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Riding back from Ludlow on Thursday up the A49, approaching Wem, there was a bloke changing a car tyre on a fast blind bend. He was wearing a Hi-Viz vest, and as a result I saw him clearly and was alerted to the potential hazard.

And it made me realise something VERY important: something that I've always known but have never been able to voice coherently.

If every motorcyclist were forced to wear a Hi-Viz jacket, I wouldn't have paid that poor sod as much attention, and nor would the heavy wagons using that route. A flash of Hi-Viz over the hedgerow wouldn't have said 'warning', but would have said motorcyclist, and I might not have been alerted to the danger he was in, or that he represented to me as an obstacle.

The message of 'Hands off our personal freedom' is a good vote winner among motorcyclists, preaching to the converted, but it will cut no ice with a safety lobby who is determined to protect us from ourselves. They couldn't give a toss about us except as accident statistics and would legislate us off the road for their personal convenience if they could, so we need to point out the perils that compulsion would represent to others.

The message we need to get to the debate is that compulsory Hi-Viz jackets on motorcycles compromises the safety of EVERY pedestrian or stranded motorist - in fact it undermines the advantage of Hi-Viz jackets for anyone who is outside their vehicle on the road network (and is increasingly required to wear a hi-viz jacket in EU countries to alert others to the danger they present), because:

"A HI-VIZ JACKET NEEDS TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH A STATIONARY OR SLOW MOVING OBJECT, FOR IT TO FULFIL IT'S DUAL PRIMARY OBJECTIVES OF PROTECTING THE WEARER AND ALERTING OTHER ROAD USERS TO THEIR PRESENCE."

and

"AS SOON AS HI-VIZ IS ASSOCIATED WITH MOTORCYCLES TRAVELLING AT THE LEGAL SPEED LIMIT, ANYTHING THAT IS STATIONARY OR SLOW MOVING IS NO LONGER PROTECTED BY THEIR CONSPICUITY AID"

Simple messages that play to the legislators. The downside of taking that course of action will be that cars and motorcycles will need to carry hi-viz jackets for drivers, riders and passengers to wear when they are stationery, but that is an idea that has some merit, and having been at the side of the road with a dead bike in the dark I personally wouldn't object to: such a jacket could be very lightweight because it wouldn't need to be robust enough to stand-up to 70mph winds, so could fit in a tiny compression bag.

It's also worth mentioning that hi-viz jackets flap about, adversely affect fuel economy and can actually represent a threat to the motorcyclist.

More positive, pro-active and constructive that  a dozen or more bloody stupid piecemeal go-slows on the motorway network wearing "Hand Off Bikes" t-shirts, which will say nothing to anyone unless MAG has got something spectacular up their sleeve that will glue them all together in the mind of the public.