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#909722 - 10/28/14 01:41 AM Sorry, mate, I didn't see you!
Bill_Walker Online
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Registered: 09/18/04
Posts: 4371
Loc: San Marcos, CA USA
This came up in another thread and it was suggested I post it on its own. I do think it's been posted before.

The most common car-bike accident occurs when a driver entering or turning across a roadway fails to see an oncoming bike and violates the bike's right-of-way. In the UK and Australia, this is referred to as a "SMIDSY" accident, for Sorry, Mate, I Didn't See You. The problem occurs because the human eye is attracted to motion, and an oncoming motorcycle presents a very small target with very little visual evidence of motion. This video illustrates the problem, and also shows a maneuver we can use in these situations to catch a driver's eye. I have not had a single car pull out or turn in front of me since I started using this maneuver, either on my motorcycle or on my bicycle. That being said, you should of course still be prepared to avoid the car if it violates your right-of-way.

Here's the video: SMIDSY
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#909882 - 10/29/14 04:46 PM Re: Sorry, mate, I didn't see you! [Re: Bill_Walker]
rolandj727 Offline
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Registered: 09/29/03
Posts: 80
Loc: San Jose, California, USA
This was an excellent video because I learned some simple, useful riding techniques. It demonstrates the problems of motorcycle visibility and what you can do counter this problem.

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#909975 - 10/30/14 03:22 AM Re: Sorry, mate, I didn't see you! [Re: Bill_Walker]
SuperG Offline
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Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 1033
Loc: Central Texas
Indeed, interesting video.
Thank you for posting it.

In the past few days I have been finding myself zig-zagging on the road for no good reason. It could be that I am just bored, and thinking about this video; but certainly will try it when I notice a vehicle on the side street (at a stop sign) about to bolt out -or not.

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#910072 - 10/30/14 10:07 PM Re: Sorry, mate, I didn't see you! [Re: Bill_Walker]
Bill_Walker Online
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Registered: 09/18/04
Posts: 4371
Loc: San Marcos, CA USA
I use it for vehicles entering the road from parking lots, driveways, side streets, parallel parking spaces, you name it, and of course for left-turners.
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#910140 - 10/31/14 05:16 PM Re: Sorry, mate, I didn't see you! [Re: Bill_Walker]
Dave_zoom_zoom Offline
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Registered: 02/24/07
Posts: 637
Loc: British Columbia Canada
Very insightful!

Thanks Bill thumbsup

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#910213 - 11/01/14 02:56 PM Re: Sorry, mate, I didn't see you! [Re: Bill_Walker]
TEWKS Offline
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Registered: 09/29/05
Posts: 6689
Loc: Tewksbury, MA.
Not to sound like a BH but i've been using this technique for years. Actually thought I invented it. smile Ok, that may sound a little blowhard-ish. rofl


Pat
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#910946 - 11/07/14 08:38 PM Re: Sorry, mate, I didn't see you! [Re: Bill_Walker]
chrisz Offline
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Registered: 08/20/05
Posts: 396
Loc: Cambridge, Ontario. Canada
I've read about this technique in one of David L. Hough's safety books some years ago. On occasion I use it, mostly when riding in suburbia or similar places.

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#913022 - 11/26/14 03:19 PM Re: Sorry, mate, I didn't see you! [Re: chrisz]
Twisties Offline
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Registered: 05/03/07
Posts: 5957
Loc: Brookings, OR
I have heard that in some jurisdictions weaving like that will get you a citation. Never understood that, but have been discouraged from doing it.

Not sure if I quite accept the "looming" concept as described, but I'll buy the rest.
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#913400 - 12/01/14 10:35 PM Re: Sorry, mate, I didn't see you! [Re: Twisties]
russell_bynum Offline
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Registered: 06/14/01
Posts: 27247
Loc: Wildomar, CA, USA
Originally Posted By: Twisties
I have heard that in some jurisdictions weaving like that will get you a citation. Never understood that, but have been discouraged from doing it.

Not sure if I quite accept the "looming" concept as described, but I'll buy the rest.


My attitude about such things is that I'll do whatever the hell I think is most likely to keep me alive.

If a LEO takes issue with any of it, I'll be very happy to be alive to have that conversation with him/her. If I get a ticket...meh. Tickets are cheaper than hospital stays or funerals.
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#917261 - 01/11/15 03:39 AM Re: Sorry, mate, I didn't see you! [Re: Bill_Walker]
elkroeger Offline
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Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 3017
Loc: Rochester WA
That one's new to me. Thanks for posting. Makes sense for the most part.

I'm not sure I fully caught that bit about the background moving behind you. I get it, except: Why would it be different in various situations? Seems like the difference would be related to how closely you'll be passing by the car. But generally you'd be riding almost directly at the driver who's waiting to pull out, so it doesn't seem like it would vary that much from situation to situation. Unless you're rounding a bend with an intersection in the middle. Am I missing something?


