3 thoughts on “20 visibility tips”

  1. When I first got a scooter, I used to wear a hy-viz yellow vest with reflectorized stripes over whatever jacket I wore.

    One day, I was on my way home from work, on Denny Way. Traffic was crawling, moving at about walking speed. In the lane to my left was a guy in a Toyota Corolla. We made eye contact. He smiled at me. And drove into me as moved from his lane to mine. He rolled down his window and apologized profusely; the only damage to my ET4 was a dark green mark on the left rear quarter panel, which I was able to rub out without much difficulty. I tossed the vest in the trash when I got home.

    A couple days ago, I was waiting at a light just south of the University Bridge. A guy in the lane to my left was fondling Capt. Queeg (see “The Caine Mutiny”) ball bearings in each hand. When the light changed, he took off, the ball bearings still in each hand. As far as I could tell, he wasn’t steering with his knees, either… he was relying on the caster of the front wheels to keep him going straight. You could get away with this on this particular part of Eastlake Ave., but still…

    My point: five years and nearly 50,000 miles of scooter riding has led me to conclude those drivers who are paying attention will see you, no matter what colors you are wearing, and those who aren’t, won’t. This business of people somehow not seeing scooters or motorcycles sounds about as plausible as the idea that Tyrannosaurus Rex could only see movement put forth by Michael Crichton in Jurassic Park (never mind the bigger question of how anyone would know that).

    Instead of promoting the sale of garishly-colored clothing, the moto community should be demanding demonstration of at least the same level of skill required to get a motorcycle endorsement from the cagers before they are issued a driver’s license. The United States is the only country in the industrialized world where no formal training is NOT required to obtain a driver’s license (BMW has a Web site called Relearn to Drive which emphasizes this point). In my case, the DMV examiner was more interested in how well I parallel parked. The level of drivers’ general incompetence and carelessness tolerated in the U.S. is astounding. It needs to stop…

  2. I 100% concur with the opinion that improving your visibility is a distant second to rider/driver education, but being visible sure doesn’t hurt. Your argument is somewhat convincing (and popular, i might add) but I drive a lot more than I ride, and as a driver, there have been plenty of instances where I’ve noticed cyclists or motorcyclists (especially at night) wearing bright or reflective clothing that I’d never have seen (even with the lights on their bikes) otherwise. Likewise, i’ve NOT seen cyclists and pedestrians wearing grey and black until I was much closer than I would have liked to be.

    The helmet, to me, seems especially important in urban traffic, when (driving) often your only sightline of a cyclist or m/c in another lane is over the top of a car or through a car’s windows. A grey or black helmet can get very easily lost in the cluttered urban landscape.

    In any case, I needed a helmet, and that color cost the same as every other color, so it can’t hurt. Unless someone drives into me BECAUSE they were looking at me, which I’d never thought of before. Thanks. : )

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