With the warming weather for those in the northern latitudes, more and more people are out on their bikes; on the road or trail, on city streets and gravel back-roads. For each and all of us out on our bikes, safety is paramount. One important aspect of bicycle safety is making yourself highly visible so that motorists, cyclists and pedestrians can see you. Visibility is essential, whether you’re a roadie or urban cyclist, or a trail rider that has to ride on some roads to get to or from your favorite trail.
In October 2018, Velonews published a sponsored story entitled “The science of being seen” (sponsored by Bontrager, which is a subdivision of Trek). The story describes a shared interest between Trek and researchers at Clemson University in understanding how to make road cyclists more visible to drivers during both daytime and night, with the goal of improving rider safety.
The research included passengers and drivers in vehicles who were asked to press a button when a cyclist became visible to them, and also eye movement studies of individuals in a simulated driving environment. The results of one study documented that drivers were 270% more likely to see a cyclist on the road if the cyclist was using a flashing rear light versus not using a light. In addition, results of another study documented that cyclists who used daytime running lights on their bikes experienced 33% fewer accidents. Bike lights enable drivers to see those cyclists, and from much further distances.
The Velonews article pointed out that the daytime running lights increase the contrast between the cyclist (and specifically the bike light) and the surroundings. That increased contrast draws the attention of the driver.
The Velonews article also pointed out factors that can increase the distance that bike lights can be seen, such as focused versus scattered light beams, flash patterns of the lights, and luminosity. The researchers also cited the placement of the daytime running light on the bike and visibility differences. For example, ankle lights, with the motion of the pedal strokes, were more visible than lights on seat posts or helmets. However, as cited above, the use of daytime running lights significantly improved visibility over not having a light.
As the result of this research (and I assume other research as well), Bontrager developed “The ABCs of Awareness”…
- Always On: Use front and rear bike lights both day and night;
- Biomotion: Given humans’ innate ability to sense biomotion, take advantage of the pedal stroke by using highly visible clothing on your feet, ankles and legs;
- Contrast: Use fluorescent colored clothing during the day, and highly reflective clothing at night.
We highly commend Trek and Bontrager for funding and promoting this research and developing the ABC protocol and products, and the Clemson University scientists who conducted the research. There are obviously many other companies providing products to help improve rider visibility and safety.
When we worked with Pactimo to develop our derailleurhanger.com custom kit, we purposely selected fluorescent green and fire engine red as primary colors for the kit. You can see examples of the derailleurhanger.com kit on our derailleurhanger.com Facebook page.
Obviously, our primary goal is to provide you with high quality replaceable rear derailleur hangers, whether for Trek, or for bike models from any of the over 100-plus other bike manufacturers listed on derailleurhanger.com. However, like you, we are also an active member of the cycling community, and want to promote safe riding for all cyclists.
We work hard to to provide the best customer service in the industry so that our customers can quickly find, purchase and receive the correct replaceable rear derailleur hanger for your bike, and you can quickly get back to riding your bike. Using the “1-2-3” process and other tools available on derailleurhanger.com you can quickly find the correct hanger for your bike. In addition, if you ever need any assistance, please click on the “Contact” link on our website and we will respond as quickly as possible to provide assistance.
As always…please let us at derailleurhanger.com know if we can assist you in any way. Ride safe, and have fun riding!