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Voiture-Balai Driver

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The bicycle racer's nightmare, the voiture-balai (translated from the French as broom wagon) is the vehicle that follows a bicycle road race and picks up racers who are visibly struggling at the back of the race (literally sweeping them up) and who will most likely be unable to make it to the finish line within the time permitted. Once the athlete has decided to give up, he or she will official hand in his or her bib to a race official who will accompany the athlete to the van where the bicycle will be loaded and the racer will sit in the 7-seat van that will transport all of the passengers directly to the finish line.

If you have watched broadcasts of races like the Tour de France, you have probably noticed the van bearing a "Voiture-Balai" sticker. For years, starting in 1910, a real broom was hung at the back of the van or fixed above the driver and has now been replaced by the more modern sticker.

The voiture-balai didn't start out as the quitters means of locomotion. At the start of the 20th century, the role of the voiture-balai was to keep an eye on the racers to make sure they weren't breaking any rules.

Today, these vans are also used in other sports like Paris-Dakar rally and some marathons. They are also used at some weddings where they show guests how to get to the event or to alert drivers of potential road hazards.

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