Video: What happens when a sportive meets a road race coming the other way?

Heated words in Yorkshire as two events hit same stretch of road at same time

by Simon_MacMichael   May 20, 2014  

Yorkshire sportive versus road race YouTube still

What happens when a sportive meets a road race coming the other way? Some heated tempers, a bit of shouting, and the odd cyclist ignoring instructions, thereby putting themselves and other riders in danger, according to this video shot in North Yorkshire at the weekend.

With the Yorkshire Region Road Race Championship about to turn the corner from Saxton onto the A162 Tadcaster Road, one marshal can be seen stopping traffic to allow the race to pass safely.

But it’s the other marshal, out of camera, who has his hands full as some of the sportive riders ignore instructions to get off the road – one man in a green, blue and white striped Kelme kit putting himself in a position where he could have caused a serious crash.

The sportive those riders are taking part in appears to be the Cyclothon, organised by the Prince of Wales Hospice in Pontefract and with a route that took riders north along the A162 and past the Saxton turning.

It’s unclear how the two events came to be on the same road at the same time but it does appear that there was a breakdown in communication somewhere along the line.

Like the Yorkshire Region Road Race Championship, the sportive took place on Sunday 18 May and both events are listed on the British Cycling website.

It would not have been difficult for the respective organsiers to become aware of another event in the same area and liaise with each other to check there was no route conflict.

There have been similar incidents in the past – albeit not captured on video – a reflection of the growing popularity of both road racing and sportive riding, leading to growth in the number of events, although mechanisms are in place to avoid such conflict.

The road race was subject to a Traffic Regulation Order, allowing marshals to halt traffic, and which would have needed authorisation from police and the relevant local authorities, as outlined in British Cycling’s Road Race Organiser’s Guide.

The sportive organisers would also have needed to have notified such bodies of their plans, as well as checking for potential conflicts with other events. In its Cycle Sportive Event Guidelines, British Cycling says:

When choosing a route, consider any other events that are scheduled to be using the designated roads on that day. Examples include running, triathlon, village, or town based events, parades, etc as well as any other cycle events.

It is therefore recommended that the local authorities, highways and the Police are notified of any proposed events in the early planning stages, as they may also offer information of other planned events, which may not have been noticed, or are yet to be publicised. If route clashes are apparent it is the organiser’s responsibility to take the necessary measures to ensure their event can run safely and not unreasonably impact on local communities. A list of most cycle events can be found at British Cycling’s online events calendar and should be checked regularly across all disciplines for events on and around the proposed event day. This may be accessed from British Cycling encourages organisers to work together and agree alternative event days or a change of route being considered to avoid event conflict.


79 user comments

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That Kelme rider is a total idiot Rolling Eyes

Its Audax rides for me.

posted by SuperG [52 posts]
20th May 2014 - 15:41

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Statement from BC, RR was registered, Sportive wasn't, regulation needed.

posted by jssb [2 posts]
20th May 2014 - 15:41

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I rode that sportive.
The first I heard about the race was at a checkpoint a little further back down that road (there were three routes; 20+ 30ish and 60miles), and then saw them just after this turning as they sped past on the other side, but there was no mention at the start, so I'm guessing the organisers MIGHT not have known. The event gets police support with road closures at the start and St John's Ambulance. It's been running for years on that weekend in May. There's electronic timing, a wee arena back at Pontefract Race Course and warning signs along some stretches of the route.

There's no excuse for getting rude and shirty with the marshal, they are great and in bright tabbards. It is possible the road closed sign was not prominently displayed, or as someone above said, mistaken for Cyclothon signage, but a couple of people waving arms and saying stop should have done the trick (though there are places where you simply do not stop if strangers leap out and get all wavey - they punch you!).
I have met stripey-man and he seems a nice bloke, of retired age - he might not have heard? It was alarming the lack of forward vision some riders displayed though! Darwinian!
So, apologies to the marshals on behalf of the other riders and to the racers too, a few of whom I know in passing.

posted by piersnewland [3 posts]
20th May 2014 - 15:54

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this is the issue with acc marshalling, riders have assumed that the roads are clear, it could easily have been a truck that ignored the marshal, to late that the driver may be prosecuted.
the RR was on the wrong side of the road, the sportive riders should have obeyed the marshall but the RR was also riding as if on closed roads.
where was the BC REO? the RCA? that 2 events shared the roads at the same time was asking for trouble, a row of cones for the sportive riders and a pre race brief would have prevented all this.

posted by jasjas [1 posts]
20th May 2014 - 15:59

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Correction: I said the sportive was 'officially sanctioned'. According to piersnewland, it was not.

