The Worst Day of the Year Ride is February 11th

The Monday Roundup: The futility of high-vis clothing & more

Posted by on December 2nd, 2013 at 9:06 am

The underappreciated fender zones.
(Click for full image by Jeff Werner.)

Welcome to December! Here’s the bike news from around the world that caught our eyes this week:

Fender zones: “It’s winter riding season,” writes Vancouver designer Jeff Werner. “Do you know your fender zones? Mere centimetres separate the douches from the saints.”

High-vis clothes don’t help: A “small but potentially lethal number of drivers will pass too close whatever you wear,” according to a study by a professor who once wore a wig to test whether people passed women on bikes differently than men. That’s just the start of the interesting findings in his team’s new study.

Is your blinking light too bright? “The scariest thing about biking at night in Seattle isn’t the cellphone-jabbering SUV drivers or the bone-crunching potholes,” argues Crosscut. “It’s other cyclists — specifically, their high-powered, strobing and flashing headlights.” Seattle Bike Blog’s Tom Fucoloro notes that though the problems of such lights are actually dwarfed by distracted driving, they can indeed cause trouble and he has some ideas.

Bikes suck: At first, it seems like Melbourne’s newspaper has brought clickbait to a new low with a piece called “14 reasons we hate cyclists.” But it hasn’t!

LA bike trains: You’ve heard of bike trains at elementary schools; some Angelinos are leading them for adults, too, and we love their maps.

Do bikers long for injury? People who ride bikes are “longing” for cars to “run them down” so they can get the drivers in trouble, a British politician said during a debate over a string of six bike-related deaths on London’s streets.

Multi-use path horrors: A biking and walking path that would run alongside a Medford golf course would probably attract illegal camping, detractors say. “It will be a Guantanamo Northwest,” said Viktor Met, 85, who lives nearby. “Or a penal colony.”

Peak car: “Whenever a new study on the decline of driving in America is released, it’s almost like reading a chapter of my life and the people around me,” writes Stephen Lacey in a nice summary of the ever-stronger evidence for this trend.

2020 bike boom: A researcher predicts that after years of stagnation, a big bike sales and manufacturing boom will come in 2020, when bike-loving Generation Y (aka the Millennials) hits the traditional bike-purchasing sweet spot of ages 30 to 36.

Mixing bike cultures: In one of her first posts as Equity Initiative Manager for the League of American Bicyclists, former Portlander Adonia Lugo tells the story of African-American bike-racing champion Major Taylor and reflects on his decision to cross cultural barriers in order to race.

Cross-country ride: A Battle Ground man, 62, finished his bike journey from Vancouver BC to Key West, Florida last week. He hadn’t ridden a bike since he was a teenager; it took him just 100 days.

Guerrilla speed limits: A group of Brooklyn activists who support a proposal to cut NYC’s neighborhood speed limits to 20 mph spent $300 to install 10 of their own 20 mph signs along Prospect Park West. (The city removed them by the following evening.)

Celtic pedestrians: An English historian and bicycle lover stumbled across a radical new theory of early Celtic migration because he was researching riding routes across the Pyrenees.

Plaza donation: Public spaces require upkeep, and upkeep costs money. The JPMorgan Chase Foundation just gave a private New York organization $800,000 to maintain public plazas in low-income neighborhoods.

Toronto bike share struggles: Toronto, home to one of the few bike share systems in North America that hasn’t broken even, would spend $3.9 million on a plan to bail out its local system and hand operations to Portland-based Alta Bicycle Share, which operates many of the successful systems.

Seattle bike share struggles: Portland isn’t the only city struggling to find private bike share sponsors. Puget Sound Bike Share is considering lopping downtown and Capitol Hill out of its service area to save money. It’s the latest sign that Alta may have overestimated sponsorship revenue potential during its race to expand.

Seattle bike plan: Looks like the Emerald City is about to scrap its six-year-old bike plan, which relied heavily on sharrows, in favor of a new one that would add 100 miles of protected bike lanes by 2033. Intriguingly, it’s been vetted by Seattle’s freight committee as well as biking experts.

Against lane position laws: Last week’s roundup alluded to this Floridian’s case against far-to-the-right laws that push bikes toward unsafe parts of the road. As discussed in last week’s comments, it’s worth a direct link.

Houston progress: A federal TIGER grant will provide half the cash for a $30 million upgrade to Houston’s biking and walking network. (That’s more than half what it cost to build Portland’s entire bike network as of 2009.)

Parking wins: A DC-area bike lane that drew national attention thanks to the nonsensical arguments of its opponents won’t be built, an Alexandria, Va. committee decided last Tuesday — at least not yet.

Uninformed cop: An Ohio sheriff’s deputy, apparently unaware that bicycles are allowed to ride on roadways, ordered two men on bikes off the road. When they refused, they say, he tried to force them off the road, tried to door them and finally tazed and beat one of them with his baton. His citations were thrown out in court, and they’re suing him.

Uninformed bobby: A UK policeman, apparently unaware that cargo bicycles are a thing, detained a London man taking his kids to school, then released him upon deciding that the bike was “legal.”

Car dependence prediction: 60 years ago, car-free science fiction writer Ray Bradbury predicted a world where walking would be so rare that people get arrested for it.

If you come across a noteworthy bicycle story, send it in via email, Tweet @bikeportland, or whatever else and we’ll consider adding it to next Monday’s roundup.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • BURR December 2, 2013 at 9:22 am

    Short fenders keep the Freds from drafting you.


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    • Alex December 2, 2013 at 9:52 am

      Who cares if someone is drafting you? I would rather be in front than behind.

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      • q`Tzal December 2, 2013 at 10:13 am

        Because all bike riding is a competition and if you aren’t always in front you automatically lose your Y chromosome.

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      • dan December 2, 2013 at 10:21 am

        +1 to Burr. If it’s wet enough to need fenders, then the road is wet and possibly slick and I really don’t want someone right on my tail.

        I have to laugh at people who whine about the bike in front having inadequate fenders. If you want to ride on top of them and get sprayed, that’s on you, not them. It would be like getting a hoodful of gravel while tailgating another car on the way up to Mt. Hood and complaining the driver in front of you hadn’t installed mudflaps.

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        • rider December 2, 2013 at 3:26 pm

          My issue is people with beavertail or short fenders who pass me and in doing so spray me with road grit. How am I supposed to prevent this? Slam on my brakes and take cover every time someone passes me?

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          • Paul in the 'couve December 2, 2013 at 4:48 pm

            THAT is why I have a mud flap that hangs within 1″ of the ground on my rear. I like to ride fast and I don’t want to spray people and I will pass.

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          • dan December 3, 2013 at 9:12 am

            OK, that is irritating and thoughtless on the part of the people doing the passing. Still, no need to slam on the brakes. The rooster tail is only about 6″ wide, so you can just ride to either side of it while you ease off on the pedals to create a gap.

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            • rider December 3, 2013 at 9:54 am

              I’ll have to slam on my brakes so I can clear the grit from my eyes. Stop making excuses for people who don’t have proper equipment for the conditions.

