I found out that I was the victim of a S.M.I.D.S.Y.

In wikipedia :

The acronym SMIDSY, short for “sorry mate, I didn’t see you”, is used by British and Australian motorcyclists and cyclists to describe collisions in which a car driver fails to perceive a two-wheel user (see motorcycle safety). It is estimated by the UK Department of Transport that SMIDSY incidents account for around 25% of all motorcycle accidents.

There is good evidence that drivers may in fact see at the subconscious level, but that this is not translated to the conscious as the brain does not perceive the other as a threat, so a driver may be able to see a cyclist, but not transfer this information into an action of adjusting their automobile. Another theory is that drivers simply don’t expect to see a two wheeled vehicle, so they are missed even when wearing high conspicuity clothing or using lights.

These collisions may be recorded as failure to see, or as simply right-of-way violations.    “SMIDSY” was the title of a BBC TV series on road safety broadcast in the 1980s.

There are even T-shirts available with S.M.I.D.S.Y. written on it.

So the phenomenon is known since the early eighties. Motorcyclist have the same problem and the Devon County Council tried to explain the problem in a humorous video :

1 thought on “S.M.I.D.S.Y. Leave a comment

  1. I love this movie! NOt that I’d love the mentality of driving around behaving like an idiot and with no respect for the lives of other people participating in traffic. But it reflects the mentality of what’s going on on our streets these days: The bigger your car, the safer you are. So always try to drive the biggest SUV and one day they’ll turn into tanks and super tanks, mining trucks and so on.
    That’s so stone age! I like the idea of velomobiles and the philosophy behind them (table tennis ball philosophy): If they crash they don’t try to make the other flat.
    Thanks Wim for posting and informing me about SMIDSY syndrome – haven’t read about it in the Effective Cycling book which educated me about the cyclist inferiority phobia.


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