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December 14, 2017
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December 11, 2017
  • Wily_Quixote

    Not again.

  • Dexter Deveau

    Cancel the event. This is ridiculous.

    • Marcus

      Out of interest, what would that achieve? His wife wants it to continue, and all those still racing are acutely aware of the risks (like most cyclists). Given it occurred in the first few hours it’s hardly due to excessive fatigue, just another terrible cycling accident.

    • Peter Galaxy1

      u may be right. Sure is sad for that riders family – wife too. Heart aches for them now.

    • Chuck6421

      And we should all just get off our bikes and put them away for good.

      Not me.

      • JK

        Not a chance.

    • Durian Rider

      @dexterdeveau:disqus You guys bombed the descent on the doi fast again this year despite what happened last year. A guy died yesterday on the doi taking risks.

      What is ridiculous is cyclists taking unnecesary risks bro. The reason I cancelled my event this year is because young guys like you refused to follow the rules and as a result put all our efforts at risk. I told you guys not to turn up but you still did and took risks on the downhills and put it up on youtube even. Sam destroyed our reputation for good sadly. That kid who died yesterday here was probably trying to mimic him.

  • Nitro

    Uncomfortably numb.

  • trentfolan

    Jesus Christ. How does has this happened at every major event this year? It is simultaneously numbing, shocking and rage inducing.

    I feel awful for all of the people and families involved in each incident.

    I cannot imagine anything worse. You’re stoked on this event that you’ve put hundreds of hours into and even more time being excited all to not return home after.

  • Josh

    What is so different about this year? 3 races, 3 people :(
    My condolences go out to all of the families

  • Myles Mc Corry

    Don’t blame the event. It is self supported so a terrible road accident . Condolence to his family. He did doing what he wanted- So went out a warrior. Rest in peace.

    • Ant

      yes but he had loved ones and they would want answers to the duty of care by organisers in staging the event. They have to take some responsibility at the least their lack of controls and monitoring rider fatigue.

      • ColtInn

        There is no lack of controls. Lacking implies something is missing that ought not be. The race conditions are the conditions, and entrants know them before setting off. With the incident occurring 82k from the start, race fatigue is probably not a factor.

    • Keir

      He’s not a warrior.

  • Robert

    A really tragic loss of life. I have read that the accident occurred at 3am and I can only assume a motor vehicle was involved. Is it time that these events were restricted to daylight hours, as the risk of riding at night increases the risk to competitors considerably? If all riders follow the same rules it is still a challenge, but just ignoring the risks of night time riding (particularly in the wee hours when motorists may not expect to find a bicycle out on a country road) doesn’t make sense to me.

    • The Ocelot

      A really tragic loss of life. I have read that the accident occurred at 3am and I can only assume a motor vehicle was involved. Is it time that these motor vehicles were restricted to daylight hours, as the risk of driving at night increases the risk to other road users considerably? If all drivers follow the same rules it is still an effective mode of transportation, but just ignoring the risks of night time driving (particularly in the wee hours when cyclists may not expect to find a car out on a country road) doesn’t make sense to me.

      • Sean

        That’s unlikely to ever happen. I’ve done 10’s of thousands of km in Belgium and have generally found it an extremely safe to ride.

        • Ant

          not this time.

        • Stompin

          ‘I’ve done 10’s of thousands of km in Belgium and have generally found it an extremely safe to ride.’
          At 3am?

          • Sean

            No not in the dark and not much time spent that far south.

  • Peter Galaxy1

    Darn sad news again. gotta be asking for trouble out on the roads at that hour though, in all truth. Morons will always drink n drive at that hour. Let alone the sober half asleep morons. Having ridden halfway across Australia solo I know all about the dangers out there and it isn’t worth it. So many drivers are now in vehicles that are so isolating and soft n gentle on their own little world that they become so ignorant of cyclists and so unaware of the reality of traffic noise. Amazing it happened in Europe where one imagines that road users are more attuned to cyclists at all hours. Doesn’t matter how many lights you put on yourself, it seems. RIP fellow rider.

    • Marc

      You do realize that most of the participants in those events fall in the category ‘sober half asleep morons’?

  • Ashok Captain

    Very sad news. Condolences to all his family.

  • SoCalMike

    RIP to this man and his family. Im 51yo and used to ride / train / race triathlons years ago here in southern California. I just got back into it last year and on a training ride was run into a street curb by a sideview mirror on a suv with blasting music. Car never stopped – probably never knew they hit me. I got rid of my road bike and only mountain bike now. I always knew the dangers of road riding years ago – but imho its much worse now with cell phones and distracted drivers and will only get worse until they figure out how to incapacitate phones whilst driving. I value my life more then my ego. Stay safe out there.

  • Oliver Reid

    Must be calls soon for a ‘no riding time’ for these events, say between 1am and 6am? Its not the only answer, but is reduction in risk.

