As a cyclist, you put your life in the hands of the drivers that you share the road with on every ride. But under New York law if a driver hits you, even if it was their fault, the clothes you wear may diminish your final compensation.
The injury statute in New York makes it clear that if both parties in an accident are at-fault, then the final compensation may decrease. This is comparative negligence. So, even if a driver hits you because they turned right in front of you, they could claim “I didn’t see them because of their clothes” and that might hold weight with the court. So what can you do?
One way to help stay safe – and protect any possible compensation — is to make sure that you’re as visible as possible. What you want is a bright lime-green vest or shirt. That color is right where the colors green and yellow merge into one another on the scale.
Just think about it. That shade of green is often used in logos and branded content. It also shows up on warning signs. Many firetrucks, which are traditionally painted red, are now in this green/yellow instead. The same is true for ambulances and other emergency vehicles.
That’s not to say that colors like red and orange don’t help. You just want to avoid black, gray and other colors that blend in. Anything bright can help. But, if you want to be as safe and as visible as possible, that green/yellow is the color that you want.
Bicycles have a special vulnerability
Of course, even wearing the right colors doesn’t mean you won’t get injured when a driver makes a mistake, and you need to understand your legal options if it happens.