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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)

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Presentation on theme: "CONSPICUITY FOR CYCLIST SURVIVAL Jack Holmgren Member San Francisco Randonneurs Randonneurs USA 3-31-12 (All errors and opinions are the author’s)"— Presentation transcript:

1 CONSPICUITY FOR CYCLIST SURVIVAL Jack Holmgren Member San Francisco Randonneurs Randonneurs USA 3-31-12 (All errors and opinions are the author’s)

2 Don Mitchell at the start of the 2009 Gold Rush Randonnee

3 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.

4 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

5 The man who ran into and killed Don NEVER SAW Don.

6 Holmgren’s First Law of Cycling Survival You can never be too conspicuous.

7 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.

8 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.

9 Conspicuity 1.The property of being clearly discernible. 2.The state or quality of being clear or bright; brightness; conspicuousness.

10 Don Mitchell’s Memorial

11 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 ____

12 Biological Motion (Biomotion) Drivers see and recognize a human form: Retroreflective material Worn on moving Joints

13 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 Go for as much as you possibly can get. Beware of phrases like “reflective accents.”

14 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.”

15 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.

16 Moonbeam DIY modification – 4 inch wide strip of slick material sewn to the bottom of the back of visibility vest

17 Survival Conspicuity – Camelbak Issue Put Your Camelbak On Before Your REFLECTIVE VEST OR SAM BROWNE BELT!!!!

18 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___

19 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.

20 Identify the conspicuity items in this photo

21 Traffic Master Jersey – A good example

22 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.

23 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

24 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:

25 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.

26 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.

27 Survival Conspicuity – Multiple Tail Lights “Volagi” mount (brake bridge) 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.

28 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.

29 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

30 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!

31 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.

32 Survival Conspicuity – Organize! Join a/several bike coalitions:

33 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.

34 Daytime Riding Helmet + Ankle Bands + Conspicuity Vest + Daytime Strength Tail Lights +Daytime Strength Front Light = SAFETY or greater safety

35 Night Time Riding Helmet + Ankle Bands + Conspicuity Vest + Daytime Strength Tail Lights + Night Time Strength Front Light (s) = SAFETY or greater safety

36 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.

37 Holmgren’s Second Law of Cycling Survival You should always try to be more conspicuous!

38 Thanks To the science gals and guys at Queensland U out there in Brisbane, Australia. FEMA 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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