HOMEMADE SAFETY FLAGS
Occasionally someone asks me about my homemade safety flags wanting information on how to make them. I am not a seamstress so I had a woman make them for me.
Before I get into this I want to say that there are lots of factory manufactured safety flags available to buy. I am strongly opinionated about them as some are better than others and some are not of much value as far as making a rider safer. Some are pretty much worthless. I have had several factory made flags in an attempt of making myself visible and thereby safer. I finally decided to make my own and I really like the flags I have now as I know they work great as far as being seen.
The flags themselves are about 15 inches square and the black border is a 2 inch (or more … more is better) wide black satin double sided finish ribbon trim. It is okay to make the flags larger than 15 inches, but I would not make them any smaller. They could also be rectangular rather than square although I personally prefer square. I highly recommend using this black satin finish color as trim around the outside of the flags as it really makes the flags stand out and “catches the eye”. The black trim is available at a well stocked fabric shop as is the safety yellow and safety orange (also known as florescent yellow and orange) nylon material. The black satin trim is folded over the flag material as well as folded over itself so that it is thicker and offers more strength and protection to keep the edge of the flag material and itself from fraying in the wind.
Here are some pictures I took of a brand new flag that has never been flown. (Pardon the black spray paint seen on some of the yellow background. The flag is laying on a pull out shelf of a metal desk. I had done some spray painting on it at one time and got some over-spray on the metal shelf which I never removed.)
Just a reminder — you can left click on any image in a WordPress blog and have it open up in its own window. Oftentimes it is much larger so you can see it in much greater detail. When you are finished viewing it just use your browser’s BACK button to close it and return to this page.
The top end of the flag where the pole slides in must be sewn closed, of course, so that it doesn’t allow the flag to slide on down the flag pole. It is important to have sufficient sewing so that it holds in wind and flapping around.
Here is a drawing I made to show how the black satin finish ribbon is folded over and sewn onto the flag. The orange is the flag material and the green is the thread where it is sewn.
I provided a short piece of a fiberglass flag pole (20 inches or so) to the seamstress to use to “fit” the flag to so that it is a pretty snug fit. That is important as it is hard to keep the flag on a flag pole if it fits loosely. Even with a snug fit I also use plastic cable ties on the flag to help secure it in place on the pole as otherwise they will work their way up off of the pole and if you didn’t notice it in time you could lose the flag. In addition to making the flag fit snugly on the flag pole I also use 3 small size plastic cable ties (top, middle and bottom) and cut small openings thru the flag material up near the pole so I can insert the cable ties thru the flag and around the pole … tightening the cable ties around the flag pole to keep the flag from moving up the pole. When I say “cut holes” I actually used an awl and punched small holes thru the flag material.
If you ride after dark you may want to use a reflective border on one of the flags as it will really stand out when light shines on it. I did this for awhile, but I finally went with the black border on both flags as I rarely ride after dark and the black border shows up much better in the daytime.
If the flags are constructed like this they should last quite some time. The material will fade some out in the sun as time passes so I would advise changing them periodically so that they offer maximum visibility and protection.
The height of my flag poles are 65 inches from the ground to the top of the poles. In my opinion this is an ideal height. Too low or too high greatly reduces the effectiveness as far as attracting attention to the flags.