Monday, March 24, 2014

Pro Racers attitude to SAFE CYCLING !

Days after returning to Sunny & Summery Austria , i find myself looking out the window for the second day, as sleet falls on the local roads . Since this is after all , the Austrian Mountains that is on the cusp of Spring , thus the current weather should come as no surprise . This winter i have lost a few days to wet roads and with the lack of snow only managed 2 days of Ski Touring in december and a day in January . Having spent the past 2 weeks on the bike covering several thousand kilometres in summery conditions , even in the mountainous Italian regions of the Tirreno-Adriatico ProWorld Cycle Race , i guess a break off the bike will be welcome ? Sunday was continous sleet , but today looks like an afternoon ride will be possible after a light lunch . The temperature will be nothing like the Saturday summery ride in short sleeves and bib shorts where several groups of Race Bike Riders ventured out dressed for Winter .

During the time i spent at the Tirreno-Adriatico ProWorld Cycle Race , we were treated to 20C+ sunny conditions throughout the week . Even my trip , starting out on the Monday morning from Kufstein area , was warm throughout , as i passed through Tirol & St Anton to Felkirch for the night , then onto Torino and the Hospitality of Riccardo and his Family for Tuesday Night . Wednesday was down to the Coast to pass through Genoa and onto Livorno so as to join the T-A route as it arrived in Cechina . With meeting the Major ( Mayor of Commune ) i was able to utilise the Commune Resources to print many copies of the placards that you see here .

With these " placards " i was able to give the Teams , either the Italian or french Version , if not both ! It was also possible to speak to individual Racers , some of whom should know better than to turn down a simple request , right Cadel ? Even though Cycling within metres of the Major and thus demonstrating that he supported " SAFE CYCLING " , it appears a step TOO HARD !

With many Pro Racers lost in Road Training Incidents in recent months , the lack of  EMPATHY for Cyclists in general is demonstrated by the lack of mention in the Facebook Wall of those Racers attending the Tirreno-Adriatico Race . That their Support Staff told me , that their Teams had been shown the Placards is not in doubt , even coming face to face with Mark Cavendish , Alex Dowsett , Alberto Contador and many other Racers , seems to have produced NO RESULTS ?

Did not get to speak with Brad Wiggins , but there is a Guy who has personal experience of BAD DRIVING !  As a reward for winning the " Le Tour " in 2012 and the Olympic Time trial at London 2012 , a neighbour skittled him , thus sending him to an overnight stay in Hospital . Guess it was not him that hollered at me with an English accent , as i stood in L'Aquila , showing the Italian Language Placard , " What a F##ing Idiot "?

Francesco Moser & Mario Cippolini are two of the former racers that took a copy that they put in their pocket , others such as RAI TV Sport broadcast on TV or added photos into their websites , so i guess that there was a result ?  WHAT is it about PRO RACERS that makes it too hard for them to remind their "Fans" , that they care for their well being ?

" UCI " are the controlling Body for Pro Cycle Racing , thus SHOULD be the body that works to coordinate the Cycling Safety Org.s that have sprung up in so many Cities and Countries throughout the World ! These Tweets demonstrate my efforts to encourage their efforts :

  "  UCI UMBRELLA ORG. 4 Safe Cycling UP then POWER OUTPUT! M/while ProRacers DIE due BAD Driving!

This was in response to a tweet on his personal Cycling efforts .

More Tweets were sent to involve " Amy Gillett Fdn " , which i have for years been encouraging to ACT in the International Arena  , which would not be too difficult since so many Oz Cyclists have European Roots ?


This last Tweet was in response to that of Anna Meares trying to encourage MORE people to sign onto the  " Amy Gillett Fdn/ Tasmanian Petition " , created after the Death in late December of a Tasmanian Rower out on his Bike , cross training .

Here is what i sent out as a comment on my thoughts of Involving UCI in an UMBRELLA Org. :

  "  Here is my comment elsewhere , about what actions i think can help to change aggresive driver attitudes towards Cyclists :

  "  Whilst the Authorities offer " Info Ads " to the General Public , there are Several WAYS Cyclists can help themselves !

1/  Acknowledging GOOD Driving Behaviours . ( More follows )

2/  Active advice to Employers of Eratic Driving Behaviours (see below )

3/  Umbrella Org Activities ( Notes )

Explanatory notes :

1/  Since the UCI Presidential Election and before September 2013 , i have been asking for an International UMBRELLA Cycling Safety Organisation ! In past years i had asked " Amy Gillett Fdn " to step up their activities and work with the " London Times , Cities fit for Cycling Campaign " , but to NO AVAIL ! Seems everybody likes to play in their own backyard ?  Fact is there are TOO MANY Egos out there , some will acknowledge the ideas of others and will add them to their Campaign , others will indulge in " Personality spats " , but whilst this goes on , the SAFETY of CYCLISTS remains at risk !