Edited by elkroeger (01/11/15 03:39 AM)
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#926769 - 04/13/15 05:34 PM Re: Sorry, mate, I didn't see you! [Re: elkroeger]
graydude Offline
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Registered: 08/12/04
Posts: 583
Loc: Temecula, CA and Camano WA
I have installed headlight modulators on all my bikes for years. I can't tell you how many times I've seen them grab a motorist attention. I can't figure out why these are not standard equipment on bikes. The added benefit is people often confuse me with a LEO and make extra room for me. Plus, for those in California, the modulators are very effective when lane splitting.
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#927436 - 04/19/15 08:18 PM Re: Sorry, mate, I didn't see you! [Re: graydude]
mneblett Offline
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Registered: 04/20/09
Posts: 1228
Loc: Fairfax, VA
In addition to the eye being attracted to motion, it is also attracted to differences -- differences in color, differences in contrast, differences in shape, differences in brightness, etc. Of course, minor differences or differences hidden in a busy background are less likely to be picked up.

I mention this to suggest taking whatever advantage you can. The three primary forward visibility enhancements I use are (i) a Schubert hi-viz yellow helmet (particularly useful in dense commuting traffic, where sometimes only my head is visible over the adjacent cars), (ii) a broad "triangle" of front lights, and (iii) recently, the use of amber filters over the bright LED lights that form the left & right corners of the triangle. The amber is unusual in my area, and even at low power the LED lights (Clearwater Ericas) are pretty darn bright. I've received unexpected thumbs-ups after the addition of the amber filters (and yes, I checked closely which single digit was being held up grin )
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#938019 - 07/24/15 12:07 AM Re: Sorry, mate, I didn't see you! [Re: mneblett]
WBinDE Offline
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Registered: 06/21/13
Posts: 116
Loc: Delaware
I came across the video some time back and think of it often. I'm probably overthinking the weave, but I try to make my first zig away from the other driver, my thinking being that I'm getting a little extra bit of motion across the background and perpendicular to his line of sight, as early as possible. Then I zag and am pointing more nearly at him, so all I have going for me at that point is looming (and lights).
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#943469 - 09/22/15 03:01 PM Re: Sorry, mate, I didn't see you! [Re: Bill_Walker]
DJ_Fission Offline
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Registered: 09/15/15
Posts: 46
Loc: Council Bluffs, IA
I always ride with the assumption that *nothing* that I do will cause the other person to see me all of a sudden. I don't ever want to rely upon someone else seeing me; many people drive distracted or are simply oblivious. I take responsibility for myself; I don't expect anyone else to care, and I ride accordingly.
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#943661 - 09/24/15 12:22 AM Re: Sorry, mate, I didn't see you! [Re: DJ_Fission]
EddyQ Offline
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Registered: 05/30/07
Posts: 1194
Loc: Lexington, Ma
Good video!
I tend to move all over the lane, which isn't really the SMIDSY, but has a similar effect. I do believe drivers notice side motions.

I also think drivers are looking for cars, meaning two headlights. So, I have a set of aux lights that do help.
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#943683 - 09/24/15 03:46 AM Re: Sorry, mate, I didn't see you! [Re: DJ_Fission]
Bill_Walker Online
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Registered: 09/18/04
Posts: 4371
Loc: San Marcos, CA USA
Originally Posted By: DJ_Fission
I always ride with the assumption that *nothing* that I do will cause the other person to see me all of a sudden. I don't ever want to rely upon someone else seeing me; many people drive distracted or are simply oblivious. I take responsibility for myself; I don't expect anyone else to care, and I ride accordingly.


All of which is good. But my view is to do everything you can to make yourself visible, and then still ride like you're invisible. Anything that reduces the risk of collision is probably worthwhile.

Further, at many of these sorts of intersections, you can't really "ride like you're invisible" without holding up traffic or getting rear-ended, since riding like you're invisible pretty much requires letting the cross traffic go first.
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#943755 - 09/24/15 07:27 PM Re: Sorry, mate, I didn't see you! [Re: Bill_Walker]
DJ_Fission Offline
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Registered: 09/15/15
Posts: 46
Loc: Council Bluffs, IA
Originally Posted By: Bill_Walker

All of which is good. But my view is to do everything you can to make yourself visible, and then still ride like you're invisible. Anything that reduces the risk of collision is probably worthwhile.

Further, at many of these sorts of intersections, you can't really "ride like you're invisible" without holding up traffic or getting rear-ended, since riding like you're invisible pretty much requires letting the cross traffic go first.


Sure, I see what you're saying. That's why I have Skene Design visibility lights and extra riding lights on my bike.

Doesn't mean that people shouldn't be responsible for themselves when they're riding. Too many videos are on the Internet where the rider is blaming someone else for what happened, instead of looking at what they could have done to avoid the situation in the first place. I know that's not a very popular opinion, but I think that as riders, we already know that most people don't see us riding, and we have to be extra vigilant on the road.

