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Cycling Safety: Why Visibility Matters

Cycle commuter numbers are growing across Australia, with more people realising the benefits of opting for two wheels over four.

The pandemic-led surge of commuters avoiding crowded public transport and locked-away city dwellers longing for exercise has led to a spate of pop-up cycleways and lower speed zones on some city streets. End-of-trip facilities in the workplace, environmentally conscious and economical travel, and the increasing popularity of e-bikes are continuing to entice more everyday people to embrace cycling. 

However, the dangers of road-riding on busy city streets with heavy traffic, especially in low-light conditions still inhibit many everyday commuters from electing to ride. Monkeyseewants to change that.

What is Monkeysee?

MonkeySee delivers stylish, easy-to-wear, and practical reflective gear for all types of riders. For the serious cyclists who spend a lot to look and feel great on their bike, but forgethow easily (if at all) they are seen by drivers. For the commuters who focus on their bike lock, lights, and keepingtheir change-of-clothes dry for when it rains. For the e-bike Cargo warrior busy ensuring the kids have helmets on for school drop-off, wearing casual or work attire.

At Monkeysee, we love them all, because encouraging more everyday people to choose to ride and do it safely, is in our DNA. 

MonkeySee are an Australian-based cycling safety company who offer a wide range of gear including high-visibility jackets.

What does the evidence say? 

Under low light conditions, cyclists, runners, and pedestrians are more vulnerable to fatal collisions with a vehicle, and cyclists are 2–6 times more likely to be involved in a collision with a vehicle at night compared to during the day.

This black MonkeySee thermal jacket features incredibly bright reflective insets.

Cycling clothing with retro-reflective material maximises visibility in low-light conditions by redirecting light back to its source, such as car headlights and drivers. Surprisingly, even just a few reflective patches can be highly effective. Wearing reflective material on the joints that move (wrists, ankles, knees, and elbows) significantly improves a driver’s ability to recognise a cyclist from a safe distance.

Although brightly coloured fluorescent clothing has been a popular choice among safety-conscious commuters, the evidence is weak for supporting that fluoro and bright clothing alone make the wearer safer.

What is biomotion? 

Biomotion is the movement that signals to the brain that what it is seeing is a living being. Simply put, it is the movement that indicates life. 

Research has shown that at night drivers can detect cyclists wearing a biomotion configuration (reflection material on wrists, arms, knees, and ankles) from three times farther away than those in reflective vests, and six times further away than those in all-black.

What should a cyclist wear to improve safety?

Undoubtedly, wearing all-black in low light is not the safest option, but we know cyclists love the slimming look! Monkeysee recommends all riders consider adding reflective elements to their everyday cycling wardrobe.

MonkeySee have adults and kids gear including this hi-vis vest. Full details on their website.

• A reflective harness or vest can be worn over any outfit of choice. The Monkeysee Harness is adjustable, lightweight, comfortable, and available in multiple colours and sizes.

• Reflective Velcro straps are a simple yet effective accessory worn around wrists, ankles, knees, or elbows to help drivers see movement. For everyday commuters these double as pant-leg protection from the bike chain – win-win!

• Intelligent Bike Lights are speed-induced brake lights, to warn drivers when riders slow down – yet another simple way to provide more information to drivers that you are a person on a bike.

• Reflective jackets double as waterproof, windproof, and thermal protection against the elements. For cyclists not wanting bulk or weight, super lightweight nylon jackets with reflective detail can be scrunched small to fit into cycling jersey pockets. 

• For commuters and kids alike, a reflective, hi-vis rechargeable LED Slap-bands is a versatile accessory to help when indicating turning corners, and double as festival and party lights!

For more tips plus to see the MonkeySee range visit their website here.


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