Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Crash!!

I'm not sure what's going on, but there seem to be alot of crashes happening in the road races these days.
It's a given that road racing carries an inherent risk of crashing . In fact there are certain races like the 4th cat races at Hillingdon or Goodwood where no crash occurring is quite newsworthy!
What is of great concern is the number of crashes that have been happening at places which had been hitherto considered as relatively "crash-free" zones.

Tuesday nights people could choose between Hillingdon or Crystal Palace. Apparently Crystal Palace was favoured by the experienced racers because the technical nature of the course meant there were hardly any crashes, since the standard of bunch riding and cornering was very good. This year that hasn't been the case though. Practically every week the first aid man and marshalls have been kept busy picking people off the ground after crashes. A couple of weeks ago there were so many "offs". I stopped counting after the fourth one! Generally, people end up with a bad case of road rash and a slightly dented bike.
But this year we've seen a few broken bones - and we've still got half the series to go. For the first time ever we had a nasty crash in the women's race too. Sadly the casualty ended up with a triple fractured collar bone.

Even the women's national championships last week were halted for an hour after a pile-up involving 12 riders. Yes, a few of the local girls have had prolonged absences from racing due to significant injuries from bike racing. That's been the downside to the growth in local women's cycling this year.

Furthermore, crashes have not been just confined to road racing. A couple of pile-ups at the track league in Herne Hill Velodrome this season have resulted in riders being left with nasty injuries and no functioning bike. This business is getting very risky and for some, quite costly. Accidents don't just lead to expensive bicycle repair bills, but in some cases, lost earnings from sick notes.

It looks like the growing popularity of cycling racing is resulting in all and sundry taking part. Some folks don't having the required bike handling skills but think they are Lance Armstrong anyway!
Maybe British Cycling also has a part to play in setting up bicycle training programmes - not just training cyclists to commute on the roads safely, but also for those who want to bunch race safely. The drive to get everyone racing is an accident waiting to happen - hell, the accidents are already happening! So how many more accidents are there to be before more is done to upskill would-be road racers? This is definitely an aspect of cycling that needs reviewing.
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