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Friday, 24 October 2014

Sorry Mate, I Didn't See You.

Has another driver ever pulled out on you, seemingly without noticing you're there? Almost inevitably it's nearly always someone else's fault. Sixty per cent blamed the other driver.


SMIDSY, or 'sorry mate I didn't see you', is when a road user pulls out in front of another vehicle or road user, stating 'they just hadn't seen them'. Failure to look properly is the most frequently recorded factor in all accident types.

This type of incident is much more common for smaller vehicles: in the last six months seventy per cent of motorcyclists, and eighty per cent of cyclists reported being involved in a SMIDSY moment with a larger road user. 

This problem is also more dangerous for motorcyclists and cyclists, who are much more vulnerable without the protection of a car around them. Drivers must give them plenty of space, and be prepared for them to make sudden moves to avoid potholes and other surface problems, less obvious to car drivers.

Similarly, motorcyclists and cyclists need to keep room between themselves and other vehicles – creating space around your vehicle gives you more time to react to hazards.
Drivers should check their mirrors frequently, to keep an eye out for bikes approaching from behind. It's particularly important to check mirrors before changing direction, especially in traffic queues, when a motorcyclist or cyclist might be trying to get past. If they are, be tolerant and let them past– don't try to impede their progress just because you are stuck. But cyclists and motorcyclists need to ride defensively, and be prepared for other drivers to change lanes suddenly, especially when frustrated with the traffic. All road users need to look out for the body language of other vehicles – if another vehicle is slowing down or edging across a lane hang back. 

As a smaller road user it makes sense to do everything you can to be seen. Always ride assuming that other road users haven't seen you, and improve your visibility by positioning yourself where a car driver would be sitting when travelling in a straight line – this is where other road users will be looking.

All road users should check their lights regularly to make sure they are all working. Communication is key, and you can't give clear signals if you have a dead bulb, so test all your lights weekly. Motorcyclists and cyclists should wear big blocks of bright colour – broken up or patterned clothing effectively camouflages you. 

Drive or ride with the knowledge that another road user may behave irresponsibly, so you're ready to react when it happens. It doesn't matter who's fault it was if you damage your car, or more seriously are injured or injure someone else. 

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