yja

Guest Article: Down with the YJA

Guest Article: Down with the YJA

by / / 178 posts

Bicycles and automobiles- can’t we all just get along? @Kah writes about this universal (do aliens have this issue also?) problem of us co-existing with humans in cars. We all drive cars too and have cursed the occasional cyclists for some good reason. Cars are our greatest threat. We can crawl away from our own bicycle crashes, thanks very much. We always lose when a car is involved. Thanks for contributing @Kah.

Yours in Cycling, Gianni

High-visibility jackets offend me. I’m not in the position to judge fashion really, and generally don’t care what other people wear, but something that tarnishes an entire mode of transport as unsafe and dorky is not okay. These garments misinform the general public that cycling is an unsafe activity (look, that cyclist looks like a lit up flare and a Christmas tree had a baby!), they make all other cyclists look like dorks.

Now, I’m not picking on genuinely introverted people, but people who are just less comfortable interacting with other vehicles on the road. As someone truly in love with spinning pedals on the road, I don’t see why there is this reticence to spend time on the road. The footpath is by far the worse option: congested with pedestrians, littered with signs, and unpredictable in its ebb and wanes.

There’s a spectrum of how happy you are with sharing the road: going from very uncomfortable to exuding quiet confidence before becoming attention-seeking and finally there is a thin line to obnoxiousness.

Uncomfortable, more introverted cyclists tend to hug the kerb, trying to stay out of everyone’s way. Every potential interaction is exaggerated; every passing car becomes a danger. Confident cyclists who are experienced know when to draw attention to their intentions, when to back off while negotiating between quickly moving cars, and how to tell the difference between a passing maneuvere that is actually dangerous and one that is not even worth commenting on. This comfort around other road users is something you can cultivate, but not one you can fake.

Attention-seeking cyclists and obnoxious cyclists tend to feel more self-entitled. “I’m a vehicle/road user too!” is the common mantra of these cyclists who don’t feel inclined to offer the same courtesy they demand to the other road users. To be fair these rolling douchenozzles tend to be the same regardless of vehicle.

My problem is, the introverts are trying to make up for their meekness with the artificial posturing afforded by the YJA. Their mistaken assumption of course is that this magical garment bestows visibility, and thus invincibility in traffic, leading some to jump to the illogical conclusion that they have automatic right of way in every circumstance by virtue of the highly visible jacket.

Magic jackets are not the answer to safer cyclists. Learning to share the road on a bicycle is the answer. Anticipation, not hindsight.

Fucking cyclists.

// Guest Article

  1. @brett Ha! Got me. Missed the emoticon…

    @Kah I am an idiot. Please accept my apology. Hill repeats for penance.

  2. @pistard Agreed. I was leading a group ride of neighborhood kids last year (in June, in daylight), and a motorcycle rider pulled up to my wife, who was riding sweep, and pressed a high-viz vest on her, because “if you’re at the back, you need to be safe”. (Size XXXL, of course).  We sent it home with one of the kids, who was psyched to look like a traffic cone.

    More recently, I’ve started seeing people walking with lights on their person, high viz shoes, jackets, dog leashes, etc. The idea that you need special high visibility crap just to exist near roads is ludicrous. The onus is on drivers to not be jackasses, not on me to dress like a traffic cone whenever I’m cage-free.

  3. @pistard No offense taken. Thanks for that @brett.

    @Beers and @Deakus – this article is not about style. @ChrisO has it, it’s about the misconceptions surrounding the YJA.

    Most recently I worked on a bicycle advocacy project called BikeEverywhere, where we’re trying to help empower new cyclists. I found that it’s the YJAs that hampers my efforts the most – it’s a strange sense of entitlement that it bestows.

    Wear what you want, just follow Rule #43 on the road.

  4. @Noob

    I couldn’t be bothered to read all 3 pages of messages (love this community), but I will say this about the YJA, it is part of the reason I started cycling in the first place. As a father of 3 kids, 2 of which are under 5, I have a lot to lose if I were to get hit. The YJA gave me some confidence that drivers would see me and that equated to peace-of-mind on the bike.

