The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) is proposing a wide selection of measures to improve rider safety in professional bike races, some of which will be implemented at the Road World Championships in October.
In a statement released on Thursday, the UCI said that it would be organising a Security and Technical Regulations working group meeting on September 30 to discuss and approve new safety and security measures for races.
The working group will consist of several stakeholders in the sport, including members of the organisations that represent riders (Cyclistes Professionnels Associés), teams (Association Internationale des Groupes Cyclistes Professionnels) and race organisers (Association Internationale des Organisateurs de Courses Cyclistes).
Some new safety measures will be introduced for the 2016 UCI Road World Championships in Doha, Qatar, in mid-October. These include the removal of traffic islands in the final 1.5 kilometres of the road race circuit; better positioning of barriers at the roadside to take account of road width; the use of smaller, ‘trail-type motorbikes’ without panniers in the race caravan; and the stipulation that anyone driving race vehicles will have to have significant experience in doing so.
Any newly agreed measures will be implemented on top of those already introduced during the 2016 season, which included tighter regulation of car and motorcycle drivers within the race environment. Also introduced earlier in 2016 were clear regulations governing the behaviour of riders around railway level crossings and an extreme weather protocol.
“I am happy with the progress and investment we have made in 2016,” said UCI president Brian Cookson. “We know that there is more work to do and I am looking forward to working with the AIGCP, the CPA, AIOCC and others to ensure that we create the best possible conditions for riders”.
Several serious incidents have occurred involving race vehicles in the past two seasons, in particular motorbikes. Belgian rider Antoine Demoitié (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) crashed and was hit by a motorcycle in Ghent-Wevelgem in March, and later died of his injuries.
Another Belgian rider, Stig Broeckx (Lotto-Soudal), was severely injured when he collided with a race motorbike at the Belgium Tour in May. He remains in a coma in hospital.