On Motors and Bikes: The Next Ride

Every time I go riding, I know I subject myself to masses of cars and motorcycles, each of which has the potential to momentarily occupy the same space my bicycle and I are occupying, a physical impossibility that Nature will resolve via a messy process involving my death. I don’t know very much about the vehicles surrounding me or their drivers, apart from that they likely don’t know how vulnerable a Cyclist is, or how much longer it takes us to stop than it does them, particularly in the wet. I know that they don’t appreciate how fast a bicycle can travel, or that I likely can’t see or hear them coming up from behind, or that I don’t know whether they can see me at all or whether or not they will pull out in front of me even if they do. But I am certain that they don’t appreciate how lethal their vehicle is and I am even more certain that they are likely distracted; they might as well be pointing a loaded gun at me.

This reality comes with the territory of being a road Cyclist, and I accept that. I take every reasonable precaution I can to be safe, apart from not riding my bike in the first place; a life without Cycling on the road hardly seems like a life in the first place. I am also fortunate to have ridden as long as I have and that my experience has allowed me to develop a sort of sixth sense when it comes to recognizing which drivers are about to do something that will put me at risk. I accept the risk, I do whatever I can to control those factors I can, and hope for the privilege to return home safely and ready for The Next Ride.

I am terribly saddened by the death of Antoine Demoitie during Gent Wevelgem after being struck by a motorcycle involved with the race. I understand that motor vehicles are a part of the race, including for the purpose of providing live pictures for us, the fans. But I personally find it unacceptable that riders are being put at the same risk that we encounter on the street when we go out training. A bicycle race is already rife with danger; adding the risk of being hit by a car seems reckless.

I read Breaking the Chain shortly after it was first published. Apart from the shocking tale of drug use in the peloton, the story relays how many stimulants are used by the drivers in the following caravan. The notion that the bike race is packed to the gills with vehicles whose drivers are not only distracted and stressed out but are also intoxicated sends the imagination to dark, dark places. We will never be able to eliminate the risk of vehicles hitting riders, but we can certainly take measures to reduce their frequency. Race vehicles hitting riders isn’t new, but their occurrence have dotted race history with a frequency that makes the individual accidents noteworthy, the 1987 Tour of Flanders being a standout case. But it seems like every recent race involves an incident between a rider and a race vehicle, to the point that these accidents have even influenced the outcome of the race on several occasions. It all points to the fact that we’ve prioritized the publicity of the events over the safety of the riders. That prioritization is perverse and entirely in the race organizer’s control. It is time they take whatever measures necessary to minimize the risk to the riders who already stand to lose their lives without the help of the vehicles in the race.

On Sunday, Antoine was denied his Next Ride. Our thoughts and condolences go to his wife, family, and friends. Changing our approach to the motorcade will never bring Antoine back to life, but it can help us avoid repeating this tragedy. If the solution involves less live television coverage, then I’ll be the first to raise my hand and say I’ll happily give up the privilege of seeing the races live. I hope Antoine is the last rider to suffer his fate.

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67 Replies to “On Motors and Bikes: The Next Ride”

  1. RIP Antoine and my sympathy to his family and teammates.

    I love watching the action but I do believe they should be using on board cameras more as well as drones. These would be much safer uses of technology.

  2. Ride in Peace Antoine. The races look like moving chaos with support cars and motorcycles all mingling and fighting for space with the racing Cyclists. It seems inevitable that someone eventually gets hit. A limit on the numbers of bikes based on the importance of their role to the race and a set proximity distance would seem in order. Unfortunately a great race and win, will be coloured forever by sadness after this tragedy

  3. This has been on the horizon like a black cloud.  It was only a matter of time before it happened.  I echo your sentiment regarding the loss of live TV coverage if that makes it safer for all concerned.  This sport needs a coming together to the same effect as the F1 drivers union has after the death of the great Ayrton Senna in 1994. Sad days indeed…

  4.  

    There are few days when I get an estranged feeling and I choose not to ride. There have been few moments when only a couple miles remain until home when the machine halts and I’ll call my wife – based on an eerie feeling. This happens with me perhaps 2 or 3 days out of the year. I never ignore the feeling to stop. If there is a good place that inspires a stop and the many voices of reason start speaking at that moment – then all I see are my kids and wife.

