RAGBRAI – the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa – is a popular Iowa summer tradition that thousands of participants and spectators enjoy. For the uninitiated, RAGBRAI began in 1973 and has continued, uninterrupted, ever since thus making it the longest, largest, and oldest bike touring event in the world.
Each year, the staff of the Des Moines Register plans a bicycle route running west to east across our great state. Although the routes change each year, they are always beautiful (and challenging) and wind through small towns and villages and incorporate our rolling hills, prairie lands, fields, and rivers.
Participation in RAGBRAI is limited to eight-thousand five hundred week long riders and one-thousand five hundred “day riders”. For some participants, RAGBRAI is a family tradition that sees multiple generations participating together while for other solo riders it is a must-do event every summer and for still others, RAGBRAI is a “bucket list” activity.
Regardless of how or why people turn out to enjoy RAGBRAI, participating comes with risk as does all bicycling. The Des Moines Register reports that 24 cyclists have lost their lives on Iowa roads since 2011. Frequently, fatal bike accidents occur when a motorist strikes a biker from behind. Sadly, this type of accident is relatively common across the country and it seems as though drivers simply don’t see, or notice, smaller, slower moving bikes until it is too late.
The car versus bike accident phenomenon is prevalent enough that the Iowa Legislature entertained a bill that would have required people driving motor vehicles to completely change lanes when passing a biker and failing to do so would have resulted in a one thousand dollar fine if the bicyclist were subsequently killed. However, the bill did not get past the Iowa House.
With RAGBRAI preparation now in full swing, motorists should anticipate seeing more bikes on the road than usual and should drive with care. However, if you know someone who was injured or killed due to a bike accident or other pedestrian accident contact our Des Moines Iowa personal injury law firm to learn what your rights are and how we can help you enforce them.
For a free consultation, we can be reached at 515-493-4878 or via email.