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Federation Motorcyclists Associations

How Close Is Too Close?

In 2006 the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG UK) in collaboration with motorcycle trainer, Duncan MacKillop, investigated the cause of accidents involving cars and motorcycles at T junctions in order to have a better understanding of this specific type of accident, the ‘Sorry Mate I Didn’t See You’ accidents or SMIDSYs, which regularly leads to the death or serious injury of motorcyclists.

The result of this collaboration was the MAG document ‘How Close is Too Close?’ that provided solutions for avoidance and evasion strategies for motorcyclists.

The study provided a clearer understanding of this phenomenon and recommendations for improved car driver training as well as solutions identified as avoidance and evasion techniques for motorcycle trainers.

The study made recommendations that include better road awareness training for car drivers and motorcyclists to reduce the number of deaths to riders caused by cars.

Recommendations also considered the responsibility of vehicle manufacturers as well as better training, road awareness and improved data collection.

SMIDSY (Sorry Mate I did’nt See You) Avoidance and Evasion Strategies

Duncan MacKillop is a Motorcycle Trainer and is also an aviation pilot. As a victim of SMIDSYs, he has carried out research over the last ten years to understand the reasons for this type of accident and to find solutions for motorcyclists through avoidance and evasion techniques. His research considers the phenomena of ‘looming’ and ‘motion camouflage’.

SMIDSY – How it happens

When a motorist has to manoeuvre into a situation that will contain a number of moving targets, he must assess which of those targets will be the most likely to be in conflict, which will not be in conflict and which will be of no importance due to their distance or their movement vector. The motorist will then make a judgement as to his own planned trajectory and speed such that his predictions about the possible conflicts will be correct at the appropriate point in the future.

Techniques for SMIDSY avoidance and evasion

The failure of the motorcycle to pop-out from the general background as seen by an observer, is a problem that no amount of observer education will currently cure in consideration of the lack of driver awareness training that the present system offers. There may well be ways to find some observational strategy for motorists that will maximize their ability to identify oncoming motorcyclists.

Read the full report HERE

Duncan MacKillop Writes

On my way to the airfield today, I saw a lad on a BMW execute a perfect SMIDSY Identification and Avoidance Manoeuvre (SIAM).

There is a side turning off a main road in one of the villages I pass through and due to the layout of the road and junction it is a prime spot for SMIDSY's to occur.

This time I saw a Volkswagen Golf waiting to turn right out of the junction with the BMW bearing down along the main road.

Just as I thought that the Volkswagen was going to pull out (the driver had obviously not spotted the bike) the BMW rider executed a quick weave and the Volkswagen stayed rooted to the spot!

I have no idea whether the rider had read the paper that MAG had published, but it sure seemed to me that he carried out the recommendations to the letter.

I have felt so good since seeing this, that I thought I should let you know.

All we have to do now is to work out how to persuade EVERY rider in the country to adopt the SIAM and we will save hundreds of lives!


Duncan MacKillop

Transport for London (TfL) “Don’t Look See” campaign March 2008 Here

Department for Transport (DFT) THINK! Take Longer to Look for Bikes Here

"Think Once Think Twice Think Bike" TV AD from 1975 Here

What do we have to do to get noticed? Video

Think Bike Campaigns from South Africa

Our thanks to weaver.web for their web-hosting and mail forwarding services.

MAG UK, PO Box 750, Rugby, CV21 3ZR.
Tel. 0870 444 8 448 Fax. 0870 444 8 449

MAG is a member of the Federation of European Motorcyclists’ Associations giving riders a voice in European and in Global Issues - FEMA