  5. Well, well said Frahnk. So awful.  So unnecessary.  And for what reason?  Deaths like these bother me so much.

    As for Jesper, this is the picture that always comes to my mind.

    Fucking Dude in the sunroof should be dragged out of the car and taught a lesson by a few Flemish fans on the side of the road.

     

  6. The possibility of getting tangled up with a motor vehicle is very real everyday for us out on the road. It has never kept me off the bike, but it certainly has altered my choice of route to avoid congested areas. The Professionals are supposed to be on closed roads, and the number of chase vehicles has become ridiculous. I certainly hope this sparks some real discussion and change in the organized races.

  7. @universo

    There are few days when I get an estranged feeling and I choose not to ride. There have been few moments when only a couple miles remain until home when the machine halts and I’ll call my wife – based on an eerie feeling. This happens with me perhaps 2 or 3 days out of the year. I never ignore the feeling to stop. If there is a good place that inspires a stop and the many voices of reason start speaking at that moment – then all I see are my kids and wife.

    I know this feeling and it is so important to respect it.  Esp important when mountaineering, in my opinion.

  8. Very sad.  I don’t know how many motos are actually in a race, but I’m certain there could be fewer.  I would certainly take less coverage of a race for sure, the helicopter shots are great if there isn’t a moto in position for a good picture.  The Pros should always be protected before anything.  If they touch wheels or take a corner wrong that’s racing and that’s on them, but there’s no reason for these guys to be getting tagged by motos and cars.  Sad time for our sport gents, sad time.  

  9. The senseless tragedy that particularly struck me was the terrible accident that resulted in Amy Dombroski’s untimely death. And that was the first time I’d posted here. Young, healthy, strong individuals doing what they love; training in Amy’s case and racing in Antoine case, and death is result? It’s just hard to put in words, at least for me, how best to describe these circumstances. I hate it. Accidents do not need to happen. That is a fact. Make no mistake about that. Even “freak” accidents like this one involving the moto. They simply do not need to happen. And can be prevented if the will and desire were there. I sure appreciate Marcel Kittle’s thoughts expressed on the issue.

  10. The scary thing is how little experience & certification they need before getting behind the wheel/bars of a support vehicle. A one day UCI course is the minimum mandated training according to this article from Neal Rogers.

    http://cyclingtips.com/2016/03/commentary-gent-wevelgem-fatality-a-tragedy-that-has-been-a-long-time-coming/

    A month ago I’d spoken with Jason Jenkins of Media Motos, a 15-year veteran race moto pilot, who told me he felt more needed to be done to license and certify anyone and everyone allowed behind the wheel at a professional bike race.

    “The UCI needs to do something, and it doesn’t look like they are,” he’d told me. “It infuriates me, that you can go to a course run by UCI just before a WorldTour event, with no experience of pro cycle racing, do your daylong course, and come away with a certificate that entitles you to ride in WorldTour event. Shouldn’t it be competency led? They should require a resume, references — something more stringent than just a daylong course. There needs to be some sort of metric by the UCI to acknowledge guys who have done this, for a long time, safely.

    “You see these clips on the internet, and I feel sorry for the rider, but I also feel sorry for the pilot that made him crash,” Jenkins said. “Nobody wants that. No one sets out to cause an incident. My worry is, what is it going to take to do something about it?”

    Given that pro cyclists are the reason for the events themselves, I asked Jenkins — should every incident ultimately be considered the moto driver’s fault, no matter the situation?

    “It’s the cyclists’ field of play, “ he said. “Every moto is a guest in their field of play.”

  11. Very very sad. I’ve driven a team car in a UCI race, Ladies tour this year in Adelaide. The requirement to be able to be the driver was that I hold a current race licence (and drivers licence of course) and attend the drivers briefing, that’s it. I’ve got to say it was a nerve wracking experience. Cars coming and going, motorbikes, police bikes leapfrogging ahead to the next cross road, dropped riders coming back, moving back up. then driving forward when required to hand out drinks. Trying to get as close to the peloton as possible, match speed with the rider, hand off the drink, not run over all the other riders coming and going or hit another car, I was exhausted after the race!

    The number of moto in those races seems ridiculous and really needs to be cut down, far too many photographers.