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              • Dan Morrison December 3, 2013 at 11:58 am

                Blinded by road spray of a passing cyclist? What to you do when you’re passed by a a semi with no trailer, or bus, or bro-dozer without mudflaps? What do you do about the rain drops thoughtlessly hitting your face and eyes? It’s on you to avoid minor obstacles and deal with rain and spray yourself.

                I have full coverage fenders because I like my face, feet, and drive train to be relatively protected from constant spray of my bike. I don’t expect any other cyclist to want or do the same on my account because I don’t demand that others conform for my riding comfort. This is an issue of comfort, not safety. If another cyclist or vehicle isn’t visible -that’s a safety issue. If another cyclist or vehicle spays you in transit – that’s life. You can deal with it and if you can’t, I suggest exclusively riding when it’s dry.

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              • dan December 3, 2013 at 12:29 pm

                “Stop making excuses for people who don’t have proper equipment…”

                Proper equipment like eye protection? Seems to me that you’re the one doing that.

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          • Nathan December 3, 2013 at 10:49 am

            Not everyone has the financial or mechanical ability to have a bicycle that has fenders that satisfy everybody. Are these people “douches” or “dicks”?

            If you feel happy with your fenders, congratulations. If you have issues with other people’s fenders, it seems like a waste of emotional energy.

            Riding in the rain means getting wet.

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            • Mindful Cyclist December 3, 2013 at 1:03 pm

              +1. A set of full fenders is going to cost around $40 at a local bike shop. And, getting those things installed at City Bikes, one of the most reasonably priced shops in town, is going to set someone back $20+.

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              • Zen Punk December 5, 2013 at 11:35 pm

                Why would it be necessary to pay someone to install fenders? I understand if you don’t feel comfortable replacing your cassette or something, but putting on fenders is a pretty straight forward affair…you put them over the wheel, and the bolts go in the holes. If it fits, great, if it don’t, it don’t.

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      • Todd Hudson December 2, 2013 at 10:47 am

        I stop at stop signs and twice have been rear-ended by people on bikes assuming I wouldn’t stop. This is why I don’t want people drafting me.

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        • q`Tzal December 2, 2013 at 11:42 am

          +1 to Burr. If it’s wet enough to need fenders, then the road is wet and possibly slick and I really don’t want someone right on my tail.
          I have to laugh at people who whine about the bike in front having inadequate fenders. If you want to ride on top of them and get sprayed, that’s on you, not them.

          +1 to Todd too.
          I cut a big swath through the air (big paniers, bigger rider) and yet still maintain a pace faster than my size belies. But no one can predict when I’m gonna brake. I have never been hit nor crashed my bike in traffic situations; only on lonesome stretches of road when I think “I wonder what happens if I do this?”
          Call it long experience, reasonable skill or Jedi intuition of when that SUV driver is about to do something b0nehead I’ve always been willing to dump all that hard won inertia to stay alive.

          And I’ve got killer brakes to back it up: draft at your own risk.

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    • spencer December 2, 2013 at 10:03 am


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    • El Biciclero December 2, 2013 at 10:16 am

      Heh, yeah. Maybe this graphic should show the parabolic arc of spray from rear wheels and have some parallel “Zones of douchery” for encroaching past the points where said spray falls back to the pavement, i.e., following too closely. It should work out great, since the faster one travels, the farther back spray will travel, and the farther back followers should stay. I’ve followed many a fenderless MTB without getting sprayed ‘cuz I follow at a distance… .

      I wonder whether the word “douche” was chosen specifically for it’s double-entendre here, or whether that was just unintended wordplay..

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    • JV December 2, 2013 at 12:13 pm

      Short fenders do help to encourage safe following distances – Another option is to ride slightly off to the side. It is both cleaner and safer – way too often I see unsafe wheelhugging during my commute. I was almost rear ended last week by another person on a bike when I had the gall to actually stop at the Ladd’s Circle stop sign.

      Really short fenders (especially front) do more to soak the rider than anybody behind anyway.

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  • resopmok December 2, 2013 at 10:05 am

    Re: fenders, long rear fenders are a good courtesy, especially in places where it’s necessary to be close to other riders, such as crossing the hawthorne bridge. We’re not all freds trying to draft. Mudflaps on your front fenders are also an underused helpful addition to your shoes and drivetrain. You’d be surprised if you’ve never tried them.

    Re: bright lights, cyclists would probably not feel a bright light arms race is necessary if streets and paths were better lit to begin with. Blinking also really does help save on batteries. Until recently, with the advent of some USB charging lights that indicate when they are getting low, it has been difficult to know when a good time to replace and/or recharge batteries for your light was. Lights also get a lot of use this time of year in this part of the country when it is dark for long hours. Some regulations about brightness and blinking could be helpful, but cyclists need to feel like they are seen, something drivers seem to have a hard time doing no matter how lit up one seems to be at times.

    Re: bad police behavior, glad to see justice for these two cyclists. I feel bad that it has to be such a huge fight for them, though, that the system seems to be stacked against them for an action the was, at least to partially educated citizens, completely wrong. I hope they get everything they ask for in their civil suits, they deserve it.

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    • davemess December 2, 2013 at 1:26 pm

      Is there a real update to that story (with the two cyclists and the cop in Ohio). That article is almost 4 years old (I remember reading it back then).

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    • Dan Morrison December 2, 2013 at 1:32 pm

      Following far enough to never notice the amount of pre-fender spray from another cyclist is courteous.

      Expecting other people’s fenders to keep you dry is douchey.

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      • resopmok December 2, 2013 at 2:28 pm

        It’s also considered courteous for cubicle co-workers to shower semi-regularly or not wear annoyingly smelly perfumes, but there are lots of discourteous people in this world. Fenderless spray can often exceed safe following distance, which is itself a subjective matter. This is a city, there’s enough cyclists on the road that we can expect to be near each other from time to time, and we’re all here together, theoretically. So what’s wrong with being polite to your fellow human beings?

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        • Dan Morrison December 3, 2013 at 12:12 pm

          The analog of a smelly coworker would work if you had no choice but to follow closely behind a cyclist so douchey they wouldn’t get the fenders you prefer.

          You aren’t forced to follow at a preset distance, though. You could pass them. Take a different route. Follow further behind. Follow outside of the narrow rooster tail. You whine about someone else’s choice in fenders even though you’re given all those options to remove yourself from a situation you don’t particularly care for. That’s douchey.

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    • Mindful Cyclist December 3, 2013 at 12:47 pm

      It is not necessary to be close to other riders on the Hawthorne Bridge. And, I would argue if there is any place where we should be very mindful of not following close is on a narrow bridge where our ability to avoid something is much more limited.

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      • Dan Morrison December 3, 2013 at 12:51 pm

        Appropriate name, my friend.

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  • 9watts December 2, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Another fantastic Monday Roundup. Thanks, Team Bikeportland!

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  • wsbob December 2, 2013 at 11:04 am

    By itself, incorrect….though, following the colon, inclusion of the quote from the Road Ace article does bring the sensation creating intro statement closer to what people conducting the study concluded:

    “High-vis clothes don’t help:…” bikeportland monday roundup

    Well, duh:

    “High vis clothing doesn’t make cars pass you more safely, says new study” headline, Road Ace

    Clothing worn by people outside a motor vehicle, can’t control operation of the vehicle by the person inside the vehicle and driving it. Nevertheless, people driving cars can pass vulnerable road users more safely if they’re able to see them, than if they can’t see them. Hi-vis clothing can help vulnerable road users to be more easily seen against the road-scape.

