The SMIDSY maneuver revisited

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

  1. Fluklowskli

    Fluklowskli Been here awhile

    Oct 27, 2006
    Dooloot, MN
    What I'll do a lot of times when I'm nearing an intersection with left-turners waiting to cross my path, is start at the left of the lane, and as I'm getting nearer, move right, so that in addition to lateral movement I'm maximizing the distance and the time we both have to avoid colliding.
  2. Newbedonnie

    Newbedonnie Banned

    Feb 7, 2014
    You get snow in Florida?
  3. PalePhase

    PalePhase Humour Noir

    Dec 6, 2008
    That's neither here nor there
    Just my $0.02 on apparent eye contact... I have found it to be a very unreliable indicator and some of the closest calls I have had involved drivers who appeared to react to me and then bolted into my path anyway. I frankly think they did see me, but the human brain is a very unreliable piece of hardware and from time to time will just burp out a completely inappropriate set of muscle instructions for the body to act on. Think of it as Tourette's for motor movements.

    I got an interesting data point on that from another driver some years ago when I was driving on a narrow, two-lane road, and the woman in question pulled right out in front of me, forcing me off the road and into a field, which -- lucky for me -- was a nice, flat, freshly cleared and graded section of real estate. I was mad as hell, of course, but refrained from going after her to vent. To my complete surprise, she turned around and came after me to pull up alongside to apologize. She said she had been looking and had clearly seen me approaching, yet somehow her brain told her it was time to move and she acted on it, even though she realized a split second later it was the wrong thing to do but by then it was too late. Since then I have thought about some stupid things I have done (not always behind the wheel) and done a little reading on the topic, and I have just had to conclude that even the most determinedly careful motorists are going to make irrational decisions from time to time and there is nothing to do for it but to keep your wits about you and do what you can to get their attention early enough that they have time to plan their own reactions instead of acting on impulse.
  4. Craneguy

    Craneguy British Hooligan

    Apr 29, 2011
    Riyadh, KSA, Cuernavaca, Mx, Houston, Tx
    I use it all the time here (Middle East) approaching intersections with cars in them. It seems to help.

    Unlike the US, outside lane campers here will move over when they see you. For the blind, oblivious or those simply texting, a few headligt flashes as you aproach is usually enough. I still find it aggressive, so I'll do the weave behind them, and it's very effective. It's more of an "hey, I'm back here dude" instead of flasing "get the F$#k out of my way asswipe"

    The speed limits here are generally 70mph, and 20 over is a $25 fine with no points. The speed cameras are every mile or so, but they are set to photograph your front plate...which of course bikes don't have. Getting other drivers out of the way is a required skill :evil
  5. dwoodward

    dwoodward Long timer

    Dec 1, 2005
    Pacific NorthWet, Napa Valley North
    That's awesome. It's also Europe, not the USA. It makes a difference- the percentage of rider fault crashes is much higher here.

    Nearly half of all crashes are single vehicle- the rider crashed unaided.

    Of the multi-vehicle crashes, the rider is at fault more than half the time- we hit the car, by running wide in a turn or simply rear-ending a stopped vehicle.

    That leaves about 20% of all moto crashes for SMIDSY events... about half of which could have been avoided (the rider had time to brake/swerve, and instead target fixated and augured on in).

    A final five percent are "animal / other".

    So take any 20 random crashes; 1 would be hitting a deer, 4 would be a car pulling in front of you (half of which you should be able to dodge)- and the rest are just plain rider screw-ups.

    The attached is from Oregon, 2011; 2012 and 2013 are different only in the precise numbers.

    Attached Files:

  6. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Long timer

    Sep 6, 2011
    I use it when I want the other drivers attention and action, but not when I don't.

    Example. A car in the driveway on the right looking to pull out.

    In order to keep that driver from pulling out in front of me, I might use my horn, flash my lights, wiggle my handlebars, etc. anything to get that driver to register me and not pull out.

    But if the driver starts to pull out, the last thing I want is for them to slam on their brakes right in front of me. At this point I will go silent, so the driver will pull out and get out of my way. I will be braking hard and aiming for their rear in order to pass behind them. I want them to finish pulling out now and not react to me, especially with their brakes.
  7. Merckx the Cannibal

    Merckx the Cannibal Been here awhile

    Aug 9, 2010
    Palm Beach County, Fla.
    Mostly I do the SMIDSY maneuver when I see someone waiting to pull out of a driveway or side street, and there's a car in front of me. I especially use the maneuver when, say, I'm in the left lane, and there's a car in front of me in the right lane, and someone is waiting to enter the street from a driveway on the right. In such cases, the car in front of me (and one lane over) acts as a moving visual barrier that prevents the other driver from completely seeing me.

    Sometimes I stand up on the pegs so they see the white helmet move up and down.

    And a lot of the time, I point with my left hand at the driver. This does wonders to get drivers' attention.