  12. Two pro cyclist deaths in as many days. My dearest sympathies to the Demoitie and Myngheer families.

     

    As far as vehicles in the peloton, I think there are only three moto cameras. The commissaire and neutral service vehicles make sense. It’s the still photographer cameras and reporters shouting into a GoPro to the studio (something I saw for the first time during Sporza’s coverage on Sunday) and the myriad of lone riders that serve apparently nothing.

     

    I’m really upset at the UCI for not looking into this last year, when Sagan got forcibly unmounted twice during the Tour (or the Vuelta, I forget which it was), and before this tragedy took place.

     

    I don’t want to politicise the issue. But equally I don’t think any of us want this to happen again.

     

    Stay safe out there, brothers and sisters!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  13. @universo

    There are few days when I get an estranged feeling and I choose not to ride. There have been few moments when only a couple miles remain until home when the machine halts and I’ll call my wife – based on an eerie feeling. This happens with me perhaps 2 or 3 days out of the year. I never ignore the feeling to stop. If there is a good place that inspires a stop and the many voices of reason start speaking at that moment – then all I see are my kids and wife.

     

    Great minds think alike !

    I’m the same whereby a couple of weeks ago I chose not to ride a usual Thursday night loop after work for no other reason than “that feeling”.   Weather was fine ( I still ride in #5 and #9 weather ), so it wasn’t that.  My lights are exceptional, so it wasn’t that either .

    For what its worth, was it a journalist moto or a TV camera moto ?

     

  14. @Barracuda

    Note that many/most motos in (smaller) races are not TV or photo motos but actually safety motos that leapfrog the peleton to signal dangerous spots, block traffic, herd spectators, etc. They prevent a lot of accidents but shit still happens. In the case of Demoitié even his team manager Van der Schueren who saw the accident happen does not blame the motard. (who apparently had 20 years of experience riding motos in bike races and is devastated).

    But there is always room for improvement and hopefully the right lessons are learned from the deaths of both Demoitié and Myngheer.

  15. Three deaths this weekend in cycling…. one at Wevelgem- Ghent —run over by a moto

    One via heart attack—- one via crashing into a guard rail—  RIP all —

    Still highly bothered by the moto incident —-

     

    I agree with the premise in the article— fewer motors in the race peloton and no live coverage is a VERY small price to pay —-  it’s not like this has not happened before… Sagan got bumped prior to this one — Can’t begin to fathom how or why we need these 850 – 1000 LB 300++HP machines out there with a 12-15 lb race bike frame and 165 lb rider!!!!!!    SHIT!!!! it should be obvious!!!!!!

  16. @Edwin

    @Barracuda

    Note that many/most motos in (smaller) races are not TV or photo motos but actually safety motos that leapfrog the peleton to signal dangerous spots, block traffic, herd spectators, etc. They prevent a lot of accidents but shit still happens. In the case of Demoitié even his team manager Van der Schueren who saw the accident happen does not blame the motard. (who apparently had 20 years of experience riding motos in bike races and is devastated).

    But there is always room for improvement and hopefully the right lessons are learned from the deaths of both Demoitié and Myngheer.

    Yeah, a crash right in front of a passing moto from what I heard. It all works if EVERYONE holds their line when these motos pass the peloton at speed. It’s racing so everyone can’t always hold their line, shit happens. The moto passing has to be slowed down at least. It is a tragedy and one that was bound to happen. It’s amazing Flecha and Hoogerland are still alive. Will anything change? That is the question.

  17. @elbarto

    @Buck Rogers

    oh shit yeh, those days i decide to stick to bike paths because i’d rather it be a tangle with a pedestrian on their phone than a driver on their phone.

    Bike paths or roads with cars…I’m not sure which is more dangerous. I think I’m more fearful of bike paths.

  18. I haven’t written anywhere else, but I love the community hiding here. I can have a vent and know it will be taken seriously or pasted with just as much etiquette.

    As a MOTO Commissaire in my day ‘job’ I found hearing of Antoine’s death deeply disturbing. I see at every race the number of media bikes increasing, while the number of MOTO commissaires is a fixed thing, and has been for world tour races for a long time, the amount of support vehicles and indiscriminate media bikes (and cars) is multiplying.