    A fair conclusion:

    “…Researchers from the University of Bath and Brunel University found that no matter what clothing a cyclist wears, around 1-2% of drivers will pass dangerously close when overtaking. …” john stevenson/Road Ace

    From the study, a fair conclusion:

    “…Rather, we should be creating safer spaces for cycling – perhaps by building high-quality separate cycle paths, by encouraging gentler roads with less stop-start traffic, or by making drivers more aware of how it feels to cycle on our roads and the consequences of impatient overtaking.” …”

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    • Randall Sewell December 4, 2013 at 9:21 am

      The point being: being visible doesn’t help when people aren’t paying attention, and when people are paying attention, they’ll see you anyway.

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      • 9watts December 4, 2013 at 10:02 am

        In a nutshell, yes.
        Kind of basic common sense/basic speed rule, and all that.
        Though wsbob will be all over this in a day or so.

        I’d put it this way.
        With drivers paying attention, driving at reasonable/legal speeds, and knowing some basic rules about how to drive in the presence of people on bikes the chances of injury or death are pretty low.
        Given that we know this not to be a given, what do we do about it? Crack down on dangerous inattentive drivers, or get all excited about how underlit or unreflectorized many who bike are? Some of the latter can’t hurt, but *only* in the context of a strong effort to focus on and reduce the former.

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      • wsbob December 4, 2013 at 10:17 am

        “…and when people are paying attention, they’ll see you anyway.”

        That’s not the point. The point is, that even when people driving are on the watch for vulnerable road users, the readiness by which they’re able to visually detect them may be dramatically impaired by a wide range of conditions arising from such things as weather, bad lighting or absence of it, shadows and so on.

        For example, under often common poor conditions as mentioned above, to the sight of people driving, a person on a bike may virtually disappear, something like natural camouflage aids wildlife from avoiding detection. Use of hi-vis gear can help immensely to enhance the visible image vulnerable road users present to people driving.

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        • 9watts December 4, 2013 at 10:21 am

          “a person on a bike may virtually disappear,”

          you know, wsbob, there’s a much simpler fix that doesn’t require all this speculation about how and when and why bicyclists virtually disappear (he came out of nowhere and all that): slow down!

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  • pdxpaul December 2, 2013 at 11:19 am

    While on the road, bright lights are not too much of a concern for me, but why do you need to blind me on the MUP?

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    • K'Tesh December 2, 2013 at 12:37 pm

      Newer LED bike lights (eg NR MiNewt 600 cordless, Cygolite Expilion 800) have a low level for night time riding. I own both, and use them in the low, or walk modes most of the time. Rarely do I find that I need the eyeball searing levels that they offer, but it’s nice to have them available for riding on a dark, wet, night on lonely stretches of 99W between King City and Sherwood (especially when I’m the 3rd+ bicyclist to arrive at Tigard Transit waiting for the 93 bus).

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    • Adam Gnarls December 2, 2013 at 1:35 pm

      Reasons why they blind you on the MUP (I’m so happy about not riding along the Springwater due to a recent move if only because of this reason.)
      1.) They’re ignorant and under educated on the fact their bright blinking lights are unnecessary and dangerous for other riders along paths.
      2.) They’re too lazy to adjust the light’s brightness.
      3.) They’re too lazy to adjust the light’s positioning.
      4.) They’re a jerk who doesn’t care.

      During my days I would passive aggressively tool around with my lights positioning when someone would come at me with their inappropriate lights. It never really worked (immediately), and I wasn’t too sure how to let them know in a more positive way.

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      • Martin December 5, 2013 at 9:52 am

        I like to hold one hand out to shield my eyes from their light as they approach. They see me doing this and hopefully realize why. I think most of the problems are from people not realizing that the light is tilted too high. I have a Light and Motion VIS360+ which does get really bright, but its helmet mounted so it’s easy to tilt my head down a little to protect oncoming bikers. It’s also fun to point it at cars threatening to pull out in front of me to make sure they see me.

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  • Chris I December 2, 2013 at 11:26 am

    That father in the UK bakfiet story wins the prize for most poorly fitted child helmets.

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  • q`Tzal December 2, 2013 at 11:51 am

    Mr. Andersen … you disappoint me … Fenders?
    If you want to start a flame war every bike blogger know to mention helmets.

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    • Opus the Poet December 2, 2013 at 7:33 pm

      I had fenders on my last bike, and plan to have fenders on my next one too. And I make my own mud flaps from half-gallon milk jugs.

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    • pengo December 3, 2013 at 2:02 pm

      Actually, fenders seems to be working pretty well so far. This one might have legs.

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  • Anne Hawley December 2, 2013 at 11:54 am

    Kudos to Jim Ryan for his 100-day diagonal ride across the US. That’s quite an achievement.

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    • dan December 2, 2013 at 12:41 pm

      Yes! I need to send that article to my dad.

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      • Cold Worker December 2, 2013 at 2:06 pm

        I just did exactly that. He lives in Vancouver so maybe he’s already seen that in the paper.

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    • Joe Adamski December 2, 2013 at 9:47 pm

      kudos indeed. I read a book, “over the hill” by david lamb chronicling a mid 50s cigarette smoking junk food addict and his cross country bike trip. He survived. I would imagine most of could, if we chose to. The biggest leap is from your seat to your feet. Congratulations Jim!

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  • Anne Hawley December 2, 2013 at 11:56 am

    I should have said, “for his 100-day ride diagonally across the US”. I imagine he was more or less vertical for it.

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    • q`Tzal December 2, 2013 at 12:19 pm

      Direct link to the daily journal “Seeing America at 10 MPH” he has made publicly available at

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    • q`Tzal December 3, 2013 at 4:04 pm

      Going to the website can be just as much of time suck as Wikipedia or I can haz cheezeburger.
      At least the stories are rated. Also the photos that are attached are rated separately so you can search for beautiful pictures separately.

      Very quickly you can find some touring cyclists that should be croudfunded just to wander aimlessly across the country to take pictures reminding us that no matter what the nation is still worth saving.

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  • spare_wheel December 2, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    Bike Blog’s Tom Fucoloro notes that though the problems of such lights are actually dwarfed by distracted driving, they can indeed cause trouble and he has some ideas.

    Where exactly is the evidence that bright bike lights are a genuine safety problem?

    I use bright bike lights primarily to detect dangerous debris and road damage. In fact, 25+ years of bike commuting has taught me that pot holes, leaves, mud/slime and branches are a far greater risk to my safety than motorists. A dim light or anemic blinky simply does not cut it when it comes to cycling safely in darker areas. If someone’s bright bike light makes you feel unsafe then you can do what I do — slow the ef down. My safety trumps your inconvenience.

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    • Brendan December 2, 2013 at 12:47 pm

      It’s the angle more than the brightness that I think matters. I see a lot of people with bright lights that are just about horizontal. That’s the same as having your hi-beams on in a car which is illegal for a reason. Your safety does not trump others safety and common sense doesn’t require everything have a scientific study attached to it.

