Bicycling at night is one of the more dangerous activities that you could perform. Motorists, who fail to see you in the daytime, are even less likely to watch out for you during nighttime, when visibility is low, and when they’re more likelyto drive at high speeds. A new study has very distressing results for bicycle accident attorneys. The study indicates that many bicyclists assume that they’re visible on the roads, when they actually are not.
In the study, the judges were trying to quantify the bicyclists’ estimates of the distance at which an approaching motorist would see him or her. The 25 subjects in the study included 13 bicyclists who biked at least once a week and 12 who rode at least once a month or less. These bicyclists were placed in a close road circuit, and were told to indicate when they were confident that an approaching motorist could see them. The participants wore all types of clothing, including black clothing with a reflective vest, florescent vest with reflective tape, and florescent vest and knee and ankle reflectors.
The researchers found in their study that the bicyclists who were wearing black clothing, or black clothing with reflective vests were a bit too optimistic about the motorist’s chances of seeing them at a certain distance at nighttime. They actually believed that the motorist could see them from twice the distance than they actually could.
When the riders were wearing reflective strips on their knees and ankles, they correctly estimated that they were more visible to the approaching motorist. In fact, reflective strips on the knees and ankles were even more effective in making bicyclists visible to motorists than the participants knew. The study concluded that bicyclists often overestimate their own visibility, and also remain unaware of clothing considerations, like the use of reflective strips for the ankles and knees.
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