Black is black: Spot the human being on 2 wheels!

No matter what you might think – or tell yourself and others – you wear black, dark navy blue or dark grey and you will be very, very had to see! And, no, this is absolutely not about victim blaming! That would be much too easy. This is about many years of studying physiology, psychology, human factors, and neuropsychology.

Why it matters: Many drivers in Canberra have never commuted to work by bike. Their brains are just simply NOT WIRED to quickly and subconsciously see cyclists. Our brain is a pattern recognition machine – we see what we are used to and what we expect to see.

Things that are usually black: Tires, shoes, pants, helmets, saddle, saddle bags and backpacks. In other words, everything drivers see from behind.’s crystal bowl: The more riders – for sport, commuting or for leisure – make themselves easily ‘see-able’, the more drivers will be programmed to look out for people wearing hi-viz clothing.

Between the lines: This is a dangerous trend for cycists wearing dark colours. The gap will open up and drivers will start looking out for people wearing reflective clothing. That also goes for flashing lights.’s prediction: You wear black and ride with your lights off, you will be increasingly putting yourself at risk on Canberra’s roads.

Spot the cyclists:

Dig deeper:
Drivers really don’t see cyclists or motorbikers
Cyclists are not perceived as completely human
Mythbusting the reasons why people hate cyclists

Pedal Power: All bike riders in the ACT must display a:

  • flashing or steady white light that is clearly visible for at least 200 metres from the front of the bicycle
  • flashing or steady red light that is clearly visible for at least 200 metres from the rear of the bicycle
  • red reflector that is clearly visible for at least 50 metres from the rear of the bicycle when a low-beam vehicle headlight shines on it.

Why not be ultra-safe and use your lights every time you go for a ride. Be safe, be seen.

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