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September 24, 2017
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  • Darren Yearsley

    If I’m first on the scene then yes I would stop, If the crash is behind me then no I keep going.

  • MikeP

    Good points! There is also the consideration that stopping in some occasions can actually cause greater risk to others. The video in question showed your mate just managing to skirt round the carnage and pop out the other side. Were he/she then to hit the brakes and try to pull up and help, this may have caused more people behind to crash! It may not have, but if you are immediately behind the crash there are often a lot of people with momentum behind you, just waiting to add to the pile.

    There are a lot of split second decisions to make and the adrenalin is usually flowing at the same time. Your own split-second judgement of the situation and experience of previous crashes are the only things you can really rely on!

  • Dylan Nicholson

    If it’d been you that had come off just behind another rider that you know must have heard the crash, how would you feel about them not stopping for you? I’m assuming there weren’t other people around to help – if there were then I don’t think there’s an issue (as was the case with the video in question). But if not, then nobody is going to think less of you for pulling out of a race to help another rider even if it means giving up a likely win – in fact, quite the opposite. And one day, who knows, somebody who witnesses you come off and trash your bike but remembers you as that guy who gave up a medal to help another rider will stop for you and lend you his to finish on…

    • donncha

      Lucas Euser

  • Holby City

    A girl crashed in front of me at the Deans Marsh turnoff near the witches hats but I didn’t stop. A team mate of hers did a u-turn so it made me feel better. She ended up finishing with a great time. It’s a tough one but in a race or organised gran fondo you expect that medical attention wouldn’t be far away.

  • jules

    if you’re in a car, you should honk your horn in frustration at the delay caused by the crash and abuse the injured driver/rider as you go past – slowly, to get a good look :)

    • Anon N + 1

      This response applies to several of the other comments in addition to this one, but this one sets up my reaction nicely. My question to you, sir, is this: How can you evaluate the seriousness of the risk to the fallen individual without stopping? Superficially, a quite serious injuries may be indistinguishable from a minor one.

      • jules

        in my experience – sliding crashes = skin removal, while tumbling/impact crashes = possibility of more serious injuries. the crash in the video (now removed) fell in the latter category, but I was talking generally.

        • Abdu

          I rode past him lying under a blanket, not cactus but didn’t look great.

          • jules

            he’s probably reading this, thinking “you bastards just rode on” :)

  • Wish I was on the bike…

    Interesting post Wade. In the bunch i ride with we have a dr and a lawyer and we joke about which would most useful in the instance of a crash.

    When you refer to ‘someones mistake’ this introduces the concept of blame. Im not sure this is relevant.

    A question you allude to is whether or not you can help. This may be a more useful consideration when faced with this difficult decision. Hard for drs toono doubt. Great article, thanks.

  • Andy Logan

    My view has always been:

    Race: don’t stop, that’s racing and that’s how it goes.

    Bunch Ride: stop

    Sportif: if you are in the group the accident happened in, then you probably consider stopping. Helping out till medical get onsite and carry on. At the end of the day I get the event is important, but helping someone else is of more importance.

    If you could across a crash from the group in front and people are attending you can probably go on.

    That’s how I see it, personally. At the end of the day, the event will happen next year, so what you lose three minutes or whatever that in the scheme of things isn’t important.

    • Art Wetherall

      Lucas Euser stayed with Taylor Phinney. I understand he came off too, so it’s not exactly the same, but he stayed with him when he could have continued. It was the right thing to do.

  • roklando

    I think we have the moral obligation to help someone in need, period. Whether it’s an accident or many other situations and we do it because we care for others in our community and because one day it will be us on the pavement. During races this may change, I agree, as crashing is part and parcel and, ideally those eventualities are planned for by the organizers. However, participating in a gran fondo (certainly not a race despite what anyone says), no matter how hard you’ve trained, or how many hundreds of dollars you’ve paid does not constitute an excuse to just keep going and hope everyone is OK so you can post a time 25 seconds faster.

    • MikeP

      This was a crash in an age group bunch, not a speed group bunch. When your time across the line grants you access to higher level events, there is a full timing system in place, riders have numbers AND there is prize money for the winners, that most certainly consitiutes a race.

      So yep, the age group starts are certainly a race.

      • roklando

        Ok Lets say it’s a race. But Seriously. How many people of the thousands (5,000?) registered for the AGF are actually in it for the win or that UCI thing? 25? 50? As far as I can tell the other 4,950 riders can and should stop if they witness an accident. If they are all racers I’m sure they can push out those watts up the road and make up the 1.5 minute they lost helping

        • MikeP

          Well when it’s a race, you typically enter win some sort of ambition to win. Obviously everyone can’t win and some riders stand a much better chance than others, but there is ambition in a lot of riders. Even if you don’t stand a chance of winning, there is ambition to achieve a smaller goal – say, qualification. This is the case with ANY race – otherwise there’s no point in starting, you might as well just give your money to the person who is most likely to win…

          Further, your statements are showing us that you clearly don’t race, because once you are dropped from the main bunch you have to put in much more effort than people riding in the bunch to catch back on. Terrain aside, it’s basically a case of once you are dropped, you are dropped and your race is over. There aren’t many riders around who can be dropped from the main bunch, then TT back onto the bunch by themselves. In the victorian race scene, I can probably count them on two hands.

