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Old 12-11-07, 12:44 PM   #1
tate65
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IA closing county roads to cyclist

Or at least saying “county roads are not designed or maintained to meet specific standards related to bicycle travel.” There for they are not liable for issues pertaining to cycles on those roads

http://www.muscatinejournal.com/arti...4190473578.txt
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Old 12-11-07, 12:49 PM   #2
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What did cyclists think was going to happen when lawsuits were filed against the county?
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Old 12-11-07, 01:23 PM   #3
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Need to get rid of those county supervisors. Hound them to the gates of hell, until the resign, or can be replaced. Be at every public event. Be at every meeting. Talk to people. Get the motorcyclists involved. If roads aren't designed for bikes, they're not designed for motos either.
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Old 12-11-07, 01:24 PM   #4
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I'm of two minds on this. I agree with JeffS, this seems like a reasonable response to a multi-million-dollar lawsuit. At the same time, it seems strange that a governmental body can just absolve itself of responsibility for the condition of their roads. If THEY'RE not responsible for ensuring the roads meet certain minimum specifications, who is?

Could they then construct a new road that was only paved 7 feet wide (or 5 feet, or any other number)and still say it was a valid road for vehicular traffic?
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Old 12-11-07, 01:25 PM   #5
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If roads aren't designed for bikes, they're not designed for motos either.
VERY, VERY good point!

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Old 12-11-07, 01:27 PM   #6
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So that would mean that any vehicle class higher than a bicycle would be disqualified too?
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Old 12-11-07, 01:53 PM   #7
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They are trying to stop frivolous lawsuits from scam artists. I could see a group of Irish Travelers getting on bike, falling, then suing the county or state. (South Carolina owns and maintains all paved roads)
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Old 12-11-07, 02:44 PM   #8
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Or at least saying “county roads are not designed or maintained to meet specific standards related to bicycle travel.” There for they are not liable for issues pertaining to cycles on those roads

http://www.muscatinejournal.com/arti...4190473578.txt

I don't think this is a reasonable response. The reasonable response is to upgrade the roads to meet standards so that all legal vehicles can safely operate on them.
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Old 12-11-07, 02:55 PM   #9
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IRC, the city of Chicago has taken this stance and won
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Old 12-11-07, 09:25 PM   #10
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Do "specific standards related to bicycle travel" exist in IA? If not, then wouldn't the typical law making cycles vehicles subject to the same laws as other vehicles apply? I can drive my car on substandard roads and nobody objects. I strongly suspect many of the roads I ride on wouldn't meet some standard or other!

I can't see how a resolution would keep legitimate traffic off the road. Maybe I'm just missing the point.
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Old 12-11-07, 09:48 PM   #11
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MMMMMM - did y'all get that "eat MAID-RITE" ad on the page, the one that says "you'll need a spoon" to get up all the loose meat? Yoo boy - nothing says Iowa like a loose meat sammie....
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Old 12-12-07, 09:49 AM   #12
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I don't think this is a reasonable response. The reasonable response is to upgrade the roads to meet standards so that all legal vehicles can safely operate on them.
Well, in the real world I can tell you exactly what the response to that will be. If you point to the roads and say "this road will cost $5M to upgrade such that bicycles can safely operate. It's fine now for cars, but I demand it be upgraded such that all legal vehicles can use it!" Guess what? They'll just make it illegal to use a bike on that road. In many areas, cyclists have to fight hard enough to stay on the roads that exist, it's not going to work if people then go around and start making demands for upgraded conditions in areas where cyclists are particularly rare. Remember, we're a minority, if sometimes a vocal one; we're not negotiating from a position of strength.

To me, the response by the state is reasonable if they were recently sued and if the roads are sufficient for the 99% of traffic that is motorized (I expect, since we're talking about Iowa). I think the reasonable response as a cyclist is to familiarize yourself with the roads you use and not go faster than conditions allow. And if some idiot driver does something stupid, don't blame the government.
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Old 12-12-07, 10:03 AM   #13
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I don't get it. Someone died on the RAGBRAI ride and sued the County? I don't know about RAGBRAI, but don't you need to sign a waiver or something acknowledging that you understand that riding on roads can be dangerous blah blah blah? I'd be interested in seeing what the justification was for adding the County to this lawsuit. Is the County somehow liable if there are car accidents on that road? What about motorcycle accidents? The County should have never been involved in this in the first place.
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Old 12-12-07, 10:05 AM   #14
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You all need to research the whole thing here. This was because of a family suing Crawford county over the husband's death on RAGBRAI. The lawsuit was not decided because the county settled out of court at the request of the county's insurance company. Of 99 counties in Iowa, 48 are insured by this company. The counties are now trying to push the state into passing a law protecting them from this sort of thing. (My own county just passed a resolution asking the state to do that) Most of it is knee jerk reaction. It's much like the Mcdonald's hot coffee suit. If this had gone to actual court, it may have been a different story...maybe.
The road the guy died on was not that bad. There is/was a seam in the middle between the lanes that the guy caught his tire in going 45 mph! Perhaps the county should have ticketed him for not riding responsibly. He wasn't in any lane! (I'm not serious about that so don't flame me, but it does open up some interesting possibilities.) With time this may blow over, but in today's lawsuit happy world, who knows.
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Old 12-12-07, 10:13 AM   #15
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You all need to research the whole thing here. This was because of a family suing Crawford county over the husband's death on RAGBRAI. The lawsuit was not decided because the county settled out of court at the request of the county's insurance company. Of 99 counties in Iowa, 48 are insured by this company. The counties are now trying to push the state into passing a law protecting them from this sort of thing. (My own county just passed a resolution asking the state to do that) Most of it is knee jerk reaction. It's much like the Mcdonald's hot coffee suit. If this had gone to actual court, it may have been a different story...maybe.
The road the guy died on was not that bad. There is/was a seam in the middle between the lanes that the guy caught his tire in going 45 mph! Perhaps the county should have ticketed him for not riding responsibly. He wasn't in any lane! (I'm not serious about that so don't flame me, but it does open up some interesting possibilities.) With time this may blow over, but in today's lawsuit happy world, who knows.
Thanks, I knew there had to be more to the story, but I still don't understand why the County is responsible for the untimely demise of someone riding 45 MPH on the center line. I think it's common for the insurance company to want to settle, but I think the County would've made out fine in court.
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Old 12-12-07, 10:20 AM   #16
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If roads aren't designed for bikes, they're not designed for motos either.
I'd like to agree with that except I really don't think it is true. If a county wanted to I'm sure they could make their roads nearly impassable by bicycle but not hinder motorcycles or cars much if any. Hey ride down a chip and seal road and you can see that expiriment in progress

