Letter: Bicyclists, runners should not wear dark colors

To The Editor,

I taught Environmental Science for 37 years, and consider myself a seasoned naturalist . My lessons on natural selection, emphasized the benefits of great camouflage for animals trying not to be seen. I also pointed out how some fauna benefit from being seen, and in these cases nature selects for bright colors. I am constantly reminded of nature’s lessons, every time I drive by pedestrians enjoying a hike or a bicycle ride on Chester County’s many narrow and twisting back roads.
Sadly the great majority of those I drive past are dressed in black, gray or dark green. I have even witnessed several bicyclist dressed entirely in camouflage. One late evening I drove past a lady that was putting the finishing touches to her hedge several feet from the road.She was dressed head to toe in black.
Recently, I was driving one foggy morning when suddenly a jogger, wearing an all gray suit, popped out from the dense  mist . Had he thought about blending into the fog or was he just clueless?  In each instance I pondered, what goes through their heads as they prepare to enjoy themselves? Are they well insured and have a spouse that lays out their clothes for them? Do they only dress in black for religious reasons? Perhaps they believe in the old idea that black is slimming and they hope to see someone they will impress. Whatever their thoughts, they need to wise up, be seen, and stay alive!
The best colors are fluorescent orange, bright yellow,hot pink or red. Even white is good as long as it is worn in contrast. When I am go for a walk or ride I still am cautious and try to step back a bit from the road as cars approach.
Many people accentuate the idea that drivers have a responsibility to follow the traffic laws, go slowly and stay alert. Yes, they should do their part, but if they don’t see you, they may pay with sleepless nights filled with nightmares while you might pay with your life. You are ultimately responsible for your own safety, add a dash of wisdom, dress with some pizzazz, be safe and be seen!

A. Frederick Stauffer     


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