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Black Cycling Clothing = Death

Berk BonebonceBerk Bonebonce Posts: 1,245
edited December 2010 in Road buying advice
Seen a few cyclists lately with all black clothing that have seemed to disappear into the backdrop of black asphalt.

And apart from anything else, black clothing gives the driver who has just confined you to an Intensive Care Unit for a week or two the chance to use that line: "I didn't see him/her".
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  • It doesn't make any diference at all what you wear. Try riding a bright green motorbike, headlights on and red, white and blue helmet and leathers. They still don't see you.

    The only advantage is that the "death stare" is more effective from behind a union flag crash helmet!
  • northpolenorthpole Posts: 1,499
    In my opinion, the most important thing which many cyclists fail to address is fitting adequate lights to their bikes. You can wear whatever clothes you like and you may or may not be seen. Fit decent lights and you will immediately improve your chances on the road.

    Peter
  • gsk82gsk82 Posts: 3,148
    i think reflective is more important than colour. my black campag jacket with reflective strips is probably far more visible than my royal blue gore jersey without them.
    "Unfortunately these days a lot of people don’t understand the real quality of a bike" Ernesto Colnago
  • It's all about two things:

    Lights
    Reflection

    Not colour of clothing.
  • It's all about two things:

    Lights
    Reflection


    Not colour of clothing.

    That only applies to night-time riding.

    For day-time riding black is a poor choice.
  • Makes you wonder why black is the default colour for cycle shorts really.

    Not all tarmac is nice, new, & black. Dull grey at best around here. Not really encountered any problems in my black Cervelo jersey & black cycling shorts, but then maybe it helps that my bike is white, & so's my helmet. If I'm honest, I feel more conspicuous in my Cervalo top than in my Francais De Jeux one.
  • father_jackfather_jack Posts: 3,509
    Yellow hi-vis is great for daytime riding, with the reflective trim working at night.
    Say... That's a nice bike..
    Trax T700 with Lew Racing Pro VT-1 ;-)
  • andrew_sandrew_s Posts: 2,511
    It's all about contrast with the surroundings.
    Black is better than white in the snow or fog.
    Black is better than orange under sodium street lights.

    Black also remains looking vaguely respectable after the inevitiable contact with chain grease.
  • MuztardMuztard Posts: 160
    edited October 2010
    Hopefully on tomorrow's ride these words won't come back to haunt me but I like black. My bike is anodised black, my bib tights are black, my jersey/jacket is black, my gloves are black but my helmet is white.

    If fact with the exception of about 3 items all my kit it black :shock:

    Tomorrow I'll go for the Red/white jacket :D
  • si. dsi. d Posts: 52
    I totally agree. During the day and in a busy city, I am convinced that you can spot a cyclist in hi-viz far quicker/further distance away compared to a cyclist in black. Something to do with peripheral vision and how it works (I reckon).
    FCN- 4 with Laser designator sights
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    In my 25+ years experience, colour of clothing makes very little difference - you can be riding down the middle of the road in broad sunlight wearing bright clothing and they still don't see you. The jacket I wear for night-time riding in winter is black windstopper with reflectives on all sides. Finally, the reason why most shorts are black? Because most riders don't want to see their mates spotty-ar$e staring at them through thin lycra.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • clx1clx1 Posts: 200
    Whilst I don't disagree that Hi Viz clothing is a very safe option I will continue to wear what I like, in my case almost exclusively black.
    In low light I will use front and rear lights, all of my black clothing has reflective elements and I don't ride in the dark.
    I don't see my cycling clothing any differently to my other clothes, I want to be comfortable and feel good in my clothes, I don't want to be forced to look like someone who should be working at the side of the road just because some motorists can't be bothered to look at what's in front of them.
  • Chip \'oylerChip \'oyler Posts: 2,323
    Are black cars unsafe then?
    Expertly coached by http://www.vitessecyclecoaching.co.uk/

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  • briantrumpetbriantrumpet Posts: 10,200
    Monty Dog wrote:
    In my 25+ years experience, colour of clothing makes very little difference - you can be riding down the middle of the road in broad sunlight wearing bright clothing and they still don't see you.
    The most recent time someone tried to run me over I was wearing my luminous yellow jacket, had my viscious front light on flash, and had slowed down (thank goodness) as
    I approached a mini roundabout. He finally saw me when I was about 1ft away from the driver's side window. Had I not slowed down, he'd have seen me when my face was on the windscreen. Dozy drivers don't seem to wake up for any colours.
  • AndyF16AndyF16 Posts: 506
    Although I tend towards yellow or White jackets and jerseys, what we're trying to achieve is to accommodate the average censored motard here - almost an impossible task...

