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Rider reportedly escaped serious injury after piece of drone got stuck in his front wheel

We've seen all kinds of things cause crashes at bike races over the years - dogs and selfie-taking spectators being just two - and now drones can be added to that list following a spectacular crash at a criterium in California.

Footage of the crash was shot by cyclist Kaito Clark, who was taking part in the  Golden State Race in Sacramento.

His bar-mounted camera captured the moment the drone shattered into pieces after hitting some tree branches, part of it apparently becoming lodged in the front wheel of a fellow competitor, with the unfortunate rider catapulted over the handlebars moments later.

According to a thread on Reddit, the cyclist escaped without serious injury - although his front wheel and helmet were both destroyed in the crash, with the drone operator offering to replace them.

 

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

18 comments

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Grahamd [393 posts] 2 weeks ago
3 likes

That was dramatic, thank goodness the rider wasn't seriously injured.

Didn't take long for the Reddit thread to start talking about getting a lawyer and getting the drone operator reported. 

 

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Jamminatrix [149 posts] 2 weeks ago
3 likes

And the stereotype about DJI owners within RC community  continues to flourish.

Someone was successfully prosecuted for personal injury with their drone in California (where this happened).  It will be interesting to see what happens here in the future, and if FAA gets involved.

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beezus fufoon [670 posts] 2 weeks ago
2 likes
Jamminatrix wrote:

And the stereotype about DJI owners within RC community  continues to flourish.

Someone was successfully prosecuted for personal injury with their drone in California (where this happened).  It will be interesting to see what happens here in the future, and if FAA gets involved.

I googled DJI - they have one called the "mavic"!

what have the Roman Catholics got to do with it though?

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Yorkshire wallet [980 posts] 2 weeks ago
11 likes

If only he'd had disc brakes to slice that drone into pieces. 

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unconstituted [2355 posts] 2 weeks ago
8 likes

Replacement of helmet and wheel isn't enough to compensate for that. He should offer a few grand on top.

 

Nothing against drones or their use, but owners need to fork out if they mess up. 

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dinosaurJR [165 posts] 2 weeks ago
2 likes

I smell a lawsuit. Or maybe thatsjust the dead hooker in my trunk... Yeah, nah its a lawsuit.

More lawsuit that Harvey Spectors closet.

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WillRod [167 posts] 2 weeks ago
5 likes

Over here we have to abide by CAA regulations, so the drone should have been 50M away from the public road.

 

Two of my friends run an aerial filming company, and both have paid thousands to be fully qualified and insured, yet some rich teenager with a drone can cause a mess.

Same situation with regular cyclists versus teenager on a bike, breaking the Highway Code.

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Jamminatrix [149 posts] 2 weeks ago
0 likes
WillRod wrote:

Over here we have to abide by CAA regulations, so the drone should have been 50M away from the public road.

FAA has similar verbiage.  There's really two things here: Was this pilot registered with FAA (either as civilian or as part of 107 for commercial use), and, why were they flying negligently.  The FAA could really make an example of this person.

 

That said, this only further proves that having a national registry is useless.  Whether the pilot was registered, or wasn't, only shows it is an ineffective tool.  And if the pilot had written a license number on the drone, would it have done any good?  It shattered into dozens of little pieces.

WillRod wrote:

Same situation with regular cyclists versus teenager on a bike, breaking the Highway Code.

Agreed, good analogy.  

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wellsprop [139 posts] 2 weeks ago
1 like
WillRod wrote:

Over here we have to abide by CAA regulations, so the drone should have been 50M away from the public road.

 

Two of my friends run an aerial filming company, and both have paid thousands to be fully qualified and insured, yet some rich teenager with a drone can cause a mess.

Same situation with regular cyclists versus teenager on a bike, breaking the Highway Code.

Moreover, "Camera-equipped drones must not be flown within 150m of a congested area or large group of people, such as a sporting event or concert".

UAS and paramotors are a nightmare, I've been flying in the circuit pattern at 1000ft, visual with drones and paramotors with the Air Traffic Zone.

A few idiots cause a lot of problems.

 

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nadsta [168 posts] 2 weeks ago
3 likes

Poor bloke. Awesome strava photo though. Untold kudos 

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barbarus [426 posts] 2 weeks ago
1 like

Blimey! I've always thought that drone footage was the answer to dangerous camera motos. Apparently not!

