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  1. #1
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    Anything that can be done about a reckless rider in a crit?

    I just competed in my first Stage Race (TT, Road Race, and Crit). I did well in the TT (#4), dropped to #5 in the GC after the Road Race, and then DNF'd the crit because of a reckless rider who took me down and sent me to the hospital. I'm new to all of this, so I had a few questions which I couldn't find answered elsewhere in the forums (apologies if I missed them).

    In the final 4 laps of the crit, the reckless rider slipped in between another cyclist and myself who were going side by side. First he knocked into the other rider (handlebars to handlebars), then he slammed into me (handlebars to handlebars). This knocked me down, busted up my bike, body, etc, and took down one of the riders behind me, but the reckless rider continued without going down. As he hit me, he said "oh, sorry", indicating to me that he didn't mean to do it, but he was just reckless. He finished the race in the top 10. I DNF'd.

    • Is this just the nature of bike racing? Do crashes really happen that frequently and send people to the hospital all the time? I've done some practice crits and a bunch of group riding, but this is my first real crit, and now I'm not sure it's worth the risk. After healthcare costs, broken bike, broken kit, and downtime from training, I'm going to be out almost $1000 and a week of training (and a bunch of pain!)
    • What can I do about this? Can I lodge a formal complaint? Will it matter? I tried at the race, but the official basically just told me that they couldn't do anything, which I found hard to believe. He suggested I talk to the rider.
    • Since I DNF'd in the final 4 laps of the race (they started the countdown at 5), is there any way that I can still get a time based on where I was in the pack (I was in the front pack) so as to retain my GC position? I noticed this in the rule book under the topic of "Finishes":

      (ii) A rider who suffers a mishap in the last three
      kilometers of a road race stage or after free laps
      have ended in a criterium stage shall be given the
      same finish time as the riders he was with at the
      time of the mishap, provided that the mishap was
      observed or otherwise verified by a race official. The
      rider shall be given his actual place across the finish
      line, or last in the stage if he is unable to cross the
      line.
      Do you think this applies?
    • It turns out that this reckless rider had other incidents in this stage race. He was caught drafting for several miles during the TT, for which he was only penalized 1 minute on the GC. I would think this sort of thing would get you DQ'd, but I guess not? All I saw in the rules book was that one "wasn't supposed to draft" during the TT. What is the standard for how badly one is penalized for different rule infractions?


    Thanks for the answers. It's just frustrating to see what seems like an injustice here. I guess that is why one tries to get out of Cat 5 as fast as possible to avoid people like this? Or perhaps I just need to work on my handling so as to avoid crashing when someone hits me hard?

  2. #2
    Senior Member longbeachgary's Avatar
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    You probably signed a waiver so there's not much to do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by longbeachgary View Post
    You probably signed a waiver so there's not much to do.
    Oh I'm not looking for money or anything like that. I just wanted to see if it ever happened that reckless riders get penalized for their recklessness in any way. Or if crashes that put someone in the hospital are really that common in crits (and ways to avoid these crashes). I was already in the front of the pack and not overlapping wheels and such, so I'm not sure what else to do to avoid this sort of thing.

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    Senior Member furiousferret's Avatar
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    I don't think there's much you can do, curious to see the responses here.

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    Here in CO, in category 4's, crashing people out is a big no-no. Reckless riding, and/or crashing people out, is grounds for disqualification and potentially suspension. Although crashes do happen, they are definitely not acceptable as a routine occurrence. By rule and custom, typically you need to tell the ref within 15 or 30 minutes of the end of the race. What I've seen in practice is that whenever there is a crash the officials are immediately and automatically all over it in figuring out who did what, and usually just immediately issue a DQ to the crashor.

    Check the USAC rulebook for recklessness.

    I expect that in higher categories, tolerance of aggressiveness goes up and tolerance for recklessness goes down (relative to the lower cats).

    There are a lot of people in this forum who, while not accusing you of any fault whatsoever, would suggest that you can learn to deal with contact so that it doesn't cause you to crash, and that this is one of the valuable skills learned in clinics.

  6. #6
    Senior Member rideaz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chummels View Post
    I just competed in my first Stage Race (TT, Road Race, and Crit). I did well in the TT (#4), dropped to #5 in the GC after the Road Race, and then DNF'd the crit because of a reckless rider who took me down and sent me to the hospital. I'm new to all of this, so I had a few questions which I couldn't find answered elsewhere in the forums (apologies if I missed them).

