Be Bright Be Seen

Our main priority at SSRP is the safety of road users. While we do everything we can to look after those who take to the highways and byways of Sussex and beyond, there are things that you can do as a road user to improve your protection and adopt a degree of responsibility for those who you share the roads with too.

If you are a cyclist, pedestrian, or horse-rider, have you considered your Visibility this winter? There are a number of ways you can make yourself Be Bright and Be Seen during hours of poor visibility. Whilst it is true that other users should look out for the more vulnerable on the roads (and vice versa), there is still a responsibility to make it as easy as possible for you to be seen in the first place. To that end, SSRP recommend the following:

  • High visibility vests and jackets - Because you use different parts of your eyes at different levels of light, it is best to have fluorescent and reflective items to wear. Fluorescent works in the daytime with the UV, and reflective at night.
  • Lights on bikes – It is not only the law to use lights on your push bike (as stated in the Highway Code), but it also helps greatly with visibility. The Highway Code also allows for flashing lights now, which can help even more.
  • Reflective snapbands -  This can be moved to different parts of the body, and are most useful on limbs that will be active (around ankles on cyclists or horse, wrists for cyclists who use arms to indicate).
  • Rucksack covers – Even if you wear a high-visibility vest, this will get covered if you put a rucksack over it. A fluorescent and reflective cover will help here.

It is much better to be lit up like a Christmas tree than not at all, so do not panic that you may have too much on.



Case Study – Bike Lights
This winter, SSRP have been focusing on rider conspicuity in a bid to bring down the number of collisions occurring in the area involving pedal cycles. The “killed or seriously injured” group has gone from 89 to 186 from 2010 to 2014, and many reasons involved in this are due to visibility.

Analysing the collision data, the partnership identified the key areas where crashes where happening, and surveyed the areas to see how many cyclists complied with the law in regards to using bike lights during hours of darkness and poor visibility. The week after, bike lights were given out, along with other high-visibility items, and the cyclists were engaged with to get some feedback on how they felt being a cyclist in Sussex. For every set of lights given out, a pledge was signed to say they would purchase another, more robust set. Surveys will be carried out again six weeks and three months after the giveaway to measure compliance again.

The results of the surveys will be published on here once data has been collated and all studies carried out.

ACC Steve Barry Talks about the intiative to make cyclists in Sussex more visible.

Other Resources
There are plenty of companies and websites out there with reams of products and advice on this subject. Current advice reads that fluorescent and, in particular, reflective clothing are the key to high visibility, and wearing something light will not be enough to help you be seen. If you are going to take to the roads in poor visibility, please consider all the advice and wear the appropriate clothing.

High-vis guide with products - cyclingweekly.co.uk
General cycle safety advice think.direct.gov.uk
High-vis guide with products (compare and contrast from above) - http://www.halfords.com/advice/motoring/expert-advice/guide-to-high-visibility-accessories-and-clothing