    Media used to have to be allowed the privilege of riding alongside the riders and the moto riders were very carefully chosen from professional riders (ex-police usually). Italy led the way with some serious rules on this shit.

    However with the increase of the media attraction to our holiest of sports, there is no real qualification for the pilots of media motorcycles. Eurosport live cameras (BMW K1300GT’s, with special fit-out) have very experienced riders and the boss of the bike cams this year takes no shit. The official bikes (usually numbering about only 6, but never at the same place in time or space such as the chalkie) are all qualified riders and hand picked, and have done this shit forever.

    The indiscriminate photo-media bikes are reproducing like rabbits and as you have seen, can sometimes number 3-4 around a breakaway or race leader. add to this the MOTO Commissaire, the neutral spares, the chalkie and a couple of team cars and race directeur, and you have a recipe for disaster. These poor bastards have enough on their minds (the peloton being among them) to have to start dodging cars like they are on the Champs-Elysée any day other than the last week of July.

    I formally call on ALL race organisers to limit the number of casual media bikes (those that aren’t  sponsored TV cams, that give us our lovely live HD feed) to TWO, and never to be within a bidon chuck of any cyclist or each other. All of the rest of the cars have their shit together, but these ratbags (fucking paparazzi is what one can call them) just get in the way and cause grief.

    Do this and we should be fine, the odd unfortunate incident forthwith (you cant prevent everything). Right now it’s just mental out there and Roubaix will be mayhem unless the organiser steps in this week and cuts the approved course vehicles down to what is needed, and used in years past.

    As I said before I am deeply disturbed by what has happened, but it has been brewing for a while. We need to look at the realities of races and the roadspace, MOTO’s are the best way to monitor and control a race, and to take TV. I’ve had a lot of shit stacked on me from a great height in the past few days, my next job is Sunday week (!) so it will be interesting to see how the day pans out.

    Vive La Vie Velominatus!

  19. @Buck Rogers

    Well, well said Frahnk. So awful. So unnecessary. And for what reason? Deaths like these bother me so much.

    As for Jesper, this is the picture that always comes to my mind.

    Dude in the sunroof should be dragged out of the car and taught a lesson by a few Flemish fans on the side of the road.

    It’s the driver that should be dragged out. The guy wearing the OJA (Orange instead of Yellow) also got lucky that day. Seeing the footage, I can see how the car hit Jesper as he almost stalled in front of the car, but no way the driver should have driven on. I presume he got banned for ever.

     

  20. there’s just no room on these roads, there are so many moto’s in this race they are hard to count.

    the winning move comes at 34km, there is a 2km gap in coverage from 36km, when they go the V is just awesome, I can’t even begin to comprehend what that would have been like.

  21. @ClydesdaleChris

    Yes. Thanks for this post. Seems like the obvious solution to remove all non-essential vehicles. I hope the UCI see it too but logic and reason don’t always seem to be their strong suit.

     

  22. @ClydesdaleChris

    Chris, being a commissaire you will also recognise the problems we have with the trickle-down from GTs broadcast.

    The regulations are actually rather strict and stringent on the number and behaviour of the press and guest vehicles, ref UCI Articles 2.2.047-075 but the problem is that over time, the GT organisers has allowed more vehicles and the commissaires has not enforced the regulations. This trickles down to lower ranked events, unfortunately. Events where the structure is not prepared to “fight” the increased number of irrelevant vehicles; motos or cars.

    Valid licensing is already called for: Art. 2.2.050 “The organisers shall demand that press vehicles be driven by experienced drivers, familiar with cycle races and knowing how to manoeuvre. These drivers must hold the licence of a vehicle driver for a road event. Each press institution shall be responsible for the driving skill of the drivers it appoints.” but rarely enforced. If we did enforce this, we would – I believe – improve the safety aspect dramatically. I have done a handful of races where the licenses of these drivers did actually get checked. GP E3 and G-W U23 being some of them, BTW.

    We have way too many bikes and cars surrounding a bike race, that’s for sure. I, for one, will work on this for my upcoming assignments.

  23. @UHJ

    @ClydesdaleChris

    Chris, being a commissaire you will also recognise the problems we have with the trickle-down from GTs broadcast.