    I agree its contribution to my safety is minimal, and it does look atrocious and it now sits in the closet except for on rainy days as I don’t have a proper jacket for rain yet (its sunny most of the time in Colorado) – but I don’t know if I would have tried cycling were it not for, in part, the peace-of-mind that comes with any YJA purchase.

    I think of the YJA as a rite of passage for the uninitiated…that they may get enough experience to be safe and comfortable on the road and in time, look sharp.

    If I could simply steer you to the lexicon and the masturbation principle we need say no more about it….

    And masturbating with a YJA on is a definite fucking nono!

  5. @Kah I see, my mistake, also been across your project, which is to be applauded. There seem to be more riders around our country now, if I was to generalise, the people that seem to have started lately do tend to don the YJA, so that seems to be a big thing for beginner commuters. But you’re preaching to the converted here, my 2yo loves jumping in the dickie seat and spinning up the road for the milk…

  6. @Beers

    @Erik Andersen I appreciate the danger, but it’s going a bit far saying the rules or article are trying to kill? I mean, you can’t hold this community to that, really? I understand where you are coming from but the Rules aren’t a life and death situation like they are often made out to be. Sure, some are obsessive about compliance, but no one is going to be at the end of your driveway to tell you to stop riding because you wear and tell your friends to wear a YJA and it breaks the rules. No one is going to report you to the Keepers.

    You won’t all of a sudden be any more or less awesome than you already were. You will just be you, going for a ride. YJA or not. IMO, the whole idea is to get people keen to ride, and to be interested in the bike, the craft and the sport. This owes you nothing, and you owe nothing to it, just take from it and contribute to it what you will, as long as you enjoy.

    The article is about fashion, that’s all.

    You and @scaler911 aren’t going to change each other’s mind over the interwebs, and as I understand, the only resolution is you must both meet at dawn at an HC climb and repeat until one of you has noodle legs and is dropped.

    Well said.

  7. @Deakus

    And masturbating with a YJA on is a definite fucking nono!

    I think that activity has its own website…

  8. Am I going to wear a YAJA on my Saturday morning ride with my pals? On my May evening after work training ride? Oh fuck no.

    On that pitch black, pouring down rain Seattle morning commute from the unlit ‘burbs and equally pitch black, pouring down rain evening commute to the unlit ‘burbs you fucking bet I wear a YAJA, along with reflective piping on my booties, tow red LEDs in the rear and two FUCK YOU bright lights, one on the bars and one on top of my helmet to give a 450 lumen stink eye to the cager about to pull out of a side street into my (yellow covered) pink ass.

    Do I look like a dork?  I am sure I do.

    Does the YAJA make me feel  invincible and able to run lights with abandon? Nope.

    Is it just a little more visible and therefor likely to help me get where I am going in one piece? Possibly – and that’s enough for me.  You guys commenting from Phoenix have no idea…

  9. @Jamie  you’ve got it exactly.

    I throw out a challenge to the Keepers and designers of V-Kit.  Design a max-visibility line that obeys the Rules!  I promise to be the first to throw down my hard-earned for it!

  10. @G’rilla

    Article about Emma Way’s investigation by police:

    http://road.cc/content/news/84212-norwich-police-seek-driver-who-tweeted-about-collision-cyclist

    Thank the baby jeebus I won’t have to read any articles this year about how he’s a genuine contender at this years TDF.  I guess they will just write the same articles though and replace his name with Teejay Van Garderen’s

  11. @paolo

    oops wrong article quoted…..was supposed to be about egg timers retirement.   Dunno how that happened!

  12. @scaler911

    Off topic but eggtimer is retiring (about time): http://www.pelotonmagazine.com/Feedzone/content/6/2324/Leipheimer-Retires

    There it is…I’m a Buffoon with fat fingers…

  13. @paolo

    @G’rilla

    Article about Emma Way’s investigation by police:

    http://road.cc/content/news/84212-norwich-police-seek-driver-who-tweeted-about-collision-cyclist

    Thank the baby jeebus I won’t have to read any articles this year about how he’s a genuine contender at this years TDF. I guess they will just write the same articles though and replace his name with Teejay Van Garderen’s

    Or Taylor Phinney.  Even when he misses the time cut, they make him out to be the second coming.

