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Crash Responsibility(13 posts)

Crash ResponsibilityMark C
Jul 16, 2002 11:12 AM
The purpose of this post is to get some opinions on what the proper etiquette is after causing a bike wreck. I was racing in a cat 4/5 criterium this past weekend, several laps into the race, there was an attack as the pack was heading towards a 90 degree left hand turn. As we were midway through the turn, one of my teammates washed out (front and rear tires) and clipped the rider outside of him, who clipped the rider outside of him. I road directly into the 2nd fallen and sliding rider, going over my bars and ultimately fracturing one of my wrists. The pavement was dry, and no one cut my teammate off or swerved at him, he just tried to take the corner too fast and washed out, plain and simple.

I am not angry at my teammate for crashing, I guess it can happen to anyone, but I am upset with how he reacted after the crash, and the fact that he tried to ride beyond his abilities, ending the race for several people, including myself. He hopped up after the wreck, glanced around, and took off, totally ignoring the fallen riders who he caused to crash. And furthermore, after the race, he referred to the crash as GETTING CAUGHT UP IN THAT BS not taking any responsibility for the crash.

I am very aware that every bike race I enter, I sign the waiver and risk getting involved in a crash. I am just bent that he took off without checking on anyone, and did not take responsibility for the crash. (AND, I guess I am a LITTLE pissed that I am out for 4 weeks with a fractured wrist)

Do I need to get over it? Am I ridiculous for expecting him to take responsibility for his actions? Thanks for letting me vent
Get over it.Glory Hole
Jul 16, 2002 12:06 PM
It racing. There's plenty of time for apologies after the race. Unless he's an EMT, hanging around the crash scene does no good and is a hazard. Washed out? Blame the tires. Blame the course.
Get over it.kaiser
Jul 17, 2002 6:20 AM
It's a crit. Presumably there were people there (besides him) to check on you. If it was a road race, and we were both out in the middle of nowhere, I'd probably take a few secs and see if all were ok.

If it looked as if you were badly injured, heck, I'd probably stop right there. Broken wrist? You probably didn't look all too hurt.
That's racingbrider
Jul 16, 2002 1:05 PM
Congrats, you've had your (possibly) first race-related crash. I'm sure there will be more. As some one already stated, unless he's an EMT, there's little he could do at the time. The "heat of battle" makes one do things they might not do in other situations. He may well have looked around, seen that every one was conscious, and decided that no one was fatally injured, and THEN continued. Now you know that any time you go into a corner and you're outside of some one else, you run the risk of getting washed out if they dump it. Learn from it. Also, learn how to roll off the bike so you don't injure yourself again if you go over the bars.
re: Crash Responsibilitypben
Jul 16, 2002 1:13 PM
First, it's racing, get over it.
Second, you ACTUALLY want someone, in the heat of a race, make sure that everyone is OK before he/she gets back on their bike and keeps racing? Just how PC has this world become.
isn't riding beyond one's abilities part of racing? (nm)ColnagoFE
Jul 16, 2002 2:09 PM
That is part of riding but...hayaku
Jul 17, 2002 5:13 AM
I still reckon it's pretty rude of him not to check if his own team mate is OK. I think this situation shows the best and worst of competition. People pushing themselves so far is great, but losing track of sportsmanship and compassion makes them look like A-holes.

I think the best thing you can do is work out a program to continue with, maybe it has to be on a trainer but keep riding and stay in front of him when you come back.

Good luck, go hard!
Are you all kidding me?Pack Meat
Jul 17, 2002 9:52 AM
Crashing is not just part of racing! It happens and when it happens the right thing to do is to take responsibility for it if it's your responsibility. I wouldn't excpect anybody to wait during the race to make sure that everybody is ok because there are officials and med people for that but you should be a man and take responsibility for your actions.

Racing is not riding beyond your ability, that's training! If you are to weak minded to push yourself beyond your limits during training than you shouldn't be racing. You wouldn't throw a new piece of equipment on a bike or try a new saddle position right before a race without trying it out on a ride first would you? Then why the hell would you attempt to corner faster than you've ever cornered before during a race.