    In my work I'm involved in moving around large objects including by road; when you've seen some of the dunderheads I have who seem able to totally miss a 22 x 5 metre diameter shiny stainless steel brewing tank with powerful rotating Amber beacons on each corner and 3 more up front (and even a sprinkling of blue ones occasionally too) in broad daylight, you do wonder at some of them's ability to walk around the planet, never mind drive a motor car with any consideration or safety :evil:
    2011 Bianchi D2 Cavaria in celeste (of course!)
    2011 Enigma Echo 57cm in naked Ti
    2009 Orange G2 19" in, erm orange
  • ShutUpLegsShutUpLegs Posts: 3,522
    So in conclusion black clothing doesn't actually equal death.
  • unixnerdunixnerd Posts: 2,864
    It's OK so long as you have a silver bike :-)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ps6wRHFdKdA&NR=1
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    Specialized Roubaix SL3 Expert 2012, Cannondale CAAD5,
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  • But if you are wearing black and get mashed up by a vehicle, the 'I just didn't see him/her" claim is, I think, far more likely to work. It is like the claim these days, 'Well his/her injuries are his/her own fault because he/she was not wearing a helmet'. And at the Coroner's Inquest: 'His/her choice of cycling clothing was unfortunate'.
  • In my opinion, the most important thing which many cyclists fail to address is fitting adequate lights to their bikes. You can wear whatever clothes you like and you may or may not be seen. Fit decent lights and you will immediately improve your chances on the road.

    this
  • But if you are wearing black and get mashed up by a vehicle, the 'I just didn't see him/her" claim is, I think, far more likely to work. It is like the claim these days, 'Well his/her injuries are his/her own fault because he/she was not wearing a helmet'. And at the Coroner's Inquest: 'His/her choice of cycling clothing was unfortunate'.

    ^^^^ WHS.

    It`s about what the average non-cyclist thinks when the sh!t hits the fan, and judges / solicitors / witnesses etc are exactly that, average non-cyclists, the type of people to be causing the accident in their cars in the first place. As a generalisation, the type of people who don`t live in the real world and don`t think about what real people are doing because it doesn`t affect them :? Any chance to get out of a claim or reduce a pay-out and they`re onto it like a flash. :(
    Jens says "Shut up legs !! "

    Specialized S-Works SaxoBank SL4 Tarmac Di2
  • But if you are wearing black and get mashed up by a vehicle, the 'I just didn't see him/her" claim is, I think, far more likely to work. It is like the claim these days, 'Well his/her injuries are his/her own fault because he/she was not wearing a helmet'. And at the Coroner's Inquest: 'His/her choice of cycling clothing was unfortunate'.

    No, it really isn't going to work.
    My blog: http://www.roubaixcycling.cc (kit reviews and other musings)
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    Facebook? No. Just say no.
  • Mike67Mike67 Posts: 585
    But if you are wearing black and get mashed up by a vehicle, the 'I just didn't see him/her" claim is, I think, far more likely to work. It is like the claim these days, 'Well his/her injuries are his/her own fault because he/she was not wearing a helmet'. And at the Coroner's Inquest: 'His/her choice of cycling clothing was unfortunate'.

    No, it really isn't going to work.

    Agree that argument wouldn't work.... think of it in relation to 'not seeing' a motorcyclist and colliding with him/her....no excuse.
    They wear black (mostly), 'not seeing' in my experience is more a matter of not concentrating hard enough.
    We all do it, me included, driving along thinking about other things and suddenly realise there's something there that you weren't aware of. I drive many thousands of miles per year and go through regular advanced driver assessments for work...I still have the odd concentration lapse now and then...it's human nature.
    I had a car driver turn right accross me as I was approaching just last week...I could have had all the flashing lights in the World...they just didn't look.


    The wearing black argument also doesn't take into account that the cyclist is moving and is at the same level/even above the eye level of the car driver. This should quite easily make him stand out from the background which would be more sky/wall/trees than road (from a drivers point of view). The human eye is also extremely good at spotting moving objects( if you use them :) )...guess it stems from our hunting predecessors.
    Van driver? Well that's another issue entirely :wink:
    Mike B

    Cannondale CAAD9
    Kinesis Pro 5 cross bike
    Lots of bits
  • redjeepǃredjeepǃ Posts: 531
    I think clothing is a personal choice, but I'll never wear black or (worst still) grey cycling gear.