  14. @paolo

    @DerHoggz
    True That.

    I’m quietly stunned that Cuddles is still getting questions at the Giro about TDF team leadership.

    FFS, Van Garderen’s win at the ATOC was good, but it’s not the fucking Giro!  Perspective, people!

  15. @mouse

    @paolo

    @DerHoggz
    True That.

    I’m quietly stunned that Cuddles is still getting questions at the Giro about TDF team leadership.

    FFS, Van Garderen’s win at the ATOC was good, but it’s not the fucking Giro! Perspective, people!

    Lets see here, we’ve got a TDF winner and (presumptive) two-time Giro runner-up against a talented kid who won a second-rate one-week stage race.

    Brainstorm! Lets put the rookie in!

  16. When taking a promotional photo for the front page of your website, be sure to leave a 1/2 cm of belly exposed.

    http://mike-kluge.de/

  17. I say Rule #9 to anyone that complain about me (or anyone) wearing a Hi-Vis rain jacket.

  18. I’ve just picked up one of these Mavic H20 Sprint jackets that I’ll wear during my dark commutes over the winter. It’s a quality bit of kit, well fitted and not stupid expensive. The white / black contrast will make me as visible as I need to be. I’d say good lights are more important, I see a lot of riders in hi viz but with rubbish lights.

  19. @Jamie

    tow red LEDs in the rear and two FUCK YOU bright lights, one on the bars and one on top of my helmet to give a 450 lumen stink eye to the cager about to pull out of a side street

    Why stop at 450 lumen when you can have 450,000 lumen?!

  20. @sthilzy

    @Jamie

    tow red LEDs in the rear and two FUCK YOU bright lights, one on the bars and one on top of my helmet to give a 450 lumen stink eye to the cager about to pull out of a side street

    Why stop at 450 lumen when you can have 450,000 lumen?!

    Weeping baby Merckx… Frank’s seatpost looks very low in that photo.

  21. @mouse

    @paolo

    @DerHoggz
    True That.

    I’m quietly stunned that Cuddles is still getting questions at the Giro about TDF team leadership.

    FFS, Van Garderen’s win at the ATOC was good, but it’s not the fucking Giro! Perspective, people!

    To be honest I’d query whether Cuddles will be able to back it up to lead the Tour given the effort involved in competing in the Giro. Bertie couldn’t keep up in the last week of the ’11 tour after his casual jaunt through the Italian countryside earlier that year, given the conditions they’ve been getting through this year, I’d wager Cuddles & Nibbles will need some sort of R&R after this week is done.

    If he doesn’t recover in time to be in top form why not have Teejay as the leader & Cuddles playing a Hincapie-esque road captain role?

  22. @Ron here’s my compromises with the VMH on the ‘safety’ wear when riding in the dark (or at least starting/finishing in it).

    Rapha’s pink brevet gilet & the yellow DeFeet oversocks, they still look good (in my opinion) and they’re bright enough to well & truly catch the attention.

  23. @sthilzy

    @Jamie

    tow red LEDs in the rear and two FUCK YOU bright lights, one on the bars and one on top of my helmet to give a 450 lumen stink eye to the cager about to pull out of a side street

    Why stop at 450 lumen when you can have 450,000 lumen?!

    Don’t let those lights hit those Gaerne shoes. Folks will be permanently blinded FFS.

  24. @sthilzy

    @Jamie

    tow red LEDs in the rear and two FUCK YOU bright lights, one on the bars and one on top of my helmet to give a 450 lumen stink eye to the cager about to pull out of a side street

    Why stop at 450 lumen when you can have 450,000 lumen?!

    Haha! those look like niterider train rat lights, I still have one of those in my garage!

  25. @Mikael Liddy

    @Ron here’s my compromises with the VMH on the ‘safety’ wear when riding in the dark (or at least starting/finishing in it).

