Motorcyclists can join POLITE force

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Motorcyclists have been told they can legally wear a high-visibility vest that resembles police uniform.

The yellow bibs have the word ‘polite’ printed on the back in large capital letters, along with a strip of blue-and-white crosshatching similar to designs traditionally worn by police.

Cyclists in London already wear them to get drivers to give them more space, after Met commander Bob Broadhurst said they were not illegal. Now the Met has said motorcyclists can wear them too. 

A spokesman said: ‘It does not look like a police uniform. It is merely a high visibility jacket so would not be illegal. It is illegal to impersonate a police officer, so that would mean claiming to be a police officer. Nowhere on the jacket shown does it even say police.’

The full message on the bib is ‘Polite notice think bike’. The makers admit there is little difference between the chequered strip on the bib and blue-and-white crosshatching used by police.

Nicky Fletcher, MD of Equisafety, said: “In 2010 we showed the head of ACPO for the mounted section and they cleared it, they said it was fine to use.”

Fletcher said the design was not similar to police uniform. “Police uniform doesn’t have ‘Polite notice think bike’ on the back,” she said.

The firm’s website quotes one cyclist as saying: “Sometimes it’s like a force field around me when I’m on my bike as cars don’t seem to want to get too close to me.”

Equisafety, in Wirral, Merseyside, has won a contract to supply its POLITE range to cycle firm Raleigh, but Fletcher said the bibs were not marketed for motorcyclists. 

She said: “We don’t make them for motorbikes. We only make them for cyclists and horse riders at the moment. We know there is a market for motorbikes but we don’t think they’re strong enough just yet.”

The bibs are on sale at

Steve Farrell

By Steve Farrell