Drones are making more and more appearances at sporting events. The cameras mounted to them provide great footage from an angle normally inaccessible or impractical to film from, but they also pose a significant risk to both participants and viewers of sporting events. Last year, a drone operated by a TV broadcast crew came crashing down a few feet away from a professional skier in Italy. And this year, we’ve seen a near-direct hit.
A pro cyclist racing in Sacramento’s Golden State Race series was riding alongside dozens of other cyclists when a drone lost control and dive-bombed into the group of riders. One of the cyclists ran straight into the drone, smashing it to pieces, and it seemed like a crisis was averted. However, moments later, a piece of the drone that caught in the cyclist’s front bike tire caused the tire to seize, sending the cyclist over his handlebars and onto the pavement. The whole incident was caught on video by another cyclist’s helmet camera.
Fortunately, the cyclist was not seriously injured. The bike’s front wheel and the cyclist’s helmet were broken, but the cyclist walked away with only some road rash.
If you own a drone and like to use it to film sporting events, make sure you are taking proper care. All it takes to lose control of a drone is one clumsy maneuver, or even something as simple as losing line of sight behind something like a tree. While this drone accident didn’t turn out too bad, there is potential for serious injury and death when drones crash.