The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) announced this week, the publication of new guidelines regarding rider/vehicle safety in all road cycling events.
The guidelines, which lay-out new rules governing all drivers of a vehicle in a road cycling event with the aim of improving rider security at races, are the result of several months of work and consultation with experts. These guidelines have the support of the Security and Technical Regulations working group made up of the UCI, the Cyclistes Professionnels Associés (CPA), the Association Internationale des Groupes Cyclistes Professionnels (AIGCP) and the Association Internationale des Organisateurs de Courses Cyclistes (AIOCC), respectively representing the riders, teams and organisers.
This guidelines are comprised of written texts and explanatory diagrams that explain the guidelines for vehicle circulation in the race convoy, in other words the zone between the lead vehicle and the broom wagon. In particular, the guide covers:
On top of the directives for traffic, the guidelines also place emphasis on the rules of conduct to be followed at the wheel of a vehicle (good sense, concentration, respect and clear-headedness when making a decision, for example when considering overtaking).
With this reference document, the UCI and stakeholders call on the responsibility of each driver to protect the riders.
In 2016, the UCI established new stricter rules for anyone driving a vehicle in a race. Each driver, who must be in possession of a UCI license issued by a National Federation, must not only respect the UCI Regulation but also, from now on, the directives contained in the guidelines.
Under the new Regulation, anyone contravening the rules can be sent to the UCI Disciplinary Commission. Several cases are currently in progress.
Commissaires and Organizers can now use these guidelines to ensure that traffic at races moves smoothly. The guidelines are also an important education tool for training courses organized by National Federations.
At an international level and since 2013, the UCI has been organising training courses for drivers before UCI WorldTour events. This year, these courses began at the Santos Tour Down Under and the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. They will continue throughout the season. The dates and registration procedure for these courses for drivers will be communicated at a later date.
This ambitious program combining awareness, training and sanctions has the benefit of a reinforced UCI personnel. Since 2016, the International Federation has appointed a team of on-the-ground Technical Advisers made up of former professional riders Robbie Hunter and Thomas Rohregger as well as former rider and race director in the organisation of the Tour de France, Jean-François Pescheux.
These experienced Technical Advisers visit organisers of UCI WorldTour races to identify potential shortcomings in the organisation and security, and ensure necessary improvements are made before the event.
As well as the reinforcement of UCI resources and the rule changes made in 2016, the International Federation introduced an Extreme Weather Protocol, which was a major step forward for the safety of riders. It has been used on several occasions, most recently in 2017 at the Santos Tour Down Under and the Dubai Tour.
The UCI President Brian Cookson declared: “This Guide for vehicle circulation in a race is an important step forward which reflects the concrete efforts made by the UCI and all stakeholders to improve the safety of riders at competitions. I would like to acknowledge the constructive spirit shared by our Federation, the riders, teams, Commissaires and organisers during this in-depth work. We call on the drivers’ sense of responsibility to guarantee the safety of riders. This document backs up our Regulation, which was strengthened last year, and will serve as a reference for Commissaires and organisers as well as anyone working at a race. This Guide is proof of our determination to assume our responsibilities in the face of a capital issue: the security of our sport and our athletes.”
The President of the AIGCP Iwan Spekenbrink said: “The Guidelines for vehicle circulation in the race convoy is an easily accessible reference document that is useful for both experienced and less-experienced drivers. It is a much-appreciated initiative that is part of the growing professionalism of our sport over the last 10 years.”
Gianni Bugno, CPA President, declared: “The CPA is proud to have contributed to these directives and will continue to work on this guide alongside the UCI.”
Charly Mottet, General Secretary of the AIOCC, said: “The security and sporting fairness of a race are essential for the success and image of our events. The AIOCC is pleased to have contributed to the establishment of these guidelines, and invites drivers to share the road with good sense and respect for everyone.”
Jean-François Pescheux, former director of competitions in the organization of the Tour de France and UCI Technical Adviser, declared: “More than 40 years’ experience in the world of cycling has allowed me to pass on to a new generation the best practices and techniques for organizing a cycling event. This guide is anything but a revolution: let’s not re-invent what works well but simply harmonizes our working methods with the main objective of improving the safety of our events.”
Philippe Mariën, UCI International Commissaire and member of the UCI Security and Technical Regulations working group, said: “For Commissaires, the safety of riders, followers and the public as well as sporting fairness go hand in hand with cycling. Together with other players in our sport, our mission is to improve security. This guide is a fantastic opportunity for everyone to move in this same direction.”
Finally, UCI International Commissaire Randall Shafer declared: “There is a necessary overlap between the duties and responsibilities of Commissaires and Organisers in the safety and sporting management of cycling events. Together, the team that is created must be harmonious with agreed expectations and knowledge of each other’s roles and responsibilities. The UCI’s development of this guide is a giant step forward to elevate the safety and fairness of UCI road events around the world.”
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