The Vis Biz

May 24, 2014 View Comments by

The Vis BizI was topping off my Transalp’s gas tank years ago when a guy walked up to me and asked in a very offensive tone of voice why I wasn’t wearing a white helmet. Here in Ohio we don’t have a helmet law, and sadly only a small minority of us even wear head protection. I’d purchased a gray full-face Shoei helmet that nearly matched the color of my bike, and I was rather offended by his comment, especially the way that it was delivered.  I told him that I had selected the helmet because it was what I wanted, and that at least I was wearing one. He went on to say that he had been a motorcycle safety instructor and that white was the most visible color available (at that time), and he felt that everyone should wear it.

I still disagree with his delivery method, however, it must have stuck because as soon as the latest high-visibility gear hit the market I bought some, beginning with a helmet and followed by a jacket. The helmet has become extremely faded from sun exposure and will be replaced by a silver one this summer, but the new jacket should make up for the loss of visual impact.

Something unusual has happened several times while wearing the high-visibility gear; motorists have commented that they appreciate how much easier it is to see the chartreuse green helmet and jacket. Although lots of drivers do extremely stupid and dangerous things that affect motorcyclists, the multiple comments about the gear made me realize that there are also many bike-conscious drivers on the road who welcome any help that we can give them in preventing an accident.

For that reason, I couldn’t care less about whether or not my gear matches my bike anymore, unless they start producing bikes with high visibility paint colors. It was dusk when we took the picture for this blog, and I was amazed how the jacket looked in the dim light when hit by the camera’s flash. Make mine high visibility from now on please. And to coin a phrase from years ago…why aren’t you wearing it?


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