With more and louder calls for the regulation of motorbikes in races in recent weeks, the inaugural Heistse Pijl race has opted to use a traffic light-style system to help motorbike riders find the safest place to overtake the peloton, if necessary.
There has been a spate of motorbike related crashes at races this season, which has led the CPA to lobby the UCI to lay out stricter guidelines for the race caravan. Earlier this season Wanty-Groupe Gobert rider Antoine Demoitié was killed when a race motorbike fell on him during Gent-Wevelgem.
Most recently, the third stage of the Belgium Tour had to be cancelled after two motorbikes collided and caused a crash in the peloton. Stig Broeckx (Lotto-Soudal) was the worse affected, and he remains in hospital following surgery. Broeckx had not long returned to competitive action after being struck by a race motorbike during Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne.
Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad reported that along the Heistse Pijl route, organisers have put up signs with the word moto inside red or green dots. Red dots indicate that it is not a safe place to pass while green dots mean that it is a safe place to pass.
The race organisers have also added 10 extra motorbikes to the race caravan to reduce the necessity and pressure on the motorbike riders to try and pass the peloton. Earlier this week, Tom Boonen – who is lining up for Etixx-QuickStep at the race – said that more rather than fewer motorbikes would increase safety in the peloton.
“Mobile signalers preserve the safety in unforeseen or dangerous situations," race director Dieter Clerx told Het Nieuwsblad. "We made a plan where they should overtake the peloton as little as possible. We also put 10 extra motorcyclists in order to reduce time pressure.”
Heistse Pijl takes place on Saturday, June 4 with Boonen, Tiesj Benoot and Fernando Gaviria among the starters.
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