          Now, I would actually estimate that 50-75% of each age group bunch is there to race. That would add up to around 800-1200 riders on the road who are racing across all age groups… a lot more than 25-50 riders for sure!

          Finally, the concept of 4,950 riders stopping is ludicrous. It takes (at most) 5 people to attend to a one-person medical situation. Keep in mind that adding more people to this number actually inhibits care of the patient.

          You stated originally that you understand not stopping if it’s an organised race, but that doesn’t seem to be the case – as this is exactly what it is! Crashes happen in racing and if you ride in a fast bunch ride or race, you should be prepared for this eventuality.

          • roklando

            I have raced and still do so, and not just bikes, hell I even rowed for my college (although since moving to Australia 2.5 years ago I’ve mostly done MTB gigs for some reason) so I fully understand the mechanics and the motivations behind it, my comment about catching up was meant sarcastically. Having said that yes, we all want to do well, we all want to beat the person in front of us to the line, we all want to have that satisfaction, but we have to take into account the context in which we are.

            My point is simple, so maybe I was not clear in the first post.

            I just find it difficult to understand why in an event like AGF – an amateur, family oriented, open to everyone event, not the NRS – a rider (obviously not 4000 of them all at once) who witnesses an accident will not stop because doing so will be the difference between placing, say 85th and 98th in their age category, which is probably the case for most participants. Even assuming 70% of them are “racing”. Clearly – to me at least – there is not much at stake for the rider and perhaps a lot more for the dude lying on the road. So stop and check.

            That, or maybe I am just not competitive enough.

  • Eddie

    In my opinion, not stopping for the accident, or at least making sure that the victims have some assistance is simply selfish. In a pro race, it is a bit more acceptable since there is medical assistance pretty immediately available, and other riders stopping to help may only complicate things. however, in a sportif or a gran fondo, you don’t know when medical assistance is going to arrive, and just rolling on by pretending like you’re in a pro race, or worrying about your own results is really selfish. sure, you shouldn’t slam on the brakes and cause more of an accident, but slowing and returning to check that everyone is ok is what it is to be human, and to build community, which is what most people who ride enjoy about the sport. all that being said, it is also understood that people don’t always stop to render help. the phenomenon is called the bystander effect https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bystander_effect not to say that this is a good thing, it just is the way that it is. knowing this, however, makes it all that more important to make sure that we treat our fellow riders with more respect as human beings, not just one less person you have to worry about beating. you talk about all of the training hours and perhaps dollars spent for a result in the event, but i just don’t see how any amount of that investment justifies not making sure that crash victims have help.

    • Annie.

      Over here, you even have the legal obligation to help and can be held liable if you don’t.

      When my dad had a horrible car accident last year (frontal crash of 2 cars), a long line of cars built quickly on both sides of the road. Nevertheless, nobody got out of the car to help. Several even turned their cars and drove away.

      Finally, it was a truck driver and the driver of a garbage truck who arrived at the line of cars and who both had to run a long way past standing cars to get to the accident. Both driveres involved in the accident were trapped, my dad and the woman in the other car. He was consciousless were her car (a Mercedes, by the way) had automatically locked and caught fire.

      When first one, later the 2nd guy started to get those two out of the cars, suddenly bystanders came and filmed the action with their phones. When the lorry driver requested a person to help him try to get the door of the burning car open, this guy (as well as another one after that) actively refused to help pointing out he were busy filming.

      Afterwards, it was impossible to find out who those people were.

      Help! – Even if it’s about using your phone to actually call the ambulance, keep bystanders away, tell people they’re not alone or the ambulance how to get to were it needs to get to. There’s nearly always sth. one could do without getting in the way ( a common proof of that being a problem is the famous “Gaffer-Stau” = bystander traffic jam).

  • Michele

    Thanks for sharing that Wade.

    At last year’s event we came across a guy who was in cardiac arrest. He was being treated by a small group of riders (2 or 3) – one of whom had medical experience (may had even been a nurse).

    The ambulance had been called. Those assisting said they expected it to be there in 5-10 minutes.

    We asked if we could assist in any way. They said no. Interesting, no one else stopped to ask in the 2-3 minutes we were there.

    My mate suggested we continue, and we did. But a couple of kms later up Skenes Creek hill, as we could hear the emergency vehicle siren, I was still wondering whether I could’ve / should’ve helped.

    I resolved to do a first aid course through work – and here I am 12 months later and still haven’t done so.

    • CC

      I recall reading about “Deferred accountability”, eg..if you’re at a scene and by yourself – you have a self imposed accountability to safe guard the injured person best interests.. but as the numbers of the crowd grows that accountability disperses to the point where no-one takes it on.. until someone finally recognises the insanity of the situation. I can’t recall, and others can better advise if our legal system follows a similar thread, where if you’re the only person on the scene you have to step it up..

      • Michele

        That’s a good point re: deferred accountability.

