M Ernst wrote:
There was a crash yesterday in our group ride century at about 65 miles. Strong gusty head wind, 5'-0" wide paved shoulder, and lots of traffic on Labor Day. It was a nasty ten mile stretch that we just wanted to finish so it was a single file and draft off the guy in front. The wind was too loud so no verbal warnings just the front guy hand signals passed down the line. We were maintaining 18-19 mph into the head wind. It was just a big grapefruit sized chunk of asphalt. Maybe the signals didn't get passed down. Maybe it came just too fast and there was no time to react. Two riders signal and pass it fine. Third rider is in his aero bars, so, no signal. Fourth rider in aero bars hits the rock and loses it. 5th guy clips 4th riders wheel and 4th rider hits the pavement(sore and scapped up). 5th rider avoids the deck. 6th rider can't react soon enough and goes over the top of 4th rider, breaks a humorous bone, shreds their upper lip and knocks out two teeth. 7th rider avoids contact, may have been in aero bars. Three of the seven riders had aero bars (either clip-ons or full TT set up).
All riders have +/- 3,000 miles this summer, so I feel there is plenty of experience for all riders. Factors causing the accident. Wind, Traffic, Stress of traffic, poor hand signaling, fatique, and being in the aero bars
Question: Is being in the aero bars the over-riding reason for this accident? What else? What can we learn from this? Be civil.
Yes, among other things, being in the aero-bars in a pack / group ride is one of the primary causes for this accident. The other things are: lack of experience amongst all of you. Those in the tri bikes should have been holding the base bars and if they wanted to ride in the aero bars then they should have kept their distance. For those in the road bikes they should have steered clear of the guys on the aero bars following someone else. Riding 3,000 miles in the summer doesn't correlate to experience and wisdom - it simply means they rode 3,000 miles this summer. If I happened to be riding the same road as you guys were riding and you passed me, I would have stayed off your entire group as soon as I saw those riders in the aerobars in the middle of the pack. Absolute recipe for disaster.
I ride in my aero bars all the time but I keep a 20 foot distance from the rider in front of me for two reasons: (1) My reaction time riding close to the guy will be too slow in terms of braking and in terms of avoiding obstacles, (2) I ride aero to be strong as an individual rider without the benefit of a draft. What's the point of being in an aero position if you are drafting anyways. This only makes sense if you are practicing TTT. Note that even the pros practicing and racing TTTs in aero positions crash.