Last year we watched slack-jawed as a large, remote-controlled hexacopter operated by a TV broadcast crew came crashing down just meters from a professional skier during an event in Italy.
This week, a pro cyclist was less fortunate when a drone crashed just in front of him during a race. The main body of the machine jammed his front wheel, which consequently sent him flying over the handlebars.
The terrifying accident took place during this month’s Golden State Race series in Sacramento, California, and was caught on camera by another rider’s helmet cam.
The unlucky competitor, who’s yet to be identified by name, “suffered no broken bones, only ending up with a broken wheel, helmet and some road rash,” according to Cycling Weekly.
Look at the video closely and you’ll see the quadcopter — likely a consumer drone such as a DJI Phantom machine rather than something like the heavier hexacopter that crashed at the ski event — collide with a tree before hitting the ground and smashing into pieces.
With the machine shattering across the road, it seems like most of it is behind the rider when suddenly his front wheel locks, sending him tumbling over the top. At any speed, a fall like that can produce serious injuries, but this racer, although slowing, was still moving at a steady clip and therefore extremely lucky to escape with what must have been a seriously bruised body. Thankfully, it didn’t produce a massive pileup involving the other riders, either.
It’s not clear at this stage if the cyclist or authorities intend to take any action against the drone operator, but the nasty accident is a powerful reminder of the need to take proper care when flying a drone. The owner may simply have been hoping to get some cool aerial shots of the cycling race, but a single clumsy maneuver and one large tree put paid to that, and while the consequences were pretty darn bad for the rider, they could’ve been a whole lot worse.
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