Reflective Motorcycle Jackets: Are They Safe? 

Joanne Rushton
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Let me guess… you’re already a member of the ATGATT (All The Gear, All The Time) brigade, and you’re looking to take it a step further? 

Or maybe you’re just here to stick out on your night rides or on ominous, stormy days. 

You’re in the right place. There’s a lot of debate about whether high viz gear works, but let’s be real – it’s a heck of a lot better than blending into the shadows with your sleek black jacket. And if it helps you dodge even a single crash, it’s more than paid for itself. 

But hold your horsepower, partner! High viz isn’t a magical force field (though airbags come pretty close).

we can be hi viz heroes

In this post, I’ll show you the best reflective jackets to catch drivers’ eyes, followed by the simplest high viz solution you can find (and cheapest!). I’ll cap off with the absolute BEST piece of gear (aside from your trusty helmet) for staying safe on your two-wheeled beast. 

Tip: While we’re on the topic of visibility, why not give your helmet a high viz upgrade too? Pick up a graphic helmet orcustomize your current helmet with high viz tape for extra flair.

Without further ado, here are the best high viz jackets on the market:

Joe Rocket Phoenix 6.0 (Summer Riding)

Don’t let heat get you down – the Phoenix 6.0’s Free Air poly mesh shell is like a breath of fresh air, keeping you cool even on the hottest rides. But this jacket doesn’t compromise on safety: with its Rock Tex™ reinforcements at the shoulders, elbows, and ribs, this jacket offers stellar abrasion resistance and durability.

But let’s talk about what really sets this jacket apart – its incredible reflective capabilities. With 360-degree reflective piping, logos, and INNOLITE® Ultra Reflective trim at the upper back neck, you’ll be shining like a beacon on the road, making sure other drivers see you even in the darkest of nights.

Worried about unpredictable weather? The Phoenix 6.0 has you covered with a removable waterproof full sleeve liner, so you’ll stay dry when summer storms roll in. It’s adjustable too, with a 6-point “Sure Fit” adjustment system to fit any rider. 

A must have for summer riding, day or night. 

Scorpion Yosemite Hi-Viz Jacket (Adventure)

The Scorpion Yosemite Hi-Viz Jacket has got your back – literally – no matter where you might find yourself on an adventure. This incredibly adaptable jacket is designed to conquer all types of weather conditions, from cold and wet to scorching hot.

Let’s start with the hi-viz aspect. With generous use of NightViz reflective material adorning the front, back, arms, and elbows, you’ll be visible even on the darkest of nights. Safety is paramount, and the Scorpion Yosemite has you covered.

But the benefits don’t stop there. The windproof textile keeps you cozy on chilly days, while the fold-down panels and full-length arm vents provide maximum airflow for those scorching summer rides. A removable zip-out Airguard waterproof liner tackles wet weather, and the thermal EverHeat liner keeps you toasty when the temperature drops.

im not fat im wearing hi viz

Constructed with a sturdy 500 denier nylon and reinforced with 1680 denier nylon where it counts, this jacket is built to last longer than your favorite sitcom. The adjustable Sas-Tec armor in the elbows and shoulders keeps your bones in place, while the PE foam back pad can be upgraded for even more protection.

With plenty of pockets for all your knick-knacks, adjustment straps for the perfect fit, and the option to add Scorpion’s kidney belt, the Scorpion Yosemite Hi-Viz Jacket is like a Swiss Army knife of motorcycle jackets. No matter the weather or the destination, this jacket’s got your back – because you’ll be seen wearing it. 

Yosemite out of your budget? Pick up its cheaper cousin the Scorpion Optima on Amazon or Revzilla for around half the price. 

Dainese Racing 4 Perforated Jacket (Sportbike)

Whether you’re carving mountain roads or just heading to the track, being seen on a sportbike might just save your life. 

The Dainese Racing 4 Perforated jacket is not only a showstopper, it’s also a safety superstar – starting with visibility. 

Dainese nailed it with the red paneled option for this jacket. It still looks like a sleek sportbike jacket, but those bright red panels on the sides, upper back, chest and upper arms mean you’re visible in the tucked sportbike position. 

Of course it’s a premium jacket as well. Crafted from race-grade Tutu cowhide leather, it’s as tough as a three-day-old steak. Shoulder sliders and elbow plus shoulder armor make it safer than a padded cell.

But let’s not forget comfort, because what’s the point of looking like a MotoGP racer if you don’t feel like one? The Racing 4 Jacket features perforation on the sides and sleeves to keep you cool, bielastic fabric for movement, a full leather collar, and waist adjustments for a perfect fit. It even has a jacket-to-pants fastening system, because we know how important it is to keep your pants on when you’re racing around the track.

Women’s Adventure, Summer and Sport Jackets

I cannot forget my ladies here. You want to be seen too. While hot pink is one option, you may want to stick with the tried-and-true yellow as well. Here are a few options from the admittedly slim pickins’. 

Olympia Expedition 2 Women’s Jacket

The Olympia Expedition 2 Jacket is for the adventurous woman who wants to be seen on the trails and mountain roads. 