Racing has inherent risks, I don't see the need to increase the risk by using racing as your testing grounds. I know how fast I can corner, I know how far I can lean my bike over, and at what speeds I will clip a pedal, and I don't exceed these limits in a race. And another thing, don't take risks to make up for your lack of fitness! That means don't cut a corner to move up in a pack because you can't manage the effort.

I would love to hear some arguments against what I said here.

Hugs and kisses,
depends on how you define itColnagoFE
Jul 17, 2002 12:13 PM
personally i know i ride much harder and take more risks when racing than when i'm out training or doing a group ride. i suppose you could say i push the limits when racing--not neccesarily "beyond" my abilities, but crashes do happen and when they do it's usually a result of someone else's mistake or that you are riding too far beyond your ability.
Yes, racing is an increase risk to training, however....Pack Meat
Jul 17, 2002 12:26 PM
I'm just attempting to get people out of the mindset that it's ok to take risks that are to big when generally the benefit of that risk is so small. There is a risk/benefit correlation that gets skewed during a race, people take significantly greater risks for assumed benefits that are not there. Is it worth the risk of cutting a corner to move up from 10th place to 8th in a local (read: nobody really cares about your placing except you and your significant other, or parents) cat 4 race. Are the best racers you know greater risk takers or are they more skilled at bike handling or have better fitness?
I agree with PM...lonefrontranger
Jul 17, 2002 1:34 PM
The issue I think wasn't the fact that the crash occurred in the first place. I think the author has dealt with that okay.

The issue at stake is that not only was the instigator a clueless SOB about the matter, but fergawdsake you'd think one's OWN TEAMMATE might be a little more concerned. The response of the offender showed an utter lack of accountability and sportsmanship. As PM mentioned in an earlier thread, that kind of attitude would deservedly and assuredly get one kicked off of most teams I've ridden for.

I agree that you shouldn't stop in a crit to see how everyone is - unless you're the only qualified medical help, which should never be the case. To be blunt, the combatants are either going to take a free lap or get in the ambulance, and the only thing your intervention typically does is cause additional confusion to an already stressful scene. It's different in a non-free-lap situation (road or circuit race); in that circumstance you should expect your teammates to regroup after the crash to help all involved to chase back on.

The bottom line is that if you instigate a wreck, it is indeed your personal responsibility, not to mention good sportsmanship and plain old good manners to extend the olive branch to the recipients. Anyone who has raced for any length of time has most likely been both instigator and victim of these sorts of nasty crashes, so if you're the guy in the hot seat, suck it up and be responsible. Do this AFTER that cat is through to give everyone else a chance to (hopefully) settle down a bit and clear the adrenalin, but BEFORE the race day is over.

For additional insight into the training implications of mid-season injury, read Rick Crawford's contribution to
agree mostlyDuane Gran
Jul 17, 2002 4:38 PM
I mostly agree with you. In principle I would like to be able to push the limits in training as I do in a race, but after two seasons I know that my best performances still occur during the races. Give me some adrenaline in a pill and I'll gladly recreate race efforts in training. That said, I think there is no excuse for people taking short cuts in a turn or doing something in the last two laps they would never do in the preceding laps (assuming we are talking about crits here).

As for the original poster's situation, crashes are crazy and complex things. I've seen plenty of people dish out in a corner, but for all I know somebody else was moving into their line or bumping their shoulder. I think most crash instigators don't know that they caused the incident.

As an example, I had a guy in a race bump shoulders with me. Basically he tried to slip between me and another guy. I was holding my line and wasn't personally bothered by the shoulder rub, but then the guy yelled at me to watch myself. At this I not-so-politely informed him to not thread the needle and then proceed to bitch about the tight quarters. If he would have crashed from that shoulder rub (yes, quite possible in cat4) I'm sure he would have blamed me.

It is an enigma. I have mostly given up on assigning blame for crashes.
Jul 18, 2002 10:08 AM
It makes you wonder where the sportsmanship, ethics and morals went in our sport. I dont think you are out of line to expect a teammate to come up and say "sorry man but my wheel just hit some sand or whatever". Not that he needs to be sorry for being the first guy in the chain reaction but that he is sorry for your brocken wrist. I am in a similar boat. I had 2 screws put in my knee Monday because some guy tried to make a pass in the gutter on the last lap. It is very frustrating and one would think that we as racers should be respectful to the people around us. It might not be much longer before bike races are going to start looking like hockey games.