This winter is being pretty harsh on the roads in my commute. Alot of the expansion joints are completely opening and from one road section to the next and verticle gaps of one inch or more are appearing. Last week I almost fell right into what the weather had done to where they added in a sewer drain. The gaps was over 2 inches wide in my direction of travel where prior to that the two pieces of concrete were snug right up to eachother. And no I wasn't riding in the gutter they replaced a partial section of concrete to put it in so it's about 3-4' in the lane.
For a car or motorcycle they can ride over all that without noticing or just feeling a little bump however they could be pretty dangerous for a bicycle to hit at speed.
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Old 12-12-07, 10:22 AM   #17
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Thanks, I knew there had to be more to the story, but I still don't understand why the County is responsible for the untimely demise of someone riding 45 MPH on the center line. I think it's common for the insurance company to want to settle, but I think the County would've made out fine in court.
That would be common sense. And in my world there's no such thing as lawyers...
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Old 12-12-07, 10:43 AM   #18
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Signing the waiver only waived RAGBRAI. That's why she sued the county. She couldn't sue RAGBRAI...she tried at first.
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Old 12-12-07, 10:54 AM   #19
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There's more info here: Ragbrai banned from Iowa County thanks to cyclist's family
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Old 12-12-07, 12:36 PM   #20
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I would challenge this on constitutional grounds as restriction on the right of free travel.
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Old 12-12-07, 01:32 PM   #21
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IIRC, one of the reasons for the suit is that lots of riders went down. The authorities (police or some other gov employee) went to the area and was warning cyclists for a while. Then, the authorities left, without putting up any cones, and the guy died.
I'm not saying the county should pay, but I think that was how the lawyers were justifying negligence. It has more to do with walking away from a known problem than some unknown cracks in roads.
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Old 12-12-07, 03:03 PM   #22
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We were stopped in the town before this for a couple of hours and were told over loud speakers several times to be careful of the coming road.
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Old 12-12-07, 03:05 PM   #23
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I would challenge this on constitutional grounds as restriction on the right of free travel.
They're not trying to stop all bikes, just the organization of RAGBRAI.
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Old 12-12-07, 03:57 PM   #24
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I would challenge this on constitutional grounds as restriction on the right of free travel.
I'm no constitutional scholar, but doesn't that have more to do with having the right to generally travel and cross state lines? I don't think it has anything to do with your chosen mode of travel or transportation.
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Old 12-12-07, 07:08 PM   #25
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IRC, the city of Chicago has taken this stance and won
Illinois' Supreme Court a few years ago held that IL public highways generally are not intended/designed/constructed/maintained for bicycle riding, and therefore public entities are not liable for injuries caused by defective roads where a bike rider is concerned, on the theory that there is no general expectation that a bicycle rider is an intended user of the road.

The rationale is ludicrous, but fiscally understandable considering most of IL state roads are in rural areas and longstanding statutes affording public entities immunity from all sorts of hazards.

OTOH, IL courts have also held that an auto driver is not a reasonably anticipated user of a city street when s/he gets out of the car and does not walk the most direct route from the side of the street the auto is parked on to the nearest same-side adjacent public walkway. The courts hold pedestrians to the same standard when a crosswalk (not required to be marked) is available (even if a block away: you can't just cross to the other side of the street, you've got to walk on the wrong side to the corner or marked crosswalk before crossing).

The city of Chicago has moderated the extreme position they could hold under state law by creating and maintaining signed bike lanes and routes (so obviously those routes are intended to be used by bike riders), to the point that in some areas use of bike lanes and routes are mandatory. Of course the problem then becomes how do you convince the administration, and the city council, to pay for damages (the city even insists its corporate counsel and the city council have to approve court judgments and pay out of budgeted accounts).
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