the station the other morning it was quite foggy. i came upon a cyclist wearing black top and dark jeans. he had reflectors on his panniers and a center light on the back. i past him didnt say anything. he must of got upset that i’d speed past him on my brommie as i heard his gear change and him panting after me. as i waited at the lights he shot past me. Very keen to get back in front!
    anyway i told him as i caught him again his rear light wasnt working.’i know i haven’t turned it on’ was his reply.
    i told him that i didnt see him until i was about 5m away and that if a car hadnt had its lights on they wouldnt have seen him until he was bouncing over the bonnet. he looked shocked and a little embarassed!

    Premier Icon ir_bandito
    Subscriber

    If I’m riding on my own, and i know I’ll be out in low-light conditions (ie 18 hour ride) I’ll wear hi-viz.
    If I’m out in the dark, I’ll make sure I’ve got scotchlite trim (and bloody bright lights)
    And if I’m out in daylight, I’ll still wear bright colours, although not neccassarily hi-viz.

    When I lived in Cambridge, I passed a woman every day, who only ever wore black (and no helmet) on her bike. The route I’d see her on was an unlit and busy country lane.
    One day, she got knocked off, at dusk, by a driver who didn’t see her. She died from head injuries. I know it was the drivers fault, and she didn’t HAVE to wear hi-viz or a helmet, but if she had…

    edlong
    Member

    One day, she got knocked off, at dusk, by a driver who didn’t see her. She died from head injuries. I know it was the drivers fault, and she didn’t HAVE to wear hi-viz or a helmet, but if she had…

    At dusk, she should have had lights on, that may well have made the difference. Not knowing anything about the nature of the injuries she sustained, the speed of the impact, and even knowing all that, in the absence of being highly expert in the physical mechanisms of trauma on the human body, none of us can do anything other than speculate randomly on whether or not wearing a helmet would have made the slightest difference to her outcome.

    Apologies if that all seems pretty heartless about someone you sort-of-knew. My sympathies to you for the impact that knowing about this happening to someone you saw riding regularly may have had.

    Premier Icon imnotverygood
    Subscriber

    I find it harder to understand the opposite tbh, why are people being encouraged to wear it when riding events like the Sky Ride, a completely closed road event with no cars and all participants riding at < 10mph?

    Interesting how well the flouro stands out in the picture

    Premier Icon ir_bandito
    Subscriber

    speculate randomly on whether or not wearing a helmet would have made the slightest difference to her outcome.

    She died from head injuries. A helmet may not have helped, but its unlikely to have hindered.
    I’ve no particular feelings about this, it frustrated the hell out of me to see her in black with no lights. If I was a heartless soul, I’d say it was darwinian. But ultimatly she was someone’s daughter/wife/friend etc and the driver shouldn’t have hit her.

    Anyway. The solution is that everyone needs more common sense. That’s why its called common sense.

    hooli
    Member

    HoratioHufnagel – MemberI find it harder to understand the opposite tbh, why are people being encouraged to wear it when riding events like the Sky Ride, a completely closed road event with no cars and all participants riding at < 10mph?

    I guess because that is the cycling gear people own? I wouldn’t have thought anybody would go out and buy black kit because the roads will be closed on this ride

    steve_b77
    Member

    Let’s be honest, it’s a damn site more pleasing to the eye than a slightly tubby, 40 something gnar miester in a selection of baggy, brightly coloured clothing and neon Enduro (special) helmet bombing round bridle paths on their 150mm wonder sled

    dazzlingboy
    Member

    Talked to death on virtually every motorbike forum in the world. Endless studies cited that it makes no difference what you wear. Endless studies cited that you WILL die if you wear black. Jury’s out.

    Riding around the local exmoor roads any time other than summer, riders with no lights or brights just disappear in the high contrast shadow light at any time of day. I ride with a rear blinky pretty much all year round, plus just don’t feel drivers spot you til they’re reacting by braking and swerving unless wearing a flouro gillet at least on a grey day.

