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Old 25th July 2013, 16:39   #1
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Default 2 Wheeler Conspicuity - Increasing Visibility On Road

In light of some sad incidents involving 2 wheeler riders recently (this, this and more from that thread), and the increasing rate at which such incidents have been occurring, I can't help but have a shiver run down my spine every time I take out my motorcycle.

I already ride with gear - a helmet with reflective tape, leather jacket, and ankle-high boots - and also have conspicuity tape on my motorcycle's mud guard and front cowl. I check my lights regularly and use them appropriately. I also ride slow and at average traffic speeds.

But, I somehow have a feeling this might not be enough. Reflective tape and lights are most effective only at night time, so you're left invisible during the day. Also, going by the lowering standards of traffic and civic sense, an increase in the number of vehicles on the road, plus the number of near misses I've been experiencing of late I feel I should be doing more to protect myself and be visible on the road.

I read up on the web and discovered that most drivers are mentally tuned for wide/horizontal obstructions such as cars or trucks, and vertical obstructions such as 2 wheelers don't register at all in their brains.

Also read that riders with fluorescent jackets and vehicles with brighter paint stand better chances of being seen (and registered) by fellow road users minds. Remember, the human eye 'sees' everything but not all objects are registered by the mind. Just like we don't 'listen to' all sounds although we may hear them.

Some people have sought to using modulating head/tail lights to grab attention but their usefulness is argued when it comes to bringing some horizontal perspective. LED DRLs on crash guards seem to be voted higher to add perceived 'width' to a 2 wheeled vehicle.

I'm not sure where to begin. I'm thinking if I should paint my crash guard in fluorescent green to start with.

I agree that no amount of visibility can protect you from purposefully rash, rogue, or drunk drivers but I'd like to reduce my chances of a hit - to the extent that is possible on my own.

What do you suggest?

Last edited by hellmet : 25th July 2013 at 17:04.
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Old 25th July 2013, 17:05   #2
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Default Re: 2 Wheeler Conspicuity - Increasing Visibility On Road

A possibly useful video on being seen by fellow road users more effectively:

Last edited by Rehaan : 26th July 2013 at 14:57. Reason: Embedding video
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Old 25th July 2013, 17:29   #3
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Default Re: 2 Wheeler Conspicuity - Increasing Visibility On Road

Running your bike with the DRL makes more sense than a car.(my only advice is lights, lights and more lights and definitely loud horns) Saves us a lot to create the awareness for those inside the cars with windows raised up.

Secondly avoid riding post 7PM in highway.
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Old 25th July 2013, 18:36   #4
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Default Re: 2 Wheeler Conspicuity - Increasing Visibility On Road

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellmet View Post
I also ride slow and at average traffic speeds...

What do you suggest?
Move along with traffic rather than riding slow or fast; it should all be fine. Also, one is injured severely in the accident not in the city, but outside, either the suburbs or highway.

If something is destined to happen, it will happen no matter how careful we ride. All other usual riding tips & advices are scattered through this forum

Regarding Mr Harish's incident, I remember posting the question somewhere here eventually landing up with no answer as whether I should follow the system or the law. I was almost brushed once by an Indica & ever since then I learned to stop before the stop line at the left most side of the road yielding to all morons who wants to jump the signal & yet I spend more time watching the RVM's than the signal itself.

What to do? We've to live in this system right?

Last edited by aargee : 25th July 2013 at 18:40.
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Old 25th July 2013, 18:43   #5
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Default Re: 2 Wheeler Conspicuity - Increasing Visibility On Road

Ride defensively. Slow or fast is not really a question - 90% of guys on forums will be faster than 90% of city traffic 90% of the time. Defend your position and do not get squeezed. Stay awake and alert. Keep scanning, and look where you are going rather than where you are. Judge and forecast. Position and "Show" yourself clearly.You have both eyes and ears - use both.
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Old 25th July 2013, 19:00   #6
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Default Re: 2 Wheeler Conspicuity - Increasing Visibility On Road

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Move along with traffic rather than riding slow or fast; it should all be fine.
Sorry I meant to say that I do just that, but it came out differently.
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Old 25th July 2013, 19:28   #7
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Default Re: 2 Wheeler Conspicuity - Increasing Visibility On Road

Quote:
Originally Posted by aargee View Post
Regarding Mr Harish's incident, I remember posting the question somewhere here eventually landing up with no answer as whether I should follow the system or the law. I was almost brushed once by an Indica & ever since then I learned to stop before the stop line at the left most side of the road yielding to all morons who wants to jump the signal & yet I spend more time watching the RVM's than the signal itself.
Agree - I do the same even on the car in Delhi at night and its nerve wracking to say the least. I have hazard lights on and blare the horn (sometimes i wish i could install one in the rear!) - most motorists post 10pm expect you to jump the red light. I *mostly* dont, unless with wife/kid and in new area/less family traffic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VW2010 View Post
Secondly avoid riding post 7PM in highway.
This is definitely not a good idea, second only to "Sell Your bike" as an option FWIW, I toured almost 20k km in 2004 and 2005 almost always starting between Sat 12-4am, returning sun late evenings. Know what - those were the smoothest / safest hours back then. The word for regular hours is what we call in hindi - bhasad (total mess)! Same on the pulsar in Delhi in 2006-08, and ditto in the swift now onwards.

