This British video of a police officer with sirens going and a hi-vis jacket and bike shows that some motorists still don’t see riders.
It shows a police special escort group of BMW R 1200 bikes escorting British Prime Minister Theresa May with the Metropolitan Police’s Protection Command in London.
Right from the start it shows a van driver doesn’t even see the police officer with hi-vis gear, flashing lights and sirens.
This video comes as a Monash University report into motorcycle accidents suggest riders and bikes be more visible.
The report, quaintly titled “Current Trends in Motorcycle-Related Crash and Injury Risk in Australia by Motorcycle Type and Attributes” suggests promoting high-visibility motorcycle clothing and research into its effects.
It also suggests increasing motorcycle visibility technology such as modulating headlights.
Well, the British police officer above has his motorcycle lights flashing but still wasn’t seen.
If even bike cops officers can’t be seen, what more could we riders possibly do to be seen and heard on the road?
Most riders resist mandatory hi-vis gear as is required for Victorian novice riders and France where riders have to carry a hi-vis vest to wear the vest during a breakdown.
Many claim they are still not seen even when wearing bright gear and on brightly coloured motorcycles.
Hi-vis myth debunked
While Monash Uni suggests hi-vis, Prof Richard Huggins of University of Melbourne says there is no research that proves hi-vis vests aid safety.
Richard says he has studied many scientific studies about hi-vis clothing and says there is no conclusive evidence it is safer for riders.
However, there are several international studies with varied findings suggesting:
- Dark clothing is more visible in certain lighting situations;
- Hi-vis rider gear may be less visible in certain conditions; and
- Hi-vis clothing could create a “target fixation” for motorists, causing them to steer toward the wearer.
Richard also says he regularly wears a hi-visibility jacket when riding, but has still been hit by a car.
“The driver claimed they didn’t see me, from a distance of less than 2m, as they changed lanes on top of me,” he says.
The Victorian Motorcycle Council also says hi-vis is a safety myth, claiming:
- Wearing hi-vis clothing may impart a false sense of security for novice riders;
- Modern research shows that people don’t recognise or react to motorcycles, rather than not seeing them at all;
- Drivers are more likely to see a bike but make an error in timing; and
- All bikes have hard-wired headlights yet no research has been done on how this affects hi-visibility.
Some say group rides with lead and tail-end riders in hi-vis vests destroys our argument.
However hi-vis vests on group rides are not worn for safety reasons. They are there to help distinguish those riders from the others so that riders don’t accidentally pass the lead rider or fall behind the sweep.