Tragedy: a bunch of racing cyclists crashed into the back of a Renault Koleos driven by the race organizers after the crossover slammed on its brakes. Why would it do that?
Here’s video of the incident, which happened right at the start of the race:
Upon further analysis, you’ll notice the crossover started out ahead of the bikes, with one of the organizers for the junior edition of Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne waving a flag while standing out of the sunroof. As the vehicle gained speed, the car suddenly stopped, causing a bunch of riders to crash into the back of it.
Fortunately, Cycling News reports there were no serious injuries and the riders were able to get back up and re-start. The outlet also reported the car may have stopped due to an issue with its transmission.
But if you look at the video closer, it actually looks like the guy waving the flag put his arm in front of the rear-view mirror, where the Renault Koleos has a front-facing sensor for the active emergency braking system. You can see the placement and a description of its function on Renault’s website.
The safety system is available in two options, with option B having an additional sensor near the mirror and a more extreme braking reaction if it sense an imminent collision. This may be what happened when the person waved their arm in front of the windshield.
Systems like this, with sensors located in a similar area, are becoming more and more common.
All of this is to say, if you want to stand out of the sunroof of your car, as any natural, warm-blooded person desires, make sure you’re aware of the vehicle’s safety sensor placement.
Jalopnik reached out to Renault and will update when we have more information.
The good news is you have some options, if you’re the sort of person driving a car through a cycling race. You can either deactivate the systems if the car allows for it, which the Koleos does, or you can drive a cooler, older car that doesn’t have the safety systems!