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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 09:26 
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A recent article in the Guardian has suggested that Hi visibility clothing for Highway Workers, cyclists, and the Emergency Services has become less effective.

One suggestion has even been that the old fasjioned silver buttons on a policenman's uniform will "twinkle in the headlight" and be MORE visible than Hi-visibility clothing.

My personal feeling is that tthis equipment (PPE for many professions) has a positive part to play and is therefore essential. Anyopne working, cycling or performing any task where being visible is important should wear hi-viz clothing as a basic safety precaution.

What do others think - in particular thse in the Emergency Services 0- would you feel safer in a black uniform with silver buttons opr a hi viz jacket with Scotchlite reflective strips?


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 09:52 
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I used to work in a warehouse and had to wear a hi-visibility vest INDOORS because there were forklift trucks moving about.

I suppose hi-visibility clothing does have its uses because only two weeks ago, while night driving, I saw a cyclist whose bike had no lights or reflectors and he wasn't even wearing light coloured clothing.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 10:06 
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Well I bought a H-Viz jacket for wearing on my motorcycle when I returned to biking last year. Not something I'd previously bothered with, but decided I needed to increase my visibility as much as possible.
Hope it works :shock:


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 11:13 
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The reduction in "effectiveness" might be due to the proliferation of use of these high visibility jackets and familiarity breeding conempt, as it were. However, I think they are useful especially in the invisible cyclist scenario.

One thing I implore users of these jackets not to do is wear them while driving. I think I keep see unmarked police cars which turn out to be just airport workers on their way home. :)

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 13:12 
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Thanks, the replies confirm what I thought, especially about cyclists needing to be highly visible.

Would the reversion to dark clothing with silver buttons or the like break the "familiarity" and imrove the position, or would this be a retrograde step?


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 13:22 
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Sory for the break - wanted to select a reference:

THe comment about the dark clothed cyclist reminded me of a post on another site. THe same discussion came up and the opinion is often different. On a cycling forum, the discussion between hiviz clothing and the black suit was was met with the following reply:

Quote:
The silver buttons twinkeled enough to show in headlamps!
You really are the most stupid bloke on here!

By the wya you are so short sighted and unable to see beyond end of your nose that you need to see optician pronto!


Regardless of the insults and poor grammar, I felt that this was worrying. If there are people out there who feel that feel that all of us wearing Hi-Viz clothing (including apparently the Emergency Services) is stupid and unhelpful then what is the answer?

Education?
Do we need to change the clothing?


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 13:51 
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I'm sure we can all bring to mind a "scare" we've had when a dark clothed figure has loomed out of the darkness at us, be they a cyclist, or black labrador walking pedestrian or whatever.

Whatever the arguments about familiarity is concerned, that can only be an argument about how our minds process the image once acquired. But if someone is wearing dark, non-reflective clothing then on a dark unlit road there is no light for our eyes to collect. If we don't see them in the first place then we can't possibly get as far as subconsciously ignoring them can we?

Be bright, be seen!

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 15:05 
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JT wrote:
Be bright, be seen!


Maybe it's time for a revival of those old "get yourself seen" (plus all the other ones offering genuinely useful road safety advice... which would be pretty much all of them IIRC) public information adverts/films?


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 15:13 
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Twister wrote:
JT wrote:
Be bright, be seen!


Maybe it's time for a revival of those old "get yourself seen" (plus all the other ones offering genuinely useful road safety advice... which would be pretty much all of them IIRC) public information adverts/films?


Long overdue.

They should look at overall road safety results and immediately (largely) go back to the excellent and effective road safety policies of 15 years ago.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 15:18 
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I have a theoretical concern about Hi-Vis jackets and related safety equipment.

Surely there's some real risk of habituation, where we become so used to seeing workers (etc) wearing hi vis clothing that we MIGHT sometimes be less likely to see a normally attired person?

It seems to me that there's often an element of self-fulfilling prophesy about safety initiatives such as these.

What do I do? I have a Hi Vis jacket in the boot, just in case.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 16:00 
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Legislation came into force in Italy in the summer of 2003 requiring all drivers to carry a type-approved hi-viz vest in their vehicles to be worn in the event having to stop at the roadside for whatever reason.

AFAIK France has since passed similar legislation. I thought it was a cracking idea and bought two of them (€6 from any supermarket) when I was there at the time.

I also think we lag severely behind these countries regarding the carrying and use of warning triangles.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 17:38 
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malcolmw wrote:
The reduction in "effectiveness" might be due to the proliferation of use of these high visibility jackets and familiarity breeding conempt, as it were. However, I think they are useful especially in the invisible cyclist scenario.

One thing I implore users of these jackets not to do is wear them while driving. I think I keep see unmarked police cars which turn out to be just airport workers on their way home. :)


I never wear mine in the unmarked car on the occasions I've used it. You can spot me a mile off then - and that's not cricket :wink:

Big giveaway for an unmarked is Durham is .... not tellin' ya!


