A riders union has called for motorbike drivers to take more care of rider safety, after a sequence of close passes at this year’s Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift.
During Wednesday’s fourth stage, one motorcyclist came so close to EF Education-TIBCO-SVB rider Kathrin Hammes that he touched and destabilised her. The driver was later issued a 200 CHF (£180) fine.
Speaking to Cycling Weekly, Alessandra Cappelletto, head of the women's branch of the Cyclistes Professionels Associés (CPA) union, explained that riders had complained of hazardous driving in a group chat.
“There were reports on bikes and overtaking,” she said. “The regulation says that the motorcycle must pass on the freer and safer side. In the first stage especially there were many small groups and therefore a lot of work for motorcyclists.”
Cappelletto added that she spoke to the race jury and asked for extra attention to be taken, particularly for motorbikes laden with side cases, which are “as large as a car”.
Describing the incident involving her on stage four, Hammes told Cycling Weekly: “The motorbike wanted to pass and he was honking, but the road was really small, and I was also tired.
“I didn’t move far enough to the left, so he hit me, but it wasn’t a big issue.”
I've really enjoyed watching @LeTourFemmes, but in what universe is a motorbike allowed to push a rider out of the way?? Or is it just to let her know the next motor is about to take her out? If you can't pass safely, don't pass. We need better education for some motorbike… pic.twitter.com/w3CkDGv6aXJuly 26, 2023
Asked if she would like to see certain measures put in place, such as no-overtaking zones, the German said: “It’s a fine balance. I know they have to get to the front to then keep us safe, so they have to move up at some point. I feel like it’s a shared responsibility for them to leave enough room for us, but also for us to make room for them to pass. Otherwise, it would be even more unsafe.
“All I have to say is it shouldn’t happen, but at the same time, it’s a tight sport, and it can happen. I don’t think he did it on purpose.”
Other rider complaints from the race provoked CPA president Adam Hansen to purchase a laser distance sensor. He wrote on Twitter that he hopes to use the technology to closely monitor the gap between cyclists and motorbikes.
Cycling Weekly approached the race organiser, ASO, for comment, but is yet to receive a response.
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