Riders are invited to sign a petition against the Victorian Government’s recent decision to introduce hi-vis rider gear for newly licensed riders.
However, not only should Victorian riders sign the petition to protect their freedom and safety, but all riders should sign because it could spread to other states and countries and not just for learner riders. In fact, the French Government is suggesting hi-vis for all riders.
Victorian Minister for Roads Terry Mulder recently introduced the rule as part of a raft of new legislation for the introduction of graduated motorcycle licensing requirements. While most of the rules followed the recommendations of the Victorian Government’s Road Safety Committee, the Minister seems to have gone off on a tangent with his hi-vis rider gear rule.
It not only runs contra to the committee’s recommendations, but is also not grounded in scientific research. There are several international studies, which have contradicting findings on the safety of hi-vis rider gear. Some even suggest that dark clothing is more visible in certain lighting situations while hi-vis rider gear may be less visible in certain conditions. Others suggest that hi-vis clothing can create a “target fixation” for motorists, causing them to steer toward the wearer.
There seems to be no conclusive study, yet the Minister has acted on a gut instinct and chosen to grab some cheap headlines at the possible expense of riders’ lives. The concern for all riders is that politicians in other states and countries may also want to follow his headline-grabbing lead.
It is wrong for governments to legislate for our safety on shaky scientific grounds. It should be up to each individual rider to decide whether they want to wear hi-vis rider gear or not.
I have chosen to wear hi-vis rider gear in the outback during dusk, night and dawn to attract the light beams of vehicles. But I don’t feel safe wearing it during the day. So why should anyone be forced to do something that does not make them feel safe and secure?
For many, it may be a matter of fashion-consciousness and I agree that I feel like a dork in hi-vis rider gear. However, this petition is not a matter of fashion; it is a matter of freedom of choice and personal safety.