Spectator killed at Tour de France

Hit by police motorbike in Wittelsheim

A spectator has been killed and two others injured on the Tour de France Saturday after being hit by a police motorbike on the 14th stage, French radio reported.

The accident happened in the village of Wittelsheim, about 40km from the start of Saturday's stage in Colmar.

Organisers confirmed earlier that three spectators were being treated at the scene by paramedics before being taken to hopsital in Mulhouse.

It later emerged that a woman in her 60s died at the scene.

According to France Info radio the woman was crossing the road after a breakaway group of riders had passed when she was hit by one of the several police motorbikes which accompany the race.

After the collision the motorbike landed on its side, hitting two roadside spectators, a 37-year-old woman and a man in his 60s.

Both victims were transported by helicopter to nearby Mulhouse.

In the 106-year existence of the race fatalities from outside the race have been relatively rare, the last occurring in 2000 and 2002.

In 2002 during the Bazas-Pau stage a seven-year-old boy died at the scene after being hit by a vehicle from the publicity procession, which travels the race route daily throwing out free gifts to spectators.

A similar accident occurred two years earlier on the Avignon-Draguignan stage when a 12-year-old boy was killed.

Following both tragedies organisers reduced the number of publicity vehicles by a third.

The biggest accident on the race by far was in 1964.

A police supply van collided with a bridge near Pont de Couze in the Dordogne, killing 20 people.

© 2009 AFP & BikeRadar

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