Have you ever been in the situation where you found yourself apologising with “sorry, mate, I didn’t see you”, after a road accident?
Unfortunately, many drivers have, and it’s often pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists on the receiving end of that apology after being hit by a moving vehicle.
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Joe Rider Program
The Ulysses Club is for motorcyclists who are over the age of 40, who get together to enjoy the love of riding and the wonderful camaraderie.
During the month of February, the Orange Branch is running a motorcycle awareness safety campaign called ‘Joe Rider’ to address the SMIDSY problem.
“SMIDSY, which stands for ‘sorry, mate, I didn’t see you’, is often used by motorists when they have had an accident with a motorcyclist,” Ulysses Club, Orange Branch president Lester Davis said.
“And not only with motorcyclists – with pedestrians and cyclists too. So, what we are trying to do through the Joe Rider program is make people more aware [of other road users].”
Motorcyclists in the Joe Rider program will increase their visibility by wearing high vis vests, in the hope drivers will more easily spot the two wheel road users.
Spot ‘Joe’ and win
And, if you keep your eyes out for the brightly coloured riders, you could take home a prize.
This initiative is being funded by a NSW Government Community Road Safety Grant which has enabled the Orange Ulysses Club to offer prizes for community members who correctly spot where and when they have seen a Joe Rider.
If you see ‘Joe’ during February, grab a Spotting Coupon from the Central Western Daily (CWD), fill it in and lodge it at the CWD’s office at 190 Lord’s Place Orange.
SMIDSY, which stands for ‘sorry, mate, I didn’t see you’, is often used by motorists when they have had an accident with a motorcyclist.Lester Davis
Throughout this initiative gift cards valued at $50 and $500 are up for grabs.
Mr Davis, who has been riding for 45 years, has had his share of SMIDSY bingles.
“There are a couple of key features that the science tells us exacerbate the problem,” he said. “The first is saccadic masking which is moving your head and eyes quickly left to right … and what you won’t see or remember is anything in between.
“So the faster you do the left and right movement, thinking you are checking the roadway – chances are you haven’t seen anything at all. And that’s where pedestrians, motorcyclists and cyclists get hidden.
“It is really a dangerous phenomena.”
The way to overcome this problem, Mr Davis said, is to simply slow down.
“Look and hold your vision to the right, move a little slowly and note things as you move your head around to the left and your mind will take it in and chances are you’ll see people which are otherwise hidden,” he said.
“The other issue is a matter of speed and distance.
“Big things often look closer and little things look further away. So, if you’re on a motorcycle you look fairly small and drivers think ‘I can just drive out’ and probably don't exit onto the roadway very quickly.
“Then all of a sudden the motorcycle is on them.
“So, even if people see the motorcyclist they can still make bad judgements based on speed and distance.”