High-visibility jackets

It used to be just construction workers that wore high-visibility tops. Now they adorn police on traffic duty, tram/train customer service people, cyclists, truck drivers, builders, couriers, and so on.

They do make a person more visible (spectacularly so at night), even if they do little else. Railway industry people wryly observe that some of the more foolish of their number think that a high-visibility jacket will magically prevent them from being hit by trains.

It might be a bit of an arms race like visibility from four-wheel drives. How visible will they be if everyone wears them? Not at all, in crowds, I suspect.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

4 replies on “High-visibility jackets”

I always thought that they were worn in warehouses etc so that forklift drivers could easily line up their target.

They’re an OH&S requirement for anyone working on a road in Victoria. VicRoads requires them or you are not permitted to do whatever you’re doing. That includes traffic surveys, tree pruning, rubbish collection, mail delivery and anything else you can think of. We are required to wear them for any site visits from work.

IMO these jackets make customer service people appear less approachable so I’m not a fan of them, with two exceptions, which are:

1. Required for safety reasons (eg when near roads/railways).

2. When there is a major service disruption. People see the jackets on normally unjacketed staff and realise instantly that things ‘aren’t normal’. This quick visual communication saves a lot of explaining.

When in Wellington, NZ, almost every Trolleybus driver I saw was wearing a hi-viz vest. Presumably they are required for when a bus de-wires.

It was a windy day.

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