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Crashes, what can be done?

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most roads actually looked better than I epected. But sure, a stage into Napoli is always going to be on the sketchy side.

Meanwhile, in a French junior race this weekend a sports director took out both breakaway riders:

View: https://twitter.com/F3Alsace/status/1789577543659483447


Inexperience may have played a part here, I guess, but in gereral, the whole "one guy for everything" situation in the cars is obviously not ideal.
Wiping out the next potential potential French big star is not the wisest move.
 
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During the first half of a race, when the weather turns like it did today, they should stop the race for five minutes so riders can safely put on wet weather kit. (or take it off). Just seems a disaster waiting to happen.
'VINDICATION!!' (see the last paragraph)

GOCWprFWQAAdZZ3
 
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Crashes, what can be done?
Don't race.

During the debates we had we now know the general sentiment among involved parties is:

  • Not all but most riders are interested in changes leading to more safety in the pro peloton.
  • Some organisers do tend to care and are prepared to do something about it.
  • Fans mostly don't care.
  • UCI doesn't care or better, due to position they have, they are pro active in regards to supporting crashes.
So in this specific case your comment is perfectly aligned with that. So seem the riders sentiment, organiser is trying to do something, UCI mute. So yeah, still rather long way to go, before the meme nothing can be done crashes out in some corner. Preferably landing in a fluffy barrier. I mean the organiser didn't even opt-in to provide hot tee in the pit stop. Jeez.
 
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During the debates we had we now know the general sentiment among involved parties is:

  • Not all but most riders are interested in changes leading to more safety in the pro peloton.
  • Some organisers do tend to care and are prepared to do something about it.
  • Fans mostly don't care.
  • UCI doesn't care or better, due to position they have, they are pro active in regards to supporting crashes.
So in this specific case your comment is perfectly aligned with that. So seem the riders sentiment, organiser is trying to do something, UCI mute. So yeah, still rather long way to go, before the meme nothing can be done crashes out in some corner. Preferably landing in a fluffy barrier. I mean the organiser didn't even opt-in to provide hot tee in the pit stop. Jeez.
The problem is that most people agree something should be done about safety, but they want it to be other people's responsibility.

The riders fly about like maniacs not respecting the courses, kamikazeing and divebombing corners without due consideration of risk, and expect the organisers to foot the bill for any changes needed to allow them to do that.

The organisers want to allocate as much of budget as possible to the route, prize money etc. to maximise sponsor and field rather than things like policing, barriers etc. so don't want to up the logistical and H&S budget and want the UCI to foot the bill for it.

The UCI need both races and riders as a key part of their value proposition, and don't want to alienate either group, so wind up making completely irrelevant, anodyne pronouncements that don't offer any firm or coherent action on either - and are far too reactionary, usually policing the outcome rather than the offence.

Fans want to be entertained and don't want races cancelled, but at the same time nor do they want to watch farcical spectacles like stages 2 and 9 of the Vuelta last year where the elites of the pro péloton are having a slow Sunday roll on perfectly safe roads while racing is supposedly still on, while the finish has been moved into a dangerous part of the course, or a future where every single profile is either ________ or _______/ and is only allowed on sunny days (but not too sunny in case of sunstroke) with temperatures between 16º and 24ºC.
 
The riders fly about like maniacs not respecting the courses, kamikazeing and divebombing corners without due consideration of risk, and expect the organisers to foot the bill for any changes needed to allow them to do that.

Modern pro cycling indeed is much more about that, basically full gas racing, like all the time. So much nedded adaptations in the other fronts are in my opinion needed, instead of saying it's the riders fault and that is that.

The organisers want to allocate as much of budget as possible to the route, prize money etc. to maximise sponsor and field rather than things like policing, barriers etc. so don't want to up the logistical and H&S budget and want the UCI to foot the bill for it.

Money for sure is an issue that needs to be taken into consideration. Here for example i like the idea of mandatory inflatable barriers to be positioned on exposed sections. As lets face it if you crash in a solid iron bar, to keep you inside the road, that is still far from being optimal. Now the idea each organizer will acquire a few trucks of such barriers alone, in my opinion it would be much better if this would be outsourced and for the same equipment to be used on more races. Considering such barriers are great spots for "commercials", at least a part of the cost could be taken care of by a sponsor.

The UCI need both races and riders as a key part of their value proposition, and don't want to alienate either group, so wind up making completely irrelevant, anodyne pronouncements that don't offer any firm or coherent action on either - and are far too reactionary, usually policing the outcome rather than the offence.

UCI is currently in denial. That is when it comes to safety they are currently acting like they did when it came to doping. Before they acknowledged it is a problem and something must be done about it. Ultimately nothing will happen without UCI taking their share of responsibility for it.

