Cyclists need to consider their own actions to help improve their safety in the peloton, says Taylor Phinney (BMC). The American crashed with a motorbike two years ago in the US Championships and broke his leg, but has recovered and is set to take to the start of the Tour of Flanders on Sunday.
The issue of rider safety has come into focus recent times after numerous incidents involving motorbikes in races.
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“I’ve thought about it with my own personal injury,” Phinney said. “For sure, [the motorbikes] take big risks, and it’s not OK, but many of the riders could do well by looking at the actions that they take in races.
“We start like mad in the neutral zone, guys cutting left and right, these massive risks already before the start. A guy was dropped before kilometre zero in Ghent-Wevelgem. The riders don’t have to take those risks.”
Phinney of course was not blaming those riders involved. but reacting to the seemingly rising number of vehicle/cyclist incidents. Over the last year, car or motorbike problems happened in the Tour of Flanders, the Tour de France, the Vuelta a España and in the Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.
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“If you wanted a completely safe bike race, you would have a closed circuit with no cars,” Phinney added. “I see a lot of unnecessary risks by the riders and a lot of pointing fingers, but I’ve looked at what I can do to avoid these dramatic situations.”
On the other side of Kortrijk, Tom Boonen (Etixx–Quick-Step) met with the press in the team’s pre-Flanders press conference. He was quizzed about the same issue.
“I think in the last few years, the amount of motorbikes has doubled,” Boonen said. “Take that together with the roads not getting any wider, and more traffic islands and dividers. It’s harder on everyone.
“A solution? It’s hard to say. Everyone is trying to go as fast as possible and cutting corners. It’s always a difficult situation to be in. The mentality as been the same since a bike was under a rider’s arse, he always wants to fight for the win. The mentality to win the race doesn’t change.”