Spectator safety at the Tour de France
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32 Tour de France Fatalities
Spectator Safety Advice
Throughout the tournament’s 109 year history, only four cyclists have died in the Tour de France. However, 27 spectators have been fatally injured. The Tour de France prides itself on the ability to get spectators close to the action, but this approach has been questioned over the years. While the debate around spectator safety continues, here is the story behind those tragic fatalities and tips on staying safe at the event.
Cyclists, competing – 3
Cyclists, non-competing – 1
Spectators – 27
Officials – 1
1910 – One of the competitors, Adolphe Heliere drowned whilst swimming in Nice on a rest day
1934 – A motorcyclist crashes at high speed and dies during a motorcycle demonstration to occupy the crowd prior to the arrival of the cyclists
1935 – During the 8th stage of the race, Spanish cyclist Francisco Cepeda plunged down a ravine having lost control of his bike on a steep descent
1957 - A journalist from Radio Luxembourg and his pillion passenger are both killed when their motorbike veered off a mountain road
1958 - A collision between a competitor and an official sadly led to the death of the official, Constant Wouters
1964 – Tragically twenty people were killed when a van carrying supplies hit a bridge
1967 – Tom Simpson from Great Britain died from fatal heart failure during the 13th stage of the race on the climb up Mont Ventoux
1995 – Olympic gold medallist Fabio Casartelli died from fatal head injuries after crashing and hitting his head whilst descending the Col de Portet d’Aspet during the 15th stage of the tour
2000 - A 12 year old boy was killed when he was hit by a car which was overtaking the media caravan
2002 – A 7 year old boy was killed having been run down by the media caravan whilst running across the road
2009 – A woman in her 60s was hit by a police motorcycle whilst crossing the road
There aren’t any barriers separating cyclists from spectators on most mountain passes. This is unusual for a big sporting event and can leave spectators vulnerable to falling into a riders’ path as they ride up the road.
It’s important that you ensure you stay clear of the cyclist’s path.
Cyclists ride incredibly fast and use every inch of road available to them; make sure you stand well within the white lines.
Don’t run alongside the riders. Just watch the race and enjoy.
With so many vehicles on the road, including bikes, caravans and cars, pedestrians should take extra care when crossing.
If you’re watching the race with your family, please make sure you keep a close eye on children at all times.
Avoid taking pictures. The view from your camera can be misleading and you may not realise that there’s a herd of cyclists hurtling towards you.