        One thing I would say, the lady who was in control of the situation we rode across was amazing. She was composed, talking to the fallen rider with a reassuring voice – no sound of panic at all. And she was very articulate with us, despite the fact the person she was treating had already started to go purplish in the face.

    • Dave

      Something I noticed which was positive when Adam Carpenter had his CA during Amy’s Ride SA a couple of years ago was that the guy treating him (RAH trauma head Dr Bill Griggs was a few wheels back from him) organised a couple of people to be waving on other cyclists.

      One of the main purposes of First Aid is to keep people calm and doing something moderately useful instead of panicking.

      • Michele

        I remember reading about that.

        Good point.

  • Angus Harris

    After doing my 3rd Amy I’m potentially not going to do it again. I feel the event has lost its way. There is a real confusion between is the event a gran fondo or a race.

    Its getting more and more dangerous every year as they are letting more and more inexperienced riders join a race on a very tricky piece of road.
    I’d happily race all day on the ocean road with 150 experienced racers but with up to 400 cowboys its just one big disaster waiting to happen.
    I fear that one year they will get some rain and there will be a very serious accident.

    Maybe only letting licensed riders go in the qualifying races would help. Then everyone else goes in the gran fondo behind.

    • Michele

      I understand where you’re coming from.

      For the record, I don’t race and hence don’t have a license.

      When we ride, we deliberately put ourselves in a slow group so we don’t get in anyone’s way. (I’d average 25-27 km/h for the event).

      I did the event last year, after doing the first 2. It definitely did have a different feel to it in 2014

    • inopinatus

      I’ve done all five and it’s never been any different. A gran fondo is a sportive which simply is a type of race. It’s timed, with prize money, a police escort, closed roads, UCI commissaires, moto scouts, a podium, finish-line commentary, and qualifying for a world championship; heck, it’s more of a race than most other amateur racing.

      • Michele

        I agree with the point .. it’s more of a race than most other amateur races ..

        And that’s my issue. I don’t race, but like to think I can handle myself on a bike. I do a fair bit of bunch riding; enough to know my limitations.

        Each time I’ve done this GF, my group have deliberately been in one of the last ‘pens’ to ride off. We’ve cruised along the Great Ocean rode, enjoyed the view, and kept out of everyone’s way. No one overtakes us, but we find ourselves overtaking others.

        By the time we get to the top of Skenes Creek road – again not pushing ourselves too hard, I’m amazed to see the calibre of cyclist we’re passing. These are riders who have obviously gone out far too hard and are already spent. I’ve seen riders cramped up and just fall over on their bikes. And the etiquette of some of these riders also leave a lot to be desired.

        I would hate to think these riders have perhaps overestimated their abilities and gone off in a group that is too fast for them. I wouldn’t like to be riding with them along Great Ocean road when it’s more congested.

        BTW – my comment about 2014 GF feeling different to the first 2 I rode was more directed at the organisational side of things.

        • jules

          part of that is just inexperience and lack of knowledge of etiquette and where they fit in, pacewise. there’s a delicate balance between making these events open to all cyclists, and ensuring inexperienced riders are not a danger to themselves and others. having said that, some people are just dickheads and push to the front of the startline, because they can.

          • Michele

            A couple of years ago I rode with a guy who knew of a group that were doing Amy’s ride for the first time.

            This group was relatively new to cycling – in fact had never done a 100+ km mass participation ride before. They were concerned they wouldn’t finish in the allocated time. So they put themselves up front to maximise the amount of time available to them to complete the course.

            That is just wrong.

            • jules

              gran fondo sandbaggers :)

          • inopinatus

            In bike racing we have handicappers who simply won’t place you in A grade until you have the strength and handling to survive it. Perhaps it is time for Gran Fondo organisers to start policing ability.

            I believe most riders will self-select into an appropriate group – thus leaving only a need to manage exceptions. E.g. “first gran fondo”, “never raced” etc would be red flags.

            Similarly, the Alpine Classic won’t let you attempt the ACE250/320 without first completing an AAC200 or equivalent.

            Unfortunately the AGF have handed operations over to SuperSprint and the quality of organisation was noticeably poorer this time around, so I have little hope of improvement.

            • Constructive Criticism

              Makes sense there is different management this year for the race operations, I’ll be honest and say I saw several areas where there were accidents waiting to happen. A post-event wrap up with the AGF should be noting lots of these issues to Super Sprint. I would think SS want to up their game on safety, a lot.

              1. More riders = more risk. As above, pre-qualifying (even on a tick box) seems a good start. My Hubbard bunch self selected to the mid/back position because we know sitting on the front then getting mown down is no good for anyone. Age groups are very widely spread in ability & fitness, but all lumped together. How is a first timer supposed to know.
              2. Consider better policing amongst riders in the first section before Skenes (moto’s or even riders can work to slow people too keen for their own abilities).
              3. Aid station at the end of the fast downhill section after Forest? Dumb idea. Tired wobbly punters sit up before they pull over, while those behind plough on through. Only luck meant no crashes that I saw.
              4. Physically move finishers out of the way. Move the food tables well down the road. Don’t park an ambulance there either. The road immediately after the finish line was a disgrace.

