If you’re touring in Europe, you’ll have to carry a hi-viz vest with you because all the usual countries you get to Europe by bike, all require you to at least carry a hi-vis on you, to be worn if you break down or have an accident.
In many countries, France, Italy, Ireland, Belgium, Austria and Spain, you don’t have to wear a hi-vis on your motorbike but you do need to wear one if you break down.
Even if you’re not heading off to explore Europe, a hi-vis jacket can be handy on a commute to provide that added visibility in foggy, dark or emergencies. Most high-vis jackets are cheap, lightweight and made from thin material, which makes it easy for them to be stored away under the seat and forgotten about you need it.
You can wear a standard workwear vest, but they aren’t designed for the high-speed winds they’ll experience on your bike and can come undone easily. Also having a piece of flapping material while you’re riding is both annoying and a dangerous distraction.
To help you choose a high-vis vest, we’ve created a shortlist of motorcycle-specific hi-vis wear to get an idea on what’s best for you.
Zip and buckle fastening
Made by Held, a well-known motorcycle wear manufacturer, they’ve thought about the possibility of velcro coming undone at high speed and opted for a zip and buckle closure. The waist is adjustable for a more snug fit so you won’t get that annoying flappy feeling when you’re on the road. Only £8.99.
Mesh-line for comfort with a full-length zip
The High-Vis vest by Black is available for £24.99 and explicitly designed for motorcyclists. The twin adjustable velcro on each side means you can adjust the fit for a more comfortable ride. Sizing is in line with your existing motorcycle jacket size, so if you’re a medium, choose a medium vest for best fit. You won’t need to undo the garment to reach your essential items because it has a rear outer pocket. It’s not waterproof though, which is something to bear in mind.
Water-repellant durable design
This fluorescent yellow, reflective jacket by Rev’it is PVC-free polyester with 3M Scotchlite laminated reflectors. Water repellent to keep it durable and stretchable side panels to give an optimal fit. For just over £40, this jacket is relatively expensive, but the quality is high.
The Cheapest Hi-Viz Vest
If you hate the idea of hi-viz but you just want a vest to stash under your seat to stay legal when you head off to THAT Europe to do some touring a la motorbike, then you could just grab this really cheap one from Amazon. Banish it to the depths of your pillion-seat under storage, hopefully never to be seen again.
A POLITE vest is never a good idea
Please have some self-respect and never wear a POLITE motorcycle vest.
Apart from making you look like a bit of a twunt and giving bikers a bad name, there really is no need for them. They’re about the most pointless thing since BMW GS riders, riding around in broad daylight with their bolt-on fog lights burning a hole in your retina.
When you wear a POLITE vest, what are you trying to do? Are you trying to look like a police officer? Why? So the car you just passed can do what? Er, not overtake you?
I have absolutely no idea why people wear these and what they are trying to achieve.
No-one (that’s car drivers, the police or bikers) will give you more room or more respect. In fact quite the opposite.
The only road users that I think could get away with wearing one of these are horse riders. And that’s just to potentially help them scare other road users into doing the thing they should be doing when they see a horse: slowing down.
Bikers, please. Have some self-respect.
Hi Viz FAQs
Do I have to wear hi-viz in France?
No, but you do need to carry a vest with you to be used if you breakdown or are involved in an accident. If the police pull you for another reason and you don’t have a hi-vis vest, you’ll be fined.