Colors & Contrast
For AVIP, we gained valuable knowledge in different fields, such as color, contrast, perception, motion, psychology and anthropology to better understand what we needed to translate and focus on in order to improve road bike safety.
With POC’s cross-scientific approach to develop reliable and advanced protection, we always end up in new areas of special competence depending on the challenge.
Through our research we identified that visibility is not always simply a question of wearing more fluorescent clothing, but considering and understanding the use of color and contrast and the environment in which it will be used.
This approach led us to the AVIP color palette, which is a cornerstone of AVIP. All colors in the AVIP color palette have been evaluated and considered to provide optimal visibility and contrast in a road bike environment.
Below are some interesting perspectives we would like to share with you.
A conventional bright color is able to reflect about 90% of a color present in the visible spectrum. Fluorescent colors can reflect as much as 200% to 300% by using a larger amount of the visible spectrum and by re-radiate some of the absorbed ultraviolet rays and colors in the lower part of the visible spectrum and turn it in to wavelengths the human eye can see. This ultimately results in the eye perceiving a more intense color.
Perception and recognition distance
The use of fluorescent colors and high visibility products is evident and can be seen in varying situations all over the world. The advantage of fluorescent clothing is that it increases the distance when an object is seen. Some studies show that fluorescent clothing is five and half time more visible than conventional clothing e.g. with fluorescent clothing a driver will see the object at 670 meters instead of 120 meters with regular clothing.
However, we felt there is a fundamental difference between being seen and being recognized. If motorists at an early stage can identify you as a cyclist, they can better plan their own maneuvers. We were conscious of what other road users were able to detect, specifically the critical elements of perception and recognition distances.
Perception distance - is the distance from where an object is first seen. During this time the brain processes a lot of information to create a perceptual hypothesis. The hypothesis is based on familiar patterns and past experiences, but ultimately the object may not be accurately recognized.
Recognition distance - is the distance where the brain can perceive what the object actually is. By using prior knowledge and interpreting visual clues, such as colors, contrast, motion etc, the brain will recognize the object.
A common perception is that visibility is equal to bright and fluorescent colors. Through our research we identified that advantages could be gained by considering all possibilities to increase perception and recognition distances to improve rider safety.
To find the right approach we considered the changing backdrop that makes up a usual ride, but also different environmental factors such as weather, light, nature, time of the day.
Analyzing a problem often provides clear insights into where gains can be made without having to re-invent the wheel. Contrast is an example and has long been considered a fundamental part of visibility.
One of the most important factors affecting visibility is contrast. Contrast gives the brain visual clues, ultimately resulting in an earlier and informed decision on the identity of an object. There are basically two types of contrast, which can be explained by the prominence of a color compared to its background and the difference in a color to adjacent colors, i.e. color intensity and difference.