    The regulations are actually rather strict and stringent on the number and behaviour of the press and guest vehicles, ref UCI Articles 2.2.047-075 but the problem is that over time, the GT organisers has allowed more vehicles and the commissaires has not enforced the regulations. This trickles down to lower ranked events, unfortunately. Events where the structure is not prepared to “fight” the increased number of irrelevant vehicles; motos or cars.

    Valid licensing is already called for: Art. 2.2.050 “The organisers shall demand that press vehicles be driven by experienced drivers, familiar with cycle races and knowing how to manoeuvre. These drivers must hold the licence of a vehicle driver for a road event. Each press institution shall be responsible for the driving skill of the drivers it appoints.” but rarely enforced. If we did enforce this, we would – I believe – improve the safety aspect dramatically. I have done a handful of races where the licenses of these drivers did actually get checked. GP E3 and G-W U23 being some of them, BTW.

    We have way too many bikes and cars surrounding a bike race, that’s for sure. I, for one, will work on this for my upcoming assignments.

    Thanks @UHJ, you are clearly a man of the rules as well, so hopefully simply possessing a licence and a “She’ll be right” attitude won’t be considered the only pre-requisite. Sadly the poor MOTO rider could go nowhere but again, could that be a cause of too many vehicles? Only a proper investigation will tell.

    Thanks to all others for your responses, also.

  24. “hope for the privilege to return home safely”

    This should not be a privilege, this is a right.

  25. @Tim

    “hope for the privilege to return home safely”

    This should not be a privilege, this is a right.

    Exactly. Head on a swivel keeps me alive, but I can’t see every possible danger so it’s up to drivers to behave responsibly as well.

    It’s been a hard week. Myngheer had a heart attack on the bike (!). A collegiate rider died on a descent near where I live over the weekend as well – it can happen to any of us at any time. http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/local/crime/article68678227.html

  26. It’s terribly sad but the more I read about this particular incident the more it seems to have been a freak accident that could have happened regardless of all the sensible suggestions made above. It was a race official bike and it happened after the riders crashed and fell, it wasn’t caused by the bike.

    In fact a woman in Dubai was killed at a recreational bike event two years ago in exactly the same way – touch of wheels in a cross wind, coincided with the group she was in moving out a little to avoid an obstacle, at the exact moment a group of motorcyclists came past at speed.

    It’s great to hear the views of ClydesdaleChris and UHJ and in general I also agree with the sentiment that there are too many vehicles getting too involved in the action, and I would have no issue with having less coverage.

    But as pointed out, it isn’t usually TV motos who are the problem, it’s the press photographers. Either you restrict the overall number or you allow a limited number of pool photographers so that shots have to be shared. Then everybody gets what they need and nobody feels pressured to get something nobody else has.

    That however would be a matter for the race organisers and owners, not the UCI, as it affects the commercial rights and licensing.

  27. Well said, Frank. Definitely agree that less coverage would be welcomed if it keeps the racers safe.

    Also, as much as it plain fucking sucks, yes, drivers have NO IDEA how vulnerable we are, how fast we’re going, and how their impatience could kill us. With that said, they SHOULD know better. There are plenty of things you don’t have to personally experience that you can still understand. Just because you’re not a road cyclist doesn’t mean you lack to ability to understand that, oh shit, it’s probably not fun for that guy on a super light bicycle with only some foam for protection if I run stop signs, drive with no lights on, and blow past him a few inches away, at 50 mph. I won’t hold my breath for drivers to suddenly wake up and chill out, but I can dream.

    Two pros dead, a collegiate grad student dead, and the former pro lost his arm last week. Ride defensively aggressive everyone.

     

  28. @Gianni

    @elbarto

    @Buck Rogers

    oh shit yeh, those days i decide to stick to bike paths because i’d rather it be a tangle with a pedestrian on their phone than a driver on their phone.

    Bike paths or roads with cars…I’m not sure which is more dangerous. I think I’m more fearful of bike paths.

    I hope I’m never forced to give up road riding out of fear of motorists. That said, if you just aren’t up for dealing with it…mtn. bikes and cross bikes are a great alternative. Also, riding at way off peak hours is very helpful. I’ll ride at 7 or 8 on Sunday, before even the church crowd is up. I’m usually heading in when the local uni. team is heading out, two abreast, on narrow roads and now with drivers impatient to get to church. No thanks. I’ll deal with rising early to avoid that.

