I ran across the phrase SMIDSY recently in reference to motorcycle safety. The site said it was the most common type of motorcycle accident. I’d never heard of it so I checked out the website. In the UK, it’s an acronym for, “Sorry Mate I Didn’t See You.” I suppose an Americanized version might start, “Sorry Man.”
But whatever you call it, the fact remains that the most common cause of motorcycle accidents is the operator of a larger vehicle not seeing a motorcycle. Many bikers take the attitude that the blasted cagers need to be more careful and pay more attention. They vilify the motorists and place most of the blame on them. But most of these people are good people with no evil intentions toward bikers. The sad, SMIDSY effect is a result of human physiology and physics.
This was the subject of a pilot episode on British television about motorcycle safety. Advanced instructor Duncan Mackillop takes us through the physics involved and points out that it is ultimately the rider of the motorcycle’s responsibility to be seen. He introduces what he calls the SIAM, or Smidsy Identification and Avoidance Maneuver.
He offers an idea I haven’t heard before. He suggests weaving back and forth as you approach a car at an intersection to make your self move across the other driver’s background.
Until law enforcement departments become familiar with and accept this concept, it may result in a ticket. A police officer, seeing a biker begin to weave back and forth as he approaches an intersection, may instinctively react negatively. But to prevent the death toll from mounting, both bikers and police officers will need to leave convention behind and embrace new techniques to prevent tragedy.
— Guy Wheatley