    My most-deployed tactic: When a driver is waiting to pull out of a driveway or side street, and the driver starts creeping (grrrrr I hate creepers!), I look at them and shake my head emphatically No. It works. Like women in bed, drivers like to be told what to do.

    I never flash my light to make drivers notice me; I'm afraid they'll think I'm flashing the headlight to let them know that it's OK to pull out into my path.
  8. dmason

    dmason goofball

    Oct 25, 2010
    NorthCentral IN
    Well played, sir. Well played.
  9. DougFromKentucky

    DougFromKentucky Just a good 'ole boy

    May 22, 2008
    Bowling Green, Kentucky
    Thank you for all of your information. Gives me food for thought.
  10. DesertTortoise

    DesertTortoise Freedom Fighter

    Sep 23, 2010
    So... wearing bright colors, honking the horn and dramatized bobbing and weaving ?

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    You'll either navigate safely through traffic or attract a mate :D
  11. southwade

    southwade ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

    Oct 6, 2011
    Inside the Beltway
  12. Okie Preacher

    Okie Preacher Long timer

    Aug 11, 2010
    In the middle...
    I think it also helps to keep cars from running up your backside. A controlled weave is (hopefully) going to catch the eye of the driver who is otherwise looking right through you as you slow up for the light.

    I'm for anything that makes me more visible.
  13. Kommando

    Kommando Long timer

    Nov 28, 2006
    In the sand
    Occasionally, yes. We actually DO get snow in FL. The panhandle sees some about every 2-3 yrs. I also occasionally ride farther away from home than the nearest Starbucks, and I haven't always lived in FL. I moved here about 3.5yrs ago. I've been riding for considerably longer than that.
  14. Jamesx2

    Jamesx2 Been here awhile

    Apr 6, 2014
    Beacon NY
    I use it every time Im on the bike . Thanks for the new tool
  15. jimhaleyscomet

    jimhaleyscomet Adventurer

    Jul 5, 2009
    I do a mild weave almost all the time because of where I place my bike relative to other drivers and possible deer (i.e. as far as possible away from the most likely threats). When a car approaches from the opposite direction I check my mirror then move over to the right of my lane just before it passes. After it passes I check my mirror then move back over to the left hand side. As the next oncoming car gets close, I move back right again then left after it passes and repeat as necessary. The idea is to stay as far away from animals (and folks pulling out from the right) as much as possible but keep away from cars approaching me at a closing speed of 60 - 120 mph. Remember "stationary" objects on the right are still approaching at closing speeds of 30 - 60mph. I figure every time I change lane positions I help them see me (and my hi vis jacket and white helmet).

    If there is no traffic in the opposing lane and I see someone on the right I will weave but start and end in the left. If there are lots of traffic and intersections I weave almost continuously but still try to keep as much space between me and other vehicles as possible. I try to time my weaving so I always am weaving away from the closest threat. Sure makes riding a bit more interesting. It is like a straight road is curved!

    When coming to a stop with traffic behind me I weave as I slow down, ending the weave lined up to scoot around the car in front of me if necessary.

    Once I was riding home at night about 30mph (35mph road) after an event and there was a ton of slow moving traffic going both directions and many intersections for them to turn into as well (Prime left turner candidates). I weaved a bit too far in my lane (occasionally I could see my headlight light up faces in the opposing traffic). A police officer in the opposing traffic lit me up with his spotlight. I assume he did not like what I was doing. I continued to weave but just not as severe so I did not "blind" oncoming drivers with my headlight.
  16. Aj Mick

    Aj Mick Been here awhile

    Aug 31, 2012
    Phuket, Thailand
    Any time I am coming up to an intersection where there is a vehicle present I instinctively move across the road in anticipation of it moving out in front of me. If the vehicle starts to move off, another change of direction takes me away from a collision course, plus adds to my visibility.

    It is not really a learned manoeuvre, more something developed from experience. Attitude is important too. Ride aware - Legally you may have right of way, but don't always expect it.
  17. KX50002

    KX50002 NooB, my ass

    Mar 18, 2012
  18. Bill Harris

    Bill Harris Confirmed Curmudgeon

    Sep 20, 2008
    backwoods Alabama
    ...but who wants to be dead right? Expect the unexpected.

  19. garandman

    garandman Wandering Minstrel

    Feb 5, 2007
    Dorchester, MA / Goshen, NH
    I always liked this video explanation. I'd been doing the "weave" since 1985, but while I knew it worked, I didn't know why it worked.

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
  20. catweasel67

    catweasel67 Honda XRV 750 RD04

    Aug 18, 2009
    Vienna, Austria
    I use it on two occasions. The first being when I've been following a car for a while and want to remind him/her that I'm still there. And the second when I'm bored :)

    I don't swerve at, or near, or approaching, junctions but I do increase my visibility to the junction by changing my road position accordingly whilst making myself aware of escape routes. Oh, and I make myself bigger and growl.

    As for cars behind me, I own my lane but like to keep an eye on them until I'm aware of their intentions, or lack thereof.