What Colours Should You Wear To Be Seen When Cycling
Black continues to be one of the most popular colours for cyclewear often because people feel more comfortable and less conspicuous in black and it can also be more flattering but there’s a never-ending debate about what colour is best for cycling clothes – black is often demonised particularly by motorists but in some circumstances, it stands out better than other colours.
When it comes to bib shorts and bottoms, black is the safest bet. Facebook is awash with professional teams who veered away from black and as a consequence left nothing to our imaginations!
When it comes to tops, people are more conscious about being seen by other road users making high vis and bright colours more popular (although there’s a lot of disparity between being seen and being recognised).
But how do you pick the right bright colour!
Humans are good at seeing high vis green-yellow and this stands out well in an urban environment making it popular but it is much less visible against trees and fields making it less suitable for a rural ride. Similarly, red offers good visibility in the countryside but becomes more difficult to pick out in traffic’s rear brake lights.
Bright and fluorescent pink or blue are both a great choice and there is little else in the natural world that’s the same colour as is fluorescent orange, however, some research suggests that motorists can be complacent about orange because they associate it with road works. Grey cycle wear is our least favourite colour – not only does it disappear into the grey road surface it also has a tendency to look like a badly washed formerly black garment.
Multiple colours are a good bet if you want to stand out in various environments, but if you’re more at home in subtle gear that won’t do for you so here are our top tips for being seen whatever your clothing colour.
Top Tips For Being Seen
- Daytime running lights are essential whatever the season, whatever the weather. The human eye detects movement better than colour so bike lights with multiple flashing and static settings are a great option
- You’ve sorted the front and backlights but what about the side – think about adding extra lights or clear reflective tape to your frame so that you’re more visible from every direction
- Because we’re good at detecting movement, the lower leg and feet are the most effective places for high vis, reflectivity and even lights so consider bright-coloured shoes/overshoes, lights on the ankle or heel and leggings with lower leg high vis or reflective detail
- Finally, a packable high vis gilet or jacket is a great emergency ‘safety’ garment if you’re out later than you expected or have to do a roadside repair