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Proviz face social media backlash for inflammatory post

Enhanced-visibility sportswear brand come under fire after asking followers to fill in a provocative blank

As anyone who posts regularly on social media will know, sometimes the things you share online can come back to bite you, and that's what's happened with Proviz this weekend after they aimed this provocative Facebook post at cyclists who choose not to wear light clothing whilst riding at night. 

The enhanced-visibility sportswear brand certainly got plenty of replies, but they perhaps hadn't accounted for the number of critical responses that would come their way on the worldwide web and eventually deleted the post after receiving a barrage of unwanted attention.

The post also found its way onto Twitter, via @2wheelsnot4 and not Proviz themselves, and here are just a selection of the many replies it received:

@1894restore: The same as driving a black car - you put lights on. Not impressed with this @ProvizSports there are better ways to promote your products than encourage drivers to use particular sticks to beat us with

@ibikeheathfield: "perfectly acceptable given nothing you wear can protect you from an inattentive, pi**ed, drugged, distracted, mobile phone using, SHONKY, driver." If they are looking they'll see you, if they aren't they won't, regardless of what you wear.

@RichardClinker: Other reflective kit is available. I think a lot of people here, who may be looking to purchase, may now look elsewhere first...

@Keefspark: In the 1980s TRRL looked at hiviz for motorcyclists and came to the conclusion that after a period of time it became the "norm" and lost it effect. It may also lose it potential for safety with the number of construction workers now wearing it around our streets.

@WilliamNB: Seriously, @ProvizSports? I have 1 of your backpacks, but as a result of this, you've lost any future custom from me. I don't support companies who fuel anti-cycling hatred!

@gfaz81: 90% of the time I cycle all in black. I don’t give a s**t what people think of it. You’re not telling the black car drivers to pop high viz on. Got my lights on.

@billhulley: Manufacturer of reflective sports wear victim blaming their prospective customers to promote their products. Not a good look. 

@beabikes: The answer to their question is - perfectly safe if you have lights in your bike. For clarity. My tweet is a tongue in cheek FU to dim witted advertising efforts. Of course cycling isn’t safe while people have cars.

We contacted Proviz themselves for a comment on the post and they kindly sent us this response: "We would like to apologise for our post and the offence it has caused. We have deleted it. It wasn't our intention to upset anyone.

"Our ethos has always been one of empowering people to run and cycle whenever - and in whatever gear - they choose. The question was posed to start a dialogue within the community. Our intention is to always engage positively and supportively, and we are very sorry if in this instance we missed the mark." 

What are your thoughts on Proviz's post? Should cyclists be called out for wearing dark clothes at night or are there more pressing concerns that need to be addressed when it comes to cycle safety? Let us know in the comments.

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50 comments

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HoarseMann | 2 years ago
2 likes

I don't rate the proviz jacket. Saw someone cycling in one the other night, yes it was bright, but head-on, it just appeared like a big round bright static blob.

I think having reflectives on moving bits works better or at least in some sort of pattern that's recognisable as a person.

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Oldfatgit replied to HoarseMann | 2 years ago
3 likes

Movement  is the key.
That's why you *must* have amber reflectors in your pedals; there is no other sequence of lights that mimic the action of pedals, and the eye is automatically drawn to moving lights (which is why the majorty of us have at least one flashing light as the flashing mimics movement)

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Johnbosley replied to Oldfatgit | 2 years ago
5 likes

I've had a look on Google, can't locate this movement called the flashing mimics. Are they a naked celebrity lookalike group?

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mdavidford replied to Johnbosley | 2 years ago
0 likes

Maybe they're reviving this:

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0167561/

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grOg replied to Johnbosley | 2 years ago
0 likes

This might help.. Fireflies, beetles of the family Lampyridae, use flashes of bioluminescent light for sexual communication—by means of coded patterns, males and females identify and locate each other in darkness.

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Awavey replied to HoarseMann | 2 years ago
1 like

I remember following someone wearing the gilet version, and theyd created such a high contrast bright blob, you couldnt see when they stuck their non reflective arms/hands out to indicate.  Which struck me as not ideal.

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Oldfatgit | 2 years ago
1 like

Doesn't Rule 59  say that cyclists *should* wear

"light-coloured or fluorescent clothing which helps other road users to see you in daylight and poor light"

* Yes, I know it's a Should, and as such advisory, but if you lived around here - where ambient light is almost zero unless its a full moon in a cloudless night once you get out of the towns - anything that gives you an increased margin of visibility is a bonus **

** except hi-vis ... random ultra-reflective stips work far better then the tapes over the shoulder and around the waist, and its next to useless in daylight.

 

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EddyBerckx replied to Oldfatgit | 2 years ago
3 likes

Oldfatgit wrote:

Doesn't Rule 59  say that cyclists *should* wear

"light-coloured or fluorescent clothing which helps other road users to see you in daylight and poor light"

* Yes, I know it's a Should, and as such advisory, but if you lived around here - where ambient light is almost zero unless its a full moon in a cloudless night once you get out of the towns - anything that gives you an increased margin of visibility is a bonus **

** except hi-vis ... random ultra-reflective stips work far better then the tapes over the shoulder and around the waist, and its next to useless in daylight.