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Running your bike with the DRL makes more sense than a car.(my only advice is lights, lights and more lights and definitely loud horns) Saves us a lot to create the awareness for those inside the cars with windows raised up
Your point on the DRL is completely correct. Can make a world of a difference in tunnels / underpasses where visibility may dip for a second.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ebonho View Post
Ride defensively. Slow or fast is not really a question - 90% of guys on forums will be faster than 90% of city traffic 90% of the time. Defend your position and do not get squeezed. Stay awake and alert. Keep scanning, and look where you are going rather than where you are. Judge and forecast. Position and "Show" yourself clearly.You have both eyes and ears - use both.
Spot on

I think of traffic like water - you flow WITH the stream - too fast or too slow and you become a problem. I think you're doing the right thing. I would just wish to add - be overcautious, at the slightest doubt avoid a potential problem (i.e mostly brake, sometimes swerve / accelerate as the need be).

Beyond a point, its just chance man.

PS: modulating lights can be crazy for those following you - imagine typical indian overworked truckies or tired/drunk cabbies - and hence aren't allowed in Germany (AFAIK, google). not a good idea to irritate/distract them. They are a-okay at low intensity for cycles (IMO) because cycles are on the side of the road and quickly overtaken - whereas as a bike u will be in their face so to speak. DONT! I like the mudgard painting idea / DRL idea a lot.

Last edited by mobike008 : 26th July 2013 at 08:23. Reason: As requested edited the sentence
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Old 25th July 2013, 19:40   #8
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Default Re: 2 Wheeler Conspicuity - Increasing Visibility On Road

I am not sure which thread I saw the link - a serious biker from the USA had posted a picture, which clearly showed that the best way to be conspicuous to cars/trucks is to have a brightly coloured helmet.
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Old 25th July 2013, 20:16   #9
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Default Re: 2 Wheeler Conspicuity - Increasing Visibility On Road

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Originally Posted by KiloAlpha View Post
I am not sure which thread I saw the link - a serious biker from the USA had posted a picture, which clearly showed that the best way to be conspicuous to cars/trucks is to have a brightly coloured helmet.


I read an article long back when i bought my ninja and was hunting for a good imported helmet.

The research article says that it is best to wear bright colored helmets such as yellow or even white is good. This of course works in the day time also and in the night, best to use a jacket and pants that have reflective piping on them with reflective stickers and working lights on the vehicle.

Grey, black and other such dark colors on helmets go unnoticed since they blend into the background. Best options are bright yellow, orange and such colors in addition to white.

My SparX helmet has shades of yellow.
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Old 25th July 2013, 20:25   #10
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Default Re: 2 Wheeler Conspicuity - Increasing Visibility On Road

On a parallel note, isnt it equally okay to use conspicuity tape for those who own inexpensive entry level helmets (Studds Bravo, which has the good scratch resistant visor)? Somehow I never quite feel comfortable with a very brightly colored helmet - just a personal preference.
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Old 25th July 2013, 20:55   #11
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Default Re: 2 Wheeler Conspicuity - Increasing Visibility On Road

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Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
On a parallel note, isnt it equally okay to use conspicuity tape for those who own inexpensive entry level helmets (Studds Bravo, which has the good scratch resistant visor)? Somehow I never quite feel comfortable with a very brightly colored helmet - just a personal preference.
Well, it might help to tell the driver there's something out there at a distance, but a bright colored helmet could actually tell the driver to look out for a rider and a motorcycle down the road.

Btw, where are you from? Jaggery village in Telugu would mean you're from Bellampally
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Old 25th July 2013, 20:55   #12
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Default Re: 2 Wheeler Conspicuity - Increasing Visibility On Road

Thank you for this informative post @hellmet. Planning to deck out my bike with these prismatic tapes, to make myself more visible at night
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Old 25th July 2013, 20:59   #13
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Default Re: 2 Wheeler Conspicuity - Increasing Visibility On Road

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellmet View Post
Well, it might help to tell the driver there's something out there at a distance, but a bright colored helmet could actually tell the driver to look out for a rider and a motorcycle down the road.

Btw, where are you from? Jaggery village in Telugu would mean you're from Bellampally
Good point. For now, given i'm inactive on the bike, I'll settle for MORE prismatic tape, and later, a new helmet (in another three months) once I am commuting using the bike again.

I'm from Gur-gaon. In Hindi, Gur=jaggery, gaon=village !
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Old 25th July 2013, 21:08   #14
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Default Re: 2 Wheeler Conspicuity - Increasing Visibility On Road

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Originally Posted by n_aditya View Post
I read an article long back when i bought my ninja and was hunting for a good imported helmet.

The research article says that it is best to wear bright colored helmets such as yellow or even white is good.
Here is a post from a US Ninja forum which has a link to the research article on what colors on riding gear can improve rider visibility.
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Old 25th July 2013, 22:51   #15
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Default Re: 2 Wheeler Conspicuity - Increasing Visibility On Road

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Sorry I meant to say that I do just that, but it came out differently.
Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by n_aditya View Post
The research article says that it is best to wear bright colored helmets such as yellow or even white is good
What's the point when buggers can't see? There's a saying in Tamil & it goes, If one cannot see a cow in bright daylight, how can they ever see a buffalo in the dark?

What I mean is, no matter how bright colored dress, reflectors we wear & including the turn lights whatsoever, if the cabbies, buses & water lorries are determined to be blindfold, who else can help?
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