Fans want to be entertained and don't want races cancelled, but at the same time nor do they want to watch farcical spectacles like stages 2 and 9 of the Vuelta last year where the elites of the pro péloton are having a slow Sunday roll on perfectly safe roads while racing is supposedly still on, while the finish has been moved into a dangerous part of the course, or a future where every single profile is either ________ or _______/ and is only allowed on sunny days (but not too sunny in case of sunstroke) with temperatures between 16º and 24ºC.

Fans, what to say about the fans. One thing is sure, you got to love the fans and fans for sure won't do jack about improving rider safety in pro peloton. Here some potential is in education, ASO already playing a role. For example a selfie, when not facing the approaching peloton. That is just a big no no. We could say doh, people doing that are so stupid, still, they were not properly educated, that is the real problem behind it. As the whole point of doing the selfie is to take out the camera and turn your back on something you want to include in the picture. That is just on how the current generation was educated, to use a camera.
 
Modern pro cycling indeed is much more about that, basically full gas racing, like all the time. So much nedded adaptations in the other fronts are in my opinion needed, instead of saying it's the riders fault and that is that.
The problem with that is, if you just say "cycling is just like that now" and absolve the riders of any responsibility for the increased level of unsafe racing, then why can't race organisers just say "the geography of Italy is just like that now" and insist on racing in unsafe conditions?

The péloton has to race more responsibly, or the UCI need to start meting out punishments to riders or teams whose unsafe actions create accidents. Yes, the sport has changed, but while the courses can adapt to some extent, it's still an outdoor sport that takes place on infrastructure that has to deal with public use the rest of the year, it's not a closed circuit like F1, so while there are obligations that can be placed on organisers, there is an upper ceiling on what they are able to do. And maybe some riders have to recognise that if you go 100% all-out all the time paying no heed to the consequences, sometimes there will be consequences, and you can only a absolve yourself of blame and push it onto organisers so far.

Take Jakobsen/Groenewegen. The organiser was negligent in agreeing such a finish, and shoring up the structure with bricks made the accident so much worse than it needed to be. Czesław Lang and his team were rightly punished for their irresponsibility. BUT, it wasn't them that caused the crash, it was Dylan Groenewegen's irresponsibility that caused the crash and he was punished for his part. Lang and co. were punished for the outcome of the crash being worse than it needed to be had they done their job more appropriately.
 
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@Libertine Seguros

Riders in my opinion do already take the largest portion of responsibility, as for riders this is not just a word, instead it involves a couple of months of healing. Per season. Now the idea riders themself will change current affairs in modern pro peloton in regards to safety. How? By refusing to race? Modern pro peloton is what it is, this won't change over night. Other things need to accommodate and take it as is as it won't change to the extent some drastic improvement in regards to rider safety to emerge as a result.

Organisers currently do take some form of responsibility, mostly in the terms of (accumulated) backlash. Some are even willing to be an active participant in improving safety.

UCI in my opinion currently refuses to take any meaningful form of responsibility. For example, when the big 3 crashed, their comment went in the direction we will look into it but before doing that we are almost sure it was riders fault, so the case is closed? This attitude is just so misplaced. And what if it was 120% riders fault? Who cares. Cycling is not a penal correction facility on where you deserve to get injured if it's your fault. So here UCI in my opinion really needs to make some fundamental shift in terms of perception of their role in regards to riders safety in pro peloton. Just like governing bodies did in other sports. Imagine if in F1 a governing body would make such a statement, well, it's the rider fault, to crash, so beyond that it doesn't concern us. Shot on the spot.

Fans and their responsibility. Here we can for sure try and things will improve with things like better education. But focusing too much on the fans in terms of generally taking responsibility and improving safety in pro peloton is likely a bit misplaced.
 
Here's the thing though... nobody wants to see riders injured, but if a rider takes a risk divebombing a colleague, following somebody too close on a descent, or launching into a blind corner at full speed... they know that the risk is there and what the consequences are if they come off. If they crash because they rode like a reckless lunatic, then I'm not going to hold the organiser responsible. If they crash because the organiser put a hairpin bend on dusty roads 600m from the end of a sprint stage and the riders simply couldn't negotiate it safely, then I'm not going to hold the péloton responsible.

But if they crash because a rider rode like a reckless lunatic, but the impact of the crash is worsened by the organisers' doing, such as the bricks in the Tour de Pologne or the uncovered culvert in the Itzulia... it doesn't miraculously absolve the riders of blame for the incident and lay it all on the organisers' door, because the crash was the riders' fault.