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      • wsbob December 2, 2013 at 1:11 pm

        “It’s the angle more than the brightness that I think matters. …” Brendan

        That’s exactly right. The angle at which a bike mounted headlight beam hits the road ahead is just a rough estimate, adjusted by the bike’s rider. Stray light from bike light beams that tend to be on the floody side, can further pose a ‘light in eyes’ problem from bike light beams that are angled up too high.

        Some bike light manufacturers have started to produce bike lights that have focused beams, something like some motor vehicle headlights have. Applied to bike lights, this could help, but people riding are primarily responsible for the effort to make certain beams of light from their bike’s light isn’t shining directly into the eyes of other road users.

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      • dr2chase December 2, 2013 at 1:28 pm

        After all, driving while blind is okay in a car, why not on a bike, too? On the local MUP, I’m often rendered unable to see what is directly in front of me by blinding headlights on other bikes. I slow down (of course, right?) but it is a pain.

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      • spare_wheel December 2, 2013 at 1:47 pm

        and i think a lot of people who bike fail to understand that some of us ride routes that require a shallower angle. until someone develops a bright bike light with a high/low beam switch my lights will continue to be set at the shallower angle i need to safely descend relatively steep winding curves.

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      • Psyfalcon December 2, 2013 at 5:06 pm

        Seems the Germans already thought this out? Most of the dynamo lights have very good pattern cut offs, while remaining very bright.

        And most of them don’t flash, at least at the high levels. (There is at least one rider on Clinton that has 3 bright lights flashing at random. I just look away and hope nothing happens in front of me).

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        • BURR December 2, 2013 at 5:36 pm

          I believe that Germany and probably other EU countries actually prohibit flashing rear bike lights; anecdotally, this is supported by the fact than any tail light I’ve ever bought that was designed for the European market does not even have a flash function.

          And, unlike the US, where it seems anything goes, most EU countries also have rather strict standards for bicycle headlight beam patterns and illumination.

          All EU market bike lighting products typically have information on the packaging regarding which countries the device is legal in.

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        • wsbob December 2, 2013 at 5:38 pm

          Technology of that sort has been developed, from what I gather reading over at bikeforums/lighting category, not a lot of manufacturers use it yet in bike lights. Phillips Saferide is one example mentioned that does use it. Maybe it costs more money to produce lights with that beam projection. Has to be a good market for that sort of thing too, if manufacturers are going to be able to afford to produce them.

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    • Champs December 2, 2013 at 1:23 pm

      With great candlepower comes great responsibility. It’s more about intensity.

      The purpose of a headlight is to illuminate the path in front of you, not to sear the retinas of oncoming traffic. A 300 lumen light with good optics is more than enough to safely descend, say, Washington Park at night. Trust me.

      Instead, consumers are sold 1200 lumen spotlights, which are aimed dead ahead and bounce off street signs a quarter mile up the road. Their victims get excuses like “at least you can see me”, as if this rationale would fly for an oncoming car that left its highbeams on at night.

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      • wsbob December 2, 2013 at 1:52 pm

        “…The purpose of a headlight is to illuminate the path in front of you, …” Champs

        That, and also to present an illuminated source by which other road users can visually detect the presence of other road users.

        The diameter of the beam source is one area where bike lights are inherently at a disadvantage over the generally larger size of motor vehicle headlights.

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      • spare_wheel December 2, 2013 at 1:57 pm

        and i’ve had cyclists on the spring water screech about an anemic 110 lumen minewt aimed ~20 feet ahead. i agree that there are legitimate problems with fleebay flamethrowers but, IMO, some of the griping about lights is just grouchiness.

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        • Dan Morrison December 3, 2013 at 11:47 am

          Tell ’em to cram it sideways.

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      • Dimitrios December 2, 2013 at 2:05 pm

        “Their victims get excuses like “at least you can see me”, as if this rationale would fly for an oncoming car that left its highbeams on at night.”

        The result of telling people how invisible they are. There are two sides pulling at the safety conscious cyclist. On the one side you have Individuals telling them their lights are too bright. On the other side are are safety campaigns promoting being lit up like a flying saucer. The minimum legal requirement for lighting is apparently not enough visibility to absolve a cyclist of fault in the eyes the general public and public opinion ultimately drives enforcement when written policy disagrees. The fact that saying “I didn’t see him” or “they came out of nowhere” is a get out of jail free card further pushes the safety race towards cycling UFOs. It looks like “you can’t be too visible” is going to win this fight until a little more reasonableness enters the equation.

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      • Dimitrios December 2, 2013 at 2:07 pm

        BTW, in agreement. I just like to ponder why people do what they do.

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    • Ford Driver December 2, 2013 at 4:41 pm

      My interpretation of Tom’s article is that his issue with bright bike lights is not so much on street, but the hazard it poses on MUPs (e.g. Seattle’s Burke-Gilman Trail). During dusk and later, it can be very difficult to see pedestrians on the trail in front of you. Now, add to the mix a high-lumen, pupil narrowing, light pointed right at you and things become very uncomfortable.

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  • lavie.lama December 2, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    I snagged my handlebar on a fence and crashed hard on the Springwater once because I was totally blinded by someone’s front light. Another time I could see just fine then someone comes along with a blinding light and I hit a gigantic stick and almost went down. I had a close one with a pedestrian on the esplanade after my eyes were readjusting from another blindy dude. If you insist on using flood illuminators, at least point them totally completely at the ground.

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  • GlowBoy December 2, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    Yep, they guy riding close enough to get sprayed by the darker-blue zone in that graphic is definitely a douche.

    If some whiners are going to force me to put klutzy fuller-coverage fenders on my bike, I will be putting on bike-sized, Yosemite-Sam-yellin’, six-shooter-firin’, “BACK OFF” mudflaps.

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    • q`Tzal December 2, 2013 at 1:06 pm

      … I will be putting on bike-sized, Yosemite-Sam-yellin’, six-shooter-firin’, “BACK OFF” mudflaps.

      or “Failed emissions testing, stay back 500 ft!”

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    • q`Tzal December 3, 2013 at 1:21 am

      “Fueled by pinto beans and kimchi: follow at your own risk”

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  • David Feldman December 2, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    Long fenders benefit the user, too–the front keeps my shins, ankles, and feet drier, the rear keeps my back and butt drier. It is a terrible shame that ignorant, fashion-driven bike design has made too many road bikes lousy machines for our climate. As for lights, I have ridden at night for over forty years and other cyclists with too-bright lights is a wonderful problem to have! There is a mental discipline to learn when night cycling–the technique of looking down and away at approaching lights. You don’t look far away but, say, around the middle of your own lane. Learn to follow a fog line.

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  • Dan Morrison December 2, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    The ultimate douche: the massive sense of entitlement that begets a mindset where someone is incensed that another rider’s fenders aren’t protecting them.

    Suck it up. It’s Portland, and you’re going to get wet. Wear a rain jacket, which miraculously protects you from falling rain and sprayed water from the road. If you don’t like it, move somewhere dry or drive your car.