        • CC

          hmmm… 3 peaks, falls creek descent, crazy.

    • Dave

      The whole Amy Gillett Foundation has lost its way, and this Gran Fondo is a big part of it. Time for the senior ranks of the foundation to get replaced with some stronger leadership who will stay focused on the core stuff and not get distracted by other things.

      I agree that the race/s and recreational ride should be separate, but there’s nothing stopping them happening at separate times on the same day. The TDU public event and the RideLondon 100 work by running the recreational ride before the race on the same day, with the attraction being you can watch the latter stages of the race once you’re finished.

      • Peta Mullens

        To see 6000 people celebrating cycling and sharing the message of road safety was pretty sweet. And to say Tracey Gaudry should be ‘out the door’ is quite insulting, its a shame you see it that way. She’s an amazing woman.

        The ‘race’ and ‘recreation’ are run as separately as possible considering the large nature of the road closures. The Women’s NRS kicks off at 7:30am, the ‘race’ at 8:30 with the age groups followed by the ‘recreation’ based on self-seeded speed and eventually the Medio Fondo. The format changed in 2014 due to UCI regulations which they must abide by for it to be a selection race for the Amateur World Champs. If the racers went last, then no doubt they would catch the tail end of the field and that would be even more dangerous. It’s inevitable there will be a crash at some point. They say it’s not about if you crash, but when.. such is the nature of our sport.

    • JCJordan

      How has it lost its way, it is and always has been a race. Having done all 5 and have enjoyed every one but do agree that the number of less skilled riders have started to work their way into the front of the bunches.

    • Jimmy Millers

      Could not agree more. This was my 3rd year racing at Amy I found the riders were a lot more inexperienced and I was very nervous around riders who were just not holding their lines around corners and braking really hard when they could have just let it go a bit. I saw that guy lying on the ground covered in a silver blanket and another guy getting resuscitated up the first climb with 3 guys around him, one performing chest compression and another rider with grey hair stopping, I assume he could have been a doctor. I am glad to read that the first rider is ok and have heard from my wife that the guy who had a heart attack is doing ok as well. It was a bloody tough day in he saddle!

  • Daniel Frawley

    I was unlucky enough to be involved in this crash on Sunday, but lucky enough to unclip and stay upright. Kudos to the quick thinking of the others involved in the crash to make sure everyone was ok – especially the guy who looked after the concussed rider – and to warn the oncoming peletons and call for assistance. There were plenty of people at the site who had things under control and looked after the wellbeing of those involved. Hope those who were injured are ok!

  • AlexXSmith

    I would ALWAYS make sure everyone was being attended too, then move on only if medical help was being properly given. I’m not a real doctor, but I do have basic emergency training. A human life is not worth a token prize.

    • jules

      it’s funny you mention that, because we obsess over whether riders with no medical training should stop, but the state of emergency health care is atrocious. governments trim as much budget from it as they can, leaving it running on a shoe-string. improving that would make a much bigger difference.

      • Phil Hall

        “(T)he state of emergency health care is atrocious, governments trim as much from it as they can, leaving it running on a shoe string. improving that would make a much bigger difference”. Maybe you should have a chat with some of your more left wing friends about it. I’m, sure they’d be delighted to explain the political economy behind it and what you could do to help change.

        • jules

          they said ditch Tony Abbott, so I’ll wait and see..

          • Dave

            The irony being that he was actually a pretty darn good Minister for Health back in the Howard years.

            • jules

              I just made that up anyway :)

              • Dave


  • Cam

    If I had crashed I would have expected the other 6,000 riders to stop and individually check that I was ok…

    • Michele

      Assuming you were leading of course :)

      • Cam


  • JK

    Cycling, and events like this in particular, have a unique problem where you have a mix of hardcore racers with your weekend warriors and everything in between lining up without any real vetting as to skill.

    Your average punter doing laps of the tan isn’t going to be lining up on the first row for the Melbourne Marathon….but in the age categories of the AGF this is effectively what’s happening. Indeed, cycling seems to carry with it the illusion that we can all “be pro” (I am guilty of this belief myself…namely with a good tailwind, downhill…).

    My view is – if its a race (which I understand a Gran Fondo by definition is) then you need a licence and to fill out a grading form.

  • Rosco

    I always stop to triage at every crash I see.

    For me its because I know I am reasonably likely to be the most qualified person on the scene first up. I work in healthcare and have a reasonable idea what to do in first aid situations.
    I couldnt bring myself to ride past a crash or ignore one behind me and potentially leave a badly injured rider in the hands of someone without a first aid certificate.
    Once upon a time I went for 7 weeks without finishing a Sandown crit due to providing first aid in crashes.

    If I didnt have any training though, I imagine my outlook may be different.

  • ceedee

    Best to stop. Just in case the person that crash has are a very particular set of skills. Skills that have been acquired over a very long career.

    • jules

      Agreed. It doesn’t hurt to stop and ask. If they don’t have skills, just ride on.

      What? :)

      • Michele

        Makes sense ….

        It’s so hard to find a good blacksmith now days …

        So yeah it doesn’t hurt to ask.