    Actual cycling on a bike path would scare the hell out of me. Commuting to/from work, I LOVE not having to deal with motorists. I spend 90% of my daily commute on a mostly empty MUP. LOVE it.

    ClydesdaleChris. – Thanks for the insider perspective. I was going to ask what the heck a “chalkie” is…then I said, goddamn, you idiot. It’s very obvious. Funny term, but descriptive.

  29. My mapping skills have come along with my cycling effort. And it has added another level of calculating the ride. #1 goes where I go, just with different tires {25,28,30}

  30. @ChrisO

     

    But as pointed out, it isn’t usually TV motos who are the problem, it’s the press photographers. Either you restrict the overall number or you allow a limited number of pool photographers so that shots have to be shared. Then everybody gets what they need and nobody feels pressured to get something nobody else has.

    That however would be a matter for the race organisers and owners, not the UCI, as it affects the commercial rights and licensing.

    I’ll say straight away that I could be wholly wrong, but surely the number of vehicles surrounding the peloton is a safety issue and that is (should be?) the responsibility of the UCI? Say they mandate 8 (pick a number) motorbikes as the limit for a race of 150 riders, then the split between official bikes, TV and press could be down to the organisors.

    I also agree that this looks like a hugely tragic accident, not cause by inexperienced bike riders. I also think it has been an accident waiting to happen as there have been far too many motorbike/bike collisions in recent races.

    Sadly I don’t see the UCI doing much as they are currently fighting with FIFA to be recognised as the worst governing body in sport. In my opinion.

    David

  31. @davidlhill

    @ChrisO

    But as pointed out, it isn’t usually TV motos who are the problem, it’s the press photographers. Either you restrict the overall number or you allow a limited number of pool photographers so that shots have to be shared. Then everybody gets what they need and nobody feels pressured to get something nobody else has.

    That however would be a matter for the race organisers and owners, not the UCI, as it affects the commercial rights and licensing.

    I’ll say straight away that I could be wholly wrong, but surely the number of vehicles surrounding the peloton is a safety issue and that is (should be?) the responsibility of the UCI? Say they mandate 8 (pick a number) motorbikes as the limit for a race of 150 riders, then the split between official bikes, TV and press could be down to the organisors.

    I also agree that this looks like a hugely tragic accident, not cause by inexperienced bike riders. I also think it has been an accident waiting to happen as there have been far too many motorbike/bike collisions in recent races.

    Sadly I don’t see the UCI doing much as they are currently fighting with FIFA to be recognised as the worst governing body in sport. In my opinion.

    David

    I’m just thinking of it as realpolitik – the authority may well be with the UCI but the power is with the big race organisers like ASO and RSC. We’ve seen that again and again. Don’t forget how this all started. Races were publicity events for newspapers.

    They hold the commercial rights and if the UCI said “Only 4 press bikes per 60 riders” or something like that, the owners could say their ability to market and commercialise the race was being limited and who was going to pick up the tab.

    Whereas the owners could enforce a pool tomorrow if they wanted. Pools are not unusual – they often take place on government or charity events where there are only X seats on a plane, or where they are trying to avoid having 20 cameras trampling the flowerbeds.

    I’m not saying it isn’t possible with a dialogue between the UCI, organisers and riders but it requires common-sense and compromise on all sides so…

  32. Safety in bicycle racing is about what it was in Formula One in the 60s and early 70s. It took enough carnage and drivers dying (I still remember Francois Cevert’s crash at Watkins Glen in ’73 that caused Jackie Stewart — my all-time favorite F1 driver — to retire one race earlier than originally planned) before F1 took safety seriously. But it took a long time. It’s why you now see race tracks with so much runoff and “soft” safety barriers. If any of you saw Fernando Alonso crash at the opening F1 race in Australia this year, a crash like that would likely have been fatal not that long ago. It’s sad to say about our sport, but it’s probably going to take more tragic incidents like Antoine Demoitie (RIP) to happen before anything changes. ASO in particular seems very much wedded to an “old school” model for what the sport of cycling should look like.

  33. Race vehicles hitting riders isn’t new, but… the individual accidents noteworthy, … it seems like every recent race involves an incident between a rider and a race vehicle, to the point that these accidents…

    I wish you would use crash instead of accident, Frank.