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  • dr2chase December 2, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    It’s a shame store-bought lights are so damn expensive. My solution to the lights problem (“my solution”, meaning not that it keeps me form being blinded, but at least I am not blinding others) is to also run a pair of “low beams” that are amber and aimed a little bit lower down, and controlled by a toggle switch. Additional cost was about $20.

    As soon as I see oncoming humans on the MUP, low beams. If they’ve got obnoxious lights and don’t do anything, sometimes I flip the brights back on to make a point.

    And because I can use low beams for oncoming people, I can aim my “high beams” up a little higher to be sure that I see everything (high signs, for example) and that everyone (high truck drivers, for example) sees me. The high beams are still well less than 500 lumens at high speed, closer to 150-200 lumens when I’m going slow.

    I’ve sanity-checked the lights and their aiming from time to time, stopping to ask random pedestrians if the yellow lights were obnoxious — and usually, the answer is “no, those are great”, but there’s a small percentage who don’t even like the amber lights.

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    • JV December 2, 2013 at 2:59 pm

      It is as if the people complaining about fender etiquette and worried about getting wet are forgetting that they are outside. They do make velomobiles if weather-protected pedaling is the goal. Also, that graphic makes no sense – if the point is to be made that short fenders are obnoxious, why not a graphic of a short clip-on fender? Even the “douche” setting on that fender in the image is offering plenty of protection.

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  • dr2chase December 2, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    Here, cheap headlight design, that might enable you to afford low-beams. This assumes you rectify the hub power upstream — connecting this directly to a battery w/o a regulator will smoke the LEDs almost instantly, but a hub magneto is intrinsically current-limited.

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  • CaptainKarma December 2, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    When a night rider approaches me on the Springwater, I shield my light with my hand so as to not blind that person. Or if it’s loosey goosey mount, i’ll aim it down temporarily. And I thank others who keep their lights aimed at the road.

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  • Arem December 2, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    That image regarding fenders – I think the triangle should be rotated 90 degrees and the name-calling ‘titles’ re-arranged so the “saint” is the person riding furthest back. Of course, that would be a chart for those that are more considerate of others.

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  • Todd Boulanger December 2, 2013 at 3:14 pm
  • gutterbunnybikes December 2, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    50 some comments and we’re all hung up on fenders and lights (granted both pet peaves of mine). That article about the “as far to the right” laws is perhaps the best thing to come out of Flordia since….well forever.

    By far one of the best laid out, most thought out arguements to get rid of the “right as far as possible.” law.

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    • Dan Morrison December 3, 2013 at 1:18 pm

      The best things to come out of Florida are Cannibal Corpse and Against Me!, then this law, then nothing.

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  • Bill Stites December 2, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    The hi-vis study cites a small slice of bad drivers, not the majority of motorists out there. The conclusion regarding apparent ineffectiveness of hi-vis clothing is being generalized too broadly.
    Please continue or consider using hi-vis clothing – it helps the average driver who’s trying to do a good job to see you out there.
    Some say that including some inherent contrast, such as a black stripe with the bright hi-vis, is best for most conditions.

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    • dr2chase December 3, 2013 at 5:10 am

      Did you read the study? They provide averages. “Hi-viz” gets you a centimeter more clearance in the average than “casual”. The differences were statistically significant, but not large. For closest-passes, there was also no difference between casual and hi-viz.

      Somewhat more surprising, and suggestive that this is all about motorists reaction to what they see, and not their actual ability to see, “POLICE” and “POLITE” (i.e., meant to look like “POLICE” but with a T so it’s not illegal) were at opposite ends of the average passing distance, as well as all three categories of close-passes. This was noted in the paper:

      “Similarly, the fact drivers were apparently able to distinguish POLICE from POLITE and adjust their behaviour in response…”

      This seems to address your criticism in several ways — the average differed very little, and there’s evidence that people are in fact tracking minor details, not just broad blobs of color.

      They note also that they did not measure the possibility that different clothing might affect the timing of passes, as opposed to the distance.

      The data I thought was missing, that would however be more difficult to collect, was information about how often a cyclist was legitimately “not seen” or had their speed misperceived, so that they might suffer a right hook, or have a driver fail to yield the right-of-way. This is much rarer than bad passes, and more difficult to measure in a consistent and automated fashion.

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      • wsbob December 3, 2013 at 10:48 am

        People driving, being able to more readily see someone riding a bike because they’re wearing hi-vis, is the important fact to keep in mind about hi-vis gear.

        It’s reprehensible that people will use arbitrary conclusions of studies like this one, in attempts to counter efforts made to have vulnerable road users present a more readily detectable image of themselves on the road, to people burdened with the responsibility of avoiding collisions with them as they drive motor vehicles.

        In the past, bikeportland’s editor-publisher has said he doesn’t like hi-vis, because he thinks, “…it’s ugly…”. Andersen, the news editor maybe thinks similarly, so frequently, it appears they, with sensation provoking, distorted story headlines and introductions, take opportunities to seemingly discredit efforts to encourage the use of such gear. That’s a disservice to road users, vulnerable and non-vulnerable alike.

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        • dr2chase December 3, 2013 at 11:52 am

          Did you read the study? Hi-vis made almost no difference at all. That’s not arbitrary, that’s what they measured. And the gender-based effects seen in earlier studies (and also replicated in other studies) strongly suggest that drivers see plenty well already, well enough to make choices based on apparent gender and skill of cyclist.

          I’m especially curious to hear what you think of the difference in POLICE/POLITE passing distances. The vest labeled “POLITE”, though high viz, always did the worst — 3.5cm closer on average than “casual”, which was only .8cm closer on average than “hi-viz”. 2.1% of POLITE passes were closer than 50cm, versus 1.2% for casual and hi-viz, and only 0.5% for POLICE.

          Why do you think this would be? If drivers had such a hard time spotting cyclists, how earth do they see well enough to tell men from women, or police from polite? And what is the safety-conscious reasoning that would have drivers passing so much closer to POLITE cyclists than POLICE cyclists?

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        • 9watts December 3, 2013 at 12:22 pm

          “take opportunities to seemingly discredit efforts to encourage the use of such gear.”

          At some point, wsbob, it seems you are willfully distorting what is being argued.
          I don’t see anyone discrediting efforts to use such gear. What I see being criticized is the (by now familiar) proclivity on the part of certain public & private agencies to imply or assert that nighttime safety of human locomotion can be usefully reduced to our visibility, things we can do to be more like Christmas trees.
          It is the lopsidedness of these campaigns that rankles, not the underlying idea that lights and reflective bits make lots of sense.

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          • dr2chase December 3, 2013 at 12:39 pm

            Careful — they didn’t study night-time commutes. It’s a statistical study that studied one thing (*), not because of a particular agenda, but because that was where they could collect relatively clean data. What it does tell you is that in common cycling conditions — daylight and good weather (or what passes for good weather in England), hi-viz makes no useful difference in passing distances (which have a lot to do with cyclist comfort, if nothing else).

            (*) They also studied correlations with traffic volume, and what happens when two cars pass.

            The thing that matters to me — but that would have been a lot harder to study — is effects on actual crash and near-crash events, things like right hooks, failure to yield, etc.