    I agree 100% that drivers should be more alert and look out for other road users, but feel that it's a fairly shallow argument if you end up eating through a straw for the rest of your life because of it.

    Whilst there's a number of drivers who wouldn't see you if you were dressed head to toe in florescent clothing and had xenon beacons flashing on your head there's probably a much larger percentage who would spot you quicker in brighter clothing rather than dull. I don't think that you'll ever completely eliminate the SMIDSY accidents, but if you could reduce the chance of them happening, isn't that a good thing ?

    If nothing else it removes their ability to say it's your own fault because of what you were wearing and stops them blaming it on you.

    If the worst does happen what do you want the driver to be able to say?

    1) OK I ran over a cyclist but it was their own fault because they were dressed all in black and didn't have any lights. My conscience is clear.

    2) OK I ran over a cyclist. They were wearing a bright yellow reflective top and had full lighting. I just didn't see them.

    B.T.W I always thought that certain colours of cars (green ?) were proven to have more accidents than others.
  • Cj83Cj83 Posts: 58
    Its a bit like wearing a helmet, statistically it probably won't make much difference but why chance it when you don't have to? wearing high viz, reflective clothing with decent lights on your bike you have all bases covered, whats the disadvantage? in the day at least I believe high viz definatley makes you more visible, and even if it ony makes you 2% more visible, why wouldn't you?

    either way, like helmets, its a personal choice not a law. i'll be wearing it but each to their own!
  • orbeaorcaorbeaorca Posts: 246
    Just back from my Sunday ride, wearing black overshoes,black legwarmers and shorts and a black jacket, helmet black and white and I made it back alive :D
    As i did in the previous 245 rides I have made this year, always wearing predominantly black.
    The idea that black = death is pants.
  • I'll wear what I feel comfortable in - which will often be black. And if I am stopped from doing so, I'll probably cycle less - which is, I suspect, much more likely to lead to a premature death.
  • garrycgarryc Posts: 203
    Are black cars unsafe then?


    The Vehicle Color Study, conducted by Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) and published in 2007, analysed 855,258 accidents occurring between 1987 and 2004 in the Australian states of Victoria and Western Australia that resulted in injury or in a vehicle being towed away.[6] The study analysed risk by light condition. It found that in daylight black cars were 12% more likely than white to be involved in an accident, followed by grey cars at 11%, silver cars at 10%, and red and blue cars at 7%, with no other colors found to be significantly more or less risky than white. At dawn or dusk the risk ratio for black cars jumped to 47% more likely than white, and that for silver cars to 15%. In the hours of darkness only red and silver cars were found to be significantly more risky than white, by 10% and 8% respectively.
  • Its down to personal choice, but I have always chosen a white helmet and either a red or light blue jacket or gilet with reflective piping for night as I believe that this makes me more visible on either day or night rides although I will always wear black shorts/leggings. I find most drivers give me a wide berth and do by and large see me. At night I do use very bright rear and front lights so colour choice of clothes for night is not so important. I believe blue is the most noticeable as it has the highest frequency hence the reason that emergency services use it as the colour of their lights. The reason that black shorts were chosen more or less as a standard back in the day was to simply disguise oil marks better.
  • MuztardMuztard Posts: 160
    Back alive from my Sunday ride, although I did get soaked through.

    Black bike, black bib tights, black gloves, black jacket, black overshoes...... but I did wear a red/white/black jacket and black/white helmet.
  • Mike67Mike67 Posts: 585
    garryc wrote:
    At dawn or dusk the risk ratio for black cars jumped to 47% more likely than white, and that for silver cars to 15%. In the hours of darkness only red and silver cars were found to be significantly more risky than white, by 10% and 8% respectively.

    Did any of these cars have their lights on, or are drivers of black cars less likely to use them :D

    At dawn or dusk (and of course in the dark) surely you'd see the lights before telling what colour a car was?

    I'd never ride at any time near dawn or dusk, or for that matter a grotty day like today, without my lights lit and flashing,
    Mike B

    Cannondale CAAD9
    Kinesis Pro 5 cross bike
    Lots of bits
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