A NEAR-MISS and a minor accident in its first two events of the season has left the president of the Barbados Cycling Union (BCU) concerned about the manner in which motorists are using the road during cycling races. And as part of efforts to lessen the possibility of accidents taking place, Keith Yearwood revealed that the association will be working more closely with the Royal Barbados Police Force to ensure cyclists’ safety on the road. Speaking to MIDWEEK SPORT at the completion of Sunday’s criterium at the Garrison Savannah during which cyclist Jesse Kelly was involved in an accident with a car, Yearwood said the BCU would be pressing forward to have those roads being used for events fully closed off to vehicular traffic. This incident followed a scary scenario in the BCU’s opening race of the season in Sterling, St Philip, with traffic allowed onto the stretch by the finish line, forcing cyclists to avoid cars while sprinting to the finish. “We are trying more and more to be on board with the police to have them, as far as possible, close the roads down as much as they can,” Yearwood said. “When we go to certain circuits we do get the roads closed, such as the Garfield Sobers circuit, the Spring Garden circuit and the Fontabelle circuit, where the vehicles are reduced to a minimum.” “What people are failing to realise is that cycling is a sport of class. It is a sport on the Olympic calendar and therefore we should be respected just [like] car racing or any other kind of racing,” he insisted. The BCU president argued that with the island’s extensive road network, motorists did not have to impede cycling events. He maintained there were more than enough roads which could be used as alternatives. “There are a lot of roads in Barbados [where] traffic can divert and still get to the same place,” Yearwood said. “We have one of the greatest networks of roads in the world for our size, therefore it should not be an issue for motorists to take alternative routes when the BCU is holding their road races.” The next road race is slated for February 9 on the Gun Hill circuit in St George.