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            • 9watts December 3, 2013 at 1:05 pm

              You’re right, of course. Maybe the next iteration of their study will explore these questions. I hope so.

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            • wsbob December 3, 2013 at 6:12 pm

              “…What it does tell you is that in common cycling conditions — daylight and good weather (or what passes for good weather in England)…” dr2chase

              They study for efficacy of hi-vis gear…in daylight and good weather. Heckuva lot of help that is…instead of in lousy weather which can be common to both the U.S. and the UK, dark, dusk, and in funky dim street lighting, or no lighting at all situations. Those conditions I mention are examples of where effectiveness of hi-vis, can be very good.

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        • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
          Michael Andersen (News Editor) December 3, 2013 at 12:30 pm

          I appreciate the pushback, but for the record, anybody who’s happened to see me on the road lately knows I’m definitely not pushing an anti-high-viz agenda:

          From my perspective I’m just like most of us on the road, trying to figure out how to get around comfortably without getting hurt (and also without constraining my sophisticated fashion sense more than necessary). This study (which as far as I can tell did literally find that high-viz clothing does not help) is a pretty relevant piece of information.

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          • wsbob December 3, 2013 at 6:02 pm

            “…This study (which as far as I can tell did literally find that high-viz clothing does not help)…” Michael Andersen (News Editor)

            Michael…finish your statement, “…high-viz clothing does not help…”. From your own writing in the Roundup today:

            “…High-vis clothes don’t help: A “small but potentially lethal number of drivers will pass too close whatever you wear,” …”

            What you’re saying in that statement, whether you want to or not, is basically (my addition in parenthesis):

            ‘High-vis clothes doesn’t prevent a “small but potentially lethal number of drivers (from passing) too close whatever you wear,” .

            Which gets back to the basic fact that use of hi-vis gear by vulnerable road users can help immensely in aiding a large number of people that drive to visually detect vulnerable road users more readily.

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            • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
              Michael Andersen (News Editor) December 3, 2013 at 6:13 pm

              You’re right; the headline and boldface phrase are reductive, like all headlines and all the boldfaced phrases above. The sentence that follows it adds more detail, and the linked article more detail than that, and the study itself yet more detail. My goal is to make sure all my reductions are short enough to skim to the desired level of nuance without becoming inaccurate. To my eye, these phrases play by those rules, but I realize that you might disagree and appreciate your saying so. It helps us get things right in the future.

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              • wsbob December 3, 2013 at 6:36 pm

                ‘Reductive’…kind of a new term for me…can be great, as it’s consistent with efficient, concise, articulate expression. When it becomes, unintentionally or otherwise…misleading when detached from material that’s intended to accompany a given headline or sub-headline…that’s not a good situation.

                Lots of people don’t have the time or interest to follow up the succeeding material. Many of them, right or wrong in todays’ age of instant media, expect the headline to give them an accurate summary of the story that follows. The bold type may be the only thing they read as they quick browse.

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      • Dan Morrison December 3, 2013 at 1:23 pm

        RE: to being seen or not seen – exactly. I don’t really care if a car passes me further away because of high-viz stuff. That’s not what I want (unless they’re buzzing me, which I don’t want regardless of the time of day). What I want is to be seen. Being seen, wearing a helmet, following the rules, being aware, and choosing good routes are literally all that I can do to ensure my safety. I’m doing all those. It’s not about passing distance, it’s about making your presence known to other users of the right-of-way.

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  • El Biciclero December 3, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    Lights. I find that without the ability to toggle a bike light from low to high beam (by re-aiming, not just adjusting intensity), there is no real way to achieve a) ability to see, b) ability to be seen, and c) “courtesy”.

    On my handlebars, I have a fairly bright (500-lumen-ish) light that has a bright central beam with a less-bright zone around that. I have the central beam aimed to hit the ground about 10-15 ft in front of my front tire to highlight the imminent road surface, while the less intense fringe beam still gives me a dim preview of what’s coming up. Out of three brightness levels, I am usually at “low” or “medium”, yet I still have drivers flash me their high beams (‘cuz that’s gonna help) surprisingly frequently. I guess I need to set my bike up somewhere with the light on and then drive my car towards it to see what it looks like…

    I actually tried aiming my light higher, and found that I couldn’t see the road as well; if I aim it any lower, I’m only going to be able to really see 5 feet in front of my face. I’m leaving my light where it is. I don’t use flashing front lights if it is dark, since I have to see where I am going, and if I’m facing an unlit person, I usually try to use my hand to shield my beam until I pass them. I don’t know what else I can do.

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    • Dan Morrison December 3, 2013 at 1:26 pm

      I’m surprised the motorists aren’t already driving around with their high beams on. That, not using turn signals, and inexplicably going 10-15mph under the speed limit while still seeming overwhelmed by the task of driving are the trademark of Oregon drivers.

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  • wsbob December 3, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    “…Hi-vis made almost no difference at all. …” dr2chase

    No difference in what? The study pursues arbitrary findings and perhaps, confirmation of preconceived conclusions. If the people that created and conducted the study wanted to discover something that would focus the senses of people behind the wheel that don’t notice vulnerable road users, regardless of what they’re wearing, perhaps they should have made that the objective of their study.

    Most people are likely not interested in, or inclined to believe that hi-vis gear will somehow miraculously prevent the two percent or whatever minority of irresponsible people on the road that run into vulnerable road users, from doing that.

    Relative to the use of hi-vis gear, the only important thing which it can be relied upon for, is its’ ability to help people driving more readily detect vulnerable road users.

    I don’t really care one way or another about the police/polite experiment part of their study…haven’t read the study, probably won’t. Visual detection possibly aided by hi-vis gear is the important issue to be considered, and this study doesn’t seem to address that basic issue.

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    • dr2chase December 3, 2013 at 12:50 pm

      Wsbob, there’s no better way to appear ignorant than to keep repeating the same platitudes, make insulting assumptions about a study you haven’t read, then declare that you probably won’t read it anyway.

      Ask yourself, if hi-viz makes it easier to see cyclists, why was there almost no measured effect in that direction? And if drivers have such a hard time seeing cyclists, why do we see all these weird effects that indicate that they are in fact seeing quite a lot more than “a cyclist”. It’s almost as if your assumptions are not actually correct.

      And note that you badly mischaracterize the intent of the study. The way you find out what works is to measure. You don’t want to waste time and money on something that doesn’t work. These guys measured. They got a result you didn’t expect, and instead of declaring “dang, back to the drawing board”, you instead dig in, redeclare your commitment to a likely-to-fail path, and imagine all sorts of dishonest behavior by the researchers. Have fun wasting your time, but please don’t waste anyone else’s.

      Note that they did find one thing that does work, that had a large effect in every metric, and that was often statistically significant — impersonating a police officer. That’s not “detection”, that’s something else.

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      • dan December 3, 2013 at 2:09 pm

        You know, if high-viz has zero impact, you’d think that highway crews and hunters would have abandoned it long ago.

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    • Dan Morrison December 3, 2013 at 1:30 pm

      Right. High-vis doesn’t say “pass me from a further distance than you normall would” to motorists. It says “I am here.”

