This year’s route runs 418 miles across southern Iowa from Glenwood to Muscatine. Andrea Henry, with the Iowa DOT, urges motorists who encounter long lines of bikes to stay alert and don’t do anything to distract or startle the riders.
“We ask that you do not honk your horns at bicyclists,” Henry says. “Use extra caution when you’re passing them. Give them plenty of room because sometimes bicyclists might swerve to avoid road hazards like potholes or debris or railroad tracks or narrow bridges.” Henry says eight bicyclists were killed in Iowa PRIOR to RAGBRAI this year in collisions with vehicles. She notes, the safety tips for motorists apply all year long, not just during RAGBRAI.
“Be careful when opening your vehicle door,” Henry says. “Sometimes bicyclists will be riding close to the edge of the roadway and that can become a problem. When in doubt, always yield to bicyclists. Make sure you give them plenty of space and don’t try to pass if you don’t have the room to do so.” Cyclists, too, need to keep safety first by always wearing a helmet.
“We ask that you never ride against traffic,” Henry says. “Bicyclists are always supposed to follow the same flow as traffic. Obey traffic signs and signals just like you would if you were in a vehicle. Always, make eye contact with a motorist. Sometimes, it’s difficult for them to see you and if you make eye contact with them, that ups your chance of visibility.” At night, use a headlight, taillight and reflectors. Today’s section of RAGBRAI takes the cyclists 75 miles from Shenandoah to Creston.