Leading road safety and breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist has launched a new campaign to keep motorcycle riders safe this summer by encouraging car and van drivers to take an extra look for them at junctions, where many collisions occur.
GEM warns that summertime sees many roads become busier with riders as they take advantage of the better weather – and particularly at the weekends. Making that extra check for bike riders at every junction, on every journey, will greatly reduce the risk they run.
The Department for Transport statistics for 2021 show that 310 motorcyclists were killed in Great Britain, 5,264 were seriously injured and more than 10,000 slightly injured. Many of these incidents took place at or near junctions, where drivers failed to see an approaching motorcyclist before starting a manoeuvre.
GEM chief executive Neil Worth said: “Around 30 motorcyclists are killed or injured every day at junctions, usually because of a driver observation error which some years ago picked up the nickname ‘SMIDSY’ – ‘sorry mate, I didn’t see you’.
“As human beings we’re not very good at identifying motorcyclists because they occupy such a small part of our field of vision. What’s more, if we’re not expecting to see one, then the chance of spotting one coming towards us is further reduced, and the risk of a collision is greatly increased.
“So that crucial second glance before pulling out may well reveal other hazards we missed when we looked first time and saw nothing – either because of naturally-occurring blind spot issues or because we were not expecting to see anything.
“So before pulling out of junctions, look carefully all around. Make a specific check for motorcyclists coming towards you. They’re not always easy to spot – but if you’re expecting them to be there, then you’re far more likely to see them in good time… and prevent a potentially serious collision.”
GEM has three top tips for drivers to avoid SMIDSY
- Before pulling out at any junction, expect a motorcyclist – maybe more than one – to be coming towards you.
- Have a really good look, and don’t pull out unless you are 100% sure there’s nothing coming.
- Keep both hands on the wheel and look directly at an approaching rider. This can help show that you’re not putting the car in gear to move off.
As for motorcycle and scooter riders, GEM advises them to approach all junctions with care, even if they have right of way. ‘Assume the worst’ and the driver looking to emerge in front of you hasn’t seen you: it might sound negative, but it will help keep you safe.
Be prepared for the unexpected at all times and keep vigilant for drivers who suddenly pull out. They may be in the wrong, but that doesn’t help if you come off worse in a collision.