        As I’m riding up to a stricken rider I ask them what their occupation is. Pending their response, I will then ask them if they are in pain and need assistance.

    • Dave

      Nunchuck skills?


    • Cam

      Natural healing skills?

      • DavidS

        No offence to Mr Wallace intended here, but when I first started reading his site so many years ago, it was the editorial content I focussed on. These days, despite that content being really excellent, I scan that quickly so that I can get to the comments section. Another day, another series of sharp, incisive, humorous responses…

        • Michele

          I think in general the readership of CT is excellent.

          As you say, the articles are always good. Have loved coming here for years.

          But, by in large, I too really enjoy the comments left by CT’s readers. I don’t always agree – but it’s amazing how getting someone else’s perspective on a story, social issue like this, really opens my eyes.

        • I sometimes skip right to the comments too!

          • jules

            you don’t re-read your articles? ;)

  • Anon N + 1

    Just after reading this piece, I read the teaser for the piece about the Wiggle Amy’s Gran Fondo a little further down the page. I quote

    “More than 5,750 cyclists swarmed over the Great Ocean Road on Sunday – ALL WITH THE SAME CAUSE IN MIND: CYCLING SAFETY [emphasis added]. The record field assembling for the fifth edition of the Wiggle Amy’s Gran Fondo . . . .”

    It seems to me that Mr. Wallace’s article makes it clear that he forgot what the event was about and so have the vast majority of the people commenting here. I agree with one of the commenters above (below?) who suggested that if all had kept the purpose of the event in mind, all 6000 would have of course stopped to see whether the downed ride was in need of additional assistance.

    Events such as this Gran Fondo should emphasise that “It is not a race.” Timing chips and other controls should be used only to ensure everyone is accounted for at the end, not to provide each individual with a personal time. Times should not be easily available to participants. Time yourself for yourself. You can share you time with your friends but the time of the fastest person around the course should not be publicly available. Prizes, if any, should be for non-time related factors such as youngest rider, oldest rider, most outrageous kit, raised the most money for the charity involved, etc. As I remember it, that’s how the Enduro around Lake Taupo in NZ and the ride open to the public at the Tour Down Under were organised.

    • Michele

      Anon … Have you ridden it? Not sure if you know all the details about the event?

      No matter which way you look at it, it is a race. The organisers make it a race. That’s why it’s called a Gran Fondo.

      The home page has a ‘Race Results’ section.


      • Anon N + 1

        Michele, no I haven’t taken part in the event in part because I live thousands of kilometers away. I have only ridden events such as Taupo and the Tour Down Under public events that are clearly labelled “not a race.” (They are also thousands of km away, but I made a special effort. The guys at the airports in Sydney and Aukland checked my tires for dirt. There is, of course, a race associated with the TDU, but that is kept separate from the public event. As I recall, there are also a couple of races associated with the Taupo event but a license is required to participate and the event I rode and the race are at completely different times of day.) In my opinion, it is madness to create a situation where people who think it is a race are sharing the road with people who think it is recreational ride. (Even worse would be for recreational riders who think they are racing to be on the road with experienced racers.) If that is what has happened at Wiggle Amy’s Gran Fondo, the organisers have been negligent. How can anything with 5750 people involved be reasonably managed as a race? Rather, the recreational aspect and the race aspect must be kept distinct, as at the TDU (recreational start early, pros start later, slow recreational riders pulled off the road before the pro catch them) or the racers start early and finish early with all their podium brouhaha finished by the time the last recreational rides straggle in.

        So in the end, I think those who call for changes in the organization/structure of the Wiggle Amy’s Gran Fondo are correct.

        • Dave

          Before I got interested in cycling on any level other than going to/from the train station, I was involved as a volunteer marshal with the motorsport community including doing some national-level meets.

          Coming from motorsport into cycling, the level of disorganisation I’ve seen in cycling is staggering. I’m amazed that there are not more deaths in cycling events, the organisers are clearly riding their luck hard.

        • Michele

          Good comment. It sums up why I’m not sure about whether I’d do Amy’s again – although the route is stunning.

          Customs are funny with bikes.

          I did Flanders and P-R sportives a few years ago (neither were races/timed and were great).

          Didn’t even think of washing my bike – was caked in dirt. Customs om my return seemed more concerned with my tools then fact I literally had manure on my bottom bracket.

          • Superpilot

            For someone who likes to keep out of others way, you have done some awesome rides! Those are bucket list material for me.

            • Michele

              I recommend you definitely try and do them.

              It was a rush job. Spent just over 2 weeks in Holland/Belgium. Rode from Amsterdam, stayed at Ghent for a week – did the sportive [super tough] and did a couple of day rides to take in other climbs [like the Muur].

              Then rode to Lille, did that sportive, went to the velodrome the next day and saw Sep beaten in the a sprint by Fabian. Great weekend. Loved the cobbles.

              Both Sportives are great. You are tagged [I think you’re timed], but essentially you can head off from the start line anytime from 6 am to 8 am. There’s no mad rush. There was a little congestion initially for Flanders – nearly impossible to get up the Koppenberg because of the bodies. [We did it later in the week when we tackled the Muur.].