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 17:47 
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r11co wrote:
Legislation came into force in Italy in the summer of 2003 requiring all drivers to carry a type-approved hi-viz vest in their vehicles to be worn in the event having to stop at the roadside for whatever reason.

AFAIK France has since passed similar legislation. I thought it was a cracking idea and bought two of them (€6 from any supermarket) when I was there at the time.

I also think we lag severely behind these countries regarding the carrying and use of warning triangles.


See the Mad Lad responded to Neil last night about driving to France and mentioned this very requirement. Spain goes one step further - everyone in the car has to have one and you have to keep it in the saloon of the car as well.

Think we need to look at designs of high viz for effect. Swiss mob purchased some really tasteful cycling gear in Switzerland recently. Different styles and designs - all visible and wearable without being "the same" as other workers.

Germany, Austria and Switzerland have laws regarding first aid kits as well - also a good idea as you never know.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 18:02 
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Cunobelin wrote:
What do others think - in particular thse in the Emergency Services 0- would you feel safer in a black uniform with silver buttons opr a hi viz jacket with Scotchlite reflective strips?



I definitely feel safer in my jacket with big Scotchlite stripes on it. Trafpols don't wear helmets (we have a cap but only required to wear it for official things - like escorting Tone around - he's on our patch!).

Our lads tend to carry them in the car and then put them on when attending whatever. We are not wearing caps/helmets and the unmarked is unmarked so other drivers are not always aware we are BiBs.as they pass. 99% of the time they slow down as they have seen us. So I rate my chances of survical at the secenof an incident a lot higher if i can be seen by others.

Our BiB cyclists and bikers wear their high viz all the time. They do now wear a policeman's helmet - they wear a proper cyclist's helmet up here. As far as a motorist is concerned - our guy on the bicycle is a normal ordinary cyclist. not one of our lads has complained about drivers not seeing them - nor have they complained about driver standards and attitudes towards them.

Obviously I cannot comment on other forces - but that's the take up here.

Being seen helps - and the stronger the bicycle lamps, with some kind of pale clothing in winter (not necessarily a full hig high ziz - but just enough to get one noticed ) certainly helps.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 18:48 
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Cunobelin wrote:
Sory for the break - wanted to select a reference:

THe comment about the dark clothed cyclist reminded me of a post on another site. THe same discussion came up and the opinion is often different. On a cycling forum, the discussion between hiviz clothing and the black suit was was met with the following reply:

Quote:
The silver buttons twinkeled enough to show in headlamps!
You really are the most stupid bloke on here!

By the wya you are so short sighted and unable to see beyond end of your nose that you need to see optician pronto!


Regardless of the insults and poor grammar, I felt that this was worrying. If there are people out there who feel that feel that all of us wearing Hi-Viz clothing (including apparently the Emergency Services) is stupid and unhelpful then what is the answer?

Education?
Do we need to change the clothing?



I form part of the Emergency Services and I find my jacket to be extremely helpful when I am investigating, training soemone, chasing an errant biker on my bike - whatever. If I know myself to be visible on a dark road - I feel a heck of a lot safer. All our lads feel th same way - and we liaise with paramedics and fire crews - and they all feel the same. The jackets are useful - especially at night and most especially on our faster roads.


Now in the context of the article - person posted some research allegedly carried out by one cyclist on a commute to work:

one individual cyclist allegedly doing some research somewhere or other into high viz clothing wrote:

I cycled the same route each day for three weeks.

In week one - I wore a high viz vest

In week two - I wore ordinary clothing

In week three - I wore a black suit with silver buttons and a party policeman's helmet.


For some reason the dark suit was more effective and impersonating a policeman is the most effective way of keeping safe!


The person who posted this appeared to think this significant as a visibility aid. The silver buttons would indeed show in headlamps if road was dark - but doubtful whether the rest of the person's silhoutte would show up if the guy was cycling to and from work in dark winter lights.

Plod uniform is a visibility aid, though - it usually attracts yob to attack us as they are no longer scared of us.

If you were a policeman - you would know that wearing a uniform usually means someone will gob on you, be sick all over you, pull weapons on you, call you rude names, refuse to be arrested and aim to kick you where it really hurts - so I would not recommend wearing this type of gear at home folks as a personal safety/visibility aid!

But in any case - we normally wear high viz vests with Police in reflective letters written all over in any case when we are out and about. We also use traditional cycling helmets as well around here - as the traditional one gets in the way when you are pedalling really furiously after soemone - and we found the ordinary helmet wobbled a bit and fell off when we rode the bikes up and down steps as well. :lol:

But you know what we're like up here - speedy responses.... :shock:

But - as said earlier, foreign element in this family have found some really tasteful gear abroad which serve purpose of being seen in the dark without overpowering folks with uniform clothing.