    In the final 4 laps of the crit, the reckless rider slipped in between another cyclist and myself who were going side by side. First he knocked into the other rider (handlebars to handlebars), then he slammed into me (handlebars to handlebars). This knocked me down, busted up my bike, body, etc, and took down one of the riders behind me, but the reckless rider continued without going down. As he hit me, he said "oh, sorry", indicating to me that he didn't mean to do it, but he was just reckless. He finished the race in the top 10. I DNF'd.

    • Is this just the nature of bike racing? Do crashes really happen that frequently and send people to the hospital all the time? I've done some practice crits and a bunch of group riding, but this is my first real crit, and now I'm not sure it's worth the risk. After healthcare costs, broken bike, broken kit, and downtime from training, I'm going to be out almost $1000 and a week of training (and a bunch of pain!)
    • What can I do about this? Can I lodge a formal complaint? Will it matter? I tried at the race, but the official basically just told me that they couldn't do anything, which I found hard to believe. He suggested I talk to the rider.
    • Since I DNF'd in the final 4 laps of the race (they started the countdown at 5), is there any way that I can still get a time based on where I was in the pack (I was in the front pack) so as to retain my GC position? I noticed this in the rule book under the topic of "Finishes":



      Do you think this applies?
    • It turns out that this reckless rider had other incidents in this stage race. He was caught drafting for several miles during the TT, for which he was only penalized 1 minute on the GC. I would think this sort of thing would get you DQ'd, but I guess not? All I saw in the rules book was that one "wasn't supposed to draft" during the TT. What is the standard for how badly one is penalized for different rule infractions?


    Thanks for the answers. It's just frustrating to see what seems like an injustice here. I guess that is why one tries to get out of Cat 5 as fast as possible to avoid people like this? Or perhaps I just need to work on my handling so as to avoid crashing when someone hits me hard?
    Was it Valley Of the Sun stage race? I think I saw your crash (or one that went down like it in today's crit)! I was just coming back from a warm up spin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chummels View Post
    In the final 4 laps of the crit, the reckless rider slipped in between another cyclist and myself who were going side by side. First he knocked into the other rider (handlebars to handlebars), then he slammed into me (handlebars to handlebars).
    Hold on a minute. One rider's reckless is another's taking advantage of an opportunity. We only have your perspective, but already I know there was more than a handlebars width between you and the rider next to you (or else how could the "reckless rider" slip in there?). To me that's a really big gap. If you leave that big a space, you should expect a rider might move into it. Then there's always the question of who moved into whom. We have your opinion, but that might not be the only one. Finally, everyone should be comfortable enough riding in a group to handle shoulder to shoulder or bar to bar contact. This isn't like someone taking your front wheel out.

    My opinion, if there's more than a handlebar width between riders, another rider has every right to move into that space. If there's incidental contact after that, it's just part of racing and not a reckless act.

    Before rushing to upgrade out of Cat 5, ask yourself what you could have done differently to avoid that situation. There are plenty, but to start, you could have tightened up the space between you and the rider next to you.
    Last edited by asgelle; 02-23-14 at 06:02 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rideaz View Post
    Was it Valley Of the Sun stage race? I think I saw your crash (or one that went down like it in today's crit)! I was just coming back from a warm up spin.
    Yeah, it was near the end of the Cat 5 race at VoS today.

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    I'm sorry you had a bad experience in your first race. Sounds like you were doing well until you crashed.

    The answer to your title question is "no." You don't have any control over other people. There are plenty of things you can do to avoid having a bad experience though.

    - Observe the riders around you and get a sense for who is sketchy and who isn't.

    - Ride with confidence and clear intention: if you're on a wheel, be right up on the wheel; if you're alongside another rider, be right alongside him.

    - Be prepared for contact whenever it might occur. Hands in the drops when in a crowd.