              If you can find a couple of mates to do it with, the whole trip isn’t too expensive [we stayed in backpackers]. Even the entry fees were cheap 30-40 Euro for each ride. And hot waffles at the food stops!

          • jules

            I walked Kokoda with a few others, a while back. we all landed at Cairns airport. all but one of us declared bushwalking and had our stuff inspected by customs – we’d cleaned it. one smart arse decided to try his luck, just cos he was like that. the beagle wasn’t impressed. Customs were on their game.

            • Michele

              Kokoda .. that would’ve been an experience.

              I totally forgot about the dirty bike until filling out my customs card. Declared the bike – thought they might take it away for a spray / quarantine, but they didn;’t seem to care. That was despite telling them that 2 days ago I was riding over poo covered cobbles.

    • Dave

      Excellent post.

      There are two problems here:

      1. That a Gran Fondo is an amateur race and a recreational ride run at the same time. There’s no problem running them on the same day but at separate times on the road (like the TDU public event, RideLondon 100 etc) and with each being done properly. That means the race is run properly (proper licensing, limited field sizes in each category) and the recreational ride is run properly with full attention to rider safety, and there is a Chinese wall between them instead of just a different box to tick on the entry form.

      2. The AGF has lost its way a bit, they are doing way too much stuff which is not related to their core business of advocating for cyclist safety. The foundation was not served well by Tracey Gaudry’s leadership while too much of her attention was taken up by her Cycling Australia and UCI roles, hopefully now that she is out the door it can get back on track – starting by getting out of being a race organiser.

      • Michele

        Some good points there Dave.

      • With regards to your point #2, I’d have to disagree. Before Amy’s Gran Fondo, the AGF had no voice in the “competitive” cycling community. With this event, the foundation has the interest of and is able to communicate with thousands of cyclists they wouldn’t have before. This event is also an important fund raising vehicle for them. This allows them to do their good work the other 364 days a year.

        • Dave

          Thanks for so perfectly illustrating my point.

          Time to get back to lobbying for road rule improvements instead of dallying around with non-core fluff.

          Does anyone know if Dennis and Mary Safe attended this year? I heard that they didn’t bother last year.

    • I think one of the biggest misunderstandings about Amy’s Gran Fondo is that if you line up in one of the age categories, it is in fact a race. The problem is that not everyone is required to have a race license.

      • Shiffon

        After reading through the comments I am so damn confused about the race/not a race arguments!!
        So it’s a race if your in an age-group category as well as a non-racing timed sportif for regular Jo and Josephine up the back?? How odd to have it organised like that!

    • Superpilot

      Wrong on Taupo sorry. It is a timed event, among which many covet a sub-5hr result. I have seen some truly harrowing etiquette on this ride. Bunches of 50+ across both sides of road on a blind corner. Yuck!

      IMHO, if there is timing, there will be people racing it, whether you call it a race, fondo, sportive, fun ride, safety ride, it is human nature and people just can’t help themselves. And if there is timing, many people won’t stop for crashes.

  • AnonTroll

    Crashes in a race are great, hopefully it will hinder your rivals. Better yet take them out for weeks, if not months.

    Also this is a great time to attack. Bonus points for causing the crash, then attacking.

  • bigstu_

    Ask yourself why you don’t stop. If you are true to yourself the only answers are: 1. Foolish pride and 2. Fragile ego. If you aren’t in a pro-race and there to put bread on the table then there is no debate, stop unless you are positive that enough, competent, assistance is already in attendance. Whatever the justification, nothing surpasses the preservation of human life. THAT SIMPLE. You might think you have seen a simple stack like one you’ve seen (or been in) dozens of times before but on this occasion the other mug has swallowed their tongue or burst a blood vessel. They die, or suffer an ABI, because you were worried about adding an extra few minutes to your average time. Stopping is better than living the rest of your life knowing that you won ‘that’ race where a guy died because no-one got to him in time. Do you really think history will remember whether or not you won some ‘nothing’ amateur race or fondo? Our country was built on the backs of Anzacs that looked out for their mates – even the ones they didn’t know. If you think that racing is war, then those around you are brothers in arms because of your shared pain in training. Grow a pair and look after your mates – even those you don’t know. Wade you are brave to raise this topic as honestly as you have.

    • Michele

      Only 2 reasons we don’t is because:

      1. Foolish pride
      2. Ego

      No debate.

      Then, you immediately introduce a third reason why:
      3. There’s already enough, competent, assistance already in attendance

      • bigstu_

        Thanks for the English lesson champ. I think the point was made pretty clearly – that I would show class and check someone was ok. Even you.

        • Michele

          Sorry .. I obviously worded my comment wrongly.

          I agree with you – there’s probably only 3 reasons I could think of for why someone might not stop.

          Didn’t mean any malice / sarcasm in my comment.

          I’m the last one to be handing out lessons in English :-)

          • bigstu_

            ? Enjoy the ride. ?

            • Michele

              Spot on.

  • Dave

    Compare this debate to the way that it works in rallying. If you are in the first few cars to come across a crash you must stop, and there’s simply no question about it. There is a clearly understood code and it works.