 

You **MUST** have working lights front and rear on your bike. This negates any need for relective clothing that only works when you shine a light on it. Yes some people have crap lights - that's a different issue.

Personally I have 2 lights front and rear so I have backup - again, a personal choice. My commutes go from county lanes to central and back so I value good lights.

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Hirsute replied to EddyBerckx | 2 years ago
5 likes

I think it's down to your own risk appetite. Pretty sure oldfatgit lives in the middle of nowhere.
I have reflectives, a proviz jacket and lots of lights and use nsl roads all the time.
I'm older now and now risk averse, so that's my rationale but apart from telling people to use lights, I would not further than that.

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Oldfatgit replied to Hirsute | 2 years ago
1 like
hirsute wrote:

I think it's down to your own risk appetite. Pretty sure oldfatgit lives in the middle of nowhere.
I have reflectives, a proviz jacket and lots of lights and use nsl roads all the time.
I'm older now and now risk averse, so that's my rationale but apart from telling people to use lights, I would not further than that.

I do live in the arse of nowhere. A 10 or so minute ride from here takes you to the A70, which is at the bottom of the Pentlands.

I go out looking like a bloody Christmas Tree at night, and I've had far less problems than during the day*.

* I was in brights and reflectives when I was hit and seriously injured - and that was in broad daylight

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Oldfatgit replied to EddyBerckx | 2 years ago
1 like
EddyBerckx wrote:

Oldfatgit wrote:

Doesn't Rule 59  say that cyclists *should* wear

"light-coloured or fluorescent clothing which helps other road users to see you in daylight and poor light"

* Yes, I know it's a Should, and as such advisory, but if you lived around here - where ambient light is almost zero unless its a full moon in a cloudless night once you get out of the towns - anything that gives you an increased margin of visibility is a bonus **

** except hi-vis ... random ultra-reflective stips work far better then the tapes over the shoulder and around the waist, and its next to useless in daylight.

 

You **MUST** have working lights front and rear on your bike. This negates any need for relective clothing that only works when you shine a light on it. Yes some people have crap lights - that's a different issue.

Personally I have 2 lights front and rear so I have backup - again, a personal choice. My commutes go from county lanes to central and back so I value good lights.

You *must* have yellow reflectors in your pedals.
How many people riding SPD - SL (or equivalent) have them?

TBH ... Someone wants to ride in black at night ... They are welcome to fill their boots; I was merely pointing out what the HC says about it.

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EddyBerckx replied to Oldfatgit | 2 years ago
6 likes

yeah fair enough. I agree with you that I generally have less problems at night than during the day, regardless of the brightness of clothes I'm wearing or if it's sunny etc.

I strongly believe people close pass you because they think it's ok to do rather than not seeing you. At night, with bright lights in their face they are a little less sure of themselves and so give a little more room

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Rendel Harris replied to EddyBerckx | 2 years ago
1 like

EddyBerckx wrote:

You **MUST** have working lights front and rear on your bike. This negates any need for relective clothing that only works when you shine a light on it.

I don't think that's entirely sufficient for some environments though, particularly the very heavy traffic London environments I ride in at night/before dawn. Often when Mrs H is a few cars ahead of me I can't see her lights because there's higher traffic in the way, but I can pick out her fluorescent helmet and, yes, her Proviz jacket. Just personal preference, not saying it should be compulsory, but I feel safer having a light and/or something reflective/fluorescent up around shoulder level or higher at night, in addition to the legal requirements.

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Sriracha replied to Rendel Harris | 2 years ago
2 likes

Yup, day-glo helmet, that's how I end up as back-marker on group rides! At least I'm guessing it's because the leader can see me easily, I mean ... I do shower.

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Rik Mayals unde... | 2 years ago
4 likes

I have one of their jackets, the one which looks bright silver in the light. yes, it is bright, but apart from that it is pretty shit. It tears if you dont treat it with kid gloves and it is shite in the rain. I dont bother wearing it any more as I am so disappointed with it. A waste of money in my eyes.

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Karl219 | 2 years ago
0 likes

I'd say better for Proviz to emphasise the positive of their product, rather than the sub-optimal nightriding apparel of a sensitive few. I detest high-viz - kills my look - but all black is night camouflage. 

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Rapha Nadal | 2 years ago
8 likes

Who cares?  It's maybe not the brightest thing to do (see what i did there...) but why is everybody getting so triggered?!  Christ.

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Daclu Trelub | 2 years ago
0 likes

It is pretty fecking stupid, though.

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ktache | 2 years ago
1 like

I have a colleague who runs, early mornings, she was sent a link to this, she was not impressed at the reflectivity.

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sparrowlegs | 2 years ago
3 likes

So that was it? That's all the post said? So instead of people saying things like "cycling in the dark is FUN" or "cycling in the dark is GREAT" people naturally went for the negative?

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