Sports Fans Are Taking Selfies Too Far

July 9, 2014

tweet1They’re everywhere. The Oxford English Dictionary’s 2013 Word of the Year. Fixtures on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You’ve probably been in at least a couple yourself.

Like it or not, selfies are simply a part of the digital world. But how far should you go for a good selfie photo? Is it worth putting yourself in danger? How about risking others’ safety or livelihood? Would you risk interfering with an international sporting event just to capture yourself in the middle of it?

The last example may seem a bit extreme, but judging by the recent behavior of pro cycling fans, the answer seems to be a definite “yes” across the board.

On July 5, 198 lycra-clad, impossibly fit guys lined up to start what I consider to be the greatest sporting event of the year: the Tour de France. It’s arguably the world’s most difficult endurance race and also one of the most dangerous. Riders race only inches from competitors and each Tour is filled with high-speed crashes. And, with no barriers restricting fans on most of the course, it’s become something of a tradition for Tour fans to cheer perilously close to the racers.

But this year some fans have added a new dimension of danger by not only getting extremely close to the riders, but turning their backs when taking a selfie. On Monday a selfie-seeking fan even caused one of America’s top Tour contenders, Tejay Van Garderen, and other racers to crash when he stepped in front of the peloton while facing his phone rather than the riders. Van Garderen reacted on Twitter after the stage:

tweet1Tour coverage from Monday unfortunately shows that this fan’s behavior was not uncommon.

Yahoo! even captured video of riders slapping phones out of fans’ hands when they got too close to the race. Apparently sometimes you have to take things into your own hands (or out of someone else’s, as it were).

Don’t get me wrong; a well-timed selfie can be great thing. But risking others’ safety — or in this case, possibly derailing a Tour stage or ending a rider’s entire race — is going too far.