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    • wsbob December 3, 2013 at 5:50 pm

      “…The way you find out what works is to measure. …” dr2chase

      Oh…it seems they did some measuring, alright!

      Seriously…I read this article:

      …about the study, and that was enough.

      2chase….you go ahead and take whatever guidance from the conclusion of the study in question, that you feel is appropriate for you. I won’t mind…honest!

      The stuff…hi-vis…works. I notice this when I’m driving. Other people that drive tell me how much it helps them to see people that wear and use it.

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      • 9watts December 3, 2013 at 6:18 pm

        “Other people that drive tell me how much it helps them to see people that wear and use it.”

        Have you considered that what they like about this could be that it lets them off the hook, focuses attention on a group to which they do not belong. Since ‘those who bike are acting responsibly, doing something to avoid getting killed?’ Do they applaud pedestrians’ wearing high-viz garb as well? This is all such a distraction from what is actually dangerous, kills *thousands* of people every year.


        The number of people killed in distraction-affected crashes decreased slightly from 3,360 in 2011 to 3,328 in 2012. An estimated 421,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver, this was a nine percent increase from the estimated 387,000 people injured in 2011.
        As of December 2012, 171.3 billion text messages were sent in the US (includes PR, the Territories, and Guam) every month. (CTIA)
        11% of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted.
        For drivers 15-19 years old involved in fatal crashes, 21 percent of the distracted drivers were distracted by the use of cell phones (NHTSA)
        At any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving, a number that has held steady since 2010. (NOPUS)
        Engaging in visual-manual subtasks (such as reaching for a phone, dialing and texting) associated with the use of hand-held phones and other portable devices increased the risk of getting into a crash by three times. (VTTI)
        Sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent-at 55 mph-of driving the length of an entire football field, blind. (VTTI)
        Headset cell phone use is not substantially safer than hand-held use. (VTTI)
        A quarter of teens respond to a text message once or more every time they drive. 20 percent of teens and 10 percent of parents admit that they have extended, multi-message text conversations while driving. (UMTRI)

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      • dr2chase December 4, 2013 at 5:51 am

        From THE article, not yet another summary of it (it’s not long, it’s well-wrtitten, you could learn something, not least what the inputs were to all the news stories that you read):

        “Gershon, Ben-Asher and Shinar (2012) showed with motorcyclists that the contrast between rider and background was more important than the colour of the rider’s clothing per se, such that against light backgrounds, dark clothing increased conspicuity more than ‘high visibility’ items (see also Helman, Weare, Palmer & Fernandez-Medina, 2012). Outside the laboratory, the large-scale case-control MAIDS study of motorcyclist accidents (ACEM, 2009 – see particularly Table 8.13) found that dark clothing seemed to impair conspicuity more often than bright clothing enhanced it. With bicyclists specifically, Miller (2012), in a case-control study of high-visibility clothing, found no association between wearing high-visibility clothing and reduced crash risk (indeed, there was a small tendency for people with high-visibility outfits to experience more collisions than people without such aids, possibly suggesting a risk-compensation mechanisms is at work). At present, then, the literature suggests that the safety benefits of so-called high-visibility clothing in daylight are likely smaller than is widely believed (although the night-time benefits of retroreflective clothing might be another matter).”

        Everything points to being visible enough if you’re not actively trying to be invisible (say, driving a pavement-colored automobile at dusk or dawn with lights off). The whole point of studies like this is to figure out what really happens, and not rely on our own anecdotal, flawed, and incredibly biased recounting of what we saw yesterday.

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      • q`Tzal December 4, 2013 at 8:41 am

        The stuff…hi-vis…works. I notice this when I’m driving. Other people that drive tell me how much it helps them to see people that wear and use it.>

        See this seems to be your fundamental misunderstanding here: personal anecdotal recollections are not the same as scientific testing.

        Personal observations are inherently subject to internal psychological biases. If we are to assume your opinion is fact why shouldn’t we also trust an Oregonian story commenter’s opinion that “all bicyclists should be banned from the road because they are all a bunch of law breaking deviants!”?

        Repeat several times to yourself :

        personal anecdotal recollections are not the same as scientific testing.

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        • wsbob December 5, 2013 at 12:03 am

          “…The stuff…hi-vis…works. I notice this when I’m driving. Other people that drive tell me how much it helps them to see people that wear and use it. …” wsbob

          “…See this seems to be your fundamental misunderstanding…” q`Tzal

          On my part, there’s no misunderstanding, fundamental or otherwise, of the effectiveness of hi-vis: it does work, and you don’t have to limit yourself to just my opinion to verify that it does. Many people that drive are very grateful for the increased use of hi-vis gear by vulnerable road users, and share their views about that if readily if asked.

          As far as studies go, confirming the effectiveness of color, pattern and reflective material in enabling images to be detected under a wide range of conditions, if a person were willing to spend the time to seek them out, I believe many of them, better, more accurate and reliable than the silly Brit study in question, have been done by governments in past decades.

          Of course, I expect some of bikeportland’s readers, and other people outside of this weblog, will persist in resisting any suggestion that use of hi-vis gear is actually helpful to responsible road users that are alert, focused on the road ahead, but hard pressed to detect vulnerable road users in certain situations. It could be they will continue to attempt to entirely shift responsibility for vulnerable road users being visually detected, away from themselves, and upon people that drive.

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          • dr2chase December 5, 2013 at 6:48 am

            wsbob, you could add a whole lot to this conversation if YOU were willing to seek out these studies that you think surely exist and would support your position. I’ve done my research, and it generally suggests that you are just regurgitating conventional wisdom. We do lots of stupid stuff and pass many silly laws based on untested conventional wisdom that turns out to not really be true; it would not be unusual if this were true here, too. If you think the studies exist, go find them, post the links. Otherwise, I’ll assume that they don’t exist.

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            • wsbob December 5, 2013 at 9:46 am

              Studies on efficacy of hi-vis? Don’t really need them to see it’s effectiveness. The proof is on the street if you bother to look. Lots of people driving do, and they know it works. If you need the back up of a study to verify whether something…anything works…hop to it.

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              • 9watts December 5, 2013 at 9:59 am

                You can do better, wsbob.

                ‘It works’
                ‘It’s effectiveness’

                How about quantifying those terms, clarifying what exactly you mean by them?

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              • wsbob December 5, 2013 at 5:05 pm

                It sounds like you’re the one that needs to do the quantifying, and raising of your awareness as to the effectiveness of hi-vis gear. I and other people have explained that it works. If you don’t believe them, and don’t want to believe them…fine…that’s your choice.

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              • 9watts December 5, 2013 at 7:44 pm

                “I and other people have explained that it works.”

                Actually you have done no such thing. You have *asserted* that it works, and cited your friends’ expressions of approval when people on bikes wear that garb. All fine, but this has nothing whatsoever to do with what Paul and I and others are getting at.

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              • Chainwhipped December 5, 2013 at 11:51 pm

                If a bird in forest park flies from one tree to another, can you see it if it’s not wearing high-vis?

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              • Chainwhipped December 5, 2013 at 11:54 pm

                Actually, I have a better question: How often do you hear about auto collisions where the cars “were painted in dark colors”?

