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SMIDSY Crash - How it happened and how you can avoid it

Discussion in 'Your Near Misses - A Place to Vent' started by Nicholai_Chev, Oct 18, 2015.

  1. Last week I was coming back from uni; perfect sunny day, light traffic, the bike was running great and I was traveling on very familiar dual carriageway road at 60km/h I had taken hundreds of times. The next second I impacted the side of a car and was thrown from the bike and now on the ground...

    After several seconds when I had awoken from the post crash stance trying to figure out what happened, I was greeted with "Sorry Mate, I just didn't see you!, you just came out of know-where". In this thread I will try to address what I believe happened, what combination of things went wrong and steps we can do to prevent it happening.

    The scene: I am in Lane one traveling at ~55km/h. From my position in-front of me is clear and their is no dangers.
    My identified dangers are cars potentially pulling out onto to the road infront of me from driveways. To compensate for this I stagger my position behind the car now beside me and hold the right tire track for increased visibility to my left.

    Unknown to me a car an oncoming car has pulled (or is waiting) in the 'Keep Clear' bay. I can not see him, nor can he likely see me due to me being blocked in the footprint of the car beside me. All he can see is the driver of the 'blue car' and a clear lane beside it.


    The Event: Seeing the car pull into the 'keep clear', the blue car has slowed, slammed on the brakes and allegedly signaled the oncoming car it was safe to cross. In the blink of an eye my clear path now has me barreling towards a car. The car is to close, I am going to fast and a collision is inevitable...Instinctively I swerve the bike towards the footpath in an attempt to go around it (should he see me and brake) and get myself out of the kill zone of the car.
    Once my path is set, I apply full braking, lock up both wheels and am skidding towards the car.


    Result: I have impacted the cars front bumper or wheel arch at ~10km/h.
    The bar has snapped left, thrown me over my left mirror and the bikes front wheel has ended up under the car and on its left side. Thankfully I have been ok and walked away with minor injuries, the bike is scratched up however was ridden home. From the insurance quotes I have received it may be an economic write-off however dealings are currently underway.


    Why it happened: Ultimately the official explanation was the turning car failed to giveway. This is useful for insurance however not good enough if we are trying to learn from it. In reality both of us introduced mitigating factors into the accident and played a big part in it.

    -I was traveling to fast for the conditions, upon seeing the 'keep clear' I should have expected another car to be trying to pull into the driveway, not just leave from it and subsequently should have slowed right down.
    -In trying to avoid the danger of cars pulling out into the driveway, I was in a blind spot from oncoming traffic making it very hard to identify me.
    -While the oncoming car had briefly looked, he assumed the coast was clear and traffic had stopped.
    -I too was complacent and assumed the coast was clear.
    -Oncoming car did not creep forward to get a view of the lane, but rather quickly accelerated and blocked it.
    -By the time we had seen each other, it was to late and we had no where to go
    -He genuinely wouldn't have seen me, to him I did come out of know-where

    Other Points:
    - I had been wearing full-viz, had full beams on and had DRL's on.
    As much as the TAC would have you believe this made no difference. Being visible is much more than just dressing in brightly or getting in peoples mirrors.
    - You need to consider the viewing angle and perceptions from other drivers point of view.
    - Bright sunny may be more dangerous than dark rainy weather. We get over confident and may let our roadcraft slip.
    - Having practiced emergency braking, swerves and having formulated a plan should this happen helped me instinctively take action. While it wasn't perfect and result in a near-miss, it may have saved me slamming into the passenger cabin at 60km/h where it would be a much more serious event.
    - Having a good jacket, gloves and helmet absorbed most of the force, no blood or broken bones.
    - Handle bar guards: Quite heavily scuffed up and likely protected my fingers.
    - SMIDSY's aren't always the fault of the other driver, they may have actually looked.
    - The driver may be equally as shocked and surprised to see you.

    I hope this quick summary of the crash will be of help to other riders identify high risk situations.
    • Informative Informative x 16
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  2. Gaps are traps.
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  3. Glad you are ok
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  4. glad to see you're ok, hope you're back on two wheels soon
  5. First, glad to hear your not seriously damaged.

    The blue car.... could you see over it, or thru it?

    By your diagram you are sitting right where the driver of the blue car may, or may not, be able to see you.... and you are betting he won't suddenly decide to go left.....

    Perhaps you should have been a bit further back?

    You are riding a road you do often....you really should have known that there was a "keep clear" turning junction.....

    Perhaps a bit further back and possibly slowing down if you couldn't see over or thru the blue car?

    Don't concern yourself with a good reason why the green car couldn't see you, concentrate more on why you couldn't see the green car.

    BTW, I'm not trying to be picky, rather I am trying to be helpful.
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  6. Glad you're ok! :)
  7. Thanks for the constructive feedback, your certainly not being picky and I asked myself the same questions :)
    I certainly know I was in a crappy position and should have been infront of further back.

    Originally I was more beside the blue car and could see oncoming traffic and the keep clear empty.
    What the diagram doesn't show is a car waiting to turn left in which I slightly slowed down, pulled right and covered the front brake.
    In the course of 1-2 seconds as I've slowed the down and transitioned into diagram 1, the car has entered....blue car slowed and bang.

