Conspicuity for cyclist survival
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CONSPICUITY FOR CYCLIST SURVIVAL. Jack Holmgren Member San Francisco Randonneurs Randonneurs USA 3-31-12 (All errors and opinions are the author’s). Don Mitchell at the start of the 2009 Gold Rush Randonnee. Our Fallen Comrades. Bruce Taylor – 2010 Don Mitchell – 2010

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CONSPICUITY FOR CYCLIST SURVIVAL

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CONSPICUITY FOR CYCLIST SURVIVAL

Jack Holmgren

Member

San Francisco Randonneurs

Randonneurs USA

3-31-12

(All errors and opinions are the author’s)


Don Mitchell at the start of the 2009 Gold Rush Randonnee


Our Fallen Comrades

  • Bruce Taylor – 2010

  • Don Mitchell – 2010

  • Jim Swarzman – 2011

  • Others hurt or killed by cars at night, in low-light, or daylight

  • We owe it to them to be as conspicuous as possible.


The Problem = Drivers

  • The man who struck Don Mitchell at 50 MPH

  • 78 years of age

  • Driving near on-coming traffic – glare

  • Twilight

  • Shortly after the switch to Daylight Savings

  • Was likely 4 feet into the shoulder

  • Credibly said that he NEVER SAW Don


The man who ran into and killed Don

  • NEVER SAW Don.


Holmgren’s First Law of Cycling Survival

  • You can never be too conspicuous.


Cars and Bikes

  • Drivers – Younger AND Older Fail to compensate

  • Limitations at night

  • Reduced contrast

  • Sensitivity to glare

  • All of which decrease their ability to SEE CYCLISTS.


We know Drivers fail to compensate

  • Is this bad?

  • Yes, it is bad.

  • But what can we do about it TODAY?

  • We can compensate for the drivers by being MUCH MORE conspicuous.


Conspicuity

  • The property of being clearly discernible.

  • The state or quality of being clear or bright; brightness; conspicuousness. http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/conspicuity


Don Mitchell’s Memorial


Vis Quiz – The best way to boost awareness of a cyclist in the dark/low light is:

  • 1.Blinking tail light ____

  • 2.Solid tail light ____

  • 3.Reflective vest ____

  • 4.Reflective Sam Browne Belt ____

  • 5.Rear facing horn ____

  • 6.Reflective ankle bands ____

  • 7.Reflective material on cranks ____


Biological Motion (Biomotion)

  • Drivers see and recognize a human form:

  • Retroreflective material

  • Worn on moving Joints


Survival Conspicuity - Material

  • Start with the shiny stuff as it works in the rain/fog/sleet – buy products made with slick retroreflective material - see article in American Randonneur, Reflections on Retroreflectivity http://www.rusa.org/newsletter/08-02-09.html

  • Go for as much as you possibly can get.

  • Beware of phrases like “reflective accents.”


Survival Conspicuity - Biomotion is the Most Important

  • Ankle, ankle, ankle

  • That’s about the only place on a cyclist that

  • Brings out the biomotion.

  • Rivendell makes big, fat, slick ankle bands.

  • They cover the leg and stick out a few inches.

  • DO NOT SKIMP ON ANKLE BANDS!

  • You want the “best and the brightest.”


Survival Conspicuity – Reflective Clothing

  • Calculate coverage – how many square inches/centimeters of reflective material?

  • Look only to the reflective coverage, e.g., some ankle bands have bright colored fabric and only .5 or .75 inches of reflective stripe.

  • Reflective material that is 90 degrees to the road or close to that is most reflective.

  • Think about the garment’s angle to vehicle headlights as worn by the cyclist while riding.


Moonbeam DIY modification – 4 inch wide strip of slick material sewn to the bottom of the back of visibility vesthttp://www.reflective-stripes.com/product.sc?productId=7&categoryId=6


Survival Conspicuity – Camelbak Issue

  • Put

  • Your

  • Camelbak

  • On

  • Before

  • Your

  • REFLECTIVE VEST OR SAM BROWNE BELT!!!!


Viz Quiz – the best way to boost awareness of a cyclist in broad daylight is:

  • 1. Rear facing horn___

  • 2. “Share the Road” decal on top tube___

  • 3. Clothing that uses black and colors found in nature like brown, green, eggplant, blue…___

  • 4.Clothing that uses retroreflective material___

  • 5.Clothing that uses loud colors like Hi-Viz Yellow, Safety Orange___

  • 6.Mixed in checks or chevrons___


Is this conspicuous?

  • Go to the Rapha, Capo, Castelli, Pearl Izumi, You-Pretty-Much-Name-It cycling clothing company website and click on all the “cool” looking black and earth-tones clothing.

  • In their defense, they are responding to a degree to market-share pressure. Be the pressure and don’t buy these drab and invisible colors and they will go away.


