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Son of cyclist killed at Duo Normand "to raise holy hell" about race safety

Ian Bashford's club says tragedy "could have been and should have been prevented"...

The son of a London cyclist killed at the Duo Normand two-up time trial in France yesterday says he will “raise holy hell about safety standards” at bike races.

Retired Metropolitan Police officer Ian Bashford, aged 60, was on a descent just 200 metres from the finish line of the event yesterday when the support car for two riders on the opposite side of the road reportedly veered into his path.

Paramedics fought for 40 minutes to try and save Mr Bashford’s life but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

He had been competing in the event, previously won by Sir Bradley Wiggins and, on three occasions, Chris Boardman, with south London-based Old Portlians Cycling Club team mate Peter Grey, who managed to avoid the car.

The tragedy yesterday has left Mr Bashford’s family devastated and his son Neil, speaking to the London Evening Standard, said: “If he’s up there now I’m sure he’s bloody furious about how this could happen, so I feel it’s my duty to raise holy hell about safety standards.”

“He was taken out by a support vehicle for another rider from another team. I gather they were overtaking and went onto the side of the road my dad and his partner were on.

“The car shouldn’t have been there – that’s pretty obvious. Dad was 200 metres from the finish on his side of the road.

“How did this happen on an organised circuit event? This could have been Bradley Wiggins.

“If that happened everyone in cycling would be looking at making changes, but it’s a 60-year-old amateur cyclist from England,” he added.

Mr Bashford had belonged to Old Portlians Cycling Club, where he was membership secretary and treasurer, for 20 years.

Club secretary Julian Hutchings described him as “a fabulous guy and a great character,” who would have been known by “hundreds of people in the south of England and rest of the country.”

He added: “He was the life and soul of the club. Everyone is very upset to lose such an important member in such a tragic way.

“It’s people like Bash who make cycling clubs in this country – the whole sport relies on people like him.

“We have a number of ideas about how his accident could have been prevented and should have been prevented.”

After three years in the army, Mr Bashford spent 27 years with the Metropolitan Police, including in the Diplomatic Protection Group, and took part in a recruitment campaign with former Prime Minister Tony Blair ahead before retiring a decade ago.

He was married with two children and four grandchildren.

His son added: “He was a very loving and caring man. He loved cycling. He was a real family man and loved looking after the grandchildren. He was fantastic with them.

“He was an upstanding pillar of the community enjoying his retirement.”

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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Leviathan | 7 years ago
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I watched the Mens road race at Rio and heard the dire predictions of Chris Boardman and was sickened by the inevitable crashes in both the Mens and Womens races. When I heard of the Paracyclist I immediately though of the gullies on the road and Boardman and van Vlueten.


and lets not forget this:


If the courses are dangerous get them changed, if the support drivers are in the wrong place, train them, monitor them, replace them.

Augsburg your post might be dressed up as sensibleness but it is nothing but victim blaming. This is not mountain biking; road rash and a broken collar bone are to be expected, a touch of wheels will happen regardless of crash barriers, but no 'safety equipment' is going to protect a racer when going head first into a vehicle that should not have been there. 

balmybaldwin | 7 years ago
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I think that it is somewhat of an overreaction to go as far as Augs suggests above with compulsory safety clothing etc, but there is clearly some easy wins available. The Olympics crashes (don't forget the poor paracyclist that died after a similar crash) cause me trouble though. Cycling is a sport that is very much about balancing risk and reward, especially when it comes to technical riding. The consequences in this course were way too high with those horrible curbs, but I don't want to get to the point where they don't put in a difficult downhill due to the risk (rather they mitigate the consequences - catch netting, padding etc - the obvious problem being it's very expensive to make a 200km race stage inert in terms of nasty things you could hit).

As to the case in hand in the article, I can't comment on the last 6 years since my father died, but in the 10 years leading up to that he drove the support vehicle for the local cycling club entry for the Duo Normande each year. He had no training specially to do this and was not offered any. There may have been a safety briefing but it wasn't significant enough for him to mention it to me so essentially there's no difference to your average license holder other than you happen to know someone who's riding the race (and therefore will probably be more aware of cyclist generally).

I can easily imagine that a similarly qualified driver following the other team getting overly excited and concentrating more on his riders and their progress than things going on in front of the car.

Augsburg | 7 years ago

I want to extend my support and condolences to the Bashford family.  I hope the cycling community can begin to see and hear the cause for rider safety in races.  I know it will be a long row to hoe, before cyclists realize how out of step they are with the rest of the sporting world.  We are a community that can still not figure out how to involve women in road racing, let alone safety. 

Just a few weeks ago we witnessed, in horror, the crash at the Rio Olympics of racer Annemiek van Vlueten.  Today, her "recovery" is heralded as a miracle.  Baloney!  Just like Mr. Bashford's death, I see Ms van Vleten's return to racing as a tragedy.  

I support the Bashford family in bringing that message to the cycling community.  I sincerely wish race officials and sponsors would begin to take rider safety more seriously.  I can only say it is telling that the teams and sponsors do not show concern for rider safety.  That they consider racers so expendable, and they care more about taking advantage of the public 's interest in the macabre for their own financial gain.

The racers, the cyclists, will never speak for themselves.  They are the product of an old, out-of-date culture valueing bravery and toughness over common sense.  The vast majority of modern sports have embraced safety.  Auto racing, boat racing, even American football (albeit after lawsuits rang up totaling a billion U.S. dollars).  Just watch the movie Concussion, if you want a lesson in sports culture that is long overdue for change.  

Cycling is one of the few, one of the last, to cling to a sporting climate ignoring obvious safety measures.  It does not take Einstein to come up with a dozen ideas to improve safety.  Protective riding gear (that everyone must wear), improved crash barriers at obvious problem areas.  Better driving rules, certification and training for the drivers of race motorcycles and team cars.  

Too many in bike racing figure "crashes are part of the race".  It has always been a weak argument to say "well, it is how we've always done it".    Where would the world be if there was no change, that we did not try to make things better?  It is time.

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