Visibility gear on a cyclist’s legs more effective than upper body coverage, shows study

A study analysing the day time visibility of fluorescent cycle clothing has found that lower body coverage is more effective than upper body when it comes to being spotted at distance by approaching drivers.

Published in October, the study will make interesting reading for producers of high-visibility clothing, appearing to highlight that, at distance, drawing attention to the pedaling motion is critical to early awareness of a cyclist on the road.

The researchers gathered a pool of volunteers, driving each along a pre-determined stretch of road, asking each to press a button when they recognised anyone on or with a bicycle, either stopped or moving. At around seven minutes in to the journey those in the car encountered a subject dressed in one of four clothing combinations and pedaling at between 75 to 90 rpm on a stationary bicycle on the side of the road and facing away from the approaching car. Participants were delivered instructions that was designed to limit their expectancy.

Once the passenger had pressed the button, a timer operated by a back seat researcher began to calculate the most effective attire for being noticed quickly.

In the best case, the bicyclist was found to be wearing a flourescent yellow jersey and leggings combination. This was noticed at around 3.3x further away than the identical outfit with black leggings.

Interested in reading more? You can catch the full study here.