The SMIDSY maneuver revisited

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by BCKRider, Apr 1, 2013.

  1. BCKRider

    BCKRider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2012
    Oddometer:
    120
    For newcomers to the term, SMIDSY is an acronym for Sorry Mate, I Didn't See You. The idea is, that in certain curcumstances, you can make yourself more visible to other motorists who might not notice you or accurately judge your distance or speed by making non-dramatic swerves within your lane. The lateral movement captures peoples attention: "is that guy drunk, crazy, going to crash into me?" "Maybe I shouldn't pull out in front of him!" Most important, they noticed you as a possible threat.

    (Someone will shortly provide the 7 minute video which I did not, alas, re-watch.) I'm new enough to this idea that I am not a regular practitioner of it.

    My questions for the believers: WHEN do you use the SMIDSY swerve and when do you NOT use it?

    I can think of three obvious places where it is a good strategy; all rural roads, which is what I mostly ride:
    1. Possible hidden cars which could pass toward you in your lane.
    2. People at stop signs or driveways waiting to cross the highway you are on or make a turn into your path.
    3. People who could make a left turn from the oncoming lane.

    Your further comments?
    #1
  2. Mista Bob

    Mista Bob Über n00b

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2007
    Oddometer:
    244
    Location:
    EH?
    I do this at any intersection with a person waiting to turn if I'm not confident that they have seen me.
    Not just for people turning left either, people waiting to turn right onto the road can be just as bad.
    #2
  3. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2003
    Oddometer:
    5,029
    Location:
    Southern Louisiana or Southern England or ...
    The SMIDSY avoidance technique is not intended to elicit a "What the ****!" response from drivers. The weave is to overcome the inherent tendency of the human brain to ignore an object that does not appear to move relative to the background and therefore get the other road user to actually see you at all. The idea is just to trick their brain into knowing that you are there, NOT attracting their attention to you so they ignore all the other things they are supposed to be paying attention to while they drive.

    I tend to follow the advice to see if the background is moving relative to the other vehicle. If it is not, then the driver will be expereincing the same effect - at that point, I make a move in my lane to put some laternal motion into the other driver's view of me.

    Simply weaving whenever you approach an intersection is going to confuse people and possibly get you pulled over for a sobriety check.
    #3
  4. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2001
    Oddometer:
    14,742
    Location:
    Jax, FL
    I always thougth it was "Sorry ma'am, I'm done. Sandwich? Yes!"
    #4
  5. Bill Harris

    Bill Harris Confirmed Curmudgeon

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2008
    Oddometer:
    8,674
    Location:
    backwoods Alabama
    And like Hi-Viz gear, conspicuity lighting and headlight modulators, the SMIDSY maneuver does not make you invincible. All it does is stack the deck in your favor and make the odds a little bit better. It's just one tool of many that should be used.

    Stay alert and situationally aware at all times.

    --Bill
    #5
  6. Kommando

    Kommando Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2006
    Oddometer:
    7,402
    Location:
    Spacecoaster FL
    4. I use it in fog/rain/snow, so the cager coming up behind me at 80MPH on bald tires and with bad wipers has no trouble seeing my bright taillight.
    #6
  7. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    19,747
    Location:
    OR
    Any time you want to be visible to the brains of the other road users. :deal

    The often parroted myth of "it's not IF but WHEN" is actually true to ANY rider that rides straight down the road expecting other road users to take note of his/her presence.

    When I roll off the throttle... I Flash the brake light and weave to help alert those behind me that I am slowing.
    #7
  8. AzItLies

    AzItLies Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2013
    Oddometer:
    347
    I do the weaving (smidsy) maneuver a lot.

    There are many reasons; Makes us more visible for sure, practicing it regularly will make it more likely we can do it if needed, keeps the tires from squaring off,

    and last but not least, doing it when someone starts following you too close will sometimes make the driver behind you think yer drunk and some of them will back off... seriously, try it you'll be surprised.

    Cheers
    #8
  9. farmerstu

    farmerstu Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    530
    Location:
    Minnesota west central
    in heavy rain i also use both turn signals at the same time. they work like e-flashers. one of harleys better ideas!
    i have used a full both arm wave from my side to over my head a couple of times when it looked like a left turner wasn't going to stop!
    #9
  10. cliffy109

    cliffy109 Long timer

    Joined:
    May 11, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,793
    Location:
    Spotsylvania, VA
    I use it on a pretty regular basis, but not in such an erratic way that it looks like a drunken maneuver. Just a bit of a weave as I approach an intersection or if I notice a car waiting to pull out of a driveway. In addition to the weave, I also cover my brakes and often begin to brake until I am confident the person poses no threat to me.
    #10
  11. shaddix

    shaddix Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2012
    Oddometer:
    647
    Location:
    Central AL
    The car's background may be appearing to move relative to the vehicle but your background to him may not be if it is much further away, relatively. If they are very close to a line of trees or something then there will be much movement to your eye, but then if your backdrop is a mountain 500 miles away then wouldn't you appear to be moving much slower relative to the background to them?
    #11
  12. PT Rider

    PT Rider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2009
    Oddometer:
    724
    Location:
    NW Washington State
    Yep. This has worked for me. They back way off. Of course, don't concentrate on the swerve and the mirrors and fail to look where you're going once in a while.
    #12
  13. BCKRider

    BCKRider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2012
    Oddometer:
    120
    Well put. I overstated in the OP.
    #13
  14. BCKRider

    BCKRider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2012
    Oddometer:
    120
    I don a white helmet, a "brighter" jacket, and have conspicuity lighting both front and rear. (Personal preference; no headlight modulator.) I agree that nothing, or any combination of "things," makes you invincible.

    My ONLY disagreement with your post is that all of the above with appropriate SMIDSY swerves GREATLY decreases the chances of having to take emergency action. And for riders at all skill levels, that is a good thing.

    I COMPLETELY agree with your last sentence.
    #14
  15. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2003
    Oddometer:
    5,029
    Location:
    Southern Louisiana or Southern England or ...
    If you are coming directly at a stationary car, neither you nor the car driver will see the other moving much relative to the background. Looking for the cars apparent movement is just a clue to you about what they might be perceiving (or not)
    #15
  16. southwade

    southwade ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,745
    Location:
    Inside the Beltway
    [​IMG]
    #16
  17. KX50002

    KX50002 NooB, my ass

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,850
    Location:
    NEPA
    I do it constantly ATSATT:deal
    #17
  18. southwade

    southwade ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,745
    Location:
    Inside the Beltway
    It's how people in Florida use the sides of their tires. :evil

    :rofl
    #18
  19. tkent02

    tkent02 Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,940
    Location:
    Littleton, CO
    Sometimes I do it differently. Go straight at the car I'm wondering about when I'm far enough away I don't care yet if he sees me or not. Closer in go across my lane away from the car, which gives a bigger relative motion for him to see. A lot of times you can see their eyes change as they see you.


    In any case the swerving is not the only thing I'm doing to not get hit in an intersection, it's just one of many tools in the box.
    #19
  20. Anonawesome

    Anonawesome Scenic Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,366
    Location:
    Central OH
    I tend to do it most often when I'm approaching an intersection while following a car. It's mainly to make sure I'm visible to people in the intersection turning left or right, across or into my lane.
    #20