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 All Forums
 Motorcycle Safety
 General Discussion
 Helmet color and visibility
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scottrnelson
Advanced Member
6925 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, ID
USA

Honda

XR650L, 1090 Adv R

Posted - 04/30/2019 :  3:22 PM                       Like
I was recently at the local Cycle Gear store getting a new rear tire for my KTM (original lasted 3200 miles) and was looking at their helmets. I'm due for a new dual sport helmet and was trying to find the right one.

While trying on helmets I determined the Shoei Hornet fits right, but they're only available in black, grey, or white. I want bright yellow or orange.

The sales guy said that studies have determined that white is the most visible helmet color, but I don't believe it. If I'm riding in traffic and one fourth of the cars and trucks are white, I believe that I blend right in with traffic, while a yellow or orange helmet stands out more because the color is different from just about everything in the background. I know that yellow shows up a bit better than orange in overcast conditions, but I feel that my orange helmet is just as bright in full sunlight.

So I've been trying to find a study that has determined which motorcycle helmet colors are most visible and I can't seem to find anything. Do any of you know of such a study? And does it say that white is the most visible?

Alan_Hepburn
Male Standard Member
200 Posts


San Jose, Ca
USA

Honda

1994 GL1500SE

Posted - 05/01/2019 :  9:57 AM
Don't know of any studies, but our helmets are what BILT calls "day-glo" - bright yellow - and we find they are very visible. Especially to bugs!
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rkfire
Advanced Member
1716 Posts


Stratford, CT
USA

Suzuki

Bandit

Posted - 05/03/2019 :  3:55 PM   Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
Purely based on decades old memory, I remember it being said there was a study of what color made the most noticeable fire engine. The yellowish/greenish version won. I have no link or anything to corroborate.
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scottrnelson
Advanced Member
6925 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, ID
USA

Honda

XR650L, 1090 Adv R

Posted - 05/04/2019 :  4:18 PM
I asked this question on another forum, got a whole lot of opinions, some conflicting with others, and one good link: http://smarter-usa.org/research/con...ity-highviz/

That link didn't directly cover helmet color and which is most visible, but it covered a lot of related stuff and had links to a lot of different studies. Some of them even mentioned helmet color, but I couldn't find any conclusions about the helmet color specifically. Interesting light configurations and bright riding gear were covered in several.

Ultimately I didn't find the answer to whether or not white helmets are more visible than other bright colors. And next time somebody makes that claim based on "a study", I'm going to call them on it an see if they can point me at even a single one.
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Baggsy
Male Advanced Member
728 Posts
[Mentor]


Ottawa, Ontario
Canada

Suzuki

09 Wee

Posted - 05/21/2019 :  7:03 PM
It's possible that people look for white helmets more, because in some jurisdictions that's what motorcycle police officers wear. Here's a New Zealand study that makes claims about white helmets: https://www.bmj.com/content/328/7444/857

"Compared with wearing a black helmet, use of a white helmet was associated with a 24% lower risk (multivariate odds ratio 0.76, 0.57 to 0.99). "
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scottrnelson
Advanced Member
6925 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, ID
USA

Honda

XR650L, 1090 Adv R

Posted - 05/22/2019 :  2:56 PM
Comparing any light color to black doesn't answer my original question.

In any case, I received my new fluorescent orange dual sport helmet recently and that thing is bright. I'm sure it will stand out from other traffic enough to help me get noticed. Not that I count on anybody noticing me, but every little advantage I can get is a good thing.
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