March 9, 2009

On the scene

So maybe you don't have to wear black to be cool. It's a good thing, because that leaves a lot more options for gear when you're on a bike and want to be seen. Enter: my new day-glow headpiece.

While it's great to theorize how a bright helmet can help with visibility i wanted to see what difference it actually makes. These tests are not intended to be generalizable or repeatable, but i figure it's better than nothing.

Mano-a-mano between the Arai RX-7 Corsair in red Sete Asaign design and HJC CJ-12 in grey.

Conclusion: When you are standing right next to the helmets the one in psycho technicolour is less likely to get stepped on.

This first shot is supposed to simulate what the bike and helmet look like from head-on. Imagine there is a very tiny person wearing it and he is huddled behind the bars... got it?

Conclusion: In this case i'd have to say, yes, the red helmet provides an advantage for visibility. Will it stop me turing left in front of the bike? Maybe.

Next up we have a side view, closer.

Conclusion: From the side and up-close the red helmet definitely stands out. If anything it could cause problems as innocent passerbys get hypnotized by the patterns and forget what they're doing and run off the road.

Now let's go really way out. This is what you'll see if I'm in an intersection way ahead, or maybe coming at you on the highway.

Conclusion: I'll have to give it to the silver helmet in this example - winner!! But why? We see that the background really has a lot to do with how visible a helmet is. The grey against the tree has more contrast that the red against the bright sky. The lesson is that we should all try to position ourselves next to large black SUVs at all times.

Final shots with our highly paid model before his contract expired. Front view from medium-close.

Conclusion: There is a bit of neon on the chin that really stands out here. It's clear, the red helmet is more noticeable.

I didn't know what to expect when i saw the grey and red helmets compared. While common sense suggests the red will be more visible, it is interesting to see tangible examples. Like i said, this isn't close to a scientific test, but it's better than nothing. Yes, it is worth it to have some sort of colour or pattern on your helmet, and possible the most important factor is how much contrast it will provide against the most common backgrounds to your daily ride.


indigoid said...

My strongest reaction to this posting, by far, is "fark, I miss my R1200R!" :-( They're a gorgeous bike. I would have ordered another one if the K1200GT wasn't more suited to my future riding (lots of boring superslab every week)

Very well illustrated and thoughtful post!

LumpyCam said...

When i was at the recent Vancouver Motorcycle show the K1300GT was beautiful to sit on and imagine the highway miles rolling by. Only the KTM Adventure evoked more dreamy visions. Some of the local dealers have demo days coming up where you can ride a new Beemer for an hour. The K-GT is top of my list to try.

Angie said...

Wow, that is a detailed analysis!