Medway Council and Kent County Council are launching a new road safety campaign in partnership with Kent and Medway Safety Camera Partnership to urge drivers to be more aware of motorcyclists and pedal cyclists.
Poster boards are going up at all 77 fixed roadside safety camera sites across Kent and Medway reminding drivers to THINK BIKE.
Latest figures from the two councils show that between 2009 and 2011, 489 motorcyclists and 166 cyclists were killed or seriously injured on the county’s roads. That makes up 35% of total collisions.
Su Ormes, Medway’s principal road safety officer, said: “British motorcyclists and cyclists commonly refer to collisions in which a car driver fails to perceive a two-wheel user as a SMIDSY – short for ‘sorry mate, I didn’t see you’.
“There has been a lot of research into why motorcycles and bicycles often appear to be invisible to drivers. One theory is ‘inattentional blindness’. Drivers see at a subconscious level but because motorbikes and cycles are smaller, and therefore not perceived as a threat, they don’t register in the brain until it’s too late.
“Another theory is based on a principle called ‘motion camouflage’, suggesting bikes blend into the background and seem almost invisible to motorists as they drive directly towards them. Animals and insects use the same technique when hunting. Motorcycles are particularly susceptible to motion camouflage because they are much smaller than a car or lorry to an observer.”
The DfT estimates that SMIDSY incidents account for about 25% of all motorcycle crashes.
Steve Horton, road safety team leader for Kent County Council, said: “Quite often, it’s a case of drivers looking but just not seeing. So this campaign aims to remind motorists to think about the smaller more vulnerable road users and take extra time to look out for them, especially when pulling out at junctions.
“At the same time, we want to encourage cycle and motorcycle users to make themselves more visible by wearing suitable clothing, using headlights, even in the daytime, and thinking about their positioning while riding. Just because you can see a car approaching, it doesn’t mean that the car driver can see you.”
Click here for more information.