We'll tell you everything you need to know about cycling safety vests: whether it's mandatory, whether it reduces the risk of accidents, and what you should consider when buying.
A safety vest is not compulsory in Germany
In 2018, 445 cyclists died in road traffic accidents in Germany, compared to 382 in the previous year. To reduce the death rate for cyclists, the German government kept debating whether a helmet or safety vest obligation for cyclists should be decided. To this day, both are not compulsory in Germany.
The situation is different in other neighboring European countries. There, for example, it is compulsory to wear a safety vest at night when visibility is poor. These countries include France, Italy, Spain, Lithuania, and Hungary.
This brings a safety vest when cycling
By wearing a safety vest as a cyclist, you are more visible on the road. This is especially true in the dark or bad weather conditions.
However, this does not confirm that your risk of accidents will decrease. An investigation was carried out in Great Britain. The results were terrifying: while drivers overlook about 4 percent of pedestrians, drivers don't notice 22 percent of cyclists. Accidents often occur because the driver in the car looks in the wrong direction, is distracted, or concentrates on a phone call. If an accident happens, as a result, a safety vest cannot do anything.
Also, many drivers overtake inside cyclists in to close and keep lest a safety distance of 1.5 meters to the bicycle. A safety vest only adds a few centimeters in favor of the safety distance.
You should pay attention to this when buying a safety vest
Since you put on your safety vest as the last "piece of clothing", make sure that it is big and wide enough. You should be able to wear a winter jacket or a thick sweater underneath.
Also, there is a warning vest with Velcro. So you can easily open and close the safety vest.
The safety vest shines in the dark only through light. It is important that the safety vest also has stripes so that it lights up even in a very dark environment. When purchasing a safety vest, use the German (DIN EN 471: 2003 + A1: 2007) or the European standard (EN ISO 20471: 2013) as a guide.
With time and after several washes, the safety vest can wear out and lose its reflective effect. Therefore, replace them regularly.
A safety vest is also ideal for children on the way to school, so that they can be seen by other road users.
Practical: Buy a saddlebag in which you can stow the safety vest. Then you always have them at hand on your bike.
Note that a safety vest is only an addition to a roadworthy bike with bike lights.
More tips to reduce the risk of accidents
Attempts in the road with your bike stand out. Make sure you wear light clothing, good lighting, and reflectors. Wear a safety vest at dusk, at night or in winter to be visible on the road.
Wear a helmet when cycling. This can save your life if you fall.
Bike defensively and with foresight. Expect a driver might not recognize you or make a mistake.