November 2013
Dates For Your Diary
Monday 9th December
7:15pm for 7:45
Meeting: Colin and Dee Masters will be our speakers. They will be discussing their overland trip to Australia by bike.

Friday 10th January 2014
Christmas/New Year Meal, Bolingbroke Arms, Hook

Monday 10th February
7:15pm for 7:45
Meeting: Speaker TBA

Saturday 8th March
First Aid Course

Monthly Ride-Outs
Remember that monthly Bike Ride-Outs take place on the 3rd Saturday of every month.

Monthly meetings are all held at Liddington Village Hall opposite the church.
Do you have a topic you would like discussed, or know of an interesting speaker?  Please contact Monica!
Welcome to George Grimes who has recently joined the group as a member of the car section.
Don’t forget that we have a range of clothing available to puchase. We also offer a range of books, such as Roadcraft, Motorcycle Roadcraft and the Highway Code, and these are available at discounted prices.

For more information visit the Merchandise page of our web site at
We are always looking for more articles, ideas and news for the newsletter. Have you been somewhere interesting recently that would make a good story? If you attend any group events then take a camera and send us your pictures!

Please forward all contributions to
Can You Help?
It would be great if more people could help at meetings with serving refreshments, selling raffle tickets, etc.  If you can lend a hand please contact Monica.
Christmas Ride-out
To launch the social events our final ride of the year is a short bimble to finish at the cafe at the Gateway Information Centre, Spine Road, South Cerney GL7 5TL.

Start point is the Esso Service Station at Chiseldon, just south of Junction 15 at 10:00 AM. We will do about 45 miles and should be at the cafe at around 11:30 for coffee and cake/mince pies. If you can't make the ride but just want to meet up at the Cafe for a natter, that's fine.

There is a possibility the weather will interfere with our plans, so please check the web forum after 8PM on the Saturday evening for an update if there is any chance of frost/ice on Sunday.
We undertand that, from time to time and for many different reasons, associate members find themselves unable to continue with their training or need to take a break for a while.  If this applies to you we would really appreciate it if you could let either your Tutor or Monica know as soon as possible.  This helps us to keep waiting times down for new associates.

Thank you.
First Aid Course
We can now confirm that we will be running a First Aid course on Saturday 8th March 2014. If you would be interested in attending this please let Monica know. There is a maximum of 20 spaces available on this day and we have 10 names so far.  As we have had positive feedback from members who attended previous courses we have run, the training will once again be provided by Rainbow TDA (formerly Rubicon). This will be a full day's training using the facilities at Liddington and will be based around the needs of road users.

The committee have agreed that the group will subsidise the cost of this course, so expect the cost to members to be around £35, depending on exact numbers.  (It would be much more than that to attend a similar course otherwise.)
Christmas/New Year Meal - Friday 10th January 2014
The Chirstmas/New Year Meal will be taking place at The Bolingbroke Arms in Hook, near Royal Wootton Bassett on the evening of the 10th January.  All members and their partners are welcome!  Please let Monica know if you wish to attend together with your choices from the following menu:

Homemade Roast Parsnip Soup with Crusty Bread
Creamy Garlic Mushrooms served with Granary Bread
Mozzarella, tomato & Crisp Pancatta Salad drizzled with a Classic Vinaigrette

Homemade Steak and Stilton Pie
Braised Minted Lamb Shank served on a bed of mashed potato
Pan Fried Chicken Breast wrapped in Bacon served with a Creamy Mushroom Sauce
Garden Tartlet filled with Vegetables topped with melted Smoked Applewood Cheese served with a mixed salad
Fresh Salmon Grilled with Lemon and Black Pepper

Fresh Fruit Salad or Sorbet
Homemade Baileys Cheesecake Drizzled with Chocolate Sauce
Homemade Warm Chocolate Fudge Cake with Clotted Cream or Ice Cream
Apple Pie with Custard or Ice Cream

Coffee / Tea

£23 per person
November Meeting Report: Stephen Wilkinson-Carr
Understanding the causes of SMIDSY (Sorry Mate, I Didn’t See You) collisions
An appreciative audience gathered on November 11th to hear Stephen Wilkinson-Carr’s presentation on SMIDSY collisions and their causes. We were treated to a multimedia extravaganza – Stephen seemed to have brought one of every possible item of equipment. After being lulled with classical music, we were first shown some videos of near-misses filmed from the bars of bikes, helmet cams, or through car windscreens. In each case, a car turned out in front of the camera. We were invited to speculate on the reasons the cars pulled out, but returned to these later.

We moved on to an exercise to establish the top 8 causes of SMIDSY collisions, in groups. The groups worked well together, car drivers mixed with bike riders, and a cooperative atmosphere pervaded the whole evening. The presentation was given with a completely unbiased perspective, the only aim, to investigate the causes and see what could be done about them. Most groups identified a common set of themes – looking but not seeing, lack of concentration, tiredness, and so on.

