How Close is Too Close ?

The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG UK) in collaboration with motorcycle trainer, Duncan MacKillop, has investigated the cause of accidents involving cars and motorcycles at T junctions: the ‘Sorry Mate I Didn’t See You’ accidents or SMIDSYs.

The result of this collaboration is the MAG document ‘How Close is Too Close?’ that provides solutions for avoidance and evasion strategies for motorcyclists. The study makes recommendations that include better road awareness training for car drivers and motorcyclists to reduce the number of deaths to riders caused by cars.

The cold hard ‘facts’ for motorcyclists highlighted in the Department for Transport (DfT) Road Casualty Report 2005 is that collisions at junctions are a major problem for riders. In 2004, 175,150 car accidents occurred at junctions with 22% of these when the car was turning right. In the same year, motorcycle accidents at junctions totalled 17,699. These represent 66% of all motorcycle accidents.

In January 2006, the DfT Think Campaign, supported by MAG, advising car drivers to take longer to look for bikes at these types of junctions was launched on television and radio.

However, the Driving Standard Agency (DSA) practical test for hazard awareness does not specifically require that drivers look for motorcycles at junctions, in spite of the significant proportion of accidents that have been recorded in these circumstances.

If the DSA fails to instruct trainers to teach new car drivers to look specifically for motorcyclists, then why should the government expect to lower the casualty rates for motorcyclists?

MAG Director Of Public Affairs comments, “We know that motorcycle trainers are teaching avoidance strategies for real world riding but the preferred option by this government is to fall into a “Euro Trap” through acceptance of draconian European Driving Licence Directives. These do not address car driving testing standards nor solve the problem of deaths and serious injuries to riders on British roads.”

MAG UK argues that until this problem is recognised and addressed by government as a necessary part of driver and rider training, the resolution of the SMIDSY problem will lie with the motorcyclist. The MAG document ‘How Close is Too Close?’ outlines how this can be done.

Download the document here