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They really didn't see you. And here’s why

By Mario

The SMIDSY (Sorry Mate I Didn’t See You) excuse can cause a fair bit of consternation among riders. But as RAF pilot and crash investigator John Sullivan makes clear, missing something in our field of vision is all too common.

Why is it that drivers fail to see motorcyclists and cyclists coming towards them? We can have our lights on, wear dayglo and be correctly positioned to be most visible, but still sometimes they don't see us. Is it carelessness? Negligence? Are they in too much of a rush or just don't care? 

An example of what areas a road user focuses on at a road junction.

Those circles are what a road user looks at when scanning a street, the lines are what your brain fills in, so not actually registered during the scan.

Detailed analysis of how our eyes and brains work to ‘see’ things reveals some disturbing effects. In an article written by John Sullivan, a keen cyclist, RAF pilot and crash investigator, the inherent failings of our vision are laid bare. They mean smaller moving objects like motorbikes and cycles are highly likely to not be seen by drivers.

You can read John Sullivan's article in full on the London Cyclist website, go to:

What an RAF pilot can teach us about being safe on the road