    Rapha’s pink brevet gilet & the yellow DeFeet oversocks, they still look good (in my opinion) and they’re bright enough to well & truly catch the attention.

    see my post. i go for the same look when the darkness calls for it. i think the bright oversocks help a lot to signify to drivers that you’re a cyclist, as the tapping away on the pedals is a pretty distinct and recognizable-to-drivers image (and i’m not putting reflectors on my pedals, so that’s the closest they’ll get).

    the VMH does highly encourage visibility (and scolds me if i come home from a ride that ended later than expected, wearing only dark kit), but once i chose that pink gilet, her only comment was: “if you’re ever going to be the victim of a cycling hate-crime, it’ll be while wearing that.”

  26. @Deakus

    @sthilzy

    @Jamie

    tow red LEDs in the rear and two FUCK YOU bright lights, one on the bars and one on top of my helmet to give a 450 lumen stink eye to the cager about to pull out of a side street

    Why stop at 450 lumen when you can have 450,000 lumen?!

    Haha! those look like niterider train rat lights, I still have one of those in my garage!

    love it. dude has like $5k in lights and a GoPro but he can’t buy a bidon.

  27. Need a ruling here!

    Just so I can upset everyone else at the mccogal I am going full on neon, BUT should I wear black socks or get some f the glaringly bright DeFeet ones to match my neon short sleeved top and gilet, both well fitting and semi-pro looking natch, .

    Obviously black shorts are the only way to go.

    If the weather doesn’t improve though all bets are off, at the moment it is 6 C dull and breezy, yes it may pick up in a weeks time but then revert to type for the all important weekend, damn you jet stream.

  28. @G’rilla

    @E

    …anything that makes the activity a little bit safer can only be a good idea (no?).

    There are many things that would make cycling a little bit safer.

    • Knee pads
    • Elbow pads
    • Downhill neck brace

    But we choose a line between safety and style.

    That is what is known as an argumentum ad absurdum (argument to absurdity) or a straw man argument.  No one is suggesting wearing a crash helmet in bed based on the argument that it would make this activity marginally safer (not me at any rate).  But clearly there is a balance to be made between safety on the one hand and style on the other.  Where you draw that line is up to the individual. You I suspect will  lean towards style even as you slide gracefully off the bonnet of the car that failed to see you dressed in your matt black “Rafa” cycling outfit. Shame no one will get to see it when the lid is screwed down on your coffin.

    @Deakus

    Not my analogy I would wear a flak jacket and a cycle helmet if I thought it would save my life but not necessarily at the same time.

  29. @Chris

    @snoov

    @xced

    Is this a joke? Surely the police should be alerted and this young lady have her licence removed.

    It would seem that Emma Way is having a bad day. If the twattersphere is to be trusted it would appear that not only have the police been informed but they’ve requested that she pops in for a chat. It also looks as though she’s been tracked down to an accountancy firm in Norwich who no doubt know about her activities by now.

    She’s deleted her twitter account but not her twitter pic account thing which suggests she likes taking photos with her phone while driving. the police have also been made aware of that. Silly girl.

    Can’t imagine she’ll get much more than a slap on the wrist though.

    Emma Way has been suspended from her post as a trainee accountant, apparantly the firm she used to work for sponsors a number of running and cycling charity events in Norwich.  Not the sort of publicity you want from one of your employees.

  30. @E

    That is what is known as an argumentum ad absurdum (argument to absurdity) or a straw man argument.

    Reductio ad absurdum is actually a valid argument.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductio_ad_absurdum

    Gotta get some use out of my 6 year B.A. in Philosophy…

  31. @G’rilla

    I love the way so many people arguing in favour of safety equipment like helmets and high vis etc seem to end up with a prediction of gruesome death or brain splattering for those who disagree.

    Usually with the adjunct that it  won’t be their fault but they will sorrowfully be cleaning it up. Presumably while muttering “I told him so” as they hose the grey matter into the drain.

    I propose it as the cycling equivalent of Godwin’s law.