And of course - we need education adverts to remind people of the benefits of being seen and series of adverts teaching, reminding, reinforcing those COAST skills in all road users. No good wearing the clothes if we are not teaching people how to obesrve, anticipate and react accordingly


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 19:24 
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Couldn't sympathise more - working nights in a Casualty department in Plymouth teaches you to spot the signs, but you can't always avoid the consequences of somenoe else's idea fo a "good night out"

One new approach, tried out by a clothing manafacturer is the new inks that are in themselves reflective. These are "normal colours" during daytime, with the ink only showing as a light grey pattern. At night they are reflective to the same state as a reflective jacket. look at "View From" or "Ron Hill" catalogues for their interpretations. "Jack Wolfskin"" also does waterproofs.

Ambulances and Police vehicles change siren sounds and colours as people become "anaesthetized" to the sound / apearance. Is there grounds for changing colours of jackets to say bright green and (I won't suggest pink) other colours.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 21:10 
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3 christmas's ago, shortly after taking up running I decided a high viz vest was the order of the day. I suggested to the club chairman that we had club viz. My thinking was we won't get run over and the ladies would fell a bit safer being all bright. Wrong.

On the second outing in my new hi viz, I'm running in a group of 30 along a well lit high street. Some clown in a white Audi 80 pulls up on the right hand side of the road with the drivers door to the kerb. He was facing the way I was running. Just as I was level with his boot the drivers door started to open. Bugger. The top corner of the door hit me square in the throat and I fell in a gasping heap on the floor.

The driver said the classic "sorry mate I didn't see you", honest he did. I tried to point out I was the only one of 30 so visable, but was too busy trying not to die. I couldn't even swear. I had quite nasty whiplash and it was more pain full than when I broke my neck in the summer. If it happens again I won't be so passive.

I've ditched the hi viz


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 23:34 
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Cunobelin wrote:
Couldn't sympathise more - working nights in a Casualty department in Plymouth teaches you to spot the signs, but you can't always avoid the consequences of somenoe else's idea fo a "good night out"



I have never really understood the need to get that drunk. But then - seen practically everything the public could chuck at me. Same goes, I think, for the Mad Doc on here and other equally deranged medical felines dotted around "petrolhead" and other sites for fairly fast moving objects :wink:

So - you an A&E medico? You have my sympathies. Hear lots of horror stories from colleagues and the medics in the family. Thought I had awkwards hour - but theirs are worse - especially when they were juniors: 100-120 hour weeks were about normal at the time - and they had to study as well.

cunobelin wrote:
One new approach, tried out by a clothing manafacturer is the new inks that are in themselves reflective. These are "normal colours" during daytime, with the ink only showing as a light grey pattern. At night they are reflective to the same state as a reflective jacket. look at "View From" or "Ron Hill" catalogues for their interpretations. "Jack Wolfskin"" also does waterproofs.


Cheers - I'll pass this on. Think one of my cousins found something similar in Switzerland. She's been raving about it and apparently it's the biz for her work as well. (She's a country vet and out and about in all weathers.) She came back with a range of new gear apparently - and she is now hoping this will make her completely numpty-proof from all angles of attack. Going to see her this weekend - tell you what I think of her gear and the various makes and colours she's apparently bought when she's" modelled" them for me.


Cunobelin wrote:
Ambulances and Police vehicles change siren sounds and colours as people become "anaesthetized" to the sound / apearance. Is there grounds for changing colours of jackets to say bright green and (I won't suggest pink) other colours.


I would say so .. we do have greeny ones as well. Nothing wrong with any colour, even just a strip, dots, would be enough to show up on a dark night.

We can only try to reduce the odds a little and try to educate people to think just a little harder when they are out and about. Amazing how many people remember to look into the bling spot when they set off and forget all about when they stop and get out of the car - and in Adam's case.

So mix of education focusing on responsibility and key COAST skills would appear step in the right ditection.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2005 00:04 
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adam.L wrote:
The driver said the classic "sorry mate I didn't see you", honest he did. I tried to point out I was the only one of 30 so visable, but was too busy trying not to die. I couldn't even swear. I had quite nasty whiplash and it was more pain full than when I broke my neck in the summer. If it happens again I won't be so passive.

I've ditched the hi viz


Ditching the hi viz may have been a mistake because in other circumstances it could make a positive difference.

I hate to point this out, but there's another lesson there for you. It's perfectly normal for a door to come flying open on a parked car if it's occupied. Especially so for the drivers door soon after the vehicle has stopped. It was oh so predictable...

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2005 09:20 
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reflective high vis at night has a valuable contribution for motorcylists. There is a problem when riding at night in moderate traffic (e.g. unlit dual cariage way) where the motorcyles tail lights can appear blended with the vehicle in front. This can mean a driver may not judge the speed/distance properly and produce a SMIDSY. Reflective strips help to create an outline to focus attention.

Although I also wear a high vis body warmer during daylight riding, I'm not convinced it offer much of a safety aid.


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