'Selfies' putting safety of Tour de France riders at risk
Monday, July 7, 2014, 2:55 PM - Social media-crazed spectators are putting the safety of Tour de France riders at risk, prompting a statement from the competition's organizers.
Bystanders at this year's Tour de France are rushing into the middle of the road in hopes of capturing the perfect 'selfie' -- i.e., self-portraits that are uploaded to social media networks.
RELATED: A selfie of planet Earth
Images have been popping up since the weekend prompting event organizers to speak out against the practice.
On Monday the Tour de France published a tweet asking audience members to "respect the riders" along with an image depicting an accident that occurred while a selfie was being snapped.
SPOTTED: this is what happens when you risk everything for a photo. Respect the riders! / Respectez les coureurs ! pic.twitter.com/SG4YVgWN0X— Le Tour de France (@letour) July 7, 2014
The Tour de France selfie is making as many headlines as the competition itself, with one rider calling the act a “dangerous mix of vanity and stupidity,” according to the Toronto Star.
While injuries are common during the intense three-week competition, the popularity of social media has led to a hazard that event organizers hadn't planned for.
Rider Geraint Thomas told the Independent that riders should "stand on a wall" when taking selfies.
"The worst thing is when people have got their backs to the peloton taking selfies,” he told the publication.
"I had a few of those and they don’t see us coming and are stood [sic] in the road and it is very dodgy. 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. There have been too many big accidents with riders hitting spectators and you don’t want to see that."
Selfie with Tour de France!! pic.twitter.com/JqpXHfheq5— EveLouise! (@evelouisepurdy) July 6, 2014
Hailed as one of the world's largest sporting events, the Tour de France race covers nearly 3,500 kilometres.
People from over 180 countries are participating this year in front of an estimated 12 million spectators.
RELATED VIDEO: EXTREME MOUNTAIN BIKING