Complete Rider Training, Receive a High-Visibility Vest; Public-sponsored training programs get a boost this year

Contact: Anne Readett, OHSP, readetta@michigan.gov, 517-241-2569
Agency: State Police

March 30, 2015

New, specially designed high-visibility vests will be given to motorcycle riders who successfully complete a public-sponsored rider training class this year as part of a pilot project to dramatically increase the number of motorcyclists using high-visibility clothing or gear.

The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP), which is providing the vests through federal traffic safety funds, expects that by the end of the summer nearly 9,000 newly trained riders with sharpened skills will also have a more visible profile on the road.

“This is a continuation of efforts to encourage motorcycle rider training, proper license endorsements, and the use of high visibility gear,” said Michael L. Prince, OHSP director. “We learned in focus groups that many riders think only of construction-type vests as options for high-visibility clothing. The vests we are providing combine visibility with function and will be something many riders will want to wear.”

Scientific studies have shown that a bright yellow-green color is the most noticeable to the human eye and has been used in safety clothing for construction workers, law enforcement, and emergency medical services personnel for many years. However, a 2013 observation survey of motorcycle riders in Michigan found that only about 5 percent wore any kind of high-visibility clothing or gear.

The new high-visibility vest, when worn, will make it easier for other drivers to see the motorcyclist and should reduce the number of near misses and crashes that occur when passenger vehicle drivers fail to see a motorcyclist in the mix of vehicles.

Along with increased visibility, rider training and the proper license endorsement are keys to reducing motorcyclist deaths and injuries. Nearly half the riders killed in crashes lack a cycle endorsement on their license.

Starting in June, vests will be provided to those who take and pass a public-sponsored rider training course which provides classroom and actual motorcycle operator training in a controlled, off-street environment. Successful completion of an approved course allows a person to waive the rider skills test requirement to add a motorcycle endorsement to their driver license.