It just gets better and better...

posted by Daddylonglegs [10 posts]
20th May 2014 - 15:59

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Total confusion seems to have reigned for a few seconds, though after the first bunch came through what were the others thinking of!! My favourite bit is when the marshal shouts 'There's a bike race coming through' to which one of the sportive riders replies 'Yeah, I'm part of it' ...!!

i'r gad

posted by NeilWyn [3 posts]
20th May 2014 - 16:05

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Ok Aminthule. Here's how it's supposed to work in Britain:

Sportive: Almost always open roads. Riders have to obey the usual laws and be aware of the traffic which they will be riding amongst. If participants (note NOT competitors) are lucky, the organisers may have some marshalls dotted around the course and/or some motorbike support. Legally, it's a bit like a Sunday ride, but in a really big crowd.

Road race: All UK road races have some level of protection. Usually a couple of cars including the commisaire's (Chief Judge). There will be a car just behind the race (with flashing lights and a big sign) and a car at the front (lights, big sign). There are also marshalls for corners and junctions. Some races like this one apply for a Traffic Regulation Order, which, as you see from the video, allows the organisers to stop the traffic at certain points. Also, if they have enough marshalls and motorbikes police cooperation and budget, they can run a closed cell system which closes the section of road the main part of the race is currently in. This is how the Tour of Britain operates. When the road is (theoretically) closed as it was at this junction, competitors are able to use its full width. This usually means a nice fast (and safe) corner. As long as there aren't any Herberts from a different event ignoring the marshall of course.

Anyone who's ridden both a fair bit won't need the above explaining. To ride they are a million miles apart, as you can tell even in that short video.

And in case anyone's confused by what's going on in the vid., the riders coming round the corner across the entire road and deftly and without complaint missing Suicide Sid in the Kelme jersey are competitors racing an officially sanctioned British Cycling Road Race. The folks facing them on the left arguing and making all the noise are the sportive riders riding an officially sanctioned sportive. Both are legitimate cycling events, but, crucially, they are very different things.

Competitive bike racing has been a feature of British roads long before Sportives were dreamed up in response to the rise in popularity of leisure cycling. In itself this is great, but it would be a real shame if the antics of a few idiots, of which there are growing numbers turning up to ride sportives, got it all regulated off the roads.

posted by Daddylonglegs [10 posts]
20th May 2014 - 16:40

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The cretin in the striped jersey seems to fall off? Isn't this just a reflection of society really, cycling isn't immune to selfish and / or stupid idiots unfortunately.

posted by Griffsters [19 posts]
20th May 2014 - 16:54

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Shocking display from this "Sportive", what a load of nobbers.

Leodis's picture

posted by Leodis [188 posts]
20th May 2014 - 17:49

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I think there was genuine misunderstanding on the part of the sportive riders listen to the first guy's comments. Being rude to folk is not OK though.

Which brings me to some of the comments about sportive riders. Generalisations are not helpful. I've competed against/alongside pros and Olympians and licenced amateurs (been thrashed!) and found most lovely, but some arrogant twats. I remember both, some would only recall the bad.
Stripey guy is at least 60 if I remember rightly. I am sure he is mortified by his error of judgement.

posted by piersnewland [3 posts]
20th May 2014 - 18:13

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Still seems some confusion above about the sportive being sanctioned by BC. If it was the coordinator wants a sharp word . If not it proves that these commercial events, whilst fun for those taking part, need control.
Actually I have misgivings about commercial events being allowed to be on the road in this form as I refuse to believe that good manners and common sense take precedent over income. When I see a sportive of any size making no money, as smaller one do, then I will be less sceptical.
It seems as if that bit of road was closed so the racers had every right to ride kerb to kerb.
what amazes me is that the sportive riders didn't instantly do as they were asked and stop. Isn't that just plain good manners, even if the request is unjustified.?
This is just one reason why many people are anti these sorts of events. My dislike is for another reason. bloody litter, both from the riders in the form of gel wrappers and posters etc left up after the event, especially from commercial events. the route closer should remove them minutes after the last man not leave them for months or years like the Damn Wiggle events round here.

posted by mattsccm [247 posts]
20th May 2014 - 18:44

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This only confirms what all roadies think of sportive riders.............they don't have a clue!

posted by Mickyruff [6 posts]
20th May 2014 - 19:01

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Don't think it's owt to do with sportive riders bigging their part up and ignoring the marshalls I think it's just a case of some people developing tunnel vision.