Identify the conspicuity items in this photo


Traffic Master Jersey – A good examplehttp://www.elevengear.us/trafficmaster.html


Survival Conspicuity – Wear clothes that stick out during the vast majority of your riding (Daylight)

  • Contrasting colors are best

  • Hi-Viz Yellow

  • Safety Orange

  • The two winners (In a 1994 study, “...fluorescent yellow was found to be best detected and fluorescent orange was found to be best recognized against any of the three backgrounds investigated.” (Zwahlen & Vel, abstract) )

  • But these are of little help at night/low-light.

  • Don’t get lulled into thinking you’re safer just by wearing these colors at night.


Survival Conspicuity – Distractions = Competition for Driver Attention

  • GPS

  • Cell Phone and Audio

  • Cars and Buses

  • Signs and Scenery

  • Pedestrians and animals

  • Threat level highest in urban environments so APPLY Survival Conspicuity to your COMMUTE


Survival Conspicuity – Fashion Quiz

  • Would you rather:

  • 1. Look good on the bike and be hurt/dead?___

  • 2. Look like a clown on the bike and be alive?___

  • If you selected #2 then consider wearing your L2s visibility vest always (that means on your commute, brevets, permanents, centuries, double centuries, training rides, etc.).

  • Clubs can order custom L2s vests at:

    http://www.t2s.fr/Presentation.html


Survival Conspicuity – Tail Lights

  • Which is more important?

  • Your fellow riders not liking your bright lights?

  • Getting killed/hurt by a car because you did not have the brightest lights?

  • Always move up with the technology, e.g., Planet Bike Super Flash .5 Watt was the best but PB Turbo Flash = 1 Watt can and should be used in daylight too.


Survival Conspicuity – To flash or not to flash?

  • Randonneurs must have A steady light in low-light and at night.

  • Some run that and one or several flashing.

  • Flash or steady is personal.

  • The point is to have good LIGHTS (plural)

  • Multiple lights are part of the Rando ethos of back-up.


Survival Conspicuity – Multiple Tail Lights

  • “Volagi” mount (brake bridge) http://volagi.wordpress.com/2011/12/08/how-to-making-a-mount-for-a-planet-bike-superflash/

  • Seat-stay mount

  • Helmet mount

  • Many is much better than one

  • Is this obnoxious?

  • Yes.

  • Does it make you more conspicuous?

  • Yes, and that is more important than anything.


Survival Conspicuity - Aim

  • Not about alerting Martians

  • Aim for the Earthlings

  • No seat-bag, seat-pack, Carradice bag, pannier, Camelbak, mounting of lights as too much variation

  • Have a friend help by looking at the light from several distances, e.g., 50, 100, 200, 300, 500 meters to determine optimal positioning.


Survival Conspicuity – Always Ride with lights on

  • Cars turn their lights on during the day.

  • So can you! Increases conspicuity by day

  • Many lights designed to be seen by day:

  • Planet Bike Turbo Flash

  • Portland Design Works Radbot

  • Dinotte


Survival Conspicuity – Front Lights

  • Have good ones.

  • Have a back-up.

  • Daytime running lights – an idea whose time has come.

  • Endorsed by Robert Choi, inventor of the LED tail light!


Survival Conspicuity – Reflective bikes and bits

  • Powder coated reflective paint rims and frames

  • Stick-on bits of reflector on cranks, seat stays, helmets (up high so they’re visible in areas with many cars), etc.

  • Strands of bendable lights to wrap the frame with.

  • Reflective strips on tires and spoke lights.

  • Lights that project the image of a bike lane.

  • All communicate that the driver is approaching a cyclist.


Survival Conspicuity – Organize!

  • Join a/several bike coalitions:

  • http://www.napabike.org/

  • http://www.bikesonoma.org/

  • http://marinbike.org/Index.shtml

  • http://www.sfbike.org/

  • http://www.ebbc.org/

  • http://bikesiliconvalley.org/group/santa-clara


Survival Conspicuity – Organize!

  • Amplify your voice with a chorus by joining a coalition or several coalitions.

  • Support programs that lead to greater driver cognition and awareness of cyclists in daylight, at night, and in low-light.

  • Ride with others in low-light or at night.

  • Ride with others in daylight.


Daytime Riding

  • Helmet + Ankle Bands + Conspicuity Vest + Daytime Strength Tail Lights +Daytime Strength Front Light =

  • SAFETY or greater safety


Night Time Riding

  • Helmet + Ankle Bands + Conspicuity Vest + Daytime Strength Tail Lights + Night Time Strength Front Light (s) =

  • SAFETY or greater safety


A-N-C-L

  • A = Ankle bands for biomotion

  • N = Noggin for helmet to protect same

  • C = Conspicuity Vest for conspicuity

  • L = Lights for front and back always on even by day

  • Do an ANCL check just before riding off.


Holmgren’s Second Law of Cycling Survival

  • You should always try to be more conspicuous!


Thanks

  • To the science gals and guys at Queensland U out there in Brisbane, Australia. http://www.hlth.qut.edu.au/opt/research/driving/visibility.jsp

  • FEMA

    http://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/publications/fa_323.pdf

  • They study this stuff and publish so that I can lift much of it verbatim and put it on the screen.

  • Thanks to them and thanks to all the researchers working on this life and death issue.


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