  32. Ok – last night a YJA would have made me look like a tool but the helmet saved me from a trip to the ER

  33. @ The Engine   , By you not stating any details, i take it your okay then and the N1 made it out okay?

  34. @Russ

    @ The Engine , By you not stating any details, i take it your okay then and the N1 made it out okay?

    Some special bruises – there’s one on my ring finger that goes all the way round – like my other bad crash I didn’t skid but came to a complete (and rather sudden) halt after going over the bars so my skin and kit are unholed (mostly). Also I took the elementary precaution of putting myself between #1 bike and the road – scratched rear mech and scuffed bar tape is all she suffered. Happened on a fast bit of A road which was scary. Funny how things stick in your mind – one of the bikes in front threw up a shower of sparks – gives some idea of how fast we were going – my Garmin’s last reading was 40kmh.

  35. @the Engine

    @Russ

    @ The Engine , By you not stating any details, i take it your okay then and the N1 made it out okay?

    Some special bruises – there’s one on my ring finger that goes all the way round – like my other bad crash I didn’t skid but came to a complete (and rather sudden) halt after going over the bars so my skin and kit are unholed (mostly). Also I took the elementary precaution of putting myself between #1 bike and the road – scratched rear mech and scuffed bar tape is all she suffered. Happened on a fast bit of A road which was scary. Funny how things stick in your mind – one of the bikes in front threw up a shower of sparks – gives some idea of how fast we were going – my Garmin’s last reading was 40kmh.

    This is good news! Speedy recovery to you and your mates now go get a new skid lid.  Hang your other one up like a trophy.  40kmh  WOW! Hurts thinking about it.

  36. @E Your comprehension skills do you proud. Nobody is advocating riding around in purely matt black kit. It’s about persona adopted by YJA wearers, the image they project to other road users and how there are plenty of other ways of making yourself visible and creating a zone around you into which no-one else should stray. It’s not just about what you wear but the way you ride.

    This “Rafa” cycling kit sounds stylish though. Is Nadal getting into cycling? He should get some training tips from his countryman Fuentes.

  37. @the Engine

    Funny how things stick in your mind – one of the bikes in front threw up a shower of sparks...

    What happened, did you leadout train go down in front of you?

    Glad to hear that you and the bike are OK.

  38. @ChrisO You can hardly blame them, it take so much less thought and effort to maintain an ideology that starts with “If I/you don’t wear a helmet” and ends with “I/you will die a gruesome and messy death” than for everyone to spend time properly assessing risks and taking other road users into account.

    It does beggar belief, though, when you see someone cycling through London in the rush hour with their helmet hung neatly from their handlebars.

  39. @Chris

    @the Engine

    Funny how things stick in your mind – one of the bikes in front threw up a shower of sparks...

    What happened, did you leadout train go down in front of you?

    Glad to hear that you and the bike are OK.

    Leadout train is about the only thing that goes down on me these days…

    Off to the LBS for a new helmet.

  40. @the Engine ba boom tish.

    I was going to say pay cash but Mrs theEngine probably won’t mind the expenditure in this instance.

  41. @the Engine

    @Chris

    @the Engine

    Funny how things stick in your mind – one of the bikes in front threw up a shower of sparks...

    What happened, did you leadout train go down in front of you?

    Glad to hear that you and the bike are OK.

    Leadout train is about the only thing that goes down on me these days…

    Off to the LBS for a new helmet.

    Dude. Glad you’re OK. After my crash last fall, it took until last weekend for me to get the nerve to race again. In my 20’s I didn’t think twice about it. Now, with family and a mortgage, I try to manage my exposure better.

  42. @G’rilla

    @E

    That is what is known as an argumentum ad absurdum (argument to absurdity) or a straw man argument.

    Reductio ad absurdum is actually a valid argument.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductio_ad_absurdum

    Gotta get some use out of my 6 year B.A. in Philosophy…

    You’ve got a B.A. in Philosophy too?

  43. @the Engine Glad you’re alright mate.

  44. @the Engine

    @Russ

    @ The Engine , By you not stating any details, i take it your okay then and the N1 made it out okay?

