Six riders from the Giant-Alpecin WorldTour squad were injured Saturday in Spain when a 73 year old Englishwoman driving on the wrong side of the road plowed into them.
American Chad Haga was airlifted to a nearly hospital and Paris-Roubaix and Milan-San Remo champion John Degenkolb nearly lost a finger and is sidelined for at least three months.
In light of these disastrous events, the team is considering a temporary switch to safer bikes, changing from their Giant race bikes to a bike with a higher level of safety protection.
“We are 100% committed to Giant but for now we’re considering the safety of our riders,’ said team manager Iwan Spekenbrink. We’ve got to take extreme measures to protect the riders from cars and bad drivers.”
The team is in negotiations to purchase a dozen pedal powered bumper cars. The modified bikes cost $2000 and may be delivered to the squad as early as next week. While Giant-Alpecin riders will still race on their bike sponsor’s equipment, all training rides will use the bumper bikes.
Reached for comment from his hospital bed, Haga said he’s looking forward to testing out the bumper bikes. “What an awesome idea. I don’t have to be worried about getting rammed by a car now,” said Haga. “I can train knowing my bumper bike is ready for anything.
Safety features include:
Construction from 1/8″ thick wall 3″ x 1″ box steel for durability, with 3/16″ x 3” flat steel under the bumper.
Padded steering wheel prevents any poking injuries from handlebars,
Raised pedals to keep feet out of the bumper zone, with a lowered center of gravity.
Raised pedals also allow bumper support to go under, rather than around, the legs.
Wide stance to prevent tipping with a heavy, on-the-ground build.