The UCI has announced numerous new measures to improve rider safety from the start of the 2021 racing season, including new standards for roadside barriers, stricter rules for the race convoy and the creation of a new Safety Manager role to supervise events on the UCI International Road Calendar.
In October, the pro riders’ association, the CPA, met with the UCI to discuss a series of safety proposals in the wake of a series of serious incidents at races this season.
These included a horrific crash for Deceuninck-Quick Step rider Fabio Jakobsen in a fast, downhill sprint at the Tour de Pologne; Vini Zabu-KTM’s Luca Wackermann suffering a broken back after a helicopter blew barriers out of position during the Giro d’Italia; plus a whole host of events at the Tour of Luxembourg where vehicles unrelated to the race regularly found their way onto the route.
The UCI has responded by creating a Safety Manager position and stipulating that event organisers also appoint and train an Event Safety Manager with certification for this role to be set up by the UCI.
The sport’s governing body will also commission a risk assessment tool to be applied to proposed routes weeks ahead of the event and also a database of incidents to better target future safety efforts.
The CPA had also requested a host of regulatory changes relating to courses, barriers and other infrastructure, while asking that cars, motorcycles and helicopters maintain a minimum safe distance from riders.
As such, a set of standards for barriers will be established for barriers used in the closing stages of events, in particular for bunch sprints and there will be stricter directives for the conduct of different members of the race convoy.
Drivers of race vehicles will also receive a more detailed briefing before events and have their level of experience added to a logbook that will ultimately lead to the application of a licence points system.
The UCI also says there will be better supervision of various bits of equipment used by teams, such as disc brakes and bottle cages.
UCI President David Lappartient commented: “The measures announced today enable us to take an important step forward in the reinforcement of safety at road races, which has been one of the major priorities of the UCI for several years.
“All professional road cycling families have shared their concerns and proposed solutions, and it is on this basis that the announced measures were drawn up before being approved by the different competent bodies, including the Professional Cycling Council, which brings together representatives of teams, organisers and riders.
“Cycling now has a solid plan of action, which we will continue to improve in consultation with all concerned.”