I'm not saying "ride like you're invisible;" I'm saying "ride like your life is your responsibility, and ride accordingly."
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#944602 - 10/03/15 03:19 PM Re: Sorry, mate, I didn't see you! [Re: Bill_Walker]
AdventurePoser Offline
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Registered: 06/06/01
Posts: 8882
Loc: Newport OR
I will occasionally zig zag in my lane when coming up to suddenly stopped traffic. Mostly I just try to ride like I am completely invisible. So far, so good. smile
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#945798 - 10/18/15 04:40 AM Re: Sorry, mate, I didn't see you! [Re: Bill_Walker]
chrisd Offline
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Registered: 03/26/03
Posts: 953
Loc: HI
Terrific video, and thanks for posting. However, I don't understand his point about looking for background movement relative to the car.

No background movement = likely SMIDSY situation. Background movement = less likely.

Can anyone explain this concept?

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#945799 - 10/18/15 05:24 AM Re: Sorry, mate, I didn't see you! [Re: chrisd]
szurszewski Offline
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Registered: 06/28/06
Posts: 2136
Loc: Portland, OR
I'm not Mitch, but I'll try. smile

It's about perspective (remember basic design, or intro to drawing/painting that maybe you took in school?), and what you're really to figure out, as the rider, is if you are moving across the driver's perspective. To be most visible, we want to move across the driver's perspective, or horizon, as opposed to moving straight at them.

To tell if we're doing this, we can see if they are moving across our perspective. Imagine you're looking at a car stopped at intersecting cross street, and that there's a row of trees in the background. As you are approaching, if your angle to the car is pretty small, the same tree will appear to stay in the same place in the background relative to the car. If your angle to the car is larger, the trees in the background will shift toward the rear of the car as you approach.

If the trees are staying the same place, you're basically a little dot getting slightly larger as you approach the driver. If the trees are shifting, you're more like a slightly growing dot that's drawing a line across the driver's vision (think of the tracer you can see behind a laser point as it draws a quick line along a wall).

The video in the OP shows this well at 5:40 and on.

I like to think of it (it being us, on our bike) like a baseball. Imagine you're standing at one end of a football field and someone is launching a baseball at you from the other end zone. If it's fired at a level trajectory, it's going to be hard to see, and it's going to be really hard for your brain to tell how fast it's going. Imagine then watching the same baseball, fired from one end zone to the other, except now you're watching from one side of the field at the fifty yard line. It will be easier to see the ball because it's basically now a line or a series of points instead of just one, and it's going to be much, much easier to see how fast it's going.

Our brains and eyes are set up to detect motion, changes in light and that sort of thing - we're not very good at seeing stationary points (or what appear to be stationary points) unless we're trying really hard to find them. (And the whole SMIDSY idea is that driver are looking for hazards in general but not motorcycles...and we have this tendency to mostly find what we're looking for...)

Any help?
josh


Edited by szurszewski (10/18/15 05:29 AM)
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#945802 - 10/18/15 05:37 AM Re: Sorry, mate, I didn't see you! [Re: szurszewski]
chrisd Offline
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Registered: 03/26/03
Posts: 953
Loc: HI
Thank you, excellent write-up. I get it now. Makes a lot of sense. thumbsup

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#945858 - 10/18/15 11:18 PM Re: Sorry, mate, I didn't see you! [Re: szurszewski]
Dave_zoom_zoom Offline
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Registered: 02/24/07
Posts: 637
Loc: British Columbia Canada
Very good effort on your part! clap

Dave

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#946833 - 11/02/15 03:25 PM Re: Sorry, mate, I didn't see you! [Re: Bill_Walker]
Mike Offline

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Registered: 07/19/00
Posts: 10311
Loc: Chicago area, IL, USA
I tend to think that being aware of our invisibility is 90% of the battle. The evolutionary truth is that the human brain does not do all that well with processing small objects moving straight at the viewer at 100 feet/second.

Being aware of this and adopting some affirmative strategy--weaving, a triangulated lighting system, modulators, high-viz clothing--are all helpful, but most helpful is riding with the attitude that you're invisible.

Fundamental to that is playing the "what if" mental game--constantly anticipating the unanticipated, and factoring in at least one "escape," whether it's hard braking or a steering maneuver.
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#964185 - 06/22/16 10:05 PM Re: Sorry, mate, I didn't see you! [Re: Dave_zoom_zoom]
Francis Offline
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Registered: 03/05/01
Posts: 1016
Loc: New York City
Great posts. Some times, while traveling in a straight line, I'll rock my bike side to side in a small arc so as to break the stationary plane and create headlight movement. This is especially helpful when I'm in small and close together traffic lanes and have no room to weave or make other directional changes

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