Author Topic: High Visibility - Always Good or Not?  (Read 4585 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline SilasTarr

High Visibility - Always Good or Not?
« on: May 18, 2011, 09:08:57 pm »
Greetings, friends.

Preparing for my first bicycle tour, my initial assumption was that high visibility is always good for safety, and therefore, I should purchase items in colors that would increase my overall visibility when possible.  However, after perusing online pictures of successful bicycle tourists and their gear (e.g., Tim and Cindie at DownTheRoad.org), I have noticed that most of their visible gear, such as the panniers, tend to be in neutral colors such as black or blue.

This has led me to the following conclusion which I would like your feedback on:
Visibility is good on your person, but bad on your bike and gear.  This approach allows you to be seen when biking, but can help hide your expensive equipment from possible thieves when off the bike.


What do you all think?  Is this logic sound?  Since I lack experience, I'd love to hear others' thoughts on visibility of gear.  Thanks!

Offline Tourista829

Re: High Visibility - Always Good or Not?
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2011, 10:26:21 pm »
I don't know, in the States, I like to be very visible. One of the best things you can do is purchase one of Adventure Cycling's safety yellow an orange triangles that you can place off your rear rack/bag or pin to your jersey. I have had drivers state they can see it quite a ways away. I also like to put a Planet Bike Turbo Strobe Light to the adjustment strap on the rear of my helmet. Since I leave, early in the morning, it is very bright, in the dark. I am still working on frontal visibility, during the daytime. A bright shirt is ok. A bright flashing strobe might work. Maybe others may weigh in.

I subscribe to the theory of you can never be too visible except if you are in India, parts of SE Asia, and Mexico. I would not want to draw attention to myself. There are times when stealth makes sense.

Offline John Nelson

Re: High Visibility - Always Good or Not?
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2011, 11:03:59 pm »
I like highly visible bags as well, just in case it get stolen. Would you rather be asking, "did you see anybody just run by here with a black bag?" or "did you see anybody just run by here with a fluorescent yellow bag?"

Offline staehpj1

Re: High Visibility - Always Good or Not?
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2011, 06:39:35 am »
I like highly visible bags as well, just in case it get stolen. Would you rather be asking, "did you see anybody just run by here with a black bag?" or "did you see anybody just run by here with a fluorescent yellow bag?"
Interesting point...

That said theft isn't something I worry much about when on tour, so color of gear with regard to theft isn't a factor.

Traffic accidents are the biggest worry and bright colored panniers are a help with that, so I would consider them a plus.

Offline indyfabz

Re: High Visibility - Always Good or Not?
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2011, 09:27:22 am »
I think that if you are off the bike (or even on it) and a potential thief is close enough to see your bike, they are going to be close enough to see that you are carrying gear regardless of pannier, etc., color.

Darker colors hide dirt and grease stains better.  (I tend to get things dirty easily, which is why I opted for red Ortliebs rather than the bright yellow.)  From an aesthetic standpoint, they are less likely to stick out like a sore thumb from your frame.  The thought of, say, a "Blue Velvet" Surly LHT paired with bright yellow or day-glo green panniers and accented with with a blazing orange tent stuff sack makes me cringe.  At that point, you might as well go for broke and put on bubble gum pink bar tape.

I am with Staephj1.  Theft is not something I worry much about on tour.

Offline SilasTarr

Re: High Visibility - Always Good or Not?
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2011, 01:34:54 pm »
Thanks for the feedback!

With this, I believe I'll be going with my original desire for a "Blacktacular" Surly LHT with red Ortlieb panniers.  I'll also look into getting one of those high visibility yellow/orange triangles to cover my bike's rear-end.   ;)

Offline indyfabz

Re: High Visibility - Always Good or Not?
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2011, 01:44:07 pm »
Thanks for the feedback!

