Paris-Roubaix, France: Call for action follows crass stupidity at level crossing

13 Apr

French rail infrastructure provider and train operator SNCF has called for police action to be taken following an incident in which top-flight cyclists competing in the classic Paris-Roubaix cycle race ignored the flashing lights and barriers at a level crossing. Logic suggests that the police should not treat the cyclists any differently to red light running motorists.

However, race organisers have said that they will not punish the riders because the light sequence began when the leading riders were ten metres from the level crossing and that it was unsafe to stop for the level crossing.

Have a look at the aerial footage of the incident at and judge for yourself  Your feedback would be welcome as I don’t want to see the same or similar misuse of level crossings during the first Tour de Yorkshire which is being held from May 1st to May 3rd with some of the top teams committed to participating.

4 Responses to “Paris-Roubaix, France: Call for action follows crass stupidity at level crossing”

  1. Andrew Fraser April 13, 2015 at 15:38 #

    As seems to be usual with the rail fraternity, the call is for the wrong action. If it’s necessary to hold a cycle race on a route involving raliway level crossings, then surely SNCF could see its way to co-operating with the organisers. Or doesn’t level crossing safety matter to them?

  2. Dave H (@BCCletts) April 13, 2015 at 16:26 #

    We have 2 clear examples of level crossings on the route of le Tour de France when it has run in the UK – in 2007 Tenterden Town LC? and 2014 Starbeck LC – in both of these cases the line was closed. For the 2014 Open Golf at Gleneagles a footbridge link reconnected Caledonian Crescent (ironically a dead straight avenue between Gleneagles Station and the Hotel resort), directly crossing the A9 dual carriageway.

    For one of the Skyrides which also involved the route going over a working Level Crossing I beileve that marshalls were on site to reinforce the AHB and wigwags message to stop, if required, and deal with any rider who fell crossing the tracks (it was an old Bowmac IIRC so the classic problem for crossings with no through tie rods, of gaps opening up and grabbing tyres was present – I know of at least 4 serious crashes 2 x Bramley, Emsworth and Sawbridgeworth through gaps opening up and gap/skew issues historically/current at Aiskew & Three Horsehoes No 3.

    It does rather beggar belief that SNCF did not place marshals at the site by way of basic safety management, lest there was a pileup of cyclists crashing when one might have fallen crossing the rails, that marechal would then have been in place to make immediate contact to stop trains etc.

    The other option, gven the money involved in the race, would have been to erect a temporary bridge, with its major potential as an advertising opportunity and send the ride over the top.

  3. Dave H (@BCCletts) April 13, 2015 at 16:28 #

    PS not only Starbeck of course crossings also closed to rail movements on Wensleydale Railway.

  4. Clive Robey April 13, 2015 at 20:01 #

    10 metres from the crossing and not safe to stop? I think not. Poor planning in the first place.

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