This page is also available in: English
It is important to understand the need of wearing reflective clothing/equipment in order to stand out on the road, as this may ultimately lead to a better, safer riding. As part of the CBT syllabus, we stress the importance of wearing such garments whilst riding on the UK roads. While in Britain we have some sunny days, most of them are rather grey and dull. If you have a dark colour motorcycle, plus dark colour (e.g. black, grey, etc) gear, you’re probably going to blend in into the background, and even the most safety-conscious, defensive driver is not going to see you at all, whether out in the country or in the populated London streets.
One of the ways to be more visible on the road is to wear a high-vis jacket or vest. Think back to when you were younger and you got taught that in order to be seen, yellow and orange were what you had to wear. That elementary-school wisdom proves just as useful now in your grown-up years as you take the CBT to get your motorcycle license.
Another way that helps people see you is a high-vis helmet. Since helmets do come in a wide range of colors and styles, there is no real reason to not be seen. Sure, you can wear a black helmet if that is what you prefer, but at least put some sort of reflective tape on it that will get you noticed, especially on those cloudy, rainy days where you would otherwise blend into the background.
You could get a highly visible motorcycle, but that might be cost-prohibitive for many. In truth, it’s easier, financially, to own multiple vests and multiple helmets than it is to own multiple bikes. It’s also easy to get reflective strips and put them on the sides of your bike, just for the sake of caution.
Interestingly enough, there has been a new rule in France that makes reflective clothing a compulsory purchase, but many UK riders have given it the thumbs-down, saying that while reflective tape is helpful, it is also still a car driver’s responsibility to be on the lookout for whoever’s on a motorcycle. In addition, conspicuity also has everything to do with blind spots and other visual limitations.
Whether or not you wear reflective clothing ends up being up to you, as it is the responsibility of the other drivers to keep a look out for you and other riders. On the other hand, it can never hurt to own at least one reflective helmet or vest for motorcycle riding purposes.