People are quick to recommend expensive gear to those who ride motorcycles. Helmets are a common and smart investment, even if they aren’t necessary for adults fully licensed to ride motorcycles under Connecticut state law.
Those who frequently ride motorcycles often have specialized clothing, like leather gear, that can protect them from certain kinds of injuries, such as road rash. In recent years, there has been a concerted push to get those who ride motorcycles to invest in visibility gear to wear when they ride.
Jackets, pants and other safety equipment with built-in lights, bright colors or reflective strips can draw the eye of others near you in traffic. Does scientific research support the idea that visibility gear protects people on motorcycles?
Visibility gear is not a perfect solution
In theory, bright colors, lights and reflective surfaces draw someone’s attention. There is even some dated research that seems to indicate that visibility gear could reduce someone’s risk of a motorcycle crash by as much as 37%.
However, people constantly scan traffic for signs of other vehicles and still fail to notice motorcycles. Even when there are no visibility issues and a motorcycle is directly in a driver’s line of vision, they may still claim they didn’t notice the motorcycle. Brighter clothing won’t always force others in traffic to notice you, but it can certainly help.
Someone glancing at your motorcycle because of your visibility gear won’t necessarily be aware of your presence. Many drivers already look right at motorcyclists, pedestrians and bicyclists but never actually mentally register their presence. Visibility gear can reduce your risk, but it’s not a foolproof safety measure against distracted and careless people in four-wheeled vehicles.
How do you avoid crashes caused by an unobservant driver?
Defensive driving is also a way to reduce risk of a collision caused by someone in a four-wheeled vehicle. There is no sure way to attract their attention and ensure they won’t hit you. Paying attention to other people in traffic and double-checking before a maneuver can be the difference between safely reaching your destination and getting sideswiped by a distracted driver.
Learning more about effective safety measures can reduce your risk of a serious motorcycle collision.