In July, Bob published a Legally Speaking column (See “A question of liability“) in which he discussed how one Iowa county passed a resolution banning RAGBRAI from county roads, and the subsequent effort by theIowa State Association of Counties to pass statewide legislation that would have curtailed the legal rights of cyclists who are injured on county roads. The Crawford County ban and subsequent legislative efforts took shape in the aftermath of a cycling death that occurred in Crawford County during RAGBRAI. Due to the facts of the case, the county was alleged to be negligent, and settled the case out of court with the cyclist’s widow.
Fortunately, there was a distinct lack of interest for the proposed legislation in the Iowa Legislature. This week, BikeIowa reported that the Crawford County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to rescind the RAGBRAI ban.
Prior to Crawford County’s rescission, RAGBRAI had made changes in its liability waiver releasing local governments from liability, and also purchased a $2 million insurance policy that covers the unofficial participants who have not signed the waiver. These actions by RAGBRAI are in line with two of the three steps proposed by David Vestal, General Counsel for the Iowa State Association of Counties. The third step, the proposed legislation restricting the legal rights of cyclists, failed in the legislature. Along with that failure, the actions by RAGBRAI and Crawford County represent a win-win resolution of the issue for cyclists and Iowa’s counties.