If you've ever worked in a hazardous industry that takes place in public places (construction, road maintenance, tree felling etc. ) some folks will blindly wander past any warning signs, people, barriers or whatever just to get to where they want to go.

As for the idiot who stopped and argued the toss throughout the clip and stopped the marshall from effectively doing his job - I hope they've seen the video and had time to reflect.

Velotastic !

Too many hills, but too little time.

badback's picture

posted by badback [267 posts]
20th May 2014 - 19:04

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Just settle down lads and have a nice cup of Tetley's tea...

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posted by gazpacho [80 posts]
20th May 2014 - 19:07

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I read the whole thread of comments before watching the vid so I am somewhat underwhelmed.

Nothing much happens. The sportive riders mainly pull in to the side and wait. One guy doesn't but then does when he sees what's happening. He's probably more dopey than arrogant. Everyone then gets on with their lives presumably, apart from unseen grumbly guy who's probably still chuntering on to himself.

posted by Pauldmorgan [173 posts]
20th May 2014 - 20:12

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Coming from Lancashire its great to hear two Yorkshiremen going at it. Rolling On The Floor

Stereotypically, Yorkshiremen are never wrong, just big heads! Big Grin

I did feel a bit sorry for the marshal though. Applause

Lets hope the TdF has no such cock ups. Now, if we were doing it on the best side of the Pennines say in Manchester, or Liverpool, Wigan or Preston......... Thinking

posted by BigBear63 [69 posts]
20th May 2014 - 20:46

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Bit underwhelming when you view the vid. Main problem is the routes crossed, and people got confused which cycling event the marshals were covering. An organisational problem.

posted by tomturcan [29 posts]
20th May 2014 - 20:46

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I've had to deal with sportive riders whilst marshalling a race but they were all receptive and understanding. Gladly I've never encountered people like those in the video (yet), but I'm disappointed that I have never been called 'sunbeam'!

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posted by thegibdog [72 posts]
20th May 2014 - 20:50

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Yeah lets enter a sportive!!
We get to bimble around 5 abreast chucking our gel wrappers in the hedge just like real racers.
See my number?!! Yeah, imma racing, better get out my way.
Sportives are where it's at.
Doesn't spoil anything for real cyclist, watcha talking about?...You're an idiot. Bet you never even done a sportive.

posted by Gero [16 posts]
20th May 2014 - 21:00

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You can tell a Yorkshireman, but you can't tell him much.

posted by VeNT [37 posts]
20th May 2014 - 21:19

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There are a couple of people on here suggesting that the road race shouldn't have been on the wrong side of the road. Unless I'm mistaken though the road closure is in both directions, suggesting that everyone involved in organising it knows it's a fast corner that needs a clear road.

Seems pretty obvious who is at fault.

posted by racingcondor [109 posts]
20th May 2014 - 21:40

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Dear Roadies,

Some of the abusive comments on this thread about other cyclists based purely on what event they chose to do to enjoy their saturday afternoon make me utterly ashamed to be associated with road biking.

Go and read your own rule book, many of you for the first time by the sound of it. Skip to Rule 20.12.2 if you find the whole document too much of a challenge, but bear in mind, your licence includes a statement that you understand and agree to obey all 34 pages worth.

Having done so I would hope that some of you go back and read what you have posted above in a new light. Many of you should be posting apologies for your comments.

But just in case you are still too short-sighted to understand;

Get lost you bunch of arrogant twats!
The road race has no right to infringe into the lane of oncoming traffic. Even if they are 'expecting' a closed junction it is still absolutely their own responsibility to be aware of all the conditions, any road furniture, and any other road users and to take the corner safely. Whether that was a group of sportive riders, or a truck driver that ignores the marshall, or if it is a fallen tree, or a random old man on a mobility scooter (see the women's tour of UK last week for that one) it is still up to the riders to behave in a safe manner and to obey the laws of the road at all times.

As for the abuse some of you have thrown at Sportive riders in general. You should try taking your heads out of your arse for a while. Just because you like one part of the sport and they like another doesn't make you better than them. Just because you go a bit faster certainly doesn't.

posted by kevinmorice [15 posts]
20th May 2014 - 21:49

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I was in the road race and can vouch for the organisers. It was very well marshalled and very well organised. There were plenty of clear signs were up several days in advance "advance warning of road race" with date of event at each junction. The couple of idiots who ignored the marshalls should be ashamed, take a step back and realise they were very wrong and openly apologise. If they don't it says even more about them than others have already said. Luckily there was no crash. This is nothing to do with sportive riders v road race riders. This is just about a couple of head strong cyclists that made a big error and total fools of themselves as the video shows. There were also members of public who witnessed these individuals clearly ignore the marshals who were trying very hard to protect all groups from an accident.

posted by Turton [1 posts]
20th May 2014 - 21:59

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I though Brian Clough was dead; despite being 100% wrong and shouting at the poor marshal put in a difficult position, Ol' Big'Ed didn't actually get in anyone's way. It was Kelme who was the real muppet.