    I let one danger distract me from another and was going to fast to safely be in control of the situation.
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  8. Good assessment of the situation Nicholai_ChevNicholai_Chev albeit after the fact ;) Glad you are OK. Riding the same piece of road repeatedly makes anyone complacent but we all need to remember to shake ourselves out of that mindset. Thanks for the reminder.
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  9. Goo to hear you're ok mate! Good idea posting this debriefing BTW, it's quite insightful.
  10. Hi Nicholas,
    Glad you weren't badly hurt.
    I don't know if there were any other cars ahead of you in the drawing but IMO you should have been just ahead of the blue car. Then you should have been visible to all.
    If there was more traffic in front then I would have dropped back further behind the blue car to give you more visibility of the oncoming traffic.
    If you can't be sure then you really need to slow at every intersection to allow stopping time for cars doing just what this one did.
  11. After a couple of near misses, I am trying to be aware of the gaps in traffic, especially "keep clear" ones; even more so if there are a lot of stationary or slow moving cars driving in the same direction as I do. When I approach such a gap, I slow down and move further to the left to have a better view of the gap and make myself more visible for anyone who will try to enter the gap from the right. Of course, it compromises my left hand side field of view and visibility for the cars that enter the gap from the left but this side usually has less vision obstructions for both myself and entering cars so as I can't diminish both threats at once, I choose to address the bigger one.
  12. Glad you are not seriously hurt.

    And I for one congratulate you on your honest assessment of the situation, I guess too many times in life we are too focussed on being "in the right" as opposed to " What could I have done to avoid this circumstance?"

    And as a new rider, I applaud the listing of this article, simply as its another learning curve for me. I am presently finding those places on the road where I feel safer than others and getting good vision of the surrounding traffic, whilst also trying as hard as possible to be visible myself.

    I gotta say I am finding it an interesting thing. I am a big bloke. 6 foor 4, about 130 kgs and never feel vulnerable. Put me on a bike though and I become instantly aware of exactly how vulnerable we all are.
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  13. Can I just add that much as it's definitely useful to come up with a general analysis, this exact situation (travelling in left lane, obscured to possible right-turners by vehicle(s) to the right) is a common enough to be considered a special case. I have seen several accidents involving both cars & bikes in this situation, and many more near-misses (& been involved in more than one of the latter),

    Whenever you're in the left lane, there is an upcoming left turn, and there is traffic to the right that's either stopped or slow-moving, there's a good chance that a right-turner will not see you. "Helpful" drivers in the right lane often wave right-turners through even if there's no Keep Clear box. Note that you can be 'obscured' even if there's a line of sight between you and the turner (eg. their attention being drawn to the helpful driver letting them through, or they are fixated on a vehicle waiting to enter the traffic from the entrance on the left).

    This is really one worth talking through to yourself repeatedly until you never pass a left entrance at any speed without being certain nothing's entering from the right.
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  14. I did see your post on one of the fb pages the other week. Thank you for sharing it and the after experience. Glad you were ok mate
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  15. As a newbie I really appreciate this sort of heads up I'm sure I've already been in a similar potentially dire situation glad your ok but ill be checking my road position more closely tomorrow when I ride
  16. Why did the blue car do this, if they were travelling at 55k'm/hr, and the lane ahead of them was clear?
    was green car partially blocking their lane?

    "Seeing the car pull into the 'keep clear', the blue car has slowed, slammed on the brakes and allegedly signaled the oncoming car it was safe to cross"

    being in Blue cars blind spot, they probably couldn't see you and genuinely thought the coast was clear?
  17. Firstly and most importantly I am so glad you are okay :) Thanks for the honest assessment, every constructive piece of advice helps us newcomers. I hope you are back riding soon :)
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  18. crazy cam made some pertinent points. I would take this as a lucky warning rather than bad luck. You mentioned the word 'complacent' and I'm glad you're OK and you seem determined to make this into a positive learning experience which is a good thing. As you told the tale I could see myself wincing, you probably know that you were in a bad position but I found myself wondering if you are nervous of cars pulling out of driveways why you weren't in the rh lane. On a bike there is never any room for complacency.

    Not wanting to be unnecessarily pedantic but this is not technically a smidsy because you also did not see him/her. This is more of a smwdseo
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  19. Had exactly the same thing happen one morning on Spit Rd at Mosman years back,we were working on a roof and heard it happen.It was a fatal. The rider,on a Harley and going along a bit quick hit dead square on the side of the car pushing the roof up and hitting this sharp V of the roof on his neck.We were working on the other side of the road.The job 1st Aider attempted to stop the bleeding with a towel,there was a hell of a lot of it.That didn't happen to well,he heard he died latter that day. Very ugly memory,total fault of the car,rushing an unsighted gap. Got me taking extreme care at any side street in heavy traffic.
  20. It seems your reaction stopped this being much worse - like others, so glad you are generally ok.

    Gaps are traps. That's gonna stick in my head on the road. Thanks for that post above.

    Having driven and ridden on most continents, i feel pressured when riding not to accelerate out of danger spots like that. A quick squirt to get past being in that blind position, may save your life, but cost your licence (especially on restrictions in NSW) and cost thousands in increased insurance premiums and unavailability of rental cars for the next 5 years (owing to auto suspension for any speeding offence). I really wonder about that, given overseas I would have simply gotten past and into fresh air - then resumed limit.