Now the days are getting shorter and the nights longer, riding in the dark is becoming more frequent and so, another safety aspect has to be taken into account: reflective clothing for both horse and rider.
We all know that we should wear ‘high-vis’ clothing when hacking out however, it is even more important in the darker and gloomier weather so we are easier to see for oncoming traffic.
There are two types of reflective clothing – fluorescent and reflective. Fluorescent is the bright, “day-glo” colour which can come in green, orange, pink etc (think highlighter pens and you’re there!) They are the best colours to wear in the day time as the sun’s ultra-violet light reacts with them so they appear to glow where as reflective clothing is best at night as the lights from the cars and street lamps bounce off the grey/silver parts back towards drivers, making them aware of you.
A good idea that I have seen when it comes to being more visible when riding on the roads is the new ‘POLITE’ range of clothing. As shown in the photograph, on the clothing, the word POLITE appears in large, block capital letters accompanied by the chequered blue and silver squares which at a quick glimpse, can look like the police (especially with the squares). This seems to have been designed to catch the driver’s attention and make them slow down without even thinking about it because they associate the design with the police which (usually!) automatically makes people slow down.
The main reason why high-vis items of clothing are bright colours is also so that us riders do not blend in with the surroundings. It is so that we do stick out and are more obvious to other road users.
Did you know?
Drivers first see pedestrians wearing:
Blue at 55 feet
Red at 80 feet
Yellow at 129 feet
White at 180 feet.
But it takes 260 feet for a vehicle going 60 mph to stop.
So, as the well known saying goes, be safe and be seen. Wear reflective and fluorescent clothing when out and about with your horse.
The Stable Doctor
Advice is given without legal responsibility
References: tamcmontery.co.uk, DirectGov, BrightKidz