The gray body stands out against black arms with high-viz accents that come out strong with motion – which is exactly what you need for visibility. 

everyone gets a hi viz

This is an adventure jacket through and through. You get a two layer design that adapts to Mother Nature’s mood swings, with a rugged outer shell made from 600D ballistic-strength polyester and an over/under rip-stop rain jacket. Storage doesn’t disappoint as well, with three larger-than-average pockets. 

With the Olympia Expedition 2 Women’s Jacket, you’ll be ready to tackle any adventure or off-road challenge that comes your way. Including idiot drivers. 

Psst… check out the Klim Artemis too. Little pricier, but well worth it. 

Joe Rocket Women’s Atomic 5.0 Jacket

Designed for airflow in the heat and the tucked sport riding position, the Joe Rocket Atomic 5.0 will also keep you drawing eyeballs on the highway. This jacket is similar to the men’s Joe Rocket 6.0, but comes in high-viz blue, yellow, and pink. 

With pre-curved arms and flex panels behind the shoulders, the Atomic 5.0 Jacket is tailor-made for those who live life in the fast lane. You get externally accessible CE certified shoulder and elbow armor, plus a removable back protector (no word on the CE Level).

You’ll stay cool thanks to the huge chest vents and back vents allowing a ton of air flow. And you can adjust the fit with the snaps on the arms at six different points. Stay seen, cool, and protected so you can ride like the wind.

Hi Viz Cruiser Jackets – Do they exist?

reflective-motorcycle-jackets

I’ve crawled the web, phoned friends, and watched all of Sons of Anarchy for the fifteenth time… and I cannot for the life of me find a high-viz cruiser or cafe jacket. 

Yes, I can hear you laughing… high-viz goes against the vibe of every cruiser or cafe rider I’ve ever met, but I know there are some of you out there who care about safety too. 

That’s why I have this next suggestion for you: the simplest high viz solutions for being seen while riding your motorcycle. 

And it’s not a jacket at all. It’s a vest, and some tape. 

The Simplest High Viz Solution

Okay, toss out all the jackets I just mentioned. There’s a MUCH easier solution to the problem of visibility on the road – one that’s…

  • More flexible: only wear high viz night or in the rain
  • Cheaper than a dedicated jacket
  • Allows you to wear whatever jacket you like!

Here’s my tried and true method for being seen on the road: pop on a high viz vest.

Keep it in a saddlebag or under your pillion seat. Slip it on and off whenever you need it. 

If you ask me, the Coast SV 550 vest is the cream of the crop. Not only is it form-fitting so it doesn’t flap in the wind, but it comes with lights. That’s right – lights! Remember, the human eye notices light before color, so this is a better bet than bright reflective material. Especially at night, when there may not be enough light reflecting off you for a driver to notice you (like when they’re pulling out to turn in front of you. 

Tip: If the vest’s zipper won’t stay up, sew a little fabric and Velcro patch to hold the top together in the wind. You could even rig up a small carabiner through the zipper pull and clip it into a hole at the top of the vest.

On a budget? No problem. For less than lunch at Chipotle, you can still amp up your visibility MASSIVELY with a set of reflective straps. Adjustable straps mean no annoying flapping in the wind. The clear lines create more contrast, making it easier for drivers to spot your movements.

But why stop at vests? Grab some SOLAS tape (used to aid marine search and rescue missions) and stick it on your helmet and bike for an extra boost of visibility. Trust me, you’ll be lighting up the road like a Christmas tree. I even once wired up one of these to flash when I hit the brakes – you could see me for MILES.  

So there you have it, my friend. Making yourself visible on the road doesn’t have to be a chore or cost a fortune. With a reflective vest, some tape, and a little creativity, you’ll be turning heads and staying safe on every ride. For under $50. 

THE SAFETY SECRET

Okay, you’ve been patient… the safety secret I am dropping today is about motorcycle airbags

This is the single most protective piece of motorcycle equipment after the helmet! Because impact absorption (what airbags do) is 50x as effective as impact dispersion (which is what traditional motorcycle jacket armor does).

And the Helite Airbag Vest is available in high viz yellow. 

Thanks to its tough outer material, you can wear this vest as an outer layer over your jacket. If you tumble off your bike, the tether pops the airbag and in less than the time it takes you to blink, you’re puffed up. 

Pretty sweet. Pick one up at the links below. 

Closing Thoughts: Safety Tips

Just wearing bright gear isn’t enough to attract attention or avoid a crash. Here are some more tips. 

First things first: Flash those lights! Yep, give your high beams a little flicker to remind drivers that you’re there and would like to stay alive. This little trick can work wonders in catching the attention of those daydreaming motorists, because the human eye notices light before color. 

Next, shake things up by sitting up or moving your body. The human eye also notices motion far more readily than color. 

Your horn is also a decent tool, though it’s less useful than movement and lights. Motorcycle horns aren’t that loud, and they shouldn’t be your first instinct. 

Your first instinct when a driver doesn’t see you and does something dumb is to brake and/or swerve. Learn how to do this safely; it might just save your life. 

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