'Time to act': Rider calls for new rules on cars and motorbikes in races after near miss

Kévin van Melsen reacts on social media after near miss at Itzulia Basque Country

Kévin van Melsen
(Image credit: Getty Images)

New rules on cars and motorbikes in races need to be introduced, a rider has said, after he narrowly escaped being hit by a car at Itzulia Basque Country.

Kévin van Melsen, a Belgian rider for Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert, crashed on stage one of Itzulia and was almost struck by first a camera bike and then a car in the convoy behind the group he was in.

Following the incident, the 35-year old tweeted (opens in new tab): "A few centimetres away, we are living a new drama… motorcycles and cars must be so close to the riders ???!! It's time to act !!!"

He tagged organisations including cycling's governing body, the UCI, and the rider's union, the CPA.

In response, the CPA tweeted (opens in new tab): "You are right Kévin. This is yet another example of how urgent it is to introduce in the regulations a minimum safety distance between the vehicles and the riders, which as you know we have demanded to the other stakeholders."

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Despite new rules introduced last year, which UCI president David Lappartient described as "unprecedented rider safety measures", riders are still known to be unhappy with safety in racing, with the Van Melsen incident the latest example.

Speaking to Cycling Weekly last month multiple riders said that the measures had not made a notable difference, and that there were still multiple things to be fixed.

Motorbikes are involved in the race in order to provide live coverage for TV audiences, or for stills photographers to take photos. Cars could be from the race organisation, neutral service, or the teams themselves.

Van Melsen tweeted that the TV motorbikes did not need to be so close to riders. "With the current cameras I don't think it is necessary to be in the wheel of the rider… if he falls in front of the bike and not on the side, he has no escape to avoid it," he said.

The Belgian did not start stage two of the race.

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Adam Becket
Adam Becket

Adam is Cycling Weekly’s senior news and feature writer – his greatest love is road racing but as long as he is cycling on tarmac, he's happy. Before joining Cycling Weekly he spent two years writing for Procycling, where he interviewed riders and wrote about racing, speaking to people as varied as Demi Vollering to Philippe Gilbert. Before cycling took over his professional life, he covered ecclesiastical matters at the world’s largest Anglican newspaper and politics at Business Insider. Don't ask how that is related to cycling.