Level Crossings and Cycle Races

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by robertclark125, 14 Apr 2019.

  1. robertclark125

    robertclark125 Established Member

    Messages:
    1,507
    Joined:
    12 Mar 2008
    Location:
    Cardenden, Fife
    As I write this, it's the 2019 Paris - Roubaix one day cycle race in Northern France. In 2006 and again in 2015, the race has been disrupted due to a level crossing being closed, to allow a train to pass. The 2006 incident is shown in the video below.



    As commentator Phil Liggett said at the end, those three who ignored the barriers and went over were disqualified. In 2015, there was a bigger incident when about 30 riders went over a closed crossing, but due to the size of the field who ignored the barriers, no one was disqualified. SNCF called for those riders to be prosecuted, although this didn't happen.

    UCI rules state that when the barriers are down, you MUST stop, and you lose the time. The clock doesn't stop, it carries on.

    If that incident ever happened here in the UK, could riders be facing prosecution by the authorities, which the UCI rules do allow? The UCI does warn that riders who ignore closed barriers can face prosecution by authorities, so if this occurred in a major one day race or stage race in the UK, would it be right to expect police to prosecute?

    And yes, I did notice that a neutral service bike (The Mavic yellow one) and the TV camera bike went over before the train came. I'd like to hope that they faced disciplinary action as well.
     
  2. Registered users do not see these banners - join or log in today!

    Rail Forums

     
  3. 221129

    221129 Established Member

    Messages:
    3,751
    Joined:
    21 Mar 2011
    Location:
    Sunny Scotland
    Yes they absolutely should.
     
  4. alistairlees

    alistairlees Member

    Messages:
    834
    Joined:
    29 Dec 2016
    The ones who went through after the train went past, but whilst the barriers were still down (I assume the lights were also still on, but couldn't tell) should also have been disqualified. This was a double track line. Another train in the other direction (or even in the same direction) could have been coming. They didn't even look, but just assumed that the barriers were down for one train. Though I can understand they will have been feeling the pressure in what is a very competitive sport.
     
  5. Matt_pool

    Matt_pool Member

    Messages:
    149
    Joined:
    9 Nov 2016
    Serious question - couldn't they have just held the train(s) at a red signal until the race went through?

    It's a one day event which, like every other large road race (either on a bike, running, motorsport), takes months of planning to ensure road closures etc are in place. They have a very good idea of the timings for these events, e.g. the race will go over level crossing "x" at time"y".
     
  6. mildertduck

    mildertduck Member

    Messages:
    210
    Joined:
    9 Nov 2010
    In the UK, when the Tour de Yorkshire happens, the organisers work with the railway (putting a possession over the level crossing when the race is due through), so it shouldn't happen here...
     
  7. route:oxford

    route:oxford On Moderation

    Messages:
    4,722
    Joined:
    1 Nov 2008
    The organisers should avoid routes that involve a level crossing.
     
  8. 221129

    221129 Established Member

    Messages:
    3,751
    Joined:
    21 Mar 2011
    Location:
    Sunny Scotland
    Or they could find a route that doesn't involve level crossings?
     
  9. robertclark125

    robertclark125 Established Member

    Messages:
    1,507
    Joined:
    12 Mar 2008
    Location:
    Cardenden, Fife
    It's a very good point you make, and they do give the authorities approximate times they expect the race to pass points, such as a level crossing. The problems come when you have more than one breakaway, as was the case in the 2006 incident. The field, the peloton, were still several minutes behind the second chase group, which was held at the barriers.

    In 2015, as many as 30 riders in the peloton crossed the railway line, and that was a major group, not a breakaway.
     
  10. Dolive22

    Dolive22 Member

    Messages:
    32
    Joined:
    23 Nov 2014
    Those crossing certainly could be prosecuted, the prohibition applies and they breached it. They also certainly should be prosecuted, and you would hope that at sentencing it would be treated as professional offending, committed blatantly and intentionally to obtain an unfair advantage.

    As to the failure to disqualify riders, I think you could make a good case in England for convicting the race organisers of a criminal breach of the duty owed by employers to persons other than their employees, where they arrange a race across a level crossing and then give people advantages in the race for dangerously crossing with the barriers down.
     
  11. Surreytraveller

    Surreytraveller Established Member

    Messages:
    1,091
    Joined:
    21 Oct 2009
    How long would you consider reasonable to delay a train for? The line would effectively have to be blocked, and the signal held at red. A member of staff would have to be positioned at the crossing to liaise with the event organisers. The block would have to be given up to allow the train to pass. All this takes time.
     
  12. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Veteran Member

    Messages:
    12,565
    Joined:
    22 Feb 2011
    Location:
    Mold, Clwyd
    They've just crossed a single track line (88km to go), but the barriers were up.
    It's a frantic race, and visibility can be very poor with the crowds and dust.
     