After that we got scientific. A number of physiological factors come into play in the way the eye sees, and the brain interprets the images.
  • Motion camouflage. An object approaching may not appear to be moving, if it is head on, and blending with the background. Detection of movement is triggered by lateral motion, directly towards the eye is much harder to register.
  • Looming effect. Once the object gets closer, it grows very rapidly. This leads to the “he came from nowhere” comment by surprised drivers.
  • The way the brain processes images. Basically the eyes flicker from place to place in the scene presented to us, and the brain fills in the rest. These quick flickery movements, and the images they build up, are known as “saccades”. They stem from:
  • The way the eye focuses. Within the eye, the whole image viewed by the lens is focused on the retina, an area at the back of the eye. Within the retina, the macula, an area about 6mm in diameter, is responsible for central vision, and the fovea, a tiny pit only 0.5mm in diameter, is where central, sharp focus vision is concentrated. Because this area is so small, it must be moved from target to target to focus on them.
  • The brain picks up images from the eye in two ways, fixed targets and moving ones. Only one of these can be processed at a time. For this reason, often moving objects go un-noticed because we are busy processing the fixed parts of the scene, before moving on somewhere else.
  • Blind spots. Each eye has a blind spot, situated where the optic nerve enters the eye. Normally the brain builds up the missing part of the image from data received from the other eye, but if only one eye is focusing on a particular part of the scene, one area will be missing.
Then there are physical factors:
  • Difficulties caused by poor light, or too much light (e.g. low sun)
  • Obstructions to vision such as door pillars. Any pillar more than 65mm in width is likely to cause a significant blind area. This leads to –
  • Issues with two vehicles on converging paths, where the relative angle of the approach does not change – e.g. circumnavigating roundabouts, approaching through bends. If the other vehicle (particularly bikes) is hidden behind a pillar, and continues to approach at the same relative angle, it will remain hidden, with potentially disastrous results.
What can we do about all this?
  • Scan from side to side.
  • Move your head as well as your eyes. In particular, for pillars, lean forwards and look to the inside of the pillar. Angle your vehicle to give you a better view.
  • Use both eyes to look.
  • Make an effort to see, as well as look. This means looking for slightly longer and interpreting the scene, rather than just glancing.
Lastly, what can the motorcyclist do to be more visible:
  • Wear hi vis clothing. Perhaps wear contrasting clothing – a number of different colours. Don’t wear camouflage – do you want to be invisible?!
  • Use lights (courteously)
  • Move the motorcycle laterally.
And here we came to the last, and most controversial item on the menu, the SMIDSY Identification Avoidance Manoeuvre (or SIAM for short). In this manoeuvre the rider “wobbles” or “weaves” the bike from side to side to create the lateral movement the driver needs to identify them. The group discussed this as a whole, and the consensus was that the manoeuvre, as presented, had a number of disadvantages, although the principle could be appreciated. Read elsewhere in this newsletter for the RoADAR official view, from the Chief Examiner.

We then returned to the initial set of videos, armed with our new knowledge, and were able to identify many of the effects mentioned above, as well as giving more informed opinions on how the situations could have been avoided.

Overall, a very well presented, technical and professional presentation, which had the entire audience thinking, participating and interacting. A most enjoyable evening. Many thanks Stephen.

Nick Carrington
SMIDSY Identification Avoidance Manoeuvre
At the recent November monthly meeting there was much debate about the use of the SMIDSY Identification Avoidance Manoeuvre and whether we should be encouraging its use amongst motorcyclists.  This manoeuvre is described in the following YouTube video:

Below is the reply from Stuart McMillan, RoSPA’s Chief Examiner, to the question raised at the November Meeting regarding the use of SIAM:

I fully agree that there are times when it is a good idea to move a motorcycle around to assist other road users to see you.  For instance when following another vehicle, if you remain at a constant distance the driver / rider ahead of you may think that you are content to remain behind them, however if you vary your distance from them, following position to overtaking position etc, and also your lateral position on the road they are more likely to remain aware of your presence.  Movement attracts attention, watch a cat hunting etc.  What I have never liked or agreed with is what could appear to be swerving or harsh manoeuvres, rapid acceleration followed by braking etc when following other vehicles.

Now to your question.  My initial thoughts are that the suggested manoeuvre looks like a rider trying to warm his tyres, I have also shown the clip to another motorcyclist who thought the same.  I understand what the author is getting at in that, as mentioned above, the movement will attract the attention of and be more obvious to the driver.  However:
  • The rider is deliberately de-stabilising the motorcycle on the approach to the junction
  • If the rider is paying significant attention to the other vehicle and the inputs to make the motorcycle weave they may miss something on the road surface (diesel, debris, pothole etc)  that could cause them to fall whilst they are swerving
  • If there are is another motorcycle in close proximity they may collide
  • The rider may be in the same, or very similar, lateral position on the road when the driver looks back
  • Drivers of following vehicles may think that the rider is messing around and attempt a manoeuvre that puts the rider in greater danger.
  • The potential response of a pillion passenger
When approaching a junction with a vehicle in it I will frequently move away from the danger smoothly in such a way that if the driver looks my way, then the other and back again I will not be in the same lateral position on the road when they look back as I was when they first looked.  If I am still concerned then I will reduce speed and consider the horn etc.

I will not say that I would never use such a technique, just as when asked on my Police Car Instructors course would I ever consider deliberately sliding a car on the public highway, as there may be circumstances when I feel it appropriate.  I would not want to see it consistently done throughout a test as it would give me the impression that the rider was not considering the appropriate action for each situation, just applying a blanket rule.

Riding is not an exact science and in my opinion this is one potential option for a rider in a given circumstance.  If a rider did not use this technique but moved away from the danger into an appropriate position at an appropriate speed then I would be happy as an examiner.  If the rider continued towards the danger at a constant speed but weaving the motorcycle from side to side and the car driver still moved into the riders path will they be able to avoid a collision by altering course or speed with the motorcycle already de-stabilised?

To finish, we never stop learning and no one has a monopoly on good ideas, however this is not a technique that I would be looking for on test.  If it is safe and legal then there is nothing to stop a rider from using it and if you wish to teach it I will not stop you.  However I feel that if you are to include it in your tuition then you need to ensure that the Associate is very clear on the potential issues that could arise and I personally feel that in the majority of situations there are other safer techniques that could be employed.

Stuart McMillan
RoADAR Chief Examiner
Secretary: Mrs. Monica Graham, 114 Marines Drive, Faringdon, Oxon. SN7 7UG. Tel: 01367 242377
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