What They’re Doing for Bike Safety in Wyoming: Mandatory Orange Vests

It could become illegal to bike in Wyoming without this accessory. Photo: Team Estrogen
It could become illegal to bike in Wyoming without this accessory. Photo: Team Estrogen

A bill introduced in the Wyoming statehouse would require cyclists to wear “two hundred square-inches of reflective neon” and carry a government-issued ID. The legislation would also require cyclists to have a rear light, even though another law already requires that, according to Jackson Hole News and Guide.

Brian Schilling, coordinator of Jackson Hole Community Pathways, told the paper he thought the measure was “a little onerous.” He said his 5-year-old daughter could technically comply with the ID requirement because she has a passport. But, he added, “I don’t think her entire surface area is 200 inches.”

The law would require at least 200 square inches of “of high-visibility fluorescent orange, green or pink color clothing visible from the front and rear of the bicycle,” whether the cyclist is riding during the day or night. According to the News and Guide, it has six sponsors: House Reps. David Northrup, Donald Burkhart, Hans Hunt, Allen Jaggi, Jerry Paxton, and Cheri Steinmetz, although none would comment for the newspaper.

Walkable City author Jeff Speck called it the “We are America’s biggest dorks and will never get it” cycling bill.

  • Gezellig

    Victim shaming is fun!

    Rather than question an infrastructure status quo where people driving 2-ton boxes of speeding metal get to break the law and/or misbehave with impunity, we make sure to remind the less protected that, no, our status quo makes perfect sense and the burden’s on YOU. Remember granny, if something bad happens–even if you were following the rules–it’s definitely YOUR fault:


    Actually, speaking of pedestrians, why not require such vests for them, too? Many more pedestrians die in the US (usually due to being killed by drivers) than do people biking:


    While we’re at it, how about pedestrian helmets?

  • D’BlahZero

    It’s not just fun; it’s super easy, too!

  • Alex

    Shocker. They’re all Republicans. They’re also gun rights advocates. You’d think politicians that abhor “big government” meddling with things it doesn’t understand would be against making random laws about, well, things they don’t understand.

  • Alex

    Oh, Google Allen Jaggi. He’s all kinds of special. Wants guns allowed on school grounds and has recently used racial slurs in opposing Medicaid expansion for Native Americans. What a gem.

  • Spade

    Straw man

  • jarendt

    Spade, no. Try ad hominim.

  • Alan_Peery

    Hardly a straw man argument. This law is inconsistent with Wyoming culture, as shown in previous resistance against federal seat belt laws — picking one example of many.

  • Vic Parsons

    Alex r u blind they wanna piss you off!!!?????to bad, you liberals are stealing all their money and I do not blame them, I don’t agree with this but hi taxes lead to dead bodies!

  • I can only speculate about why six Republicans would sponsor a bill to expand the reach of government and I prefer not to do that. As a conservative, I’m disappointed. Not surprised. Just disappointed.

  • betty barcode

    Does this mean that if Wyoming drivers continue to kill or maim newly fluorescent cyclists, they might actually be charged with crimes?

  • KillMoto

    Most people don’t see the moon walking bear… Maybe reflective tape would help?


  • KillMoto

    More likely, automatic exoneration of killer drivers if cyclist victim was not wearing the reflectors…

  • As a cyclist and a Democrat in the Wyoming House of Representatives, I’ll do what I can to kill this thing. Wish me luck.

  • Gezellig

    Yeah, this is a great example of cafeteria politicians. Pick and choose what you like and don’t like–doesn’t matter how inconsistent!

    “I’ll have some of the Ideology A mashed potatoes, please, but I don’t care for the full plate with gravy. Hey, but that chocolate fudge sauce over at the Ideology B station would go great on top!”

  • Gezellig

    Yup! Sometimes the police even join in the easy fun:

    Good thing the driver got a Very Serious punishment of a whole day off work (at his choosing) from his job as police chief!

    But, c’mon, we all really know who was at fault here–the pedestrian. Shouldn’t have been walking there. Or walking at all. Or if he *had* to be a loser and walk, should’ve been wearing 200 square inches of reflective neon, shoulder/knee pads and a helmet.

    It’s definitely not our infrastructure or cultural norms that should come into question.

    Btw it’s not just the police–sometimes mayors join in the easy fun, too!



    But it’s all ok because…Volt.

  • Chris Koos

    In the early 1900’s, this same thought process was used to protect those on horseback from the automobile. Have we learned nothing?

