The Crawford County Board of Supervisors has asked organizers of the Des Moines Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa not to route the ride through their county again.
Dan Muhlbauer, chairman of the Crawford County Board of Supervisors, says the move comes after the county settled a lawsuit filed by the wife of a man who died while riding through Crawford County on RAGBRAI back in 2004.
"We just settled on a lawsuit for $350,000 and we do not feel that our highways are meant for bike trails," Muhlbauer says. The board unanimously approved a resolution that forbids RAGBRAI or any other event of its kind from using secondary roads in Crawford County.
"We really need to look at the state legislature and get a bill passed so that we are not liable for anything that goes on such as horse riding, tractor rides that go across the county, anything," he says. "We do not want to be held liable for anything that is not a permissible use of the highway, so until that bill is passed I think it’s wise on our point to say, ‘No, we really are not going to stand behind and want people to come in with organizations like this.’"
Widow Betty Jo Ullrich of Davenport sued Crawford County after her husband, Kirk, was thrown from his bicycle when his tire got stuck in a joint in a county road.