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muffies [69 posts] 2 weeks ago
0 likes
WillRod wrote:

Over here we have to abide by CAA regulations, so the drone should have been 50M away from the public road.

 

Two of my friends run an aerial filming company, and both have paid thousands to be fully qualified and insured, yet some rich teenager with a drone can cause a mess.

Same situation with regular cyclists versus teenager on a bike, breaking the Highway Code.

your friends fly commercially so they get a commercial license. this has nothing to do with someone being stupid.

you can be stupid with a bike and it require no license.. i see stupid bikes that every single ride. stupid drones are just more of a fancy/rare thing. someone racing me a green light and hitting my wheel is just as dangerous if not more. or going through red when i'm perpendicular and green. all of them, just as stupid as the drone owner.

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DaveE128 [825 posts] 2 weeks ago
1 like

You can clearly see the main body of the drone in his front wheel as he flips, so what baffles me is how he carried on riding so far after hitting the drone?! Was it passing through his forks?!

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beezus fufoon [670 posts] 2 weeks ago
1 like
DaveE128 wrote:

You can clearly see the main body of the drone in his front wheel as he flips, so what baffles me is how he carried on riding so far after hitting the drone?! Was it passing through his forks?!

yeah, he seems to go quite far looking down - I guess it was clicking away in his spokes and then finally got itself wedged tight

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dinosaurJR [165 posts] 2 weeks ago
1 like

Well to be honest a drone in the spokes is unusual enough for the rider to need to do a double take and a quick "what the eff was that?". SHame that mid double take the thing wedged itself tight and OTBYG!

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surly_by_name [497 posts] 2 weeks ago
0 likes

GrahamD and dinsoaurJR: trying to work out if you think a lawyer is the wrong answer? Given the over the bars on the head nature of the incident, entirely possible for injury to have resulted in severe neck injury/paralysis. In those circumstances would suing operator have been justified? But same idiocy resulting in less damage = get to continue to be an idiot? Seems to me seeking legal advice perfectly in order, who else is going to stop this idiot?

There's something of a cultural difference between US and UK approach to tort law in that former uses private actions as a tool of policy (e.g., punitive damages resulting in higher insurance, class actions, all of which impose a tax on particular sorts of behaviour) to a much greater extent than the UK where some damage still justified as an "accident" (i.e., no one's fault).

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dinosaurJR [165 posts] 2 weeks ago
1 like
surly_by_name wrote:

GrahamD and dinsoaurJR: trying to work out if you think a lawyer is the wrong answer? Given the over the bars on the head nature of the incident, entirely possible for injury to have resulted in severe neck injury/paralysis. In those circumstances would suing operator have been justified? But same idiocy resulting in less damage = get to continue to be an idiot? Seems to me seeking legal advice perfectly in order, who else is going to stop this idiot?

There's something of a cultural difference between US and UK approach to tort law in that former uses private actions as a tool of policy (e.g., punitive damages resulting in higher insurance, class actions, all of which impose a tax on particular sorts of behaviour) to a much greater extent than the UK where some damage still justified as an "accident" (i.e., no one's fault).

I would think that since this happened in California a law suit is not only appropriate, but probably in the works right now. I would be very surprised if the poor bastard hadn't gotten at least 20 calls from ambulance chasers. 

I would be considering my options, if this were me.

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WillRod [167 posts] 2 weeks ago
0 likes
muffies wrote:
WillRod wrote:

Over here we have to abide by CAA regulations, so the drone should have been 50M away from the public road.

 

Two of my friends run an aerial filming company, and both have paid thousands to be fully qualified and insured, yet some rich teenager with a drone can cause a mess.

Same situation with regular cyclists versus teenager on a bike, breaking the Highway Code.

your friends fly commercially so they get a commercial license. this has nothing to do with someone being stupid.

you can be stupid with a bike and it require no license.. i see stupid bikes that every single ride. stupid drones are just more of a fancy/rare thing. someone racing me a green light and hitting my wheel is just as dangerous if not more. or going through red when i'm perpendicular and green. all of them, just as stupid as the drone owner.

 

Perhaps my last line wasn't clear. Basically I was suggesting that experienced cyclists know not to ride on pavements, jump red lights etc, but plenty of kids just buy a bike and ride without caring.

the same thing happens with drones. Some, like my friends, fly responsibly, and even when it was just a hobby for them, they followed the CAA rules and yet there are repeated incidents where people fly them inappropriately.