With this, I believe I'll be going with my original desire for a "Blacktacular" Surly LHT with red Ortlieb panniers.  I'll also look into getting one of those high visibility yellow/orange triangles to cover my bike's rear-end.   ;)

You stealin' my look  ;D:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/davez2007/5727333189/

Offline knolltop

  • World Traveler
  • *****
  • Posts: 149
  • So, what's the problem?
Re: High Visibility - Always Good or Not?
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2011, 02:22:20 pm »
Thanks for the feedback!

With this, I believe I'll be going with my original desire for a "Blacktacular" Surly LHT with red Ortlieb panniers.  I'll also look into getting one of those high visibility yellow/orange triangles to cover my bike's rear-end.   ;)
:thumbsup:!
+-+ Michael +-+

Offline happyriding

Re: High Visibility - Always Good or Not?
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2011, 02:29:03 pm »
I'm in the high visibility at all times camp.  Definitely get one of those ACA triangles.  I saw some cyclists using those triangles, and I could see them from a mile away.  So when I rode through Missoula, I stopped at ACA headquarters and got one too.  If you have a triangle, it doesn't matter what color your panniers are.

For night riding, clip a Planet Bike SuperFlash to the rear of each pannier, and use a white Planet Bike flasher for the front(which is incredibly bright and annoying!) and some kind of headlight for seeing the road.  Add some reflective ankle straps, and you'll look like a UFO.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2011, 02:34:58 pm by happyriding »

Offline happyriding

Re: High Visibility - Always Good or Not?
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2011, 02:49:16 pm »
You stealin' my look  ;D:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/davez2007/5727333189/

I have those same panniers.  I really like them, but I could never figure out why they weren't red all the way around.  It seems to me they would be more visible that way.  The rear outside pockets are a handy place to put bike tools for easy access.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2011, 02:52:07 pm by happyriding »

Offline Mattie

Re: High Visibility - Always Good or Not?
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2011, 05:30:26 pm »
The only time I thought it was a really dumb idea to actually be wearing a high viz top was in France, in May, surrounded by field after field of bright yellow oilseed rape flowers. Your bright yellow vest actually made you less visible against this background ! But I think French Law says you must wear a high viz top when cycling out of town. I draped mine over the back of the bike. I have since replaced it with an orange/red/ coloured one that stands out a bit more, and try and use it to somehow cover the back of the luggage so that it can be seen from behind.

Offline pptouring

Re: High Visibility - Always Good or Not?
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2011, 05:48:23 pm »
But I think French Law says you must wear a high viz top when cycling out of town.

I thought that was only during hours of darkness or low vis.? 

During daylight hours I normally wear regular touring/cycling type cloths (nothing flashy), but during hours of darkness or low vis (fog/rain), I can't be bright enough; especially, when I am commuting to and from work! Seriously, I am probably as bright as one can get with bright reflective type clothing and lights, in fact, I may be too bright and might cause an accident. :-)

Offline Rep

Re: High Visibility - Always Good or Not?
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2011, 07:51:46 pm »
I run a PBS tail and a Fenix flashlight on strobe mode and high vis vest at all times when riding in the country.  That comes from surviving a hit from the rear by a car at 35 MPH.  Never enough options to be seen IMHO.
Bicycling, Brewing & Backgammon...What a life.

Offline johnsondasw

Re: High Visibility - Always Good or Not?
« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2011, 02:01:15 am »
I go for as visible as possible on person and bike at all times.  Your greatest risk on the highways is getting hit by a car/truck, IMO.  Stack the odds in your favor.  A mirror can really help in this respect, too.  It's so nice to have some control over what's coming up behind you and where exactly they are!
May the wind be at your back!

Offline SilasTarr

Re: High Visibility - Always Good or Not?
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2011, 10:04:54 pm »
Since the consensus is obviously in favor of bicycle tourists having high visibility for safety, would anyone like to recommend some specific products to increase visibility?

For example, is there a good set of head/tail lights that won't be blocked by gear on a fully loaded bike?  What other items would you suggest to increase visibility, and where can they be purchased?