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Discussion Starter #1
My wife isn't into the risk of riding, and would have been happier if I'd never bought the bike. She supports my passion, but during early discussions about riding, she was pretty adamant about making myself visible on the bike. I quickly agreed it was important, and gladly promised that "being visible" was an easy safety measure to take.

I'm not sure exactly how it happened, but ended up buying a black and silver bike, wearing a black and silver jacket, black gloves and a silver helmet. In other words, while driving on the freeway I'm about as visible as a leopard in the underbrush. I've certainly been cutoff, merged on, turned-on... etc., but I'm pretty sure that happens to everyone. Hey, motorcycles can be hard to see.

On a scale of 1 (invisible) to 10 (most visible), I'm probably a 3. What are you? Do you specifically take steps to increase your visibility?
 

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I don't really worry about it - I've spoken with riders wearing neon gear, with lights all over, and they say they still are not seen; perhaps they are noticed more than others, but there are still problems.
 

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Visible

Visible or not, cage drivers will look right at you, see you, and pull out in front of you. Hi vis stuff just makes you an easier target to hit.

Unkle Crusty*
 

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I had the same conversation with my wife when I decided to start riding again. She asked me to wear hi-viz clothing at all times, and I do that consistently. I always wear either a hi-viz jacket (mesh jacket in warm weather) or a hi-viz vest over a leather jacket in cooler weather.

It's true that all riders should realize there will be times when they will NOT be seen, and ride accordingly. But it is also true that statistically, riders wearing hi-viz gear are less likely to be injured or killed. The BikeSafe training that I took with local motorcycle police officers claimed that riders wearing hi-viz clothing were 25%-30% less likely to be injured or killed. The flip side of that statistic is that, for the other 70%-75% wearing hi-viz, it didn't save them.

Still, I want any reasonable safety feature that I can get, and if my hi-viz jacket or vest aren't considered stylish or attractive by some, that's pretty painless for me. I'm really not out to impress anybody, just to ride safely and enjoy it.

I also added some reflective tape to certain areas on my bike, to attempt to make it more visible from the side, at night.

I would rate my visibility as a 7 or 8, depending on exactly what I'm wearing that day - the hi-viz jacket provides slightly more visibility than my vest - and my helmet is silver, not hi-viz yellow or white. Rarely wear armored pants, but when I do, they are not hi-viz, but do have reflective areas.

So, bottom line for me, is that I hope that maybe it helps, and it makes my wife more comfortable. She wears hi-viz too, when she's in the pillion seat. If not, at least I am keeping my word, and that's important to me.
 

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I wear a reflective vest and have changed to a white helmet.

It's more involved than the gear. Road positioning is also a huge factor in visibility.
 

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Visionary
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Half my riding is at night, on the Interstate.
Right after I started commuting on my bike I added a bunch of extra LED lighting on the front of my bike, the intent was to help me see deer on the backroads and potholes on the highway and it was a great success, the unintended benefit of my 7500 lumen LED sunrise :) was that I am much more visible to others both night AND day, I see the difference in the way I am noticed and treated on the road.
My next step is to upgrade my visability from the rear, I have a reflective sticker on my helmet and reflective piping on my jacket but my bike just has a single taillight/ brakelight, with non running light amber turn signals. Basically all I have in the back is 1 1157 bulb. I want to supplement that somehow, I'm not sure just yet what I am going to do..suggestions? I'm thinking about changing the turn signals to red running lights/turn signals perhaps, or adding some extras...
 

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A construction vest with retro-reflective striping works great at night. This is assuming the vehicles behind you are using their headlights.
 

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Retired twice: Navy and as a govt contractor
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Mike - check around there are modules that do exactly that. Not sure if they make it for your bike.

Depends which bike I ride, the RSTD is bright red with black accents, has road lights and a 7" headlight. LED tail light with four small additional flashing brake lights.
I wear a red and black jacket with reflective strips, red, black, and white helmet with a light in the back if I want to use it. But I usually don't ride at night.

The Springer on the other hand is Black, I wear a black jacket with reflective strips and a silver helmet. It shakes the ground coming down the road, a bit Mad Max going for it.

I haven't noticed any difference in how people react to me on the road. Yesterday I watched an SUV pull out in front of a bright yellow school bus.
 

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I've seen people pull out in front of ambulances with lights and sirens going. Nothing is going to work 100% of the time, so your eyes and brain have to be in gear as well.
 

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Yeah - you don't have to be paranoid about it, but there IS someone out there that wants to get you, so watch for it.
 

