I’m beginning to see what I think is a shift in responsibility on our roads, which worries me. These days you don’t often see a cyclist on the road who isn’t dressed in bright, often day-glo, clothing. This is good, as it makes the rider easier to see, and from further away, hopefully meaning that other road users can approach safely. More recently I’ve been seeing pedestrians on pavements beginning to dress in a similar way. Fine, but…

My fear is that drivers will only expect to see brightly dressed non-motorists. My fear is also that, involved in an ‘accident’ where you weren’t wearing such gear, you’d be liable to fault as a result (independently of any other fault). I think the lawyers call it ‘contributory negligence’.  Whose responsibility is road safety?  I get the increasing impression that drivers continually try to pass it on to others.  They want to drive with impunity, ignoring speed limits and insisting that any minor holdup is an affront.

I am getting the sense that this is another way the driving lobby want the roads to themselves (by ‘driving lobby’ I don’t mean the average driver; I suppose I mean those that want the roads to themselves!). “Unless you are easy to see with whatever active and passive means are available, get off my road”. I’m not convinced that such gear necessarily makes it safer – it largely depends on drivers’ reaction to seeing you. There was some research recently which suggested that helmet use could increase your chances of a collision because of the way drivers react. Could wearing bright clothing (and perhaps looking more confident/experienced/safer) mean that drivers give you less room too?

There is a similar issue, which I’ve only mentioned before. Proposed European legislation for ‘daytime running lights‘ could mean that collisions with cyclists and motorcyclists  are more likely as drivers get used to looking for a light rather than a biker or cyclist.  Could the trend for bright clothing have a similar effect as drivers look for yellow?


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