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Welcome to Europe, Where Spectators Are Legally Allowed to Be Run Over

Tragedy, if that's what you want to call it, struck the Tour de France yesterday after a spectator was killed alongside the race. We hesitate to use the term not out of disrespect for the victim, but because the death was so easily preventable.
⇥[A] woman crossing the road died after being hit by a police motorcycle escorting riders.
⇥The accident happened 24 miles into the 124-mile stage from Colmar to Besancon. Tour organizers identified the victim a 61-year-old woman. Two others were injured when the motorcycle skidded into them.
Right, we certainly don't like to see these situations happen; that much is obvious. But even taking a cursory glance at the TdF picture above, you can see the jarring proximity of the fans to the action itself, truly a foreign concept to American fans. We have exactly one idea of what happens when fans get near the run of play in American sports, and as kinda funny as it seems now that everybody's fine, it's still enough to make sure that fans stay far, far away from the sport at all times:


But in Europe, ye gods. Granted, standing close to bicyclists isn't in and of itself life-threatening ("Sacre bleu, Jean-Luc! C'est si dangereux, ce bicyclette!" "Oui, Edouard! Oui!"), but the casual-to-say-the-least approach to safety extends to a sport that should absolutely never involve fans near the racetrack: rally racing.


Mexico, of course, is the only country where fans actually tried combining the two; you can imagine how that ended.↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.