SMIDSY: Not a defense!

Attorney Brendan H. Kevenides is the “Chicago Bicycle Advocate.” He writes concerning what the British call SMIDSY or “Sorry Mate, I Didn’t See You” — the excuse that is often given when a motorist runs over a cyclist.

Motorists need to get something straight: I didn’t see Mr. or Ms. bicyclist is not a defense. It is an indictment.

The defense asserts that the collision itself notwithstanding, the motorist was careful, not negligent and, therefore, should not be held responsible for the bicyclist’s injuries. This was just one of those things. . .

Chicago’s municipal code gives the bicyclist the right-of-way over a left turning vehicle coming from the opposite direction. Yet, the putative defendant has been incredulous at the notion that she is responsible. She apparently told a witness at the scene that she never saw our client. She stated to the bicyclist in a subsequent voice mail message, “I’m sorry, but I don’t believe I’m at fault. Best advice I can give you is ‘be more careful’.” Evidently, she is of the opinion that since she never saw our client on his bicycle — she looked but did not see — she should not be held responsible for the damage she caused. Nonsense.

Read more at Chicago Bicycle Advocate.

How many times have you been told to “Be more careful” by the motorist after a hit or near hit?

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9 Comments

  • blamflaberghasted
    March 3, 2010 - 12:00 am | Permalink

    But what if they really don't see you?

  • Gaylen
    March 3, 2010 - 8:47 am | Permalink

    So, is that the same defense the semi rig can use when he runs over you and your car. I think not.

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  • March 3, 2010 - 11:55 am | Permalink

    That's kind of the point: We should be more careful in looking where we're going.

  • March 3, 2010 - 11:56 am | Permalink

    I have a friend with a dump truck that I've borrowed a time or three, and I often think the same thing. If I blithely ran over a smaller vehicle and claimed “I didn't see him!” I'd get the third degree!

  • March 3, 2010 - 7:41 pm | Permalink

    People use the same defense when they mow down pedestrians too (and it usually works).

  • March 9, 2010 - 9:57 am | Permalink

    Exactly. This is why vehicle collisions should be called “crashes” instead of “accidents” at least 95% of the time. Granted, there are on rare occasions, incidents that are truly accidental, but turning left in front of another vehicle is not one of those times. I mean, the vehicle you're turning in front of is right in your forward field of vision!

  • March 9, 2010 - 10:27 am | Permalink

    And then there's yesterday — pedestrian on sidewalk walking towards me midblock. She looks up right at my face and then STEPS INTO THE STREET DIRECTLY INTO ME. Only when I brushed by her with a “whoa!” did she seem to take notice of the bike in the bike lane.

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