This month has seen Craig from the Safer roads Partnership, Del and I throwing some ideas around about the Saferrider web site.
I think you will agree Craig has done a sterling job with the revamp and the whole area has been made much easier to navigate around.
We have added a new section called “Reviews” where products that are kindly donated by manufactures are then put to the test by either me, Del or the other Black Rats on the Roads Policing Department so you can receive a detailed, unbiased and above all, realistic review of popular products out there on the market. At present, one of our supervisors, Grant Thomas is testing a heated jacket that plugs directly to the bike’s battery, I have already read part of his review and it makes very interesting reading so watch out for that review shortly.
Whilst on the subject of product testing, if you have any ideas for products, accessories, cleaning gear, tools or shinny bits you want to see put through their paces by us please let me know. I can’t promise anything, but we will try our best to get hold of the related kit, test it fully and offer you an unbiased full review before you go out and spend your hard earned. I can promise all bits of kit will be tested fully. In fact we might even persuade Del to test some riding kit and demonstrate his crash testing skills for us like he did last year! Well Del…… OK I will leave that one alone thenJ.
This week I received a request form a reader about advice on reflective taping on bikes, where the law stands and ideas about how much, how little and what colouring to use. Also what colour reflective boxes can be used on the back of green high visibility jackets?
Del and I had a discussion about this subject and we both agreed, the more reflective material you put on your bike the better; as long as you follow these guide lines!
Motorcycles have curved panel areas everywhere which works to your advantage when it comes to reflective taping. Most products on the market reflect light up to a 75 degree angle. With this in mind if the material is attached to a curved panel such as a nose cone of a bike it will reflect light more efficiently than on a flat panel for example a bonnet, wing or boot lid of a car. (biker =1, door slammer =0).
There are limitations regarding colouring when it comes to reflective material on vehicles, similar to the lighting regulations. You cannot use red reflective material displaying at the front of your machine and you cannot display white to the rear. This is obvious because other road users (yep door slammers again) can become confused when they see both a white and red light coming towards them and a red and white light travelling away from them. With this in mind I would suggest the following colour schemes:
Front facing should be white, yellow, blue.
Rear facing should be red, yellow, blue.
Side facing should be blue, orange, yellow.
If you wish to be more subtle with reflective material there are quite a few interesting products on the market. As you know I ride a black coloured Honda Blackbird. Although this bike looks nice on a sunny day, it doesn’t really stand out in dim lighting or the dark. A friend managed to find some black reflective tape, yep I know it sounds weird but it reflects really well at night. I have placed this material around the nose cone area on my “Bird” and when a beam hits it, the effect is quite remarkable, just like switching on a light. Also good for helmets and front edges of panniers etc.
Regarding high visibility clothing my opinion is the same, the more of the stuff you wear, the safer you will be. Quite often when I’m out and about I will see green high Viz jackets being worn with reflective text boxed areas on the back. There is no legislation regarding what text can be used in the boxed area as long as at it doesn’t say “POLICE, FIRE or AMBULANCE when clearly you are not!
In conclusion if you own a white coloured Pan European or a BMW 1200RT and you want to stripe it up to look like one of our bikes then “crack on”. As long as it doesn’t have POLICE, FIRE or AMBULANCE written down the side of it or blue lights anywhere, you are within your rights to do it. In fact you will be doing me and Del a favour because when “Door Slammers” see you coming up behind them on the motorway, they will think there are more Police bikes out there than there actually is.