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Does hi-vis clothing help cyclists?

Cyclists know they're at risk because drivers often don't see them. To combat this, many turn to high-visibility clothing. But does wearing red, bright green or orange really help avoid accidents?

It can, but there is a better option, according to many researchers. They say that cyclists should actually focus on reflective clothing.

The problem is that high-vis outfits are great in bright sunlight, during the day. But the UV rays from the sun are needed to make best use of that clothing's reflective properties. Without them, it doesn't help much at all.

Therefore, cyclists may think they're visible riding home from work in the evening or on a cloudy day, but the reality is that those bright colors aren't doing all that much for them. Reflective clothing, though, catches any type of light, including that from headlights. It's what really makes riders stand out in all lighting conditions.

One study discovered that a disproportionate amount of accidents happened in low-light conditions, and most cyclists in these accidents didn't have reflective clothing on. Just 34 percent were wearing it.

What was interesting, though, is that a lot of cyclists did not realize what the problem truly was. When asked if their own visibility played a role, a mere two out of 184 admitted that it did. A full 61 percent blamed driver inattention.

That being said, drivers do have an obligation to be attentive and watch out for cyclists, no matter what they're wearing. Those who are hit and injured by negligent drivers need to know what legal options they have when facing high medical costs.

Source: Road, "Study says cyclists should make themselves seen - but reflective clothing, not hi-vis, is the answer," Simon MacMichael, accessed Nov. 14, 2017

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