Cyclists like black outfits, but they shouldn’t

Take a look at the newest cycling gear for the season, and you’ll find that a lot of it is black. Even when you do have bright, colorful options for shirts, jackets, shorts and pants, you also have black options in many cases — and those are the only ones that a lot of cyclists choose.

Here’s the problem: Black blends into the road. It’s far harder for drivers to see, especially when they’re not really looking for cyclists to begin with. They’ll notice bright colors that stand out in their peripheral vision. They often won’t see dark colors like black and gray until they’re right next to the bike.

The color of a cyclist’s clothing is one of the easiest ways for him or her to stay safe on the road. You don’t have to think about it at all once you’re riding. It does not change your experience in the slightest. And yet it makes you far more visible, allowing drivers to keep their distance and avoid accidents.

Why do riders choose black anyway?

You could argue that black is the least safe color that any cyclist — or motorcyclist, for that matter — could choose. So, why is it the predominant choice for many people? Out of all of their options, why would they pick the one that gives them the greatest odds of getting into an accident?

Some experts think it’s just because black is flattering, sleek and cool. It gives off a professional, experienced vibe. It makes people look good. It’s a subtle color that casts almost everyone in a good light.

The problem, for some riders, is that the bright colors seem to scream “look at me.” They don’t want something so flashy. They don’t feel comfortable in it. While they do want drivers to look at them, of course, they’re not trying to stand out in such a broad, overwhelming sense.

So, it’s just about fashion? It appears that way. Remember, most of the time, when people pick out their clothes, they’re just thinking about how they’ll look and how those clothes will make them feel. They choose styles that are comfortable and cool, that reflect their personality and make them look their best.

A cycling outfit should be more about keeping you safe and making you visible, but it’s often hard to turn off that inner voice that says you should wear what you like, instead.

Your options

Naturally, no matter what color you wear while riding your bike, you have a right to the road and you deserve to be safe. When drivers violate your rights, cause accidents and put you in the hospital, you must know what legal options you have.