The Crawford County Board of Supervisors has passed a resolution banning RAGBRAI, and other similar rides, from passing through their county. The ban stems from a settlement the county had to pay to the widow of a RAGBRAI rider.
The western Iowa county was sued by the wife of Kirk Ullrich, a Davenport man who was killed on RAGBRAI in 2004 when his bicycle tire got stuck in the road. The Des Moines Register’s Vice President of Marketing, Susan Patterson Plank, says RAGBRAI riders now sign an expanded liability waiver before the event.
"The waiver lists hosts of organizations that can’t be held liable, including RABRAI itself, but it also talks about local communities." Patterson Plank does not expect other local governments to adopt a similar ban. She says the Register has worked with the Iowa Association of Counties to make sure the liability waiver protects local governments from lawsuits.
Patterson Plank says most communities that land an overnight stop on RAGBRAI are thrilled, because of the economic jolt it provides to local businesses. "Most communities lobby for RAGBRAI," Patterson Plank says, "they ask that we come and consider their community…so this is counter-intuitive to most of our experiences with communities across the state." RAGBRAI was started in 1973 and now registers ten thousand riders annually.