Why is fluorescent riding gear suddenly so popular?

Fluorescent shirts, jackets, and other apparel have become very popular among motorcyclists and bicyclists in recent years.

Why the sudden rise in popularity? Did riders suddenly become very acutely aware of a need for conspicuity (and manufacturers rushed to fill that demand), or did the price of fluorescent fabrics suddenly plummet due to some technological breakthrough, resulting in affordable gear?

I’ve noticed an increase among motorcyclists. There’s always been a subset of cyclists who wore hi-viz but at least around here, not a noticeable increase.

One possibility: to help encourage people to cycle to work, my employer handed out free hi-vis waistcoat things to anyone who wanted them.

I needed a new waterproof jacket for cycling a year or so ago, and one of the colour options was bright fluorescent yellow, so I thought I may as well go for that one. I see a lot of cyclists wearing dark clothing, and often with no lights either, and I know how hard they are to see. Whenever I’m driving and see a runner or cyclist wearing fluoro yellow, I’m always struck by just how well they show up, from a long distance, so I’d rather be one of them than one of the “Woah, where’d he come from?” guys in black. Anything to help prevent a SMIDSY.

I don’t think fluoro fabric was particularly expensive in the past. Remember neon towelling socks in the 80s? :slight_smile:

Bicyclists have been decked out in obnoxious neons and fluorescents for decades; it’s pretty much a standing joke in that community. I’m not sure how you’ve avoided seeing them.

I’d guess it’s just a general increase in the number of bicyclists. Between the economy, gas prices, and the fitness/health push, I’m seeing a lot more bicyclists on the road than I did a few years ago. And with bike gear readily available, there may be a lot more casual bikers wearing bike-specific gear than used to.

Motorcyclists, I dunno.

Construction workers are wearing it a lot more as well, and that wouldn’t happen just for fashion’s sake.

I wear a high-vis motorcycle jacket and am thrilled with it. The new high-vis coloring does seem to be a lot more eye-catching the 1980s style fluorescent. Also, with my jacket, the brightness comes back after a wash.

It could be because bicycling has become more popular in recent years, so you are just seeing more cyclists in general. For motorcyclists, perhaps there is also a surge in numbers of people riding for practical purposes like commuting to work, and thus buying practical gear (not the weekend Harley/leather set).

Yeah, I rode with a neon jacket for years. I finally got tired of being laughed at (That jacket come with sunglasses?) and being called ‘Old man’, so hung it up for good and bought a more muted orange/gray riding jacket. Now I am taken more seriously, I guess.

Hey once you’ve worn spandex in public being laughed at for wearing a bright jacket does not phase you much. Old man? Live old man. Really I got over having to succumb to peer pressure before High School.

I don’t only wear the day-glo green windbreaker and have both front and rear lights, I also wear mining style headlamps facing each way just under my helmet rim. (This one. Clicked on red rear facing and full beam for the front.)

Yeah, if you’re riding in traffic then dayglo jackets seriously improve your chances of living to be an old man. :slight_smile:

You can’t win as a cyclist anyway - you will be laughed at if you wear fluoro kit, and sworn at (and possibly run over) if you wear dark hard-to-see kit. I’d rather be wearing fluorescent clothing and have bright lights on my bike so that if I do get hit one day, the driver can’t plausibly claim it was my fault he didn’t see me. As a driver, too, I prefer seeing joggers and cyclists in dayglo kit.

I draw the line at wearing Lycra, though (OK, I do have cycling shorts but I always wear baggy joggers over the top!)

Fluorescent clothing is a present fashion comer. You see it all the time in sneakers, handbags, and even skirts in NYC.

From the POV of a driver whose night vision is rather poor (I can drive at night, but have a harder time than most seeing bicycles and pedestrians in poorly lit areas), I really appreciate bicyclists/pedestrians/motorcyclists who take some responsibility for their own safety and are willing to be easier to see. I’ve had a few too many scares with sudden appearances of darkly clothed people in badly lit areas.

I’m especially relieved when someone adds reflective material to the high-visibility colors. Now if bicyclists in my area would use decent lights so I can see them from further than 20 feet away…

On a related note, in the Air Force (and I want to say other branches of the military), there is a requirement for motorcycle riders to wear high-vis reflective gear when they’re riding (usually a reflective belt works, but lots of folks go ahead and get the vests and such). I’m not sure if this is a new requirement or not.

Of course, in the Air Force, our PT uniforms are reflective too. And if you have the older PTUs and not the newer, pricier Improved PTUs, then the uniforms are also obnoxiously loud. We call them “Swishy Suits”, and the joke is that you can be heard over a diesel truck’s engine when jogging in them.

When I’m driving at night, my pet peeve is guys out jogging on the shoulder at 9PM in black shorts and underarmor t-shirt. I think some of these people are trying to get themselves killed.

The full hi-vis vests are required on most Army bases too. Helmets too, even if local laws do not require it, every Soldier is required by military law to do so.

Other than that, I dont know why people would wear that stuff by choice.

Really? Those work pretty good, huh?

Would they work strapped onto the helmet (so they wouldn’t have to be donned separately every day)?

It’s that time of year, gotta start rockin’ the lights.

They slide off the helmet when I’ve tried putting them on there. Plus I get daylight riding some of the time even in winter.

Work? Well I am pretty sure that between all that I am clearly visible. Of course people may lose control of their vehicles while laughing at me … :slight_smile:

I do see a market for helmets with built in LEDs around the perimeter, but have never seen any.

Bell Muni. Hi-viz , built in rear flashers, space on visor to mount a Blackburn Flea(front).

I’m thinking a little Velcro action might fix that. Very fond of Velcro, I am.

When you’re riding an ancient MTB fitted out with slicks, fenders, and giant chrome baskets, you just figure people are already pointing and laughing. FFS, the thing’s mascot is a matching pink-and-green My Little Pony ziptied to the bars. :stuck_out_tongue:

I’ll have to look into those Bell Muni helmets next replacement. This one’s pretty new yet; we had to replace it just a few months ago.

Isn’t it obvious?

What was once a small subset of bikers has become the majority through attrition.

As less conspicuous riders are eliminated from the pool of riders, the more visible group of riders has proportionally swelled to appear as though they are growing in numbers when in fact they are just growing in percentage.

(Yes the above is a joke)

I have one of these. The florescent coloring is fading after only a couple months of daily wear in New Mexico sunshine. I had an older version (crash damaged) that was just a non-florescent yellow that didn’t fade.

This may be related to the OP…I think florescent dyes have gotten a lot better in recent years. Due to the way they work (absorb UV, re-emit at longer wavelength) they tend to be very prone to UV damage/fading, as they can’t use any UV blocker to protect them.

I have a Bell Citi, same deal. Even new, it was a washed out hi viz, now it’s white. :mad: