Monday, July 2, 2012

Colors for the Road

This month I’m taking my thoughts about color on the road – where the purpose of using bright colors is more about safety than aesthetics, but there’s still plenty of colorful fun to be had.

Recently I traveled with friends to Elkhart Lakes, Wisconsin to attend the Vintage Motorcycle Classic at Road America racetrack. There was color, color everywhere on a variety of antique motorcycles – so many varieties of styles and ages. I especially loved the very earliest motorcycles that morphed from bicycles. 

In addition to motorcycles there was everything from tractors to scooters to golf carts. It was visual over load, I didn’t know where to look first. I took “Gina”, my cobalt blue scooter, and did my share of bopping around in the spectator part of the racetrack. 

We were also able to ride on the country roads around St. Anna where we stayed. There is a large Amish population in that area, so it was a quite a sight to see us sharing the back roads with the Amish buggies. Seeing the ways they light their buggies with lights and reflectors to drive in the dark got me to thinking again about the importance of visibility on the road – no matter what you ride in! 

Road safety is often a topic of concern in our household because we are avid bicyclists as well as motorcyclists. Despite current safety awareness, and the increased use of bicycle helmets, I still see many riders on bikes at night with no tail reflector blinkers, no front light and wearing dark non-reflective clothing. It is so dangerous. It’s time we all get colorful and visible! 

For 30+ years I have often been a passenger on one or another of my husband’s various motorcycles. I know how important it is to be visible – but it wasn’t until I recently took a Minnesota Safety Motorcycle class to obtain my license for my scooter that I really began to do my research. It’s all about finding the right colors and the best lights for maximum safety.

Here are some interesting color facts from an article I found on the Alive To Ride website: 
  • White is the most visible color under uniform lighting.
  • Black is the least visible color (regardless of lighting conditions).
  • Lime-green provides excellent visibility in all color conditions. That’s why we are seeing safety vests, and fire trucks being painted in this new color in recent years.
  • Colors that blend in with their surroundings make a vehicle less visible.
  • Bright colors closest to the center of the color spectrum are generally easier to see than darker colors. 

What does this mean for bicyclists and motorcyclists? 
  • Helmets and bikes should be bright colors, maybe white, but definitely not black. Kawasaki Lime Green is the best. 
  • Adding decals or custom painting to helmets and motorcycles can also make them more visible. 
  • The old school blaze orange safety vest works well to be seen over dark jackets. 
  • Many bikes, particularly sport bikes, are covered with a myriad of bright vibrant colors. Having multiple colors increases the range of conditions that you can be seen in.
  • LED lighting kits also offer great night visibility for motorcycles—and they are a fun way to showcase your bicycle at night, too. These kits primarily use bright neon lights, such as electric blue, fire red, and traffic light green for that special “Wow!” factor.

Check out this illuminating video for revolutionary LED bicycle lights:

Travel safe this summer - and enjoy the bright color possibilities!

Christine’s Pick for Summer

The new Jonathon Adler store in Uptown. What a breath of fresh air and fresh ways to accessorize your home with color! 

1439 West Lake Street
Minneapolis, MN
Mon-Sat 10am-6pm  
Sun Noon-5pm 

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