    Haha steve_b77 you’ve nailed it!

    Edric 64
    Member

    I really don’t understand this trend for having lights on during the day. We’ve been fine for years without them, I can understand in low light but daylight is pointless.

    Lots use them now on TTs ,they are a recommendation from the CTT.The good ones show up very well as I noticed on a wet 25 on a DC course last week

    mrmo
    Member

    I really don’t understand this trend for having lights on during the day. We’ve been fine for years without them, I can understand in low light but daylight is pointless.

    I think a part of it, we have only recently had lights that are worth using in daylight. If you go back to ‘n’ever-readies they weren’t any good at night let alone in daylight!

    I have been known to use something in dark woods, mist/fog but beyond that? I think it is basically an acceptance that despite all the words, there is no protection in law from cars and you take all the steps you can reasonably take to stay safe.

    mrmo
    Member

    She died from head injuries. A helmet may not have helped, but its unlikely to have hindered.
    I’ve no particular feelings about this, it frustrated the hell out of me to see her in black with no lights. If I was a heartless soul, I’d say it was darwinian. But ultimatly she was someone’s daughter/wife/friend etc and the driver shouldn’t have hit her.

    If you go back far enough, the CTC argued against compulasary rear light i believe. The reason was it was another excuse for drivers not to bother looking where they were going.

    So yes maybe if she had lights she would be ok, but she definitely would have been ok if the driver was actually paying attention to driving!

    gwaelod
    Member

    IIRC the RAF switched from using red to using black for their training aircraft because they believed it was easier for their pilots to see and avoid black things than red things – including at high speed/low level against the ground. (obviously for warfighting they camo up)

    This parallels the experience of some civvy helicopter operaters who loiter a lot at low levels – they deliberately use black as a high vis colour.

    Offshore helo and SAR tend to stick to bright colours though – although their mission profiles are different, but it does tend to suggest that in aviation at least chosing a clour that makes you easily seen by others is not a straightforward task.

    Premier Icon GrahamS
    Subscriber

    I find it harder to understand the opposite tbh, why are people being encouraged to wear it when riding events like the Sky Ride, a completely closed road event

    They hand out those hi-viz vests for free at the Sky Rides. They are not compulsory though.

    I think in that instance it is as much about branding and advertising as “safety”.

    Also makes it clear to pedestrians etc that there is a proper event on, and not just a bunch of really slow cyclists getting in the way. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Premier Icon D0NK
    Subscriber

    If I get knocked off by a driver, it won’t be my fault (read as, I’m not prepared to take responsibility for my own actions – I can always blame someone else);

    Whut? A driver running you down is not taking responsibility for your own actions? A driver running you over when you are legally riding along the road is a shit driver who shouldn’t be on the road. As has been discussed different colours stand out differently depending on background and conditions so unless you are going to take several different coloured tops out with you and change multiple times over the course of the ride then we can only look to drivers to watch what the **** they are doing when using dangerous machinery. And call me mr silly if you want but I reckon that’s where we should be focussing our attention rather than on riders sartorial choices.

    Yes bright clothes at night <edit>in low lit areas</edit> are sensible but you didn’t specifically mention night time.

    <edit>it’s not even straight forward at night.

    gwaelod
    Member

    #victimblaming

    have we done short skirts and rapists yet?

    Lots of bright flouro colours go very grey and flat under street lights

    TiRed
    Member

    I really don’t understand this trend for having lights on during the day. We’ve been fine for years without them, I can understand in low light but daylight is pointless.

    And what’s the downside? I ride with a saddlerail mounted USB rechargeable LED light. It’s visible, runs for 14 hours on flash and weighs next to nothing. I don’t tend to ride with a front light flashing, but my kids do on the ride to school.

    I also wear black and white. The contrast change is what makes it so visible. Mercifully, our club kit is a respectful blue with red and white. I don’t care much for fluoro.

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