Max Draitser - Southern California Bicycle Attorneys

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How the right visibility gear can save your life on a bike

For many drivers, their daily commute is a run-of-the-mill experience that they don’t want to commit their full attention to. That lack of focus can mean that people in motor vehicles pose a substantial threat to cyclists, regardless of whether those people are hobbyists or people who use their bikes as part of their commute.

Even when cyclists follow the rules of the road and defer to larger vehicles that don’t, they can wind up hurt in crashes caused by inattentive drivers. Drivers who hit cyclists often claim that they didn’t see the person on the bike, which is why taking steps to make your body and your bike more visible could potentially save your life.

Lights, reflectors and bright colors can all help keep you safe

Depending on the time of day and the road conditions, there are different tricks that you can use to help make yourself as visible as possible on your bike. Ideally, your bike itself will be a bright color, with multiple reflectors and battery or kinetic lights, which you should leave on all day and night.

However, research makes it clear that the human eye is more likely to identify the human shape than to notice non-human shapes. Drawing attention to your body via bright or reflective clothing may do more to make drivers aware of you than driving a bright, well-lit bike.

During the day, bright colors, such as fluorescent or neon tones, will make you more readily visible to people in vehicles. At night, reflective material is important, as the colors of your clothing won’t be as noticeable. Taking a moment to assess your outfit and your gear for visibility before you get in the saddle each time can help you stay safer.