The slick look of a shiny black motorcycle mounted by a rider decked out in all black certainly turns heads...if anyone can actually see the rider.
Unfortunately, black and other dark colors blend in with the natural surroundings and at night completely disappear often making motorcyclists invisible. Drivers often don't see the smaller motorcycle anyway so when a rider wears riding gear that doesn't pop it makes an already difficult situation worse.
In a photo experiment cited by the Association for Psychological Science, 65 percent of participants missed a motorcycle on the road compared to 31 percent who missed noticing a taxi in the same position. And according to Sciencedaily.com, looked-but-failed-to-see (LBFTS) crashes represent the most common collision involving motorcycles. You know something is up when these types of crashes have their own acronym.
It makes perfect sense then to wear colors that stand out and make you visible on a motorcycle.
In fact, a controlled study by BMJ showed riders wearing any reflective or fluorescent clothing had a 37 percent lower risk of crash than others and a white helmet was associated with a 24 percent lower risk than wearing a black helmet.
Loud Colors Save Lives
One facet to riding motorcycles comes with the riding gear. Most riders carefully choose what they wear not only for safety but for look. Some riders like to completely match from head to toe while integrating their look with the motorcycle. Others don't and have no problem standing out - certainly a safety measure even if unintended - by coordinating their jacket and pants apart from the helmet and boots.
Either way, you can still maintain your personal style while standing out from the crowded field of cars all around you.
So, let's forget all of the studies and just look at motorcycle gear. Take for example, the Pilot Slate Air Jacket V2. It comes in silver, black and Hi-Vis. What's Hi-Vis? A high visibility reflective color or more commonly known as high-visibility clothing. The darker colors? Well, Pilot has equipped those with 3M Scotchlite Dark heat transfer stripes on the arms and back of the jacket for 360 degree visibility.
That's just one example. Many riding jackets and pants for motorcycles have some type of reflective property built in to the product if not completely Hi-Vis. Manufacturers clearly get it. Besides, if riders did not buy it, the brands would not sell it.
Some helmets also have reflective properties to help make riders stand-out. Also, you can buy reflective tape to place on your motorcycle, your gear and helmet for added visibility. So for those who have darker gear without sewn in reflective details, placing tape in various areas on your clothing and bike gets you seen a whole lot better than zipping down the street like the Dark Knight.
So yes, the colors you wear when riding a motorcycle matter when it comes to safety and visibility. If hunters wear bright colors so they don't blend in with their surroundings and get mistaken for prey the same rule applies to motorcyclists so they don't blend in with their surroundings and get mistaken for not being there. BE SEEN! Wear colors! Ride Longer! Live longer!