  13. grumblingalong

    grumblingalong Member

    Messages:
    690
    Joined:
    10 Mar 2015
  14. Taunton

    Taunton Established Member

    Messages:
    3,501
    Joined:
    1 Aug 2013
    Back maybe in the 1980s, when the major cycle race in Britain was called the "Milk Race", being sponsored by the Milk Marketing Board of that era, an AHB crossing came down, the cyclists ALL zig-zagged, and an accompanying policeman (!) stood on the crossing and gave a Stop arm signal to an approaching dmu - which managed it. I think there was a formal investigation report into it; it was described in Modern Railways at the time.
     
  15. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

    Messages:
    14,373
    Joined:
    21 Apr 2013
    Location:
    Nottingham
    From a position of almost total ignorance of cycle races, but couldn't they organise a stop of say 5min somewhere after the crossing and anyone arriving when the lights were flashing would be allowed to reduce their stop time by the time they spent waiting to get across?
     
  16. BRblue

    BRblue Member

    Messages:
    212
    Joined:
    13 May 2015
    Location:
    Sunny Sussex...
    Ok he we go...
    Quite simply no at least not without a lot of hoops being jumped through but that is far too simplistic an answer. Much would depend on the crossing location, type of crossing and service type/frequency.
    On a rural line with infrequent trains and a crossing with manually controlled barriers Network Rail may be able to come to an agreement with the race organisers to hold trains at a stop signal for a brief period if needed.
    Now back to your first point... to state the obvious trains are not like cars.
    If for instance the train brought to a stand was a 1000 tonne plus stone train, too stop for a couple of minutes will probably incur somewhere around a five or six minute delay I'm sure a driver will correct me if I'm wrong.
    That train could then miss its path at a junction and the delay to both itself and other services spiral. If holding that train causes a 400 minute delay would the race organisers be willing to accept responsibility for that and pay the compensation? I doubt it very much.
    It would be much easier for the race organisers to find a route without level crossings.
     
  17. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    35,966
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    Provided this doesn't cause significant disruption to the train service, this is sensible. Active level crossings are incompatible with cycle racing, just as open single track roads are (I crossed the Hardknott Pass while a triathlon was going on last year and the risks some riders were taking diving in and out of cars at speed on a road that has a 1:2 gradient in places were shocking and completely unacceptable).

    This would be best if possible.
     
  18. Llanigraham

    Llanigraham On Moderation

    Messages:
    3,834
    Joined:
    23 Mar 2013
    Location:
    Powys
    If the crossing is an Automatic Half Barrier there is no protecting signal.
    And don't start me on the lack of advance PRing that the cycling world don't bother with compared to that legally required for motorsport.
     
  19. robertclark125

    robertclark125 Established Member

    Messages:
    1,507
    Joined:
    12 Mar 2008
    Location:
    Cardenden, Fife
    This was the 2015 incident, which I watched live. I can tell you twitter was going crazy over this, and SNCF were furious, and called for the riders to be prosecuted.



    I need to also explain that the worldwide governing body, the UCI, does NOT organize such races like this; they only grant them world ranking status. It's down to local committees or companies to organise them. Paris - Roubaix is organised by the same firm that organises the Tour de France. Here in the UK, Sport for Television group organises some races. So, if race organisers were to face prosecution, it would be these firms, not the UCI.
     
  20. neilmc

    neilmc Member

    Messages:
    759
    Joined:
    23 Oct 2011
    I notice the headline, basically that the train was somehow interfering with the race and the commentator saying "get across if you can" even when the barriers were down and that a TGV goes "ridiculously fast"!
     
  21. brompton rail

    brompton rail Member

    Messages:
    716
    Joined:
    28 Oct 2009
    Location:
    Doncaster
    A few Years ago the Tour of Britain started at Scunthorpe, then crossed the Trent and passed via Google to Howden. The race continued north past Howden station on the Leeds -Selby - Hull line. A small group of riders made a breakaway right from the start of the race and by the time they reached Howden had a time gap of around ten minutes. The gate were closed at Howden station and by the time they opened the rest of the race had caught up! That’s bike racing!,
     
  22. johnnychips

    johnnychips Established Member

    Messages:
    1,775
    Joined:
    19 Nov 2011
    Location:
    Doncaster
    Cyclists should be made to wear Google Glasses instead of those cool, sleek shades and have them linked to RTT so they can plan accordingly.
     