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Retired twice: Navy and as a govt contractor
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I know I shouldn't be laughing, but hey he wasn't hurt. I would love to see the rest of the tape with audio
 

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Visionary
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Thanks! it looks like Kuryakyn makes some items that might just work, though I'm a tinkerer so I may end up rolling my own anyway. I'm finding some interesting stuff on Amazon and ebay.

Mike - check around there are modules that do exactly that. Not sure if they make it for your bike.
 

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Roamer
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176 Posts
As someone else mentioned, my visibility rating changes depending on time of day I'm riding and weather.

Daytime, warm weather - Visibility: 6
- Helmets: White with reflective stickers OR Black with reflective stripes on sides
- Jacket: Silver/Gray mesh jacket with black reflective piping.
- Pants: Black mesh with black reflective piping.
- Boots: Black with reflective heels.
- Gloves: Black with White accents (not reflective)
- Bike: White and black, white stripes on wheels

Daytime, cold weather - Visibility: 5
- Helmet: White with reflective stickers
- Jacket: Brown (not reflective)
- Pants: Silver, with reflective panels on lower legs
- Boots: Black with reflective heels.
- Gloves: Black (not reflective)
- Bike: White and black, white stripes on wheels

Nighttime, warm weather - Visibility: 6
- Helmets: White with reflective stickers OR Black with reflective stripes on sides
- Jacket: Silver/Gray mesh jacket with black reflective piping.
- Pants: Black mesh with black reflective piping.
- Boots: Black with reflective heels.
- Gloves: Black with White accents (not reflective)
- Bike: Standard set of lights, reflective stripes on wheels

Nighttime, cold weather - Visibility: 5
- Helmet: White with reflective stickers
- Jacket: Brown (no reflective stuff)
- Pants: Silver, with reflective panels on lower legs
- Boots: Black with reflective heels.
- Gloves: Black (not reflective)
- Bike: Standard set of lights, reflective stripes on wheels

If I'm riding on interstate (any time of day) or at night in a lot of traffic, I throw on a hi-viz mesh vest with large reflective panels (Visibility: 8). I keep it in my tail bag. Why don't I wear it all the time? Takes time to put it on and the straps on it flap around a bit and bug me. Also, even though it's mesh, it does block some airflow. Not great excuses, but there you go.

I've noticed mirror face shields get more looks than clear ones.

No matter what I'm wearing, I assume no one sees me and ride accordingly.

When I'm driving (or riding) I find riders in ALL hi-viz a little distracting, actually. That means I notice them, which is good. But it also means I'm always seeing them when they are within sight range and that distracts me a bit from focusing on the rest of traffic.

I think the ideal would be hi-viz on parts of helmet and jacket (but not solid hi-viz). The color contrast seems more visible than solid hi-viz, to me, anyway.
 

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Shaper Of All Things Metal
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^^^^ Wow, NoCapes... you really do take this to whole new level. Almost seems paranoid to me, but hey, I fully support your right to do as you please. It just seems like you are so worried about this facet that it would be impossible to enjoy the ride?

There is a bypass route around my local town that I often take, both on my bike and in my truck. I've had as many people not see me when driving the truck as when on the bike.

It's a people problem, an awareness problem more than an 'are we visible enough' problem.
 

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See me.

The head light and tail light are on, on all my bikes. If the opposition can not see them, then there is not much else to be done.
Except, as Dod's says above. Where you place yourself and how you ride will make all the difference. For those overly concerned I suggest a defensive driving course. And practice hard stopping from your normal cruising speed. Couple that with a planned alternate route, as in swap lanes or aim for the side of the road, or whatever will prevent you hitting a solid object.
When folks run lights, they end up in front of whatever happens to be coming, and that is not dependent on your visibility.
What will save you at a cross road, is slowing down and looking right and left for the idiots that run lights and or stop and yield signs.
Too many bikes go through intersections with little care, just because they have a green light.

I do think the lights on make a difference.

Unkle Crusty*
 

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Roamer
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^^^^ Wow, NoCapes... you really do take this to whole new level. Almost seems paranoid to me, but hey, I fully support your right to do as you please. It just seems like you are so worried about this facet that it would be impossible to enjoy the ride?
Actually, I think the opposite happens. I feel like I've mitigated risk as much as I can, so that lets me relax and enjoy the ride. Except for rush hour traffic here which is never relaxing or enjoyable, even if in a car.

Ride on one sidewalk and everyone in the world sees you!
:coffeescreen:
 
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