CRASH! Rider safety goes down hard again.

Take down in Provence

Take down in Provence

A speed bump in the last 150 meeting coming into a fast left hand turn in a sprint finish? Really, seriously, honestly?

That was the situation on stage two of the Tour de La Provence — or le tour du speed bump. The inevitable crash took out a half dozen riders and by amazing good fortune, nobody appeared seriously injured.

When it comes to rider safety or lack thereof, even the casual observer has to wonder what the UCI does all day? Their rules and regulations seem to be extensive but have little regulatory force or impact when it comes to the safety of race courses.

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Uncovered steel poles, a short of b barriers and fencing, cars on the course, motos running down riders, dangerous road furniture in the final kilometers, gravel and dirt and potholes in finishing circuits. This now seems like a given and race after race, desperate rider protest and outrage and career threatening injuries and seasons wiped out, nothing seems to happen. (Helluva union, you got there guys.)

You never even hear a reaction from the UCI other than a “We’re looking into it” and “We take rider safety seriously.” What other sport in the world puts its athletes at more risk?

Maybe base jumping is more dangerous but if the UCI was running that sport, they’d hand you a wing-suit with holes in it before you jumped off the cliff. Maybe skydiving is dangerous but if the UCI were in charge, there would be no backup chute and the cords would all be tangled. Oh sorry, forgot to put a ripcord on that chute.

Here’s a quote form totalprosports.com on worlds most dangerous sports” “After motorsports, cycling is probably the sport in which you’re most likely to get killed. Racing is dangerous. Mountain biking is dangerous. Just riding around block is dangerous. That’s why there were 2.49 million cycling injuries reported last year, the second highest total. And the injury rate was 1.29%—not staggering, but the 5th overall and just a half percentage point behind skateboarding at #2.” Good thing the UCI isn’t the governing body for skateboarding.

Rider safety is one issue where the UCI seems totally asleep at the wheel. You can argue that doping and financial models and turf wars with the ASO are complicated and complex issues to solve.

But rider safety? This seems like one area where an immediate fix is not only possible but mandatory.

 

 

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  • The SuperStorm

    Two schools of thought here on safety.
    1: Carbon bicycles have become more and more unstable as they get even stronger and lighter every generation, in the on going pursuit of weight savings and ways to cheat the clock mechanically. Think they’d loose it on a speed bump with a 35lb Schwinn Varsity and big 27inch baloons? Speed is coming a serious issue. Let’s weigh things down a bit and re-examine how these bicycles really are benefiting or hurting riders.

    2: The UCI and its local promoters don’t care about the road safety measures because they’re too busy checking for PED’s (drugs) and PEB’s (bikes) to care about course safety and road conditions.

    The sheer amount of monies it would take to rework a road course is huge. Both Europe and the U.S. have infrastructures that are getting much worse every year. I sure as hell wouldn’t promote a race these days unless the course was in good shape and somewhat reasonably safe for all.

    Sounds to me like the whole industry needs an enema.

    Just sayin’…

    • True that doping seems to take all their time up. But seriously, it there’s one problem they COULD actually solve that would make riders happy and generate some positive PR would be safety. The UCI has a massive budget and huge staff and I seriously don’t know what they do all day. Matt