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Ulster Grand Prix fans told to leave the selfie sticks at home

By Laura Abernethy

Published 09/08/2016

Safety warning: John McGuinness
Safety warning: John McGuinness

If you want to snap a picture of yourself enjoying the Ulster Grand Prix this week, leave the selfie stick at home.

The popular gadget, which acts as an extendable arm to allow you to get a wider view, has been banned from the Dundrod racetrack due to safety concerns.

Organisers are worried that spectators using the sticks may cause obstructions on the track that could lead to a serious accident.

A spokeswoman said: "This is just for general health and safety. Obviously with the speeds that the riders are travelling at and they are so close to the hedges where spectators are, if there was a selfie stick sticking out of a hedge, it could actually clip the rider.

"We don't want anything being extended over the safe area.

"I don't think we've ever had a specific issue but it is something that has come out of the safety group meetings and it's not something they ever want to have an issue with. You can see how easily there could be a mishap."

Promoters added drones or "any device that extends your camera or phone away from your hand" will not be allowed and anyone found using any of these devices will be asked to leave the event.

The spokeswoman said: "We can't have drones either. Someone might be trying to get a better view of get a bit of footage but if that drone was to suddenly crash in the middle of the course, it could cause an accident. The riders are going so fast and they wouldn't have the time to react to something like that."

English rider John McGuinness has previously spoken out about the dangers imposed by the devices.

The TT rider told Performance Bikes: "The G-forces on the bike are huge and the number of selfie sticks hanging over the fence is insane. The pictures must be great, but I don't want one wrapped around a brake hose."

This isn't the first major event to ban the use of the sticks.

Disney theme parks banned the sticks after a man was spotted using one on a roller coaster as it reached the top of a hill, leading to the ride being closed for an hour.

In January, football club Tottenham Hotspur said they would confiscate any selfie sticks in their ground after a fan complained that another supporter had used one to obscure his view.

In June, Wimbledon banned the use of selfie sticks among tennis fans at the tournament and the Colosseum in Rome don't allow visitors to use them due to concerns that they could damage the historic site.

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