Saturday, July 18, 2009

Tour De France Pedestrian Death - Can We Get Away From the Motorcycles?

Today's stage of the Tour De France saw a tragic incident in which a spectator was killed by a motorcycle police officer:

After the first results of the inquiry of the national police of Wittelsheim, the circumstances of the accident which occurred at Kilometer 38 of Stage 14 are the following:

A member of the Garde Republicain on a motorcycle was riding behind the breakaway group when he hit a 61-year old woman who crossed the street suddenly. After the crash, the motorcycle slid further and injured two other spectators.

The medical service of the Tour de France immediately took charge of the injured people before emergency personnel took over. Despite the intensive treatment, the 61-year-old spectator did not survive her injuries.

The two other victims of the accident are a 36-year-old who is suffering from neck pain, and a 61-year-old who has a broken leg. Both were transported to the hospital in Mulhouse.

Deeply affected by this tragic accident, the Gendarmerie, the Garde Republicain and the Tour de France organization offer their condolences to the families and friends of the victim and promise their full support to those who were injured.


This fatal crash brings to light an element of professional bike racing that really bothers me -participants are easily outnumbered by motorcycle camera crews, road marshals, team vans, police and even shuttle buses. I wonder sometimes if the carbon footprint of a professional bike race rivals NASCAR.

Can't these pro races with their modern technology and ample budgets come up with a logistical plan that is safer, quieter and greener?

Check out the traffic after the peloton passes by in Barcelona.


Andrew J. Besold said...

When I marshaled the TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championship last month it was all the support vehicles that scared the sh*t out of me and not the peloton. Often the vehicles would be racing at twice the speed of the riders. It was noticeably crazy as they raced up Lemon Hill where I was stationed.

I told the spectators, that the real hazard was from the support vehicles and not the racers. After all the cars zoomed by they all agreed with me.