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USA Cycling considers ban on helmet cams and junior carbon use

  • By Brian Holcombe
  • Published Nov. 1, 2010
  • Updated Nov. 1, 2010 at 6:34 PM EST

Did you just drop $200 on a new helmet cam to capture the weekend’s criterium action? Get your money’s worth quickly because the devices may be outlawed by USA Cycling in 2011 as the federation considers a number of updates to its rulebook next weekend.

Each fall the USAC Board of Trustees considers a number of rule updates. The federation’s local association in Texas has published this year’s proposed changes, which were submitted by federation staff, Trustees and local association representatives and members.

The most interesting road and cyclocross changes revolve around junior equipment, singlespeed categories at ’cross nationals and helmet cams. According to USA Cycling technical director Shawn Farrell, local associations should each have the 29-page final racing rules legislative packet in hand Friday and will bring their feedback to the board at a summit November 6 in Colorado Springs.

The Board of Trustees will consider that feedback in ruling on the changes and Farrell should have the revised rules on Monday November 8. From there the federation will publish the new rulebook before the first of the year.

Trustee Jim Patton advised that interested parties should contact their local representatives before Friday to voice their opinions on the proposed changes. Association representatives are listed on the federation’s website.

Farrell’s explanation of proposed changes appear below. Click on the rule title for full text of each rule or click here to view the full rule changes document pdf.

UR10.19 1N1. Helmet Cams

This rule would ban the attaching any non-stock items — including cameras, visors and fairings — to helmets during a race. The rule would not ban cameras attached to the bicycle.

Shawn Farrell:
“The logic is that at the beginning of this year, we made illegal helmets with the CE sticker on them. That wasn’t particularly popular with a lot of people, but it’s important from a risk management perspective because you’re not allowed to sell those helmets in the United States. We believe that to go ahead and allow people to ride a helmet that they bought in Europe that isn’t legal for sale here would be very hard to defend in court if they got injured.

“We decided to go with that and it makes it really hard, if we’re going to hold a hard line on that and say your Catlike or your Casco … to say you can’t wear that because we think it’s a safety risk. Yet we’ll let you take a hard something and stick it on top of your helmet, which has to clearly invalidate the testing of any helmet. We decided we can’t have it both ways. We can’t require you to use a pristine helmet with a U.S. sticker in it and say you can’t have a visor or make your own face shield, but at the same time, it’s fine to go ahead and stick a camera on top of it.

“It’s more from a risk management perspective and the recognition that it would have to affect the safety aspects of the helmet, just by definition. In a crash, if you do a header right on top of your helmet cam, you’re going to drive it right through your helmet into your head.

“It came more from the risk management side than any particular accident that we know about.

UR10.17 1M. Junior bicycle restrictions

This would present juniors from using ‘composite’ wheels, tubular tires and handlebar extensions. On version of the proposed rule would apply to all juniors, even if they are racing with and older group. Another version would apply to junior-only events.

Shawn Farrell:
“That was proposed by one particular person. The Trustees can propose their own legislation, but they are also the only avenue for the membership at large to do that. That was not a rule that anyone on the board of trustees proposed on their own, it was something they collected from someone out in the field. I assume it has to do with the feeling that cycling is becoming too expensive for little kids. People don’t like to go to the national championships and find that 10-year-old Johnny is riding a $20,000 bicycle. It’s becoming the bike and not the rider at that age level. I assume that’s the motivation for the rule, but I haven’t spoken to the person that proposed it.”

“They proposed two versions, hoping we would like at least one of them. A lot of times people will do that.”

UR10.35 8F8. Singlespeed cyclocross championships
USAC staff proposed adding men’s and women’s elite singlespeed categories to the cyclocross national championship. The staffers must be anticipating that the proposed rule will pass, because these events are already on the schedule for this year’s nationals in Bend, Oregon.

Shawn Farrell:
“It was really, really popular last year, but was not a championship event.”

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Brian Holcombe

Brian Holcombe

Brian Holcombe is the editor of VeloNews.com. Holcombe joined VeloNews in 2009 following years spent introducing students to whitewater kayaking and working in avalanche control, among other more risky ventures. A Master of PR and Marketing Communications, his graduate work at the University of Denver focused on innovation, digital media management and custom publishing. Holcombe is a CSU Ram fan and proud parent, and has been accused of attacking too much on the VN lunch ride. Follow him on Twitter @FCBrian.

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