Safety Issues in RAGBRAI Communities

RAGBRAI, the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, brings thousands of cyclists through small towns across Iowa every year. While this event is a great opportunity for residents to showcase their community and hospitality, it’s also important to consider the safety of both the cyclists and the community. To minimize accidents and promote a safe environment, there are some specific safety concerns that need to be communicated to residents.

  • First, it’s important to discourage young people from joining in as the riders come into town or leave in the morning. Many of these riders are inexperienced with riding in large groups, and there are often accidents involving young people every year.
  • Residents should also be discouraged from giving “high-fives” to the riders. While it may seem like a fun way to interact with the cyclists, accidents can occur when a rider reaches out to touch a hand. Additionally, it’s dangerous to have anyone that close to the bicycle route.
  • Another concern is the spraying of riders with water. While it may seem like a harmless way to cool off, many cyclists don’t want water on their supplies or expensive equipment. This can also be distracting for riders and cause accidents when they try to dodge the water.
  • Residents should also be cautioned not to hand out flyers or anything else to the riders as they come into town. Cyclists can’t carry anything on their bicycles, and reaching for something can be distracting and cause accidents.
  • Handouts and maps should be distributed in the campgrounds or downtown after the riders are off their bikes. This will prevent distractions and keep the cyclists safe.
  • Finally, it’s important to caution residents about opening car doors with the increased bicycle traffic. Residents should always look in all directions before opening car doors that could injure cyclists or force them to swerve.