Standing out is a good thing
Research shows that cyclists drastically overestimate the distance at which they are detectable by motorists. Unless we’re actively doing something to increase our detectability, we may not be seen at all. While that’s an alarming reality, there are simple steps that can be taken to stand out.
Based on research conducted with Clemson University, the following ABCs of Awareness - Always on, Biomotion, and Contrast - guidelines are presented here in a good, better, best hierarchy. Using daytime running lights is a good way to be noticed, but a combination of daytime running lights, highlighting your body’s moving parts, and choosing gear that contrasts with the environment is the best option. The more of the ABCs you practice on every ride, the more you’ll stand out.
If you do only one thing, do this
The single most impactful measure you can take to stand out to motorists is to use front and rear Daytime Running Lights on every ride. But what makes a Daytime Running Light, and how is it different than a standard light?
The fact is, not all lights are created equal. Brightness is important, but it takes a lot more than lumens to make an effective Daytime Running Light. A true DRL is designed with a specific focus, flash, and range to be seen from a meaningful distance during daylight hours. Without these three things, you just have a light.
Highlight your body's moving parts
The brain has identified ways of protecting itself, beginning with its uncanny ability to recognize a biological form with only a few clues to the form’s shape. In other words, we’re really good at seeing ourselves. This isn’t something that needs to be taught— it is an instinctual perceptual phenomenon called “sensitivity to biomotion.”
On a bike, the unique up and down pedaling motion is what makes you recognizable as human. At night, highlight your feet, ankles, and legs with products that feature reflective materials. During daylight, wear fluorescent socks, shoes, covers, or warmers.
Visibility Relies on Contrast
Choose the right gear for day and night riding
Fluorescent is effective for cyclists during daylight because it helps us stand out from the surrounding environment. But without the sun, fluorescent apparel is no more effective than darker apparel. At night, reflective apparel is what makes you stand out.
Did you know that 80% of accidents occur during daylight? Keep your front and rear lights running, day and night. Ask us about our new Bontrager daytime running lights, which significantly reduce the likelihood of a collision.
Highlight your body’s moving parts - not just your torso. Wear products with reflective materials on your feet and legs. This high visibility gear makes you more recognizable as a human, and less likely to be overlooked by a motorist.
Understand your riding conditions, and choose the right gear for the occasion. Opt for fluorescent cycling apparel during the day, and transition to reflective materials at night. Stand out, day and night, with the ABCs of Awareness.