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Selfie stupidity: Tour de France fans in danger of causing massive pile-up

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 (REUTERS/Christian Hartmann)

Fans of the Tour de France, which got underway on Saturday in England (yes, some stages very occasionally make it onto English soil), are apparently in danger of causing a massive pile-up as they step out onto the road to take a selfie.

While it may seem obvious to most people that turning your back on a bunch of high-speed cyclists coming your way may not be the wisest move in the world, some cycling fans turning out to the watch race appear to disagree.

Taking to Twitter over the weekend, American race participant Tejay van Garderen described standing in the road with your back turned as 200 cyclists hurtle toward you as “a dangerous mix of vanity and stupidity.”

A Guardian report Sunday suggested “thousands” of people have been taking selfies along the course over the race’s first weekend, with British rider Geraint Thomas concerned the risky practice will eventually lead to a nasty accident.

“If you are on the front you can see it, but if you are a couple of people back you suddenly see them and you can hit them,” Thomas told the Guardian. “There have been too many big accidents with riders hitting spectators and you don’t want to see that.”

He added, “There isn’t much racing on British roads and people don’t understand how fast we go and how much of the road we use.” The Welshman suggested that if fans really must take a selfie, they should climb on a wall and do it from there.

The increasing appeal of the selfie has also caused problems for other road-based sports, with organizers of the Hong Kong marathon earlier this year launching a special campaign to discourage runners from stopping along the course to snap a picture of themselves.

The move came after an incident at last year’s event when triathlete Joyce Cheung Ting-yan suddenly stopped to take a selfie on her smartphone, causing a huge pile-up of runners “which saw many competitors cross the finish line bloodied and bruised,” it was reported at the time.