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    Quote Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
    Hold on a minute. One rider's reckless is another's taking advantage of an opportunity. We only have your perspective, but already I know there was more than a handlebars width between you and the rider next to you (or else how could the "reckless rider" slip in there?). To me that's a really big gap. If you leave that big a space, you should expect a rider might move into it. Then there's always the question of who moved into whom. We have your opinion, but that might not be the only one. Finally, everyone should be comfortable enough riding in a group to handle shoulder to shoulder or bar to bar contact. This isn't like someone taking your front wheel out.
    I agree that people should be able to take shoulder to shoulder and bar to bar contact, but in this circumstance, the reckless rider was ricocheting back and forth between us at a pretty strong force, not a mere "brushing". Yes, you're right that skill clinics can help with this, but I'm still curious about what can be done about a reckless rider (even if you don't consider what happened today to be reckless)? What if he had gone straight for my wheel, or pushed me, or pulled on my jersey and none of the officials caught this? Can one submit a complaint about a rider? Will it make a difference?

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    Ninny globecanvas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chummels View Post
    Can one submit a complaint about a rider? Will it make a difference?
    Yes, you can submit a complaint (and should if there was unequivocally dangerous behavior); no, it very likely won't make a difference, but if there is a pattern of complaints, it can at least help identify a genuinely bad actor.

    Genuinely bad actors are rare though. Outright dangerous behavior tends to self-police pretty quickly. Somebody who's making other people crash is very likely to crash himself before too long.

    The thing is, nobody has ever crashed in a race and thought "oops, I'm a jerk." Everyone's story about crashing is about how some other jerk crashed them out. So officials hear complaints all the time, and objectively, most of them are not rational complaints.

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    Thank you, Asgelle. I had already read through the rule book. I saw that there were rules against pushing/pulling, and "dangerous" conduct, however, I was taken to the hospital directly after the incident so I could not protest. I saw nothing in the rulebook about those circumstances, which is why I'm asking them here from an experienced crowd.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rapwithtom View Post
    Here in CO, in category 4's, crashing people out is a big no-no. Reckless riding, and/or crashing people out, is grounds for disqualification and potentially suspension. Although crashes do happen, they are definitely not acceptable as a routine occurrence. By rule and custom, typically you need to tell the ref within 15 or 30 minutes of the end of the race. What I've seen in practice is that whenever there is a crash the officials are immediately and automatically all over it in figuring out who did what, and usually just immediately issue a DQ to the crashor.

    Check the USAC rulebook for recklessness.

    I expect that in higher categories, tolerance of aggressiveness goes up and tolerance for recklessness goes down (relative to the lower cats).

    There are a lot of people in this forum who, while not accusing you of any fault whatsoever, would suggest that you can learn to deal with contact so that it doesn't cause you to crash, and that this is one of the valuable skills learned in clinics.
    I'm glad to hear that CO takes this so seriously. Here in AZ, the officials didn't pay too much attention to us after the crash. I didn't get seen by a medic for 15 minutes, and no official seemed concerned about it. I'll have to look into races in CO!

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    Quote Originally Posted by globecanvas View Post
    Yes, you can submit a complaint (and should if there was unequivocally dangerous behavior); no, it very likely won't make a difference, but if there is a pattern of complaints, it can at least help identify a genuinely bad actor.

    Genuinely bad actors are rare though. Outright dangerous behavior tends to self-police pretty quickly. Somebody who's making other people crash is very likely to crash himself before too long.

    The thing is, nobody has ever crashed in a race and thought "oops, I'm a jerk." Everyone's story about crashing is about how some other jerk crashed them out. So officials hear complaints all the time, and objectively, most of them are not rational complaints.
    Thanks for the informative responses, Ninny.

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    ^^ chill dude, he was being really helpful and generous with advice, your defensive name calling isn't warranted.

    Sorry you got hurt. I'm curious, what was your injury?

    Aside: Has anyone ever heard of someone being kept from racing because they are sketchy or reckless?

    I wasn't there, and I don't know what happened, but pointing fingers doesn't do anyone any good. Ask what you could have done to prevent it, and if the answer is "nothing" then "that's racing." The most productive thing you can do is learn whatever you can from it - which might be something you are doing (hand position, pack position, cornering line...), or it might be paying attention to who the sketchballs are and getting away from them.

    As to your question about finishing times, I've crashed 2ce (in CO). The second time was on the last lap of a crit which was the last stage in a stage race, and I was given same time with the pack I was in when I crashed.... which oddly made me 2nd in the 4s, even though I DNFd. I was really surprised they did that, actually, I was pretty sure I wasn't going to get a GC place, but I did.

