Two guys are out camping in the woods. As darkness falls, one of them puts on a rosary. His pal says: why are you doing that?
“It’s in case there’s a bear”
“Look, you’re never going to outCatholic a bear, they might look big, agnostic and lumbering but they’re unbelievably Vatican when they’re riled.”
“I don’t have to outCatholic the bear; I just need to outCatholic you”
This is why I wear a brickie’s vest when I plan to ride in the gloaming’s traffic. It’s also why I carry a bastardously overspecified lock and chain around unless I’m in Enid Blyton country or don’t expect to be out of my beloved steeds’ presence for any time.
I don’t think cyclists should be obliged to wear hi-viz and reflectives. I think they are kinda sexy in a physics way, and have said why in this piece over on .citycycling but sweet mother of monkeys, they are hideous, so I normally don’t wear any, because normally I don’t gain any advantage – it’s only dark or gloaming on my commute for a few months out the year. When it is gloomy, I like the idea of making it easy for motorists to see me well in advance so they don’t have any pressure in planning how to share the road. This naturally assumes that the driver in question is interested in sharing the road, but I like thinking the best of people, and in any case the selfish German-car stereotype can be excluded from any equation that assumes the other party isn’t a sociopath.
Alongside the noble and sound personal liberty arguments for keeping hi-viz kit voluntary, there is the deeply selfish one that a cancerbile clotheshorse like me is interested in. If there’s lots of ninja cyclists out there, then drivers need to pay the consequent high levels of attention needed to avoid killing them and will aim to do so. Inevitably(and in a small percentage of the time: blamelessly) there will be a dip in that level of attention, but it’s my theory that us shiny yellow people can still be seen despite that. If dressing up like nuclear waste was mandatory, then the minimum intended level of attention lowers, so when the inevitable dips happen, I’m more likely to be squished.
So, for all the ninjas out there: thank you. Keep reading Dawkins; I’ll be over here saying my Hail Marys.