    I as a Cyclist , do not care WHO is TOP DOG , I DO CARE about the MESSAGE being UNIVERSAL ! When World Politicians see that there is COLLECTIVE Action , where THEIR Shortcomings will be seen as NOT A LOCAL ISSUE , but part of the REAL WORLD , they will stop thinking of " Militant Cyclists " as a cross to bear whilst they get on with their REAL WORK . As a lone English Speaking Cyclist in Tirol , Austria , i get far more attention than the local Cyclists ! When you realise they accept whatever , but i voice my complaints when they occur, you can see that there are those who groan whever i address them . Whether other Cyclists appreciate my efforts , matters not . What counts is that i can ride my bike without having to worry about " Punishment passes " , because that will mean a repeat visit to the offender or their employer .

2/  Over the past years i have come to know where the Trucking Depots are located . Many Bike Rides have been interupted by a case of " Bad Driving " , due to me following the offender , either to their Depot or their lient Premises . There i seek the Manager/CEO and explain what has taken place . I offer the choice of either call the Vehicle Owner or call the Polizei . Of course i prefer the client to understand that the Vehicle Owner is prefered since it reminds them that their Drivers could be in the same situation on another occasion ! Todate i have ONLY once been asked to leave the premises , only twice have the Polizei been asked to attend , once at the insistance of the Truck Operator . Generally the Manager listens to my explanation , agrees that there is Grievance and in many cases not only calls the Employer but states to the driver that they will not be welcome on the premises , if they choose to repeat this behaviour . Many not only remind the driver that the vehicle displays " Ads " which reflect     their Employer but also the Client .  With this in mind they generally state that the Driver's behaviour reflects BADLY on the Companies and hope that their colleagues DRIVE with more thought for their Employer !  On one occasion the river was Carpeted and told that HAD he caused Death , then the Speaker could have been liable for a " Corporate Manslaughter Charge "!  Many Drivers are not only effusive in their apology , but in the weeks following will flash their lights and give a friendly wave as they pass going in the opposite direction . One Water Suppier Company's drivers well not only complete the , Ease , Wait , Signal , Wide Pass , Signal return to lane sequence , but also flash the " Hazard lights " after the pass when they see me salute ( touch of Helmet ) !

3/  My thoughts in respect of an Int.UMBRELLA Org were initially directed to the UCI !  With Pro Racers using the roads on a daily basis for their training and the " Shamateur " aping their activity , it seemed that a " Code of Conduct in respect of Acknowledging Good Driving " would be a GOOD Starting point for encouraging better relations on the roads !  UCI should be able to dictate to Professional Cyclists that they ACT as Ambassadors for Cycling ! Since the common Cyclist looks to them for Inspiration , they will quickly adopt their behaviours ? What UCI should ask of National Cyclig Federations is Compliance with this " Code of Conduct "!  Any Pro Cyclist is required to train in their Team Colours , they are required to OBEY ALL TRAFFIC LAWS ! YES , some RLJ , ignore " Give way signs , etc , so this has to stop , NOW ! When passed by traffic in a SAFE Manner , they should touch their helmet in a respectful way , so that the Vehicle driver sees that their GOOD Behaviour is recognised/appreciated ! When training in a Group , i have yet to see anything other than the 2 by 2 , thus , if outsiders jump on the back they should be warned to obey this OR DEPART !

UCI having adopted the " Code of Conduct " should then advise the National Fed.s to contact ALL Trucking/Bus associations explaining the Policy/Code , thus asking those Assoc. Members to advise their following , that this is a 2 way street , in that the Drivers can expect Respect for Good Behaviours and reports of detrimental behaviours !

How many MORE Pro Racers have to DIE , before UCI ACTS ?

AND YES , they should be thinking of the ordinary Cyclists also!

Long winded ?

NO !

There is so much more that can be done !

ROME was not built in a DAY !

Not wishing to HURRY such an august body , such as the UCI , but since the CEO of Amy Gillett Fdn is the VP_Cycling , the near 5 months since i suggested they treat this as a matter of URGENCY , suggests that the DEATH of Pro Racers , is a blip on the horizon ? I am sure that Tracey Gaudry has made efforts to have this matter handled in a more Timely Manner , BUT ; if they can throw CHF3Million at the resolution of the Mc Quaid Era , then a few drops in the bucket , to SAVE CYCLIST LIVES will be money WELL SPENT !

The sun has broken through so away i go



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