  • Ant

    Sadly organisers will continue to put entrants at risk in these kind of events, because it comes down to which cyclist is the most bloody minded to go without rest and sleep in order to win – on public roads with an ever increasing traffic load and throw in lack of sleep and there you have it – not safe. Mike Hall was a classic example of this brutal approach by organisers allowing him to continue when he was having vision problems (couldn’t see from glare from road signs) and was reported by Kristoff as wobbling over the road in early am hours, 10 hours later he was dead.

    • Robert

      While I don’t think that fatigue was a factor in this case, I do agree with you that these kind of events do encourage risk taking. It all flies in the face of mountains of studies in to things like driver fatigue due to lack of sleep and cyclists are no different to motorists in this respect. To be able to win an endurance event like this you do have to push yourself not just physically on the bike, but mentally and try to overcome lack of sleep and general fatigue. It just increases the risk to a degree that you have to ask if it is worth it. I’m all for people challenging themselves, but I wouldn’t risk my life doing it. And this is from someone who has first hand experience of this having done Audax events up to 1200 kms over the years – so I know what those distances and fatigue can do to you. I don’t think it matters if the race is in a cycle friendly country like France or Belgium, or in Australia or Europe, it just takes a cyclist to be in the wrong place at the wrong time (eg, on a quiet country road where a motorist would normally never encounter a cyclist in the middle of the night) and the consequences can be tragic and life changing for that person’s family.

      • Marc

        I agree. One thing though, if the incident happened at 3am on Sunday morning, the event was underway for 29 hours. As of yet we don’t know what happened. The rider might have slept 12 out of those 29 hours, but also might have ridden for 29 hours straight. I wouldn’t rule out fatigue yet.

        • Marcus

          It was 3am on Saturday, hence he’d been riding for 5 hours, and not fatigue induced.

          • DaveRides

            If it happened at 3am, that he was only riding for five hours is not enough to rule out fatigue.

            For a start, we have no idea what he was doing before the start.

            Secondly, humans are diurnal and so the effect of a five hour ride at night will be quite different to a five hour ride during the day.

            Nobody is at their best at 3am, even if they have only just got up and headed out. This applies equally to cyclists and drivers.

  • jules

    has anyone compared the fatality rate for these events with just cycling in general? the riders clock up so many km that I wonder if general exposure to traffic is the key risk, rather than anything special about how they are riding?

    • Wily_Quixote

      Excellent point, Jules.

      There were 73 bicycle fatalities in Belgium in 2013 and Belgium has an average of 6.5 fatalities per million kms cycled.

      If the race covered 153, 000 kms you would expect a fatality (statistically). –

      In 2013 350 people doing 4000 km = 1, 400, 000 cumulative kms cycled.

      My maths could be dodgy here (I am not a statistician) but this makes this fatality completely statistically likely and not an outlier.


      • jules

        great analysis Wily. thanks for that – puts a whole new perspective on it.

      • Geoff

        There is another angle to consider – fatalities in other cycling events especially grand fondo mass participation events? – For instance, this year there was a death in the Prudential Ridelondon event (cardiac arrest). When I lived in South Africa, deaths were not unheard of in the Cape Town Cycle Tour (usually cardiac arrests – unfit people pushing too hard), and there were often some crazy crashes as well – I guess that’s what happens when you put 35000 participants in a timed event (even with full road closures). Where do we draw the line between what is an acceptable risk and what isn’t? It’s a challenging discussion.

        • Wily_Quixote

          Yep, I suppose it comes down to the risk assessment that the event organisers produce and how they articulate that risk to participants.

          So long as you are aware that any activity has risks that are quantified then it is up to the participant to judge, I suppose, whether the activity is a gran fondo or a mountaineering expedition.

          Which means that the line belongs to the participants – so long as event organisers do what is reasonable to mitigate the risk.

  • toffee

    These accidents will continue to occur. Events like these are asking people to push through extremes, in an uncontrolled environment. I’d have to say these types of events need to have a big rethink.

    • jules

      it’s unclear to what extent the riders pushing themselves through extremes has contributed to collisions/fatalities

      • Steel

        That’s one way of looking at it.

        Here’s another:

        As you’re aware, driver law in Australia mandates a rest break every 4 and bit hours, with a maximum amount of driving in a day – I think 14 in most states.

        Add in to that the fact that rider’s bodies get depleted from the energy output vs food intake, and then the impacts of weather and road vibration – heat, cold, dehydration, noise, vibration all reduce cognitive performance. Based on that you’d reckon the amount of riding they should do each day should be much less than a truck driver? But this is just a bit of educated guess work on my behalf.

        Do you know how much riding each rider does each day, and what guidance the race orgnanisers put in place?

