High visibility gear for "commuting" down the road
I have my horse stabled about a mile down the road from my trainer and plan to start riding down the road for weekly lessons. Horse is a champ and has been exposed to all sorts of traffic and other human nonsense and I'm comfortable going out alone, esp. during daylight with a great trainer on the other end who would come looking for me if I didn't show up on time (or if I didn't let her know I got home safe).
However, I'm not the sort to trust fortune or other users of the road, particularly because although this road has several barns on it, it is also an artery for a range of residential communities whose drivers may or may not know how to safely pass a horse.
I'd like to get some good high-vis gear to help drivers see us early and respond appropriately. Anyone have recommendations w.r.t. what types of high-vis gear are most effective and what brands are particularly comfortable/well-designed?
Simkie, that is exactly what I was looking for! The yellow vest might be just the ticket for me.
I do have various flashy lights (my other horse is a road bike), so I'll see if any of their various fasteners can be securely braided into her tail.
In the miserably humid New England summers a quarter sheet is probably too hot. I imagine I'm the only one in the market for a safety-yellow fly scrim quarter sheet -- maybe I can get my hands on some appropriate material and sew my own... otherwise maybe vest + lights will be enough.
Alagirl, thanks for the Walmart hint. I may go see what they have to offer.
This material is appropriate for warm weather riding. Its an open weave mesh that breathes like an anti sweat sheet...And also acts like a bug shield. The Protectavest company will send you a brochure and fabric sample by request.
If you are riding during daylight hours, a reflective vest and possibly a blaze
orange helmet cover should be enough. The reflective stuff won't matter
Here in NJ, there is a state law on the books about motorists slowing to 25 mph
when they are passing a horse & rider. I went on a letter-writing campaign a
few years ago to get the local police to put signs up along the road that a
lot of people cross to get to the state-owned wildlife management area to
ride. It's made a big difference.
I'd wear the cheap high-viz safety vests you can get at any farm store or walmart. You can get some reflective tape to dress up a pair of tendon boots and/or neoprene tail wrap.
Based on my experience as a runner (and a driver, when I've come across runners or cyclists on the road at night), you want your reflective and flashing surfaces to be simple and BIG. A dinky little flashing light and the stylized little reflective pinstripes on my running gear are cute, but honestly they just seem to draw drivers closer to me. It's natural-- we tend to steer towards what we are looking at. So the driver sees a little bit of shiny something on the side of the road, and it's moving around, and their brain is saying what-the-deveil-IS-that? And the entire time, the steering wheel inexorably tilts in my direction until they get close enough to figure out what I am and dart back away from the shoulder. Whereas when I wear my highway-workers vest, I don't look nearly as cute but drivers' responses are immediate--they steer a wide berth around me--because they can make quick visual sense of what kind of object I am. There's a huge benefit to standardized marking schemes, because your brain is well-conditioned by now to recognize the highway safety vests. Even if it cuts just a second or two off the driver's reaction time, that's a big margin of safety.
Things that flash, glow, and/or reflect will not do much good if you're riding during the day, or even in early twilight. For daytime, you want things in bright colors, like blaze orange or hi-viz yellow. Lots of good suggestions above. Hopefully you don't have to ride down the road at night, but if you do, that's when you want flashy blinky reflector things