10 May 2017

Drones And Crits Don't Mix

When riding in the city, a cyclist has to be aware of--in addition to motor vehicles and their drivers--pedestrians.  All it takes is one darting across the street at mid-block, or someone ambling through an intersection while looking at an iPhone screen, to send a cyclist tumbling to the pavement.  

In fact, I have incurred two falls--one on Broadway in SoHo, the other in Coney Island--caused by pedestrians who barrelled across a street without looking in the direction of the approaching traffic (which included me).  In the SoHo incident, said pedestrian--who was shopping with a friend--at least stopped and apologized. In the other mishap, the boy who plowed into me--who appeared to be about 14 or 15 years old--simply kept on going.  

I wasn't hurt in either incident, but things could have been worse.  Even scarier, though, were two instances in which I didn't actually crash, but could easily have taken a hit and a tumble.  Both happened when I was riding down mountains and an animal crossed my path:  a deer in Pennsylvania; an Alpine Ibex just after I crossed the border from France into Switzerland.  

During my brief career as an amateur racer, I went down once and had a near-miss.  Both were the result of other riders who jackknifed in front of me.  In the crash, I wrecked an expensive front wheel but, fortunately, not the bike--or me.  In the near-miss, another rider incurred similar damage when he and a couple of other riders hit the pavement a bit further back in the pack from where I'd been riding.

Now it seems there's a new hazard that can take a racer out of the game, or leave a rider with  road rash or worse:

It almost sounds like one of those excuses I'd hear from a student who didn't show up for class the day a term paper was due.  (That's happening to me this week!)  "I got hit by a drone".  At least, that's now more plausible than "My drone ate it!"

Seriously, though:  We have to watch for low-flying or falling drones.  Imagine if one caused a pileup in, say, the Tour, Giro or Vuelta!


  1. Sometimes you trigger some well buried memory. I thought I was going to have a very bad day when a steep twisting road had been covered with fresh chipings which in Britain hardly ever stick but act like marbles then to make life more interesting a huge rabbit jumped out in front and proceeded to anticipate every move I made! Finally I passed it and it leapt out in front of a friend a short distance behind me!!

    Rarely fast enough these days for wildlife to be a bother.

  2. Coline--I wonder why that rabbit chose your friend.

  3. Guess it was enjoying the game...

  4. I'm still trying to figure out how the drone made him crash. I see where the drone hits him (or he hit it) but then it seems like he rides on for what must be another 50 yards then suddenly flips over. Weird.

  5. Brooks--You got me to look at the video again, and you're right. The only thing I could think of was that he rode simply on momentum even though he was losing his balance.