Is there something wrong with our sport?

I was in a road race today that ended in a bunch sprint with one rider taking a really bad header to the asphalt. As I looked back I could see the rider was not moving and needed medical attention—it sounded like a gunshot when his helmet hit the ground. The crash was within 500 yards of the finish, and so he was attended to quickly—medical and race personnel were nearby and at his side before I got turned around.

My question is mostly an invitation for commentary about what can be done in situations like this. I understand it’s racing, it’s dangerous, etc. I can’t help but look at it from another direction—where if this had happened in any other situation, everybody stops and helps. I don’t mean to criticize those who kept riding. I rode on after I saw that there was help coming, but I can’t help but feel like the situation could have played out differently.

I understand why you’d be feeling guilty for not stopping, but how else could it have played out?

And would that have made any difference?

I’m assuming you’re thinking you and the others could have stopped but weren’t the medical staff the best people to deal with it, and without climbing through all the stopped riders and bikes?


Yes @JoeX—you’re totally right, more people in the way isn’t helpful—I couldn’t have done anything anyway. I’m definitely not sure what the right answer is.

I guess it just felt kinda gross to have half the field still sprinting for the line—it wasn’t even for the podium… a break of 3 had already finished over 30 seconds before.


Ah right, slightly different scenario then - I was imagining this was a sprint for the win.

Yeah I probably would’ve stopped just in case I could help. In fact I have stopped during racing to help others, but then I’m a triathlete and we’re much nicer anyway :wink: and I’m nowhere near podium level.

Still I wouldn’t sweat it too much, the race organisers had it covered.


Actually you’ve just reminded me, I saw someone go down and not moving during Ironman UK 2017, a bunch of people stopped but protocol is to ride on until you see a Marshall and let them know. Which took forever. I couldnt get it out of my mind that night, but the race organisers couldn’t give me an update.

It’s natural to feel bad, but it’s actually ok to rely on the race community :+1:


Racing bicycle is far more ego filled and stuck up than other sports like running. Just a sad truth. Be the change you want to see, even if it means not being a cool cat 1 rapha dude.


I think you are over thinking this. Look at motor racing: nobody stops when there is a crash. The officials might neutralize or put out a caution flag, but the race goes on.

The only sports that stop are those which are timed (e.g., basketball, football, etc.) and have officials. But even in football, play isn’t stopped for an injury until after the play that is going on naturally stops. So how is that any different?

Plus, in your example, if some people precipitously stopped, that in and off itself could have been dangerous / caused a secondary crash, as not everyone would know a crash happened so they wouldn’t be slowing down.


Make sure if you stop you don’t take everyone out behind you. Might be safer to just let the professionals handle it…


Agree with all of the above.

Also, to think “in any other situation, everyone else stops and helps” would be false. Bike riders are still people. There are good and bad people whether they ride bikes or not, its not a problem with the sport.

Not necessarily…a few years ago at the Chicago Rock & Roll Half Marathon, I watched dozens of runners pass a guy in a wheel chair w/ very small front wheels struggle across a grate on a bridge…the small wheels were just getting caught in the grates.

To my immense shame, I was one of them. To this day, it is a massive regret in my racing life.


not a medical professional, and other then doing cpr to the tune of stayin alive from the office im not gonna be any help there

In a bunch sprint you want and need to be focused 100% on what’s happening around you. Not just for your own race chances (which as you say are pretty meaningless in the context of an amateur race where the podium spots are already gone) but for the safety of yourself and everybody around you. Slowing down or looking around to check on the status of crash victims is extremely dangerous when you’re moving at high speed in close proximity to other riders. Crashes at that point in the race are common enough that you just tune them out until you get to the finish and it’s safe to find out what’s happened and offer help if needed. That last 500m is going to be done and dusted in ~30 seconds. And there are going to be a lot of people near the finish who are much better equipped to help an injured rider than another racer - race staff, medical support, spectators who are cool, calm and collected rather than running around in cleats with their HR at >90% max. If it was a rider who fell on a descent in the middle of nowhere with no spectators or race support around and only other riders to help, that would be a totally different scenario.

Whenever I’ve seen riders crash in less intense parts of the race, people have always checked they’re OK and stopped if it’s clear they need help and there’s no other support around. For a bunch sprint crash it’s also much easier and safer for the following racers to check and stop if necessary, than for the people who are in the middle of the sprint. People who have been dropped, already done their work positioning a team-mate for the sprint, or who simply don’t want to risk life and limb sprinting for 4th spot. The crash happened ahead of them so it’s easier for them to assess the situation, and they’ll be moving more slowly and spaced out so it’s much safer for them to stop if help is needed.

Cyclists aren’t an uncaring bunch, if anything the opposite, people look out for each other more than in many walks of life.


Had this been 5km from the finish it would probably have played out differently. Most humans care and will help a fallen cyclist.

It’s safer to stay focused and clear the wreckage and yell the details at the officials when you go by. They will neutralize the race if its bad enough.

i.e. stopping here would have been a baaaad idea.

That was a helluva bunny hop @ 20”!!!:flushed::flushed::flushed:

Heck, you could say the entire point of the sport of football is to inflict injuries on other humans.

At least cyclists are not intentionally, repeatedly, and knowingly giving each other concussions every weekend

There isnt much you could have done but it does show your a good person to actually care and feel this way after a crash. I have seen, team mates crash in the last km of a RR, gone past, won and rode straight back to them. Nothing I could do for them that the First Aiders and Marshalls weren’t doing. I stayed him him to the hospital until her was cleared. Crashes happen. Sometimes your involved, hopefully not, and occasionally you are.

I’m agreeing with many posters about a race scenario with paid, medical pros and in the last seconds of a race. Let the pros handle it. Earlier in the race, all alone or without nearby pros, of course, the need to stop is real and I hope most of us would.

Not related to crashes, but to the spirit of helping, I find that the vast majority of cyclists when encountering another on the side of the road will slow down, perhaps just stop, and make sure that the other person is ok and has everything they need…even stay to be absolutely sure. I’ve certainly given up a “good” ride to wait it out with someone. When I’ve encountered another cyclist Who crashed (fortunately rarely) I think/hope everyone would stop. I feel that most of us will naturally help when it’s clear the call is upon us individually.

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When Kevin Durant ruptured his achilles at last year’s NBA Finals, everyone else except one Warriors teammate ran to the other side of the court, leaving him for dead.