     

    The use of the word “accident” sustains a situation in which injuries and death on our roadways, even when clearly attributable to driver error, are excused, through language, as an unavoidable consequence of having a traffic system. [velonews]

     

    https://pinboard.in/u:tedder42/t:crash-not-accident/

  34. The part I’ve never understood is that the photomotos seem to be free to thread as and when they please.  I’d have thought that they should be allocated to “ahead” or “behind” and then have clear rules on what position they can take in splits.

    OK I guess they will often want to get ahead to take static shots and then jump back on to catch up but the timing of when they can thread seems to need policing as often they can be seen tooting horns to thread a massed peleton spread the full width of a narrow road.  That always just seems to be asking for trouble and in such time they should not be allowed to pass.

  35. @Owen

    And those were Police motos with sirens – stealth mode photomoto in that sort of situation should not be allowed to pass.

  36. I am confused by discussions like this.  First there is an acknowledgement that cycling, particularly bike racing, has risks. But then when those risks show themselves there are suggestions that the risks should not exist.

    Any time such an incident occurs it calls for an evaluation of the stayus quo to determine if things need to change. Some how, Kobelev’s death was the tipping point for requiring helmets. Why then and not after Casayelli’s! Who knows.

    Much of what I read here is about the beauty and freedom of cycling. Some of that comes from being inspired by the pros. To see the races vehicles are necessary. Should  number of vehicles be looked at? Sure. But recognize they are there because there is a demand, and we are that demand. So is some of our reaction to this tragedy due to guilt?  Maybe, but just know there is no way to erase the risks and In some ways isn’t it the risks they take that is intriguing? The pros know that, and we know that. Sadly some of the risks are not as romantic as decents down twisty cols…they are for motorbikes and press vehicles, but risks are risks.

  37. @Teocalli

    @Owen

    And those were Police motos with sirens – stealth mode photomoto in that sort of situation should not be allowed to pass.

    Seriously.

    @Ted G

    I am confused by discussions like this. First there is an acknowledgement that cycling, particularly bike racing, has risks. But then when those risks show themselves there are suggestions that the risks should not exist.

    Any time such an incident occurs it calls for an evaluation of the stayus quo to determine if things need to change. Some how, Kobelev’s death was the tipping point for requiring helmets. Why then and not after Casayelli’s! Who knows.

    Much of what I read here is about the beauty and freedom of cycling. Some of that comes from being inspired by the pros. To see the races vehicles are necessary. Should number of vehicles be looked at? Sure. But recognize they are there because there is a demand, and we are that demand. So is some of our reaction to this tragedy due to guilt? Maybe, but just know there is no way to erase the risks and In some ways isn’t it the risks they take that is intriguing? The pros know that, and we know that. Sadly some of the risks are not as romantic as decents down twisty cols…they are for motorbikes and press vehicles, but risks are risks.

    Seems to me there’s a quantifiable difference between “risk of impatient driver on regular street” and “moto in professional bike race who should know better.” Risks can be mitigated. In the case of a professional race, strict vetting and training of moto riders/drivers, reasonable numbers of motos allowed per event, strict limitations on passing/engagement with riders (how many times do we see a rider waving the moto out of his face?), etc should be the norm.

  38. even with the the limitations and regulations you suggest there is still the potential for tragedy no? We are all falable so there are no guarantees for safety.  That begs the question of what is safe enough? Considering the number of professional bike races each year, the number of bike racers I each of those races, and the number of serious and/fatal incidents could it be that despite the risks, riders are more at risk is other parts of their lives then they are when they are racing bikes?

     

  39. @Ted G

    even with the the limitations and regulations you suggest there is still the potential for tragedy no? We are all falable so there are no guarantees for safety. That begs the question of what is safe enough? Considering the number of professional bike races each year, the number of bike racers I each of those races, and the number of serious and/fatal incidents could it be that despite the risks, riders are more at risk is other parts of their lives then they are when they are racing bikes?

    Nobody is asking for safety guarantees, just an examination of whether current practices pose an unacceptable risk in comparison to the benefit they provide.

    Circumstances and opinions evolve in sport as in life. What was acceptable 20 years ago is often not acceptable today and it is the duty of organisers and authorities to take part in that discussion.

    It’s incremental not absolute.

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