It is easy to understand the confusion, the two events shouldn't have met. Like Kevin says above there seems to be a lot of snobbishness about sportive riders here. SPORTIVES ARE RACES. I put that in big letters so you can read it better. They are timed events from A to B. The idea that ever person who wants to ride in an event can keep up with a peloton and ride in teams is a fallacy. Road racing is a 'young mans game' not everyone has the fitness, time to train or join a club, money, equipment to road race. Sportives exist and are so popular because they are races for real people. More people do them than actual races. Are these people to be excluded?
So the idea that people will not be trying to do the course as fast as they possibly can and sometimes going very fast themselves is ridiculous.

Its this notion that sportives aren't real events that has caused the problem, there should have been NO WAY that these two events could meet, and disregarding sportives and their riders as not 'proper racers' has led to this dangerous clash.

Personally I think we need more large sportives on Closed roads to avoid this problem and I only enter closed events. So lets say; closed road sportives are a massive timetrial (still a race) open to the public; open road sportives are an accident waiting to happen.

Leviathan of Riderstate

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posted by bikeboy76 [1238 posts]
20th May 2014 - 22:49

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Incidentally, it's not just sportives but club runs too that will often ignore an approaching road race.

Accredited marshals may have the legal power to stop and hold non-race traffic but that is not the solution.

In today's world, the real answer is to apply to your local authority for a road closure order. That can be in the form of a total road closure (usually for smaller circuits) or a rolling road closure.

The former will almost certainly call for a traffic management plan and if the race is likely to attract any sort of a crowd, at least one meeting with the local safety advisory group.

This approach might seem rather daunting at first but you gain confidence and experience the more events you organise. Certainly something that the BC regions or promoting groups should be taking on board. A bit more of a effort is of course required than just twisting the arm of somebody in the club to take on the burden.

The rolling road closure will necessitate hiring a team of police motor-cyclists to precede the race and stop approaching traffic. Apart from Highways Agency Traffic Officers, nobody else will have the authority to do that.

Hiring police need not be that expensive if ACPO guidelines are followed. If your local police force won't co-operate, find out precisely what other organisations are charged for their services.

Initially, the best way to achieve the closed road scenario for your race is to approach your local parish or district council. Get them on side and you'll be surprised how things can progress. Road closure orders are normally issued by the county or unitary highways' authorities and if the event is either linked to a charity or can be classified as a community event there is often no charge.

One of the obvious advantages of a road closure for a cycle race is that all other traffic, whether motor powered or pedal powered is thereby prevented from entering onto the course, including pedestrians and horse riders. That measure will then oblige the sportive organiser to re-route his/her event, rather than the road race organiser.


Go with every break but ride within yourself

posted by velowolf [1 posts]
20th May 2014 - 22:57

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Just shows you, even cyclists (in this case sportive riders) can be a bit thick.

posted by Condor flyer [17 posts]
20th May 2014 - 22:58

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If indeed it was this sportive/charity ride ,

then one wonders what form the regulation being called for by BC would take and indeed who would administer it, as both these events were registered, insured and entered via BC?

Some years ago there was an Independent association of Sportive Organisers, wonder what became of that

posted by langsett [19 posts]
20th May 2014 - 23:23

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I don't ride sportives, and don't race.

Somebody on the sportive committee didn't post their route or get the race sanctioned, so it's mainly their fault.

But if you are asked to get off the road because a race is coming , it is common sense to do so to avoid an accident.

I thought the idiot in stripes riding into a race was out of order, and I don't care if he is 60, a granddad, the nicest person in the world, it was irresponsible.

posted by bowtomephil [1 posts]
21st May 2014 - 11:06

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Leodis wrote:
Shocking display from this "Sportive", what a load of nobbers.

Shocking generalisation from Leodis. What a thick ****.

How's that feel? Nice isn't it!

(I've never ridden a sportive btw, I just think the attitude of some peoplel posting on here completely stinks).

posted by BikeBud [99 posts]
21st May 2014 - 12:53

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Has anyone got the video? Can't find anywhere on Internet.

posted by faz. [24 posts]
22nd May 2014 - 23:59

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