Following the crash involving several riders and two motorcycles at the Tour of Belgium on Saturday May 28, 2016, in which one rider was seriously hurt, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), in partnership with the Belgian cycling federation the Royale Ligue Vélocipédique Belge (RLVB), is looking closely at the circumstances of the incident.
The UCI has recently introduced new rules governing the conduct of everyone who is in control of a car or motorcycle in a road race, and will be examining whether or not these rules were respected in the above mentioned case.
These new rules – available here (Chapter 2, point 4 "Circulation during the race") – require absolute vigilance from all drivers and motorbike riders, who must at all times prioritise the safety of riders in the race, spectators and other vehicles.
The new rules also make it clear that everyone in charge of a vehicle must immediately comply with all directions from race commissaires. The need for safe driving, particularly when overtaking riders, has been given extra emphasis by commissaires during pre-race briefings.
These rules are backed by sanctions which will be applied by the UCI Disciplinary Commission if any driver is found to be acting negligently.
To address the important issue of vehicles being in close proximity with riders, the UCI is currently finalising along with key stakeholders an updated and comprehensive set of regulations and guidelines which will govern all aspects of a road race which have a bearing on safety and security. This will include rules limiting the number of vehicles allowed in races and how these vehicles should be positioned at different points in the race.
The UCI is also carefully studying elements such as the size and power of motorcycles used in races and how these elements have evolved over recent years in order to assess the safety implications and how best to regulate this aspect of race security.
In order to ensure the right level of understanding and compliance with these new rules and guidelines, the UCI is significantly increasing the human resources being deployed at races as part of an improved event monitoring process.
The UCI will continue to consult its stakeholders and welcomes any input from all those who are concerned with riders’ safety.
UCI President Brian Cookson said: “Safety is an absolutely vital issue for the UCI and our stakeholders, and it is crucial we do all in our power to protect the riders from unnecessary risks. We have seen too many incidents involving motorcycles, and that is why we recently adopted clear new rules governing how vehicles must be driven in races. Right now, our thoughts are with Stig Broeckx, his family, friends and teammates from Lotto Soudal.”
Source: UCI Press Release (view Press Release here)