    The end point of so many of these debates when it comes to rider safety or other aspects of race organisation is that cycling is an amateur sport run by amateurs – remember that professionalism is nothing to do with money and everything to do with the elimination of errors.
    For a quick recap, in the last six months alone we’ve had…
    – riders risking their lives running a level crossing in Paris-Roubaix
    – riders colliding with bollards and non-standard barrier feet
    – single barrier lines causing rider/spectator collisions during sprints despite the 2013 recommendation for double barrier lines
    – riders dodging cows on the road during a high speed descent
    – a TTT on a beachside boardwalk
    – riders being directed the wrong way by event crews
    – a number of riders hit by support vehicles

    This sport is not professionally organised at any level!

  • ABC

    ‘Informational social influence’ explains the phenomena of people ignoring certain emergency situations.

  • ed

    we enter these events knowing the risks and all wanting to do well but if an accident happens then you should stop to make sure people are ok – the injuries may be serious & require immediate first aid or they could be at risk at being run over by a vehicle behind. if your opinion is really true that is a pretty awful attitude. i too have ridden past accidents but only when i can see that the person is being attended and the site is safe.
    i remember at the tour of bright a few years back on the tawonga gap some guy was lying on the ground – it looked awful. there were riders around him and you could hear an ambulance on the way – there was nothing more i could have done if i had stopped. to have ridden past if he was alone – well you have to start thinking about what sort of person you are and the set of values you have.
    i have just re-read your opinion piece and its not something you should be proud of. you obvioulsy didnt know your competitor in the breakaway so felt no empathy for him – i assume you would have stopped for a team mate or friend – even in a race. your last statement means nothing – of course everyone will be attended to at some time eventually – its about making sure the crashed rider is in no further danger or not requiring any immediate life saving first aid – by your own account from your breakaway story you did neither.

    • ed

      I should add even Lance stopped for Jan on the descent of the Peyresoude at the 2001 Tour when he missed a corner and went off into a ditch. Lance has always set the benchmark for moral compasses on and off the bike. I hate to say it CT but yours needs calibrating.

      • jules

        Lance wouldn’t have done that if he believe he was throwing the Tour win away. it was about not taking unfair advantage.

    • jules

      but racing is egotistical – it’s about burying yourself, giving it 100% to win. you tend to suspend your values in a race – particularly when you’re contending for a win. from a slightly different perspective – I was in a solo break in a race, it was wet and the course took in a corner where racers had to yield to traffic. I couldn’t see clearly around the corner, but there was a marshal with a flag. I yelled to the marshal – watched him – for signs of traffic. on his signal, I used the whole lane to take the corner, blindly, not slowing. is that sensible? no it is not – when you assess what’s really at stake. but you’re in the moment. it can’t be objectively justified, it’s just what you choose to do. so you’re probably right about the value in stopping for a crashed race competitor, but you’re not speaking from the perspective of someone who has to make that decision. the dilemma resembles that of Everest climbers, stepping over dying fellow climbers.

      • Shiffon

        Interesting that you mention Everest considering the movie about the 1996 disaster comes out today. Having read the two books about it by Krakauer’s and Boukreev, I gained a whole new perspective on what one should do in the face of extreme danger to oneself and others. A cycling accident can be exactly that, so it is difficult I think to sit back on our keyboards and say “yes, morally, we should help someone after a crash” when the circumstances of said crash are so varied and ultimately random. You won’t know the right thing to do until it happens. Maybe we should talk more about preparation for the aftermath of a crash e.g. Proper 1st aid training.

        • jules

          I’ve read Krakauer’s book on it but I can’t remember much of it now :)

          I think Boukreev’s was meant to be a bit self-serving, but I haven’t read it. but yes, it’s like anything, you need to understand the circumstances in detail before judging.

          • Shiffon

            You should read them back-to-back. Blows your mind! A fantastic study into representation in text (but I’m an English teacher so I get off on that sort of thing, lol!).

  • James

    As a racing regular in the UK I come across this quite a lot as well.

    I think the ethical decision most clearly rests on what help the injured need and who is best placed to provide it. If there were medics, commissaries of marshalls or bystanders I would ride on. They are as well or better placed than me to assist. If I was a trained medic/doctor I think my ethical decision would be different some of the time.

    Therefore in a race/event typically I would not anticipate stopping. However I have also seen serious crashes while training and there it is a bit different. In recent instances on a group ride we have a serious crash – we all stopped and waited for the police/ambulance. Notably in that case a bystander with recent medical training also stopped. Separately I saw a guy ride head down directly into the back of a parked police van at 40kph. We were right behind him – our shouting came too late and it looked serious. We avoided the incident and in rolling round saw the policemen and directed them to the cyclist 50 yards away. We then rode on (although that was a small loop so we went passed 6 or 7mins later and saw medics on the scene).

    I don’t think adding bodies to a group of helpers is necessary to fulfil your moral duties. However in the specific case of being in a break with 10k to go – if there was a serious accident with no-one around and the race convoy some way off (if indeed that was the situation) I think the case for stopping would be pretty high.