    Some special bruises – there’s one on my ring finger that goes all the way round – like my other bad crash I didn’t skid but came to a complete (and rather sudden) halt after going over the bars so my skin and kit are unholed (mostly). Also I took the elementary precaution of putting myself between #1 bike and the road – scratched rear mech and scuffed bar tape is all she suffered. Happened on a fast bit of A road which was scary. Funny how things stick in your mind – one of the bikes in front threw up a shower of sparks – gives some idea of how fast we were going – my Garmin’s last reading was 40kmh.

    @ Russ – There.  You went and cajoled @The Engine into breaking Rule #81

    @ The Engine – Glad you’re OK, though.  I think perhaps you should have yourself checked out for this tendency towards positive geotropism.

  45. @the-farmer

    Need a ruling here!

    Just so I can upset everyone else at the mccogal I am going full on neon, BUT should I wear black socks or get some f the glaringly bright DeFeet ones to match my neon short sleeved top and gilet, both well fitting and semi-pro looking natch, .

    Obviously black shorts are the only way to go.

    If the weather doesn’t improve though all bets are off, at the moment it is 6 C dull and breezy, yes it may pick up in a weeks time but then revert to type for the all important weekend, damn you jet stream.

    Black socks. Neon (why am I imagining pink?) top half. That way, if you intend to hang oot the back you can prevent any momentarily distracted driver running up wir arse. Natch.

  46. @Skip

    @the Engine

    @Russ

    @ The Engine , By you not stating any details, i take it your okay then and the N1 made it out okay?

    Some special bruises – there’s one on my ring finger that goes all the way round – like my other bad crash I didn’t skid but came to a complete (and rather sudden) halt after going over the bars so my skin and kit are unholed (mostly). Also I took the elementary precaution of putting myself between #1 bike and the road – scratched rear mech and scuffed bar tape is all she suffered. Happened on a fast bit of A road which was scary. Funny how things stick in your mind – one of the bikes in front threw up a shower of sparks – gives some idea of how fast we were going – my Garmin’s last reading was 40kmh.

    @ Russ – There. You went and cajoled @The Engine into breaking Rule #81

    @ The Engine – Glad you’re OK, though. I think perhaps you should have yourself checked out for this tendency towards positive geotropism.

    There’s always a Rule – think before you type guys.

    As previously observed gravity sucks – also ½ mv² is worth remembering when exploring the outer reaches of your brakes ability to slow you down. Maybe a little less ‘m’.

  47. @frank

    @the Engine Glad you’re alright mate.

    Thanks – shit, as they say, happens

  48. @G’rilla

    @E

    That is what is known as an argumentum ad absurdum (argument to absurdity) or a straw man argument.

    Reductio ad absurdum is actually a valid argument.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductio_ad_absurdum

    Gotta get some use out of my 6 year B.A. in Philosophy…

    In that case you are arguing against yourself aren’t you?

    @Chris

    @E Your comprehension skills do you proud. Nobody is advocating riding around in purely matt black kit. It’s about persona adopted by YJA wearers, the image they project to other road users and how there are plenty of other ways of making yourself visible and creating a zone around you into which no-one else should stray. It’s not just about what you wear but the way you ride.

    This “Rafa” cycling kit sounds stylish though. Is Nadal getting into cycling? He should get some training tips from his countryman Fuentes.

    I am glad that is cleared up. No one is advocating riding about in purely matt black and no one is advocating the compulsory wearing of cycle helmets or day glow clothing.  What we have here is a discussion on the balance to be drawn between “style” and “safety”.

    Personally I am not going to leave “being seen” to my being able to create a mystical aura of otherness around me when I cycle at night into which car drivers will fear to enter.  I am going to leave “being seen” to “being seen” and the best way of being seen it seems to me is to wear clothing in which I am easy to see.  (Sorry to labour the point).

    Also I am not going to take lessons on style from anyone, (including me), who habitually dresses up in a lycra gimp suit, clogs and helmet (optional) with a flashing light on top.  Call me old fashioned but there you are fashion is what comes later, (if at all) apres cycle in the pub.

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