We know it’s counter-intuitive to make a case against day-glow tops for cyclists, but there’s a reason criminals sometimes wear high vis to rob banks; fluorescent clothing’s a perfect way to disappear.
Countries committed to Vision Zero design safe systems rather than teach road safety for a reason.
Things might be different if high-vis clothing could be proved to work. However, when professor of environmental psychology at Swansea University, Dr Ian Walker, monitored cars as they overtook cyclists wearing a variety of clothing, all outfits in the study (except the one with the word ‘police’) were treated exactly the same.
Of course wear high-vis clothing if you like – just be aware of how extolling its virtues can be pernicious. After all, if we’re not a society that tells women to dress modestly to avoid being attacked on the street, we must also avoid victim blaming vulnerable road users.
What is a hierarchy of controls and what’s it got to do with high-vis?
Industry relies on a hierarchy of hazard controls to keep workers safe; an approach that could be applied to our roads. Effective control methods are at the top. High-vis comes in last.
The ethical choice
The ETA was established in 1990 as an ethical provider of green, reliable travel services. We continue to offer cycle insurance , breakdown cover and mobility scooter insurance while putting concern for the environment at the heart of all we do.
The Good Shopping Guide judges us to be the UK’s most ethical provider.