You say the modern pro péloton can't change overnight, but it can change an awful lot faster - and is a lot more realistic - than changing the entire infrastructure of Europe and everywhere else that hosts bike races to make it so that the riders can plunge into any corner they like at any speed they like without there being an inherent risk in doing so.

You are using F1 as the comparative, but you need to use something like rally, the Pikes Peak hill climb or the Isle of Man TT, because cycling doesn't use purpose-built courses, and it has to deal with roads that come with all of the trappings that regular public use entails. They will never be able to make the sport truly 'safe', only 'safer'. There is an upper limit to what the UCI and the race organisers can do, the péloton is not absolved of responsibility for safety just because they want to go 100% all the time and not have to think about the risk. Most of the riders who enter the Isle of Man TT want to go 100% all the time too. For 269 of them, it's been the last thing they've ever wanted to do.
 
Here's the thing though... nobody wants to see riders injured, but if a rider takes a risk divebombing a colleague, following somebody too close on a descent, or launching into a blind corner at full speed... they know that the risk is there and what the consequences are if they come off. If they crash because they rode like a reckless lunatic, then I'm not going to hold the organiser responsible. If they crash because the organiser put a hairpin bend on dusty roads 600m from the end of a sprint stage and the riders simply couldn't negotiate it safely, then I'm not going to hold the péloton responsible.

But if they crash because a rider rode like a reckless lunatic, but the impact of the crash is worsened by the organisers' doing, such as the bricks in the Tour de Pologne or the uncovered culvert in the Itzulia... it doesn't miraculously absolve the riders of blame for the incident and lay it all on the organisers' door, because the crash was the riders' fault.

Responsibility, from legal point of view, that is something, AFAIK, currently non existent in the sense of clarity. AFAIK you as a rider, or representative, basically signs a piece of paper, for being able to participate at some stage/race, for the organiser not to be responsible in case you injure yourself. And in the end it's not like organiser will have any initiative to care if it's your fault or not. This is something fans are usually caught up with determining, mostly for entertainment purposes. So currently more or less a wild west.

Why?

What you can do, as a riders that got injured, is you can still take legal action in a regular court but i rarely see it happen. For example i read a while back a rider is taking legal action against an organizer and there was or still is an ongoing dispute between riders from that prominent Tour de Pologne crash.

Now on why it took 100 years of road cycling and for legal responsibility to still be so inadequate. It's rather clear i guess, nobody else wants to take any responsibility whatsoever, it's all on riders ATM.

You say the modern pro péloton can't change overnight, but it can change an awful lot faster - and is a lot more realistic - than changing the entire infrastructure of Europe and everywhere else that hosts bike races to make it so that the riders can plunge into any corner they like at any speed they like without there being an inherent risk in doing so.

We discussed this in detail and i feel that the initial idea, on how you need to secure 200km of roads per stage, that turned out to be not as bad. That is it usually comes down to a couple of kilometres per stage. Bridges, corners on dangerous descends, finale ... So all in all no biggie. In terms of setting some inflatable barriers with commercial space available on them and making sure that road sections don't have big holes in the surface. It's like if we at first thought 200km seems a whole lot, it does, but realistically you need to make sure you secured in between 1% to 5% of the exposed sections. For the rest, less exposed sections, you carry a personal airbag anyway. Yeah, i know, not yet. I am talking from the perspective on where a decision will be made to actually do something. Beyond measuring socks and things like that.

You are using F1 as the comparative, but you need to use something like rally, the Pikes Peak hill climb or the Isle of Man TT, because cycling doesn't use purpose-built courses, and it has to deal with roads that come with all of the trappings that regular public use entails. They will never be able to make the sport truly 'safe', only 'safer'. There is an upper limit to what the UCI and the race organisers can do, the péloton is not absolved of responsibility for safety just because they want to go 100% all the time and not have to think about the risk. Most of the riders who enter the Isle of Man TT want to go 100% all the time too. For 269 of them, it's been the last thing they've ever wanted to do.

I used F1 as an example to say FIA, as a governing body, takes riders safety seriously and objectively the number of injuries and deaths decreased dramatically. That is on the same purpose-built course type of race. On where UCI, as a governing body, doesn't take riders safety seriously and objectively the number of injuries and even deaths is high. UCI can do better and we will force them to do better. I am sure that the number of injuries will reduce in the next decade and that UCI will play an important role in achieving that, if they want it or not, better if they take a positive stance on it then to be forced into it. Either way it will happen. For example three to five years back you couldn't unite the riders, now that isn't a problem any more, organisers are as such under more pressure, UCI is next. It's like with doping, UCI was the last stronghold. Safety is now what doping was back then, we are in pre-safe era and that is about to change.