  23. randyrippley

    randyrippley Established Member

    Messages:
    1,727
    Joined:
    21 Feb 2016
    if these racing teams were as professional as they claim to be they'd have someone monitoring the french version of RTT and passing info to the guys on the bikes.........
    they spend a fortune on the tech aspects of the race yet ignore a simple data feed
     
  24. jopsuk

    jopsuk Veteran Member

    Messages:
    11,880
    Joined:
    13 May 2008
    In most cases race organisers will try to avoid level crossings. Because of the problems they cause. Paris-Roubaix though unfortunately has lots of crossings, as there's a couple of lines cross the area where all the worst roads are and that's what the race is all about. They do try to time the race around the rail schedules, but:
    1. A train could be delayed
    2. The race could be delayed
    3. as happened in 2015, the race could be ahead of schedule, eg due to a roaring tail wind

    In 2015 they had even delayed the start because of the wind (don't want the race finish happening too early, there's TV schedules to think about). And a great many pro sports people are not the brightest. And no-one thinks clearly in that sort of situation. So people do stupid things.

    I do remeber the hilarious pearl clutching though as the train involved was a TGV. "nearly run down by a high speed train!!!" and all. Which, yes, it is a high speed train. On a line with, as far as I could find out, a line speed of 80-100km/h. They don't have level crossings on LGV.
     
  25. dazzler

    dazzler Member

    Messages:
    66
    Joined:
    6 Apr 2018
    Location:
    York
    From the current (2019) British Cycling Technical Regulations (General, Road, Track and Roller Racing Section):

    British Cycling's Technical Regulations are pretty much the same as, or similar to those of the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) - the world governing body.

    The UCI regulations are:

    Thankfully when I am commissairing races I don't have to deal with level crossings - it would be a major error of design to stick a railway through the middle of a velodrome!! :D:D
     
  26. notlob.divad

    notlob.divad Established Member

    Messages:
    1,101
    Joined:
    19 Jan 2016
    As has been pointed out, partly due to the 2015 incident, the rules have relatively recently been updated to increase punishments on any rider who does break the rules and to allow organisers to rebalanced the race in the case where the outcome of the race has been effected by the indcident.
    The rule as mentioned above was enforced in one of the recent major races, which had the majority of the participants standing in the road waiting for 5 minutes to let a breakaway re-establish its lead.
    Organisers do everything they can to remove the risks, level crossings rarely feature towards the end of races where their impact (on the race) would be much greater, and as has previously been mentioned they at least try to consult with rail operators to avoid the situation.
    The issue with Paris Roubaix particular is 2 fold. 1. The specific nature of the challenge is across the rough pave in North East France. They are typically racing down cobbled farm tracks and narrow twisty lanes. Exactly the type of road where level crossings are common as road traffic is normally sparse. Saying avoid the level crossings would completely destroy the point of the race.
    2.The race is highly un-predictable, it is what makes it possibly the best race of the year. The race can break up very early on with riders left in many many small groups along the road rather than the more typical breakaway and peleton you would see in something like the tour of Britain.
    It therefore creates the worst possible conditions for this sort of incident. The weather conditions also play a massive part. 2015 was a gale blowing the riders along, this year was a gale in almost the opposite direction slowing the riders down. It is now 10 years since there has been a wet Paris-Roubaix the next time there is one, it will be chaos as the pave becomes lethal when wet.
    Given all that the organisers do a fantastic job because these incidents are really quite rare.
     
  27. Ken H

    Ken H Established Member

    Messages:
    1,304
    Joined:
    11 Nov 2018
    You should not be racing on a public road. Get on a dedicated cycle track if you want to race.
     
  28. eastdyke

    eastdyke Established Member

    Messages:
    1,384
    Joined:
    25 Jan 2010
    Location:
    East Midlands
    We had a thread back in 2017 when the LC at Malton was closed to allow the Tour de Yorkshire to pass. There was a planned cancellation of 2 TPE services.
    https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/tour-de-yorkshire-friday-28th-april.145694

    Within the last 2 weeks there has been another LC incident on the continent. When I find the link again I will add a link to this post.
    Edit: Apologies it was April 2018, here is the link anyway:
    https://www.cyclingweekly.com/news/...prijs-level-crossing-disqualifications-375423
    It was controversial at the time, the riders don't always seem to fully get it.
     
    Last edited: 15 Apr 2019
  29. Mike395

    Mike395 Administrator Staff Member Administrator

    Messages:
    2,224
    Joined:
    23 May 2009
    Location:
    Bedford
    What a ridiculous statement - are you honestly saying the Tour de France should use only cycle paths? (incidentally, these sometimes have level crossings too!)
     
  30. EM2

    EM2 Established Member

    Messages:
    7,066
    Joined:
    16 Nov 2008
    Location:
    The home of the concrete cow
    Road racing, both human-powered and with engines, predates circuit racing by some years.
     
  31. eastdyke

    eastdyke Established Member

    Messages:
    1,384
    Joined:
    25 Jan 2010
    Location:
    East Midlands
    That is patently not going to happen for major road races. Races are planned months in advance in conjunction with the authorities and of course where suitable alternatives exist races will not use level crossings.
    The major road races are very important economically to the Regions, even Countries, in which they take place.
     

Share This Page