Having raced (and crashed) in races in Italy, Canada and elsewhere where the city streets are closed off and competitors bike and run at top speeds around 90 degree corners and hairpin turns, I appreciate the steps taken by race directors to provide protection to participants and spectators alike. The Associated Press reported today that professional bicycle racer Paolo Bettini released from hospital after a cycling crash. The report from Milan, Italy noted, “Two-time world champion Paolo Bettini, who crashed and hit his head during the Six Days of Milan indoor cycling event, was released from a hospital Tuesday. In the final race of Bettini’s career, Ukrainian rider Yaroslav Popovych fell in front of the Italian. Bettini slammed his head into a protective barrier and broke his helmet, the Gazzetta dello Sport reported on its Web site.
A collar was attached to immobilize the neck of Bettini, who remained conscious and could talk, the ANSA news agency reported. Bettini later walked out of the Sacco hospital without assistance. The 34-year-old Bettini won the world championship road race in 2006 and 2007. He also won the road race at the 2004 Athens Olympics.”
Luckily for Bettini, there was a protective barrier and he was wearing his helmet. Tomorrow’s post will discuss safety barriers, fencing and other structures that are intended to reduce injury in cycle racing events.