        I don’t actually know, and I’m not trying to jump to outrage, but prima-facie it looks like it is not a particularly safe environment to me.

        • jules

          it’s not safe. I think that’s pretty clear. but the cognitive demands on cyclists navigating rural roads with minimal numbers of intersections are pretty small, compared to say CBD commuting.

          I’m unaware of any rule prescribing 4 hr rest breaks for drivers?

          • Steel

            I meant that you have to stop for 30 mins every 4 hours or so? I could look it up but can’t be bothered.

            Agree on risk in high traffic environment vs rural road. But consequence of mistake goes up on rural road.

            • jules

              agree on consequences. but stats clearly show that 8-9 / 10 car/cyclist collisions are the driver’s fault. in a general/societal sense, there is way too much bias in focusing on cyclists’ behaviour. obviously as a cyclist I am 100% focused on my behaviour, but at a systemic level that’s not where the focus needs to be, as much.

              it’s likely they were just hit by distracted drivers.

              • Robert

                I can see your thinking Jules and don’t disagree with it. But it all comes down to how do you minimise the risk for participants and return them home safely to their families at the end. It doesn’t matter who is to blame – cyclist or car – as that argument can just go around in circles forever. It is simply a matter of the organisers saying are we doing everything we can to ensure participants safety, bearing in mind of course the very act of riding a bike has an inherent danger in it.

                • jules

                  Robert – I understand your point. but the problem is, in a no-blame environment, cycling gets all the blame. because reducing cycling has the greatest safety benefits.

                  should 18 year old girls be allowed to go out in public and be > 0.01% BAC intoxicated? I’m pretty confident that the risk of sexual assault increases dramatically in that circumstance. we all agree on the need to eliminate the scourge of sexual assault. regulating the behaviour of young, inexperienced and intoxicated girls would be the most effective means.

                  not on your life. there would be outrage. this is the problem with ‘no blame’ approach to safety. it looks a lot like a blame approach.

            • HamishM

              There’s no such law in Victoria for cars. Maybe in other countries.

  • George Darroch

    These events should have minimum rest periods. I don’t care if they cycle every day for a month – heck, that’s the world’s most popular bike race, more or less – but that they’re pushing their bodies and minds past their limits is not something we should allow or endorse.

    • Geoff

      There is definitely a valid argument for minimum rest periods. Such a requirement may also make these kinds of events more challenging. Currently, in order to win, you have to be “crazy” enough to go almost without sleep. By enforcing minimum rest periods, you could also put victory within the sights of some very good athletes who are just not prepared to take the risk of going all out for 20 plus hours a day.
      The argument about whether organisers have a responsibility in this respect is a very challenging one. I don’t know that there is an easy one.
      What has been raised in this discussion is the fatigue experienced by the cyclists. Another factor, however, is that many of these crashes happen when the drivers involved are also “not at their best” – i.e. they are also likely to be fatigued late at night or early in the morning – this further puts the cyclists at risk.

      • Marc

        I do think organisers have such responsibility. Especially since these events are held on public roads. Those events not only put participants at risk, but other road users as well. To me that is unacceptable. Just as we should do everything to get drunk drivers of the road, so too don’t extremely fatigued riders suffering from fading vision, hallucinations, etcetera belong on public roads.

        I agree with compulsory rest periods during night time. If people still want to ride their bike 20+ hours a day, hire some closed circuit for two weeks and go and ride there.

    • Menso Malrapida

      Still, the accident occured after 82ks from the start ie what, three hours maybe? How can stress and fatigue he the issue here?

  • Keir

    If you are going to run these distance events there are going to have to be stricter controls. It is the elephant in the room that these events effectively facilitate people to become overtired and push themselves on public roads. There should be a start time and a finish time for the day so that actual sleeping can occur. It’s all very good to be singing their praises after they’re dead but there is no glory in being run down by a car.

    • Marcus

      Given in this case he’d been riding for all of 5 hours, surely this is all a moot point? Or should we have laws banning all riding in the dark, and no rides longer than a few hours? Using this case as a platform for arguing against such races is misinformed.

      • Keir

        Maybe in this case but the race encourages people to push themselves on public roads to the point of exhaustion and that is a fact so there is no misinformation at all. Like a lot of these types of events, it’s all good until something goes wrong and then the legal suits commence.

  • toffee

    I think its ok for people attempt such feats of endurance, but whether such challenges should be organised events is another issue. In this day and age, I don’t think an organised race can completely forgo any responsibility, especially when they are sponsored events.

    “Factors of self reliance, logistics, navigation and judgement burden racers’ minds as well as their physiques. The strongest excel and redefine what we think possible while many experienced riders target only a finish.”…. and some will get run over by a truck.

  • Harvey Kramer

    RIP ride for fun ride safely perhaps cycling community needs to rethink re-evaluate safety of day night endurance spectacles

December 14, 2017
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