    I didn't see anything in the way of official involvement. The girl who cause the crash was given a place behind me, though, even though she was in front of me in real life, so maybe that was a relegation b/c she caused it - totally not sure.

    There are 2 specific sketchy people in my pack, and I'm sorry to say I feel like I'm just stuck with them. If either was my team mate I would be trying to get them to work on their issues. One of them, the whole rest of the peloton is like "oh her, yeah, she's awful..." but none of us has the balls to tell her to her face, I guess. I hope someone else does it soon, or it's going to be me.
    ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by chummels View Post
    Thanks for the informative responses, Ninny.
    I'm sorry this was taken as somehow defensive or name-calling. I was being sincere. I *do* appreciate the informative responses!

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    ride lots be safe Creakyknees's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
    a handlebar width between riders, another rider has every right to move into that space.

    in cat 5s ??? not a good idea.
    "have fun and be kind"
    - an internet post

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    So, chummels: email the race promoter or call him/her, the name and contact info is on the race flyer. Ask if you got a result, first. Second, tell him about the incident, see if you can get the email address of the chief ref for the race. Tell your story, politely, if you know the rider's number. Word does get around, and, I've witnessed officials give quiet talks to offending riders, and sometimes to their clubs or sponsors. Heal up and race again, smarter next time.
    "have fun and be kind"
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    Quote Originally Posted by chummels View Post
    I'm sorry this was taken as somehow defensive or name-calling. I was being sincere. I *do* appreciate the informative responses!
    Oh, I guess I thought you were calling him Ninny? Like, a perjorative? I'm confused. sorry.
    ...

  21. #21
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    Here are my thoughts as a former competitor and current official...

    - As was echoed in other statements, I hear a huge number of people complain about "dangerous" riders. The fact is that without seeing something egregious on the field of play or hearing from multiple witnesses there is not much I can do as an official. It is basically your word against his. Understand I am not saying you were at fault or that the other rider was safe, but as you admit you are a Cat. 5 in your first race - if you are the only complainant that makes it hard to do anything without seeing the occurrence.

    - You can file a complaint with USAC, preferably through your regional coordinator (found online). Although there might not be any action if there are more complaints then action can be taken.

    - You should seek out the ambulance/first aid yourself if capable. The responsibility really falls not he organizer, although often the race officials need to step in to make something happen on that end.

    - The officials do have the ability to immediately DQ a rider who is an immediate danger to himself or others. I can tell you that in literally hundreds of days of racing and officiating (often from a motor) I have never seen this done (not counting idiot centerline violations). However I have DQed and relegated for improper and dangerous sprints several times. I have also had several discussions with riders accused of being dangerous/reckless - sometimes they have no clue that they were the cause of issues.

    - Drafting in a TT is not an automatic DQ. There is a chart in the rulebook that compares distance and speed of the draft and assesses a penalty. I would also look at a DQ for serious (multiple miles) of drafting that included interference with another rider.

    - There is a difference between the "countdown" and free laps ending in a crit. Free laps end at 8K to go - if this happened inside that then yes you should be assigned the time of the groups you were with and placed last if you were a DNF (in a stage race on time). However it you were outside 8k (e.g. the laps were 2k each and you had 5 to go) then you have to take the free lap or you are done.

    - Lastly, sorry you had a bad experience - hopefully you'll get back out there. Unfortunately crashes are a part of the sport, as the scars on my elbows and hips attest to! As your skill level goes up generally so does that of the riders around you. I look back at some of the moves I pulled in P/1/2 and cringe now that I am older and wiser - and there were many pros who could and did outride me every race. I'll leave you with one bit of wisdom a former pro told me - "don't let go of the bars until you stop moving"!

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    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    Oh, I guess I thought you were calling him Ninny? Like, a perjorative? I'm confused. sorry.
    Oh, my bad! I see now that user globecanvas just has a signature that says: "Ninny", which I interpreted to be his/her name. Oops! No harm meant! I'm happy to be getting so many experienced opinions to help me figure this out!

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    Ninny globecanvas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    ^^ chill dude, he was being really helpful and generous with advice, your defensive name calling isn't warranted.
    I didn't take offense -- my signature does say "ninny" after all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    ^^ chill dude, he was being really helpful and generous with advice, your defensive name calling isn't warranted.

