As any seasoned biker will no doubt be well aware, accidents are all too commonplace on Britain’s roads. While it’s crucial to ensure that we all do our bit to ensure the road safety of both ourselves and others, there are bound to be times when you simply can’t legislate for the irresponsible or ill-judged actions of other road users. All it takes is a mistimed lane change to result in a serious collision. However, in recent years there’s been a renewed effort to promote greater road safety awareness and ensure that motorists, bikers and cyclists are all aware of their obligations to one another.
The Stop SMIDSY campaign – standing for Sorry Mate, I Didn’t See You – was launched in 2009 by CTC, the national cycling charity, to reduce the number of incidents on Britain’s roads and combat bad driving. If you’re an experienced biker or cyclist, then it’s highly likely that you’ve been involved in such an accident or you’ve come perilously close to one. Stop SMIDSY encourages those with first-hand experience of road incidents to report any crashes or near misses they’ve been involved in. In addition, respondents are asked to detail precisely why they felt the actions of other road users involved were unacceptable, as well as reporting how the criminal or civil justice systems dealt with the incident. It’s hoped that by collecting evidence of bad driving, the campaign can ensure that road users are made more aware of their responsibilities and the potential consequences of their actions whilst they are out and about on the roads.
The organisers behind Stop SMIDSY feel that reckless or inconsiderate driving is too widely accepted in the UK as a mere fact of life – particularly as so many cyclists and others are involved in road accidents each and every year. Cyclists are also far more at risk from the actions of other motorists, and it’s more likely that such accidents will result in serious injury or death to themselves. The CTC notes that while cycling is actually relatively safe, there is a perception among many people that accidents are perhaps a more frequent occurrence than they actually are, and that this in turn deters more people from taking up the pursuit.
But needless to say, it’s not just cyclists who fall victim to the lapses in judgment or concentration of other road users – and many motorcyclists also find themselves involved in serious road accidents. Of course, cyclists and bikers generally are in a more vulnerable position than other those motorists who use four-wheeled modes of transport, which makes it all the more important to come forward and report incidents as and when they happen. The near miss today could be a fatal collision tomorrow, so it’s important to ensure that other motorists get a chance to learn from mistakes, some of which they may not have even been aware of making.
Another concern raised by Stop SMIDSY is the sometimes lackadaisical attitude of the police and prosecutors to the road safety, citing various examples where action has simply not been taken. They say that by encouraging more people to come forward and discuss their own experiences, together they can at least take steps to ensure that cyclists and others are better protected in the future. If you’ve been involved in an accident and you feel the reckless or thoughtless actions of others were to blame, it’s well worth getting involved yourself.