                I think I got this one! Could it be . . . NEVER??

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            • Paul in the 'couve December 5, 2013 at 9:53 am

              I wonder, is there data out there regarding accidents per work hour for highway workers in in hi-vis clothing? The reason they wear that Gear is OSHA. It is mandated, not voluntary. It would be interesting to compare accident rates over the years to see if the # of workers hit per work hour has declined significantly as use of hi-vis gear has increased.

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              • Paul in the 'couve December 5, 2013 at 3:48 pm

                So I had some time to google. Here is one data set: OSHA data in construction workzones on highways: Pedestrian struck by vehicle, mobile equipment 2003 =53 2004 =51 2005 =80 2006 =75 2007 =46 2008 =43 2009 =49 2010 =46

                What does that tell us? Not too much. We don’t know the hours or if the level of construction activity varies too much. One thing it does show is despite wearing tons of hi-vis gear construction workers are consistently getting hit along highways and there is no clear trend that it is decreasing although there is a bump in 2005 and 2006.

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              • Paul in the 'couve December 5, 2013 at 3:50 pm
              • wsbob December 5, 2013 at 5:07 pm

                Paul…I’m glad you were able to locate some research findings about hi-vis that you seem to need in order to help decide whether using it is a good choice for you. Happy, and safe riding to you!

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              • Paul in the 'couve December 5, 2013 at 5:18 pm

                WSBOB – my overall disagreement with you and your opinions going on for over a year at least now has no bearing on what I wear. Never did. My primary point of contention is that you continually express let drivers off the hook and place the blame on vulnerable road users. Meanwhile there is little actual evidence that the primary problem is that motorist can’t see cyclists and pedestrians, and plenty of evidence that even when cyclists are quite visible they drivers can’t be bothered to pay attention or drive responsibly.

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          • 9watts December 5, 2013 at 8:11 am

            “On my part, there’s no misunderstanding, fundamental or otherwise, of the effectiveness of hi-vis: it does work […] Many people that drive are very grateful for the increased use of hi-vis gear by vulnerable road users, and share their views about that if readily if asked.”

            You seem to be equating one group’s gratefulness with hi-vis ‘working.’ Is it really that straightforward? I’m grateful to people who are crossing the street on foot making eye contact, but the responsibility to notice them, stop, and not run over them still resides with me if I’m in a car or on a bike.
            ‘Work’ is such a final judgment. As you know from dozens of my comments here I don’t think high-viz works in many of the ways your phrasing suggests you think it does.

            “…will persist in resisting any suggestion that use of hi-vis gear is actually helpful to responsible road users that are alert, focused on the road ahead, but hard pressed to detect vulnerable road users in certain situations.”

            Perhaps, though the more interesting possibility in my view is that this ‘hard to detect’ scenario you’re so fond of can be resolved by the pilot of the automobile on her own, without placing a burden of responsibility on the person walking or biking.

            “It could be they will continue to attempt to entirely shift responsibility for vulnerable road users being visually detected, away from themselves, and upon people that drive.”

            The pot calling the kettle black? You do realize that in our culture the overwhelming tendency is to do precisely the opposite?

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            • wsbob December 5, 2013 at 9:54 am

              9watts, if you don’t feel that hi-vis works, then don’t use it. It’s your skin, not mine.

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  • GlowBoy December 3, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    The study is completely worthless because it isn’t even measuring the right variable. I don’t make myself more conspicuous so that drivers will give me a “wider berth.” I do it so that they will see me earlier and be less likely to hit me.

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    • El Biciclero December 3, 2013 at 1:53 pm

      This is my sense as well–being ultra-visible won’t modify drivers’ behavior, but it should result in a high probability that whatever a driver does, they’re doing it intentionally. If there were some way to tell how many drivers “accidentally” passed too close because they were unaware of a cyclist’s presence, vs. just being “overconfident” passers, that would be very interesting.

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    • Dimitrios December 3, 2013 at 2:39 pm

      Well it’s not completely worthless. How many more “casual” cyclists” were hit versus “hi-vis” cyclists? It was certainly measured every time they measured passing distances. Cycling must be a relatively safe activity overall, regardless of the clothing. I’m not going to tell people to not wear hi vis clothing. I just think we’re at the point of diminishing returns. Arguing for more safety without metrics is an easy sell and unpopular to argue against, but that’s a human failing rather than a logical one.

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  • John December 3, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    On isolated sections of our popular MUP’s, I find it totally unncessary to have 800 lumens strobing in my face and totally blinding me. Look dude, its only you and me out here, put it on low power steady beam and chill.
    I am in the habit of placing my hand over the beam of my 150 lumen light, because I am a considerate cyclist goddamnit!
    If you want to strobe your arc welder light in traffic that is your deal, but dont be suprised when the moth effect happens. I find when I am driving I always stare at excessive bike lighting for no aparent reason….

    Side story: By painting pilons in our warehouse bright yellow instead of dirty white, collisions between forlifts and pilons INCREASED. Back to white they went. Moth effect was in full force.

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  • KVC December 4, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    Riding without adequate fenders is an inherently anti-social behavior. Much of Portland in-town commuting is on routes that are pretty stacked up, e.g. N Williams Ave. You can be riding politely and non-aggressively but still be right in the mix. Don’t be a jerk- use good fenders.

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  • 9watts December 6, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    I wonder if this is a record for # of comments responding to a Monday Roundup? I’m often surprised how few comments these elicit. It is one of my favorite parts of bikeportland.

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) December 9, 2013 at 11:35 am

      I was hoping this would be an easy stat to check, but it’s not … I wouldn’t be surprised. Though the prize really belongs to you and wsbob here. 🙂

      Thanks for the nice words on the Roundup. It’s definitely one of our bigger time investments of the week! The traffic shows us that it’s popular even when the comments don’t.

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      • wsbob December 9, 2013 at 12:06 pm

        I’d hope that 9watts is referring to the total group number of comments posted to the bikeportland Monday Roundup, rather than any one individuals’ total number of comment postings.

        For the type of website bikeportland basically seems to work to be, emphasis on total number of individual comments doesn’t seem like a good idea. Oregonian Live has done it in past, but I think it stopped. Instead, the paper features a side bar with stories having received the top number of comments posted in recent past. Sometimes, to me as a reader, that can be helpful info.

        I realize bikeportland’s staff, as it is, is working hard to get information out that is important for people to be familiar with. Despite the appearance that may be posed by criticisms I express about some of the sites’ presentation, I do appreciate that effort. Thanks!

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        • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
          Michael Andersen (News Editor) December 9, 2013 at 12:49 pm

          Oh, I agree – didn’t mean to say that there’s actually a frequency competition among commenters, just poking some fun at you two for driving up the total with your (relevant and useful) argument last week.

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  • Scott Kocher November 15, 2017 at 11:54 pm

    In case anyone is hunting for such a thing: here’s a version of the bicycle fender length for group rides (aka “Fender Zones”) image which clubs and teams seem to find useful to circulate to newer riders but for that purpose wasn’t the most welcoming for all folks due to the edgy language of the original *with apologies to Jeff for not crediting him and for monkeying with his otherwise brilliant artwork.

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