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High-viz clothing really does reduce motorcycle accidents

The color of choice for motorcyclists almost always seems to be black. They ride black bikes, they wear black leather jackets, they don black pants and they top it all off with a black helmet and black gloves. In the end, you get a bike and a rider that really blend into the black pavement, reducing their visibility.

An alternative tactic that has gained traction over the years is to wear high-visibility clothing. This often means a bight green/yellow combo that is the most visible color to the human eye. Some riders also pick colors like neon pink, red or orange.

But does it help? Does it actually decrease the odds of a crash?

Studies show that it does. One claimed that fluorescent or high-visibility outfits decreased the odds of a motorcycle accident by 37%. While it’s not perfect — riders still do get hit, no matter what they wear — that’s a significant difference. When you consider how devastating a motorcycle accident can be, leading to spine, neck and head injuries — if not fatal injuries — then it seems clear that you would want to reduce the odds of a crash by more than a third.

At the end of the day, though, a lot of it still falls on other drivers. A driver who switches lanes without checking their mirrors isn’t going to see a bike on their back corner, whether the rider is wearing orange, green or black. Drivers make mistakes and hit motorcycles thousands of times every year. Those who suffer serious injuries may have a right to compensation for medical bills and other costs.


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