Belgian cycling chief proposes red and yellow cards to improve safety

Tom Van Damme also calls for the end of race radios, which he says leads to more aggressive riding

SCHOTEN, Belgium (AFP) — Belgian Cycling Federation president Tom Van Damme said Wednesday he wants the International Cycling Union (UCI) to introduce red and yellow cards to improve safety in the peloton.

Such cards are well known in soccer and rugby circles but so far have not made an appearance in cycling.

But Van Damme believes it could improve riders’ discipline and lead to fewer crashes — something that is particularly apt following Sunday’s incident-packed Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders) in which a 65-year-old female spectator suffered life-threatening injuries following a collision with Belgian rider Johan Vansummeren.

Asked at the Escaut Grand Prix what proposals he was considering, Van Damme said: “The introduction of a system of red and yellow cards, like in [European] football.

“Even though in cycling not everything is filmed and we can’t see everything. But if riders were more disciplined, there would be fewer accidents.”

Other ideas aimed at improving safety include banning riders from riding on sidewalks during races, from using earpieces to interact with sport directors — who often urge their riders to push up to the front, thus taking greater risks — and banning the use of Tramadol, a pain-killer which reduces riders’ concentration.