High-visibility clothing

High-visibility clothing, a type of personal protective equipment (PPE), is any clothing worn that has highly reflective properties or a color that is easily discernible from any background. Orange hunting vests are a popular example of high-visibility clothing.

Part of the surface of clothes may be made retroreflective (small parts of coats, large parts of special safety clothes for rescue workers etc.). This way they become much more visible in the dark for observers near a light source, such as the driver of a car with its headlights on. The pattern of the retroreflecting parts also helps to distinguish between objects and people.

For greater visibility at daytime, as well as for decoration, very bright colors are obtained with fluorescence.

A related type of PPE corresponding to maximizing visual awareness in dangerous environments is head gear mounted mirrors. They allow the wearer to see potential dangers rather than just being seen.

The opposite are clothes with a camouflage pattern.


In general, people who wear high-visibility clothing are those who need to be conspicuous to other people. Examples include pedestrians or workers with no significant physical protection in dangerous industrial environments. High-visibility clothing is also common in many outdoor activities in which people are on foot, or operating unenclosed vehicles such as bicycles or motorcycles, who may be exposed to other people who are operating motor vehicles, heavy equipment, or recreational firearms, and need to be conspicuous to them. In addition, bicyclists and motorcyclists need to be visible to each other, and to pedestrians.

The attention-getting nature of high-visibility clothing has also led to its occasional use as a fashion statement.
* Bicyclists - "see" Bicycle safety
* Emergency responders
** Firefighters
* Equestrians
* Fishermen
* Highway workers
* Hikers
* Hunters
* Linemen
* Meter readers
* Motorcyclists - "see" Motorcycle safety
* Parking attendants
* Pedestrians
* Ravers
* Railwaymen
* Surveyors
* Traffic police
* TV crew (when needed)



While it seems intuitively obvious that high-visibility clothing should make its wearer easier for vehicle operators, hunters, etc., to see and avoid, there are surprisingly few studies to quantify the effectiveness of high-visibility clothing for particular classes of users.


The Hurt Report and a New Zealand study [cite web|url=http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/328/7444/857|date=April 10, 2004|publisher=BMJ|title=Motorcycle rider conspicuity and crash related injury: case-control study |accessdate=2007-06-26|author=Susan Wells et al.] found that high-visibility clothing significantly reduced multiple vehicle accidents involving motorcycles.


Traffic risks to the bicyclist are similar to those faced by motorcyclists (see SMIDSY), with the main differences being that bicycling speeds are typically lower, and the bicyclist wears less protective gear. Nonetheless, there seems to be even less research on the effectiveness of high-visibility clothing for the bicyclist than for the motorcyclist. However, a number of vendors market high-visibility clothing for bicyclists. From a good vantage point along a road or cycleway with a sight line of 1 km or more, one can watch bicyclists approaching during daylight, and see that those clad in high-visibility clothing become readily visible long before dull-clad bicyclists riding next to them. Research is needed to quantify the extent to which this plainly evident conspicuity advantage might translate into fewer bike/car collisions.


The Portuguese law demands that every vehicle is provided with a high-visibility vest with reflective material certified according to EU standards that is to be worn in emergency situations that force the driver to exit the vehicle. Unlike common belief, the driver is not required to exit the vehicle wearing high-visibility clothing. However, the law demands that the driver is wearing it before any attempt to repair the vehicle.


Various have published similar standards for high-visibility clothing to be worn as personal protective equipment.

ANSI/ISEA 107-1999

The American National Standards Institute published a standard [cite web|url=http://www.cdc.gov/elcosh/docs/d0600/d000627/d000627.html|date=|publisher=eLCOSH|title=ANSI/ISEA 107-1999 American National Standard for High-Visibility Safety Apparel|author=|accessdate=2007-08-26|] for high-visibility clothing in 1999. The standard defines three classes of successively more-visible garments, to protect workers exposed to successively higher levels of risk from motor vehicles and heavy equipment.

ANSI/ISEA 107-1999 is a voluntary industry consensus standard; however, Occupational Safety regulations support its implementation by employers whose employees are at risk from motor traffic or heavy equipment.

ANSI/ISEA 107-2004

ANSI revised the standard in 2004. [cite web|url=http://multimedia.mmm.com/mws/mediawebserver.dyn?6666660Zjcf6lVs6EVs666NA8COrrrrQ-|date=|publisher=3M|title=ANSI/ISEA 107-2004 MADE EASY: A Quick Reference to High-Visibility Safety Apparel|author=|accessdate=2007-08-26|]

BS EN 471:2003

The British Standard for high visibility clothing.cite web
url= http://www.beseenonabike.com/bsoab/beseenonabike_legal_standards.htm
title= High Visibility Standards
accessdate= 2008-03-24
accessyear= 2008
publisher= Bicycle Safety Online Shop


A European Commission directive which covers high visibility clothing.cite web
url= http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:31989L0686:EN:HTML
title= Council Directive 89/686/EEC of 21 December 1989 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to personal protective equipment
accessdate= 2008-03-24
accessdaymonth= 03
accessmonthday= 24
accessyear= 2008
date= 1989-12-21
year= 1989
month= 12


The Canadian Standard for high visibility clothing.

See also

*Chartreuse yellow (also called "neon yellow")
*Display (zoology) - high visibility in nature
*Safety orange (also called blaze orange, hunter orange)


External links

* [http://www.alertvisions.com High Visibility Safety Apparel]

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