Cycling’s governing body, the UCI, has amended its rulebook to avoid another situation at a level-crossing like the one experienced at the 2015 Paris-Roubaix.
In last year’s Hell of the North, several riders ignored the closing crossing barrier and crossed the track despite the prospect of an on-coming train.
Those riders who waited or were caught in the group held up by the lowered barrier saw themselves lose time to the riders up the road, who were not punished for crossing the track, but the race was neutralised to allow the riders to regroup.
The rule at the time said it was forbidden to cross when the barrier is down, but now the UCI has added that crossing when the barrier is closing, or when the warning signal is clear, is also forbidden.
Rule 2.3.034 states that any rider risks a legal penalty for skipping the crossing as well as being eliminated from the competition by commissaires.
1. One or more riders who have broken away from the field are held up at a level crossing but the gates open before the field catches up. No action shall be taken and the closed level crossing shall be considered a mere race incident;
2. One or more riders with more than 30 seconds’ lead on the field are held up at a level crossing and the rest of the field catches up while the gates are still closed. In this case the race shall be neutralised and restarted with the same gaps, once the official vehicles preceding the race have passed; If the lead is less than 30 seconds, the closed level crossing shall be considered a mere race incident;
3. If one or more leading riders make it over the crossing before the gates shut and the remainder of the riders are held up, no action shall be taken and the closed level crossing shall be considered a race incident;
4. If a group of riders is split into two groups following the closure of a level crossing, the first group will be slowed down or stopped in order to allow the delayed riders to return to the first group;
5. Any other situation (prolonged closure of the barrier, etc.) shall be resolved by the commissaires.
French train company SNCF filed a police complaint after the incident at Paris-Roubaix, saying the incident could have ended in tragedy and was irresponsible.