Monday, September 20, 2010

Invisible Rider

The other day I drove to work and this motorcyclist was in front of me. As I followed behind, I couldn't help but notice how invisible he looked. He was on a black motorcycle, had black saddle bags, a black jacket, and a silver helmet. We were on a black asphalt road and as we traveled along the barely sloping road, he would literally disappear when the road ahead was as high as his helmet. When he needed to brake, his tail light lit up but beyond that, it was hard to see him. And I was right behind him and was looking for him. I took a photo of him with my iPhone.

I've seen this phenomenon before. The first time it was a silver motorcycle, silver gear, and the guy also disappeared as he traveled on the silvery road. At that time, I was on a silver motorcycle, with silver pants and a silver jacket as well. It was startling to know that I was just as invisible as he was. It was shortly after that I started buying hi-viz gear and also had my hubby add more lights to my motorcycle. And I already love stickers to I added some reflective stickers as well.

Today I ride a black motorcycle. I still have my silver pants but do wear my hi-viz jacket. And when I wear my silver warm weather jacket, I wear a hi-viz vest over it. I haven't had any extra lights added on just yet but it's on the list. I also have a yellow top case and yellow tank saddle bags. My side cases are a dark army green but I have lots of reflective stickers on them including large yellow panels on the sides. (The plastic side cases weren't the right kind of plastic to paint them.) And I'll always wear a white helmet, unless I find a hi-viz or yellow one that fits.

As the days get shorter I try to keep in mind all of these things. I am of the better safe than sorry crowd so will continue to add more to myself and my bike to make myself more visible. If I could get to the Aerostich warehouse, I'd probably invest in a hi-viz Roadcrafter suit. But there is no way I'm spending all that money without trying one on. Hmmmm.... sounds like a road trip might be in order....... In the meantime, I'll probably stick with the ladies Olympia AST Jacket and Promax pants. From Motogear Outlet of course.

Shiny side up everyone!!


  1. Last year, in northern California, I was following a black bike with a rider wearing black leathers with a black helmet. They blended in with the dark green trees on the sides of the road so well, they were effectively invisible. And I was looking at the bike. The shiny chrome was reflecting the sun enough to completely wash out the tail and brake lights.

    That convinced me to not wear black while riding...

  2. I really wish I could see what I look like on the bike.

  3. I suspect that the yellow top case and the white helmet really help with visibility.