    Sorry you got hurt. I'm curious, what was your injury?

    Aside: Has anyone ever heard of someone being kept from racing because they are sketchy or reckless?

    I wasn't there, and I don't know what happened, but pointing fingers doesn't do anyone any good. Ask what you could have done to prevent it, and if the answer is "nothing" then "that's racing." The most productive thing you can do is learn whatever you can from it - which might be something you are doing (hand position, pack position, cornering line...), or it might be paying attention to who the sketchballs are and getting away from them.

    As to your question about finishing times, I've crashed 2ce (in CO). The second time was on the last lap of a crit which was the last stage in a stage race, and I was given same time with the pack I was in when I crashed.... which oddly made me 2nd in the 4s, even though I DNFd. I was really surprised they did that, actually, I was pretty sure I wasn't going to get a GC place, but I did.

    I didn't see anything in the way of official involvement. The girl who cause the crash was given a place behind me, though, even though she was in front of me in real life, so maybe that was a relegation b/c she caused it - totally not sure.

    There are 2 specific sketchy people in my pack, and I'm sorry to say I feel like I'm just stuck with them. If either was my team mate I would be trying to get them to work on their issues. One of them, the whole rest of the peloton is like "oh her, yeah, she's awful..." but none of us has the balls to tell her to her face, I guess. I hope someone else does it soon, or it's going to be me.
    I ripped my elbow up so bad some bone is exposed, and I've got a huge amount of road rash all down my left side and some burning where the jersey melted on to my skin. Amazingly no broken bones or head injuries, though...

    Interesting that they completed the stage for you, even thought you DNF'd. I've just written to the organizers about this, so hopefully I'll get a similar result. Thank you very much for the response!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tech Director View Post
    Here are my thoughts as a former competitor and current official...

    - As was echoed in other statements, I hear a huge number of people complain about "dangerous" riders. The fact is that without seeing something egregious on the field of play or hearing from multiple witnesses there is not much I can do as an official. It is basically your word against his. Understand I am not saying you were at fault or that the other rider was safe, but as you admit you are a Cat. 5 in your first race - if you are the only complainant that makes it hard to do anything without seeing the occurrence.

    - You can file a complaint with USAC, preferably through your regional coordinator (found online). Although there might not be any action if there are more complaints then action can be taken.

    - You should seek out the ambulance/first aid yourself if capable. The responsibility really falls not he organizer, although often the race officials need to step in to make something happen on that end.

    - The officials do have the ability to immediately DQ a rider who is an immediate danger to himself or others. I can tell you that in literally hundreds of days of racing and officiating (often from a motor) I have never seen this done (not counting idiot centerline violations). However I have DQed and relegated for improper and dangerous sprints several times. I have also had several discussions with riders accused of being dangerous/reckless - sometimes they have no clue that they were the cause of issues.

    - Drafting in a TT is not an automatic DQ. There is a chart in the rulebook that compares distance and speed of the draft and assesses a penalty. I would also look at a DQ for serious (multiple miles) of drafting that included interference with another rider.

    - There is a difference between the "countdown" and free laps ending in a crit. Free laps end at 8K to go - if this happened inside that then yes you should be assigned the time of the groups you were with and placed last if you were a DNF (in a stage race on time). However it you were outside 8k (e.g. the laps were 2k each and you had 5 to go) then you have to take the free lap or you are done.

    - Lastly, sorry you had a bad experience - hopefully you'll get back out there. Unfortunately crashes are a part of the sport, as the scars on my elbows and hips attest to! As your skill level goes up generally so does that of the riders around you. I look back at some of the moves I pulled in P/1/2 and cringe now that I am older and wiser - and there were many pros who could and did outride me every race. I'll leave you with one bit of wisdom a former pro told me - "don't let go of the bars until you stop moving"!
    This is all very helpful. Yeah, the course was only a 1 km course, so we were well within the final 8 km when the crash occurred. I've written to the organizers about this and the rider.

    I guess I'll just do everything I can to be a safer rider in the future and avoid these sorts of situations altogether. It still makes me anxious to know so much is at risk from the riders around you, but I guess that's just bike racing. Thank you!

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