    • Dave

      “However in the specific case of being in a break with 10k to go – if there was a serious accident with no-one around and the race convoy some way off (if indeed that was the situation) I think the case for stopping would be pretty high.”

      Also in the case of someone going over an edge, guardrail or into a ditch – especially on a descent where a race breaks up into lots of small groups and not everyone is in sight of an official.

  • Tom

    It’s a race. People crash. Some die. It’s a risk we accept when we enter the race. Participants are not supposed to stop. They have corner workers that do that.

  • MoralTurpitudeAbounds

    When you didn’t stop to help your breakaway compatriot and presumably won the race, did you make it pro and live the life you envisioned tearing up the cobbled classics, off the back of that win? Are you racked by guilt for not stopping? I think you have a pretty concrete answer for whether you should have stopped…

  • TheAnsible

    In a race…. no. In a social event structured like an race…. maybe. On the trail or road….. yes.

  • Derek Maher

    In a real road race amatuer or pro if you are in front of the cavalcade then no you don’t stop.If off the back behind the cavalcade then you do stop if a crash victim is not being assisted or looks like medical aid is required.A real road race will have an ambulance attending usually well behind the cavalcade and its crew will be watching out for injured left behind riders.Plus they will have radio communication with race officials.
    With an event of 5000 plus riders.Well it would be crazy to let them all off in one bunch and call it a race as chaos would be certain.
    Oh and having a racing licence does not mean you are a super skilled rider,Just pay a countries cycling federation for one.Or even take out a one day road racing licence for the event .Which is usually fine for the average road race with perhaps 100 riders in a category.
    If riding in a fun event or Fondo then stop if no ones helping a downed rider.

  • chris

    If it is a group ride, yeah, I’ll stop to see if I can help in some way (call medics, family, whatever). If it is clear that the situation is under control, then move along. I guess that would apply to a fondo as well (never done one).
    If it is a race (sanctioned, not a “race ride”), you keep on moving. There will be officials or medics right behind that will be able to offer more help than I could.

  • Rupert Rivett

    It all depends on the situation, and there are so many different situations. Most of the time it is a case of carrying on if you are racing so not to cause more accidents by stopping, but like I say it all depends on the circumstances. With racing you’d expect that there would be a medic close by, fun events not so likely and someone might need to be called.
    But you are talking about a Gran Fondo not a race (is that right?) in that circumstance I would stop every time. There is a difference between racing and other types of cycling.

  • Notso Swift

    I have been the guy in the breakaway scenario above, only the other one

    Fastest sprinter by a mile, chain dropped 200mt out and went into then over the bars. My mate slowed and checked on me and the other bloke (who wheels sucked all day) ended up winning. Despite the hospital ride and extended recovery every time I saw Dave I said you should have beaten that arsehole
    Dave ended up riding in and getting the medical, which was more than he could do to help me anyway, just need to be pragmatic about these things

    • dcaspira

      I’d ride with Dave any day :)

  • Ritch

    I’d like to think that I’d stop if I could and the person needed help, but I don’t know if there’s enough room at the top of the moral high ground in this comment thread.

    • ABC


  • MattF

    “The Amy Gillett Foundation is a national organisation with a mission to reduce the incidence of serious injury and death of bike riders in Australia” – so says its website on the home page. I have come to the opinion after 4 consecutive participations in the Gran Fondo that organising a race for thousands of amateur cyclists is inconsistent with this ‘mission statement’. I will continue to support non-competitive events such as Amy’s Ride SA – to me the essence of spreading the message. Whilst it will probably be interpreted as a sexist remark, I see the introduction of the women’s semi pro 110km road race last year and both road race criterium this year as a good example of the event being hijacked by non-core business. The whole weekend is spiralling out of control.

    • Dave

      I wonder whether it could be more balanced to run the road races on the Saturday (to full road race rules, including maximum peleton size for each category’s race) and the GF on the Sunday. There’s still plenty of scope to have the criterium as additional entertainment.

      I would encourage you to write to Belinda Clark on this issue of focus – she’s just come in as the AGF interim CEO quite recently, well after planning for the event started – as I’ve already done as a long-time supporter of the foundation. Her background is as a cricketer* who played through a critical period of women’s cricket maturing and starting to professionalise, so she should have a good understanding of the need to stay on message when working on long-term goals.

      * Test average of 45.95, ODI average of 47.49 and the first cricketer of either gender to score a double century in a ODI – massive respect!

  • De Mac

    A lot of interesting comments here, for sure. I will stop if assistance is not already there and even when people are present, I ask if they are okay to handle things. Race, or not, if there is an injured fellow human being, people ought to ensure their welfare is being attended to. As for running the event over two days (as some have suggested), there is no way known road closures of the type undertaken here would be permitted – full stop. Even when NRS / WT multi-day events are run here, the race moves along, so road closures do not impact areas for more than a single day – often, it is only for a few hours. I had a couple of mates ride and qualify for World Amateur Champs next year, but having done a couple of Fondos now, I’m not all that keen to ride amongst riders with such variation in skill. No, not saying I’m a cracking rider, I am not; but there are many who do these rides who simply have no idea about groups / bunches – not to mention basic bike handling skills and they increase risk to the safety of others.


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