RSA’s “National Be Safe, Be Seen Day”

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) and Electric Ireland today launched the second annual ‘National Be Safe Be Seen Day’ which will take place tomorrow, Friday 21 December, the shortest and darkest day of the year.

The aim of “National Be Safe Be Seen Day” is to promote the use of high visibility clothing, something of a contentious issue among the wider motorcycling community in the wake of the RSA’s proposals to introduce mandatory high visibility clothing for riders and pillions as set out in the National Motorcycle Safety Action Plan 2010-2014 which we’ve covered in great detail already.

MAG Ireland is not, and has never been, anti high-viz. Our position from the outset has been “Let the rider decide”.


RSA advises vulnerable road users to make themselves visible
Image credit: Road Safety Authority


Our extensive 2011 high-viz survey in which more than 800 of you participated showed that voluntary use is already the norm among the majority of riders, particularly so in darkness and poor weather conditions.

In a further poll (see here), over 1,000 of you responded with 9 out of 10 in favour of riders retaining the choice of whether to wear high visibility clothing according to their own particular circumstances and travel patterns. You see no need for compulsion. We see no need for compulsion.

That said, there are circumstances in which high visibility or retro reflective material clearly can make a difference, for example, when stationary on an unlit road at night. Of course high visibility clothing offers no protection against drivers who simply don’t look, but by increasing our conspicuity, we as riders can help reduce our vulnerability in certain situations. It makes sense to make yourself visible even if it ultimately depends on the driver looking properly before pulling out or changing course.

With that in mind, MAG Ireland representatives participated in the launch event for “National Be Safe Be Seen Day” and in the spirit of engagement we brought the concerns and experience of Irish riders to those present. It proved a useful and constructive exercise in which the RSA & others listened to and acknowledged MAG Ireland’s concerns around the mandatory aspects, while for our part we were able to defuse the myth that MAG Ireland is “anti high-viz” when in fact we are “anti compulsion” as mandated by our membership.

In attending the event, we were able to communicate to all the stakeholders present what you told us – that many riders already choose to wear high visibility clothing in circumstances where it may be beneficial, something which hasn’t gone unnoticed by the RSA.

 Mr Noel Brett, Chief Executive, Road Safety Authority had this to say:

“In recent years, we have seen a significant increase in the number of people walking, cycling and motorcycling, and it is encouraging to see so many of these road-users wearing high visibility material when out on the roads. However, to date this year, pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists have accounted for 1 in 3 road fatalities which highlights just how vulnerable these road-users are.”

“With fewer hours of daylight, it is even more important for people to be visible when out on the roads. Wearing high visibility material such as a vest, jacket or Sam Browne belt, is the simplest way to make sure you can be seen by other road-users when you are out walking, cycling or motorcycling. So we would encourage everyone to get their viz on to show their support for ‘National Be Safe Be Seen Day’. It could help to save a life.”



From Left: Pat Whelan (MAG), Noel Brett (RSA), Gay Byrne (RSA), Prionnsias Breathnach (MAG)
Image credit: Road Safety Authority


MAG Ireland encourages riders to take every possible advantage for their own safety, including high visibility clothing where the circumstances support it. Above all else, we appeal to drivers to look properly before pulling our changing course. It remains the case that drivers are responsible for the majority of accidents involving a car and a motorcycle, just as it remains the case that we as riders are over represented in terms of casualties. High visibility clothing has its uses, so why give shoddy drivers any excuse to utter the ridiculous line “Sorry mate, I didn’t see you”.

Mr. Proinnsias Breathnach, Research Officer, MAG Ireland added:

“High visibility clothing is particularly important for motorcyclists at this time of year and that is why we are delighted to support the Road Safety Authority’s ‘National Be Safe Be Seen Day’. Every year, motorcyclists are over represented in terms of road fatalities so it is important for all motorcyclists to ensure they are clearly visible when out on the roads. Equally motorists need to “Look again” for motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians, especially before pulling out or changing course.”

In discussions with MAG Ireland, the RSA has indicated to us that they are prepared to look again at some of the more contentious aspects of the National Motorcycle Safety Action Plan, and we look forward to making a useful and constructive contribution in that regard.

You can find the RSA’s press release for ‘National Be Safe Be Seen Day’ on the RSA web site at: