It is dangerous to ride your bike on the road. Even with all the right signaling, LED lights, and correct bicycle etiquette, perfect weather, and bright sunlight, it is dangerous to share the road with cars. Drivers are careless. They don't pay attention. They look away for two seconds and that's all it takes for you to get in their way. The best you can do is take every possible precaution to make sure you are seen – from a distance as well as up close. The only way to do that is reflective clothing.
Safety clothing is as essential to a biker's gear as the helmet on her head and the water bottle attached to the frame of the bike. Reflective vests, reflective belts, even reflector tape are indispensable when it comes to safety. Lightweight, reflective clothing won't slow you down, so you can work on your speed knowing that you have taken every precaution to protect yourself.
Runners, too, can benefit from reflective vests and other safety clothing. Without the metal bike frame to catch and reflect headlights or sunlight, it is easy for runners to blend in with the scenery. Serious runners who run on major roads and even more casual runners who stick to neighborhood streets all run the risk of being on the wrong end of a vehicle collision. Choosing running shoes with reflective strips on the backs and sides is a start but it's not enough. Make sure that you have reflective vests with flashing LED lights, especially when you're running at night because even bright yellow can disappear in the dark.
Don't assume that because it is daytime you are safe as far as visibility is concerned. Sometimes the sun catching the reflective bicycle lights or safety vests is the only thing that will make you stand out to a driver when the sun is blindingly bright. Be liberal with the reflective tape. Use it on any or all of the following:
* Backpacks and bags* Helmets* Safety vests* Any clothing including shorts, shirts, and jackets* Back of the bicycle seat* Backs of shoes* Equipment including water bottles, bike tools, and two way radios
Kids and pets, especially dogs and cats that tend to slip out the front door when we're not looking, can benefit from reflective safety clothing. Whether playing with their friends or walking home after a late afternoon team practice or play rehearsal, it's especially important to protect your kids after dark.
It's better to be safe than sorry. When you walk the dog in the evening, take the kids out into the street ride bikes or roller skate, or even if you're out sweeping the sidewalk – if you're anywhere near cars, then it's important to protect yourself and your family with reflective safety clothing.
writer: Deena Leiman firstname.lastname@example.org