  • Jake DeTurkle

    I’ll be happy to carry my “gov’t ID” in Wyoming as soon as the Feds decide to seal the borders and rid the country of illegal aliens. And rather than make cyclists wear a vest, why not have permit and driving tests include a section where cycling awareness is discussed and tested. Start with the youth and educate them. Another suggestion would be to actually have a cyclist on the committee for these discussions prior to filing the bill.

  • Spade

    I stand corrected

  • Southeasterner

    Just call them what they are, Big Government Republicans, and they should lose their seats in the next election.

  • Jess

    FYI, Oklahoma, too. New bill to require reflective clothing for bicyclists on state highways. Not as absurd as the one in Wyoming, but in the same vein. http://www.newson6.com/story/27997923/oklahoma-lawmaker-champions-bill-to-make-cyclists-more-visible-in-traffic

  • London Homer-Wambeam

    It makes sense on highways, but in town? I don’t want to have to carry a frickin neon vest with me everywhere.

  • London Homer-Wambeam

    If this goes into effect I will get a neon vest that says THIS IS A STUPID LAW across the back.

  • AK Peach

    Worst idea ever.

  • rickrise

    An amusing irony is that, the only time so far I have actually been hit by a car while riding my bike, I was wearing high-viz instead of my customary black–and even running daytime lamps.

    There’s evidence from controlled studies that high-vis offers NO advantage for cyclists (pedal or motor) on the roads. But the standard intuitive answer seems always to be, “Blame the victim.”

    A bad case of Motorist Entitlement Syndrome.

    See http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-11-high-visibility-ineffective-driver-behavior.html

  • Ramsey

    Brilliant !

  • Donny W.

    The “punishment” was given by a mayor? Did the chief just decide “no criminality suspected” and that was it for the police and prosecutor? Did he even pay the medical bill?


  • ubrayj02
  • Having lived and cycled for a year in neighboring Idaho, I can see (pun intended) the advantage of using a rear daytime running light. The landscapes are just humongous and the roadways so straight out there you’ll often find yourself looking down 10 miles of roadway when driving. It’s just so easy to loose a cyclist in these landscape scenarios.

    In New Jersey, with much more intimate landscapes I find the idea of using a daytime running light almost repugnant (“Sorry officer I didn’t see the cyclists in broad daylight. He wasn’t using a daytime running light.”). However out in Idaho when I saw other cyclists using them I found them VERY effect when I was driving. In turn I started to run my rear light on all my road rides.

    The vest idea is just dorky and as others have referenced, of limited effectiveness.

    Of course the League of American Bicyclists will remain totally silent on this.

  • To Wyoming’s credit, most of their rural highways have at least a 5 foot shoulder WITHOUT rumblestrips. Considering how much nothing there is in Wyoming, the cycling seemed fairly idea.

  • Heard the bill went down in flames and didn’t make it out of the Transportation Committee by a 0-9 vote. Sometimes crazy stuff like this is often done with the best of intentions but they should ask first.

  • Jake DeTurkle
  • betty barcode

    Here’s a suggestion: add language to the proposed bill that automatically assumes that drivers are negligent if they strike a cyclist in compliant hi-vis gear, and has a minimum, mandatory license suspension of eight weeks.


Oklahoma City Weighs 3-Foot Passing Rule — For Cyclists, Not Drivers

Lots of places have three-foot passing laws requiring motorists to give cyclists a safe buffer while overtaking them. Now one Oklahoma City legislator, Eighth Ward City Council Member Pat Ryan, has come up with a new, passive-aggressive spin on the passing law. Local elected officials will soon consider a piece of “safety” legislation that would require cyclists to […]

One Man’s Push to Require Bike Licenses in Oregon

Strange news out of Oregon: Jonathan Maus at Bike Portland is reporting on one local businessman’s effort to require additional licensing for cyclists — something that could have a real dampening effect on “America’s Bike Capital.” Maus recently spoke with the the lead proponent of licensing requirement: Buoyed by support from across the state, Portlander […]

How to Improve 3-Foot Passing Laws

After a couple of vetoes by Governor Jerry Brown, California finally has a 3-foot passing law. As of June, 24 states plus the District of Columbia have such a law, which requires drivers to give cyclists a minimum buffer of 3 feet when passing from behind. With California’s law in effect as of today, Rick Bernardi […]

The Problem With “Share the Road” Safety Campaigns

Appeals for courtesy between drivers and cyclists and pedestrians are pretty standard fare for traffic safety campaigns. In London, it’s “Share the Road.” In Utah, they have “Respect is a Two-Way Street.” Is this the best we can do? Robert Wright at the Invisible Visible Man was thinking this over after a taxi driver nearly struck […]