The Bike List

PROVIZ Luminescent waterproof jacket £75

Tested by Neil Watterson, tester for The Bike List

Let's face it; as a road-user group, cyclists aren't particularly bright. Not in the sense of making the best use of our road network, you understand, but in letting other road users know we are there. The other morning I left home two hours before sunrise and saw a cyclist plodding along wearing dark clothing and on a bike sporting neither lights nor reflectors. But I'm a fine one to talk.

I have loads of reflective jackets in my house but didn't really like wearing them for cycling, for no other reason than they didn't match the look I was trying to achieve. I'm not a navvy off to fill holes in the road, I'm a cyclist, getting to my destination as swiftly as possible. And, I think that's why most cyclists don't wear bright colours: fashion.

But then one of my cycling colleagues was knocked off her bike and hospitalised for a few days and I suddenly realised how vulnerable I was. I may have suicidal-bravery and take on cars on fast roundabouts, but I control the road then. It's the times that I don't have control, like on cars pulling out of side turnings, that I worry about.

So I decided to go for a new commuting jacket. And, somewhat inevitably, I was hit by a car as I went to collect the package containing my Proviz fluoro jacket. Fortunately, it didn't knock me off the bike, but it was a typical smidsy - sorry mate, I didn't see you - accident. The driver was paying too much attention to her child and not enough to the road.

Admittedly, as the vast majority of these incidents are caused by vehicle drivers, it would be best to spend money educating car drivers to use their eyes. But until car drivers do start paying attention to the road, I'm going to try and make sure they see me. And if I get hit while wearing the Proviz jacket, I'll be able to say: 'you've got to be joking - how could you not see me?'

The Proviz jacket is a cycling-specific jacket, with a shorter front and longer tail, so it doesn't bunch up when you're hunched over, but gives you a bit of protection over your bottom. It's well-furnished with high-quality sewn-in reflectors and piping and has reflective company logos on the rear and front.

A large rear map pocket will hold several Ordnance Survey maps and an internal front will carry a phone/small wallet, but also holds the battery pack for the jacket's most unusual feature: electroluminescent lighting strips, making you even more visible.

There are two light units on each side, flanking the main side reflectors powered by two AA batteries and they emit an electric blue light which, Proviz says, 'is the most effective colour to attract the human eye's attention during hours of darkness, resulting in your position on the road being more easily identified by other road-users.' And I can't dispute that.

The lights can be used in steady or flashing. And it's in flashing mode that I think it's most effective, drawing your eye to it like a moth to a flame. Seeing its high-frequency flash is like trying to get to sleep in a room with a mosquito in it. You know it's there, but can't relax until you've done something about it. I just hope with the Proviz that drivers will want to get by, rather than swat me…

I've been testing the jacket over one of the foulest winters we've had for a long time and it has taken a real battering from the elements. I'm not sure whether it's that or just a fault, but the lights have now failed, so I'll be returning this jacket to get the manufacturers to have a look at it.

Otherwise it's waterproof and would keep me dry, apart from my commute is long enough to allow me to build up a decent sweat by the time I arrive home. For more casual commuting it would be fine. The zipped side vents do shift some perspiration, but overall it's about the same as most waterproof jackets.

Sizing is generous, so check the sizing guide on the website before ordering. Until recently, I'd have gone for extra large on my clothing to get the body and arm length I wanted, but chose the large size for this jacket and I may have even got away with the medium size. The larger sizing means you can wear it over other jackets - handy for commuting, but not that necessary in the cold.

I've been out in temperatures hovering around the freezing mark, with the jacket on, a Merino wool base layer and intermediate layer and have been toasty - the windproof properties of the jacket have kept the chill out and the mesh lining adds an extra layer of insulation to the outfit.

My jacket is starting to become a bit grubby now - a lack of front mudguards doesn't help - and because of the electronics included you can't wash the jacket, just wipe it with a damp cloth. This isn't too much of a problem; other fluorescent jackets I've washed have lost some of their properties in the washing machine, so I can live with it.

The cuffs are starting to look very dirty now. I think the road-dirt is being forced into the fabric where my winter gloves contact the jacket, but as they're hidden most of the time, I'm not too fussed with it. Anyway, that's one of the drawbacks of having bright clothing. Talking of the cuffs, they are elasticated with a hook-and-loop adjuster. I haven't found the adjusters to be that easy to use - they don't have the staying capacity of standard Velcro, coming apart far more easily than they should.

The collar has a nice fleece lining, so when you zip up to keep the wind out on wintry rides you don't end up with your neck being scratched to pieces. And even the collar has reflective piping. And that's what I like best about the jacket.

Having reflectors the full length of the sleeves means that as you approach cars you are highly visible. And the four-inch-wide reflector bands on the sides means that you're more visible from the sides. It's only on the rear that the reflective positioning isn't up to much, relying on the less-effective stickers of the company logo. I appreciate that you may have a rucsac on your back so any reflectives high-up may be obscured, but there's no reason to skimp on the lower area.

So, the jacket as a whole has generally performed well. It's not subtle and marks you out either as a cyclist or a refugee from a nuclear power station as you wander round the shops, but I've certainly experienced that drivers are more aware of me. And that has to be good.

At a glance

Verdict Decent, waterproof cyclists cut, high-visibility jacket that's definitely going to get you noticed on the roads.

PROVIZ says:

The PROVIZ high visibility cycling jacket is designed to draw attention to your position on the road during times of poor light or during hours of darkness.  The jacket incorporates four (30cm each) of our unique electroluminescent lighting strips that glow in an eye-catching electric blue colour to ensure you are highly visible when it really matters.  The design of the jacket has been carefully researched and we have ensured that there is reflective trim on the arms and sides of the jacket, so you can be seen from all angles.

Specification and Features

  • The first electroluminescent, hi vis cycling jacket on the European market
  • Includes 4 light-emitting electroluminescent strips (2 front, 2 back)
  • Electroluminescent strips powered by a small battery pack (2AA) housed in the pocket
  • Electroluminescent strips are durable and 100% waterproof
  • Highly reflective trim on arms, sides, zip, logos and shoulders
  • Fleece-lined collar
  • 100% waterproof
  • Highly breathable
  • Waterproof zips
  • Arm pit and back vents
  • Inside and back pockets
  • Male and female cuts available
  • Available in fluorescent yellow and black
  • Also available without lighting strips
  • Fantastic padded grip for extra safety
  • Reflective trim for added visibility
  • Fleece-lined
  • Breathable and water-resistant


Size (cm) Small Medium Large X Large
Chest: 94 - 99 100 - 106 107 - 113 114 - 121
Sleeve Length: 81 84 87 90


Size (cm) 10 12 14 16
Chest: 84 - 86 89 - 91 95 - 97 98 - 100
Sleeve Length: 74 76 78 80


Supplier: Todays Cyclist, +44 (0)1332 274252,