Cycling outfits have many purposes. They can mark you as a part of a cycling team. Jersey colors for races like the Tour de France can tell which role you are playing in the race. But most importantly, bright colors can make you visible to drivers and save your life.Cyclist wears bright green jacket and lights on helmet

Why Should You wear Bright Colors?

22% of bicyclist fatalities occurred between 6 PM and 8:59 PM in 2013, according to the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center. The majority of fatalities occur during the day when there are more bicyclists on the road, but night riding still presents a real danger.

Late afternoon and evening hours decrease visibility for everyone on the road. When you are riding your bike in the evening on a road where motorists may be driving carelessly, being difficult to see makes for a potentially deadly scenario.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) says the most dangerous hours for cycling are from  8 AM to 9 AM and 3 PM to 6 PM on weekdays. Commuting to and from work is a busy, chaotic time that can result in more accidents. “However,” the website says, “cycling accidents in the dark are more likely to be fatal.”

Bright cycling outfits automatically attract attention. Bright clothing attracts the eye, especially in a dark, shadowy night backdrop. By wearing proper reflective clothing you are helping drivers notice that there are cyclists on the road, and you are reminding them to be careful passing, following, turning, and stopping near you.

Wearing fluorescent clothing and reflective lights also tells drivers you are willing to share the road. Being transparent about your intentions will help drivers make smart decisions when driving around you.

The Risks of Not Standing Out

Both drivers and cyclists share the blame for vehicle-bicycle collisions. Police statistics say drivers fail to check their surroundings properly in 57% of serious collisions and cyclists fail to do the same in 43% of serious collisions.

Roundabouts are especially dangerous because drivers easily speed through them with sometimes only a quick glance at oncoming traffic, if that. If you are not wearing a cycling outfit that grabs the eye from a reasonable distance, drivers can easily miss you. When you’re sharing the road with hundreds of other cars that are hundreds of pounds heavier and stronger than you, you want them to see you.

Sharing the road means fitting in with traffic, not blending in with your surroundings. Bright cycling outfits give contrast to shadows and other obstacles that might hide you. And when drivers can see you, they can drive safely with you.

Photo courtesy of Richard Masoner via Flickr.