A couple months ago my daughter drove past me as I was pedaling home in the dark. When I walked into the house she told me that she had seen me, so I took the opportunity to do a little research.
Me: “Could you see me fairly well?”
Miss T: “Yeah.”
Me: “How far away did you notice me?”
Miss T: “Pretty far.” – which turned out to be around 500 feet.
The next question was the one I was leading up to. At the time I had on a jacket with reflective stripes and reflective ankle straps and was running a rear blinky.
“What did you notice first?” Her answer took me by surprise. “Your ankle straps.” Seriously, these things were a stocking stuffer that my wife got me a couple Christmases ago so I’d stop using the small bungee cords I swiped from her. I liked the Velcro straps but never really thought about them as being particularly attention grabbing.
Turns out they were an impulse present that she added on to an order from Amazon. I believe these are the Reflective Ankle Straps in question. They will only set you back 8 or 9 bucks, but the point is — every little bit helps when you’re trying to be seen.
When I originally posted this on my personal blog, fellow KC area commuter and CBB’er Noah made a rather keen observation:
“I’ve heard of this phenomenon several times by other motorists and cyclists. Peripheral vision can’t determine color very well but is extremely sensitive to both motion and contrast.”
“Ankle straps activate both because they go up and down.”
“The Old Bag” commented:
“I was on the last leg of my commute during that not-dark/not-light time of the AM when a coworker passed by in his car. He later said the lights I had were great-n-all, but what really grabbed his attention were 3 neon yellow streamers (18″x3″ or so) tied to my backpack flapping in the breeze. “Whoa”, I think, was his official response.
When drivers are thinking about everything but what’s on the side of the road, grabbing attention through movement can make all the difference.”
What other little things do you do to get noticed?