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Bike ride insurance required in Iowa county

Old 08-27-08, 01:45 PM
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bikewidget
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Bike ride insurance required in Iowa county

That lawsuit issue in Iowa that prompted Crawford County to ban RAGBRAI is back. Now Hardin County is requiring any bike ride of 10 or more to register and carry $1 million in liability insurance. No similar requirements for car rallies, tractorcades, or Shriner precision motor scooter teams. More here including text of the ordinance.
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Old 08-27-08, 04:02 PM
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So?

Your aforemention groups, being car drivers and organizations already carry insurance policies.
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Old 08-27-08, 04:47 PM
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I was thinking organized bike rides normally carried insurance anyway (the charity rides is what I'm thinking about). Car drivers normally carry insurance, but an organized car rally wouldn't necessarily have anything like that. And most people's individual car insurance isn't for a million bucks, either.
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Old 08-27-08, 09:03 PM
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I'd like to see them try to defend that bit of silliness in court...
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Old 08-27-08, 09:36 PM
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Here it is verbatim from www.bikeiowa.com which is the Iowa Bicycle Coalition website:

Hardin County recently passed an ordinance requiring bicycle
rides over 10 persons to obtain a minimum of $1 million
insurance policy before they can ride their bicycles on
Hardin County roads. The ordinance will end bicycle rides
by scouting groups, church groups, and even individuals who
meet on a regular basis to ride their bicycles if they are
not willing to pay estimates of $300 to $3,000 per bicycle
ride. If riders do not provide insurance they face a $750
fine.

Worse yet, the form created by the Hardin County Board of
Supervisors requires all bicycle rides to divulge their
route, start and end times, number of participants, and
signature provided by the Hardin County Board of
Supervisors. Citizen who choose to participate in an car
rally, motorcycle poker run, tractorcade or funeral
procession are not required to submit similar information to
the county government.

The ordinance is a template provided by the Iowa State
Association of Counties (ISAC) to address a 2004 lawsuit on
RAGBRAI which was settled out of court. Some county
officials believe unusual liability exists for bicyclists
following this lawsuit despite the lack of precedence and
protections which already exist for government agencies in
the Iowa Code.

Bicycle liability remains extremely rare and the 2004
lawsuit was the only known case involving a single bicyclist
in the past 36 years. Yet, the Urban Transport Monitor
reports 80 lawsuits per state per year involving motor
vehicles. The 2004 lawsuit was also unusual because the
claim cited a failure to warn. It has been reported by the
Des Moines Register that a county deputy was assigned to
warn riders, but the deputy left prior to the 2004 crash
that killed Kurt Ullrich. Orange cones that were placed to
warn riders were removed prior to the fatal crash.

The Hardin County does nothing to address the liability
incurred by the negligence of the county. Nor would the
ordinance have changed the liability in the 2004 Ullrich
crash. In fact, the Hardin County ordinance may increase
the liability of the county by providing a notification
system and a heightened expectation of service by bicyclists.

What this ordinance does is obliterate recreation, tourism,
and economic development in Hardin County. What this
ordinance does is insult anyone who chooses to travel by
bicycle yet pays the same county taxes as any other roadway
user. What this ordinance does is create a second class
citizen – the bicyclist.

It is apparent that county officials lack knowledge of
bicycle risk management and liability. Creating an
reactionary and punishing ordinance makes is obvious that
counties are trying to invent a solution to problem that
doesn't exist.
BTW this is more insurance than is required for cars in the state. It's going to be interesting to see how this plays out in the courts. This EXACT ordinance has been proposed in several counties because it's written by the attorney for the state's counties. It was shut down in Dallas County because agroup of about 25 bicyclists showed up at the first reading and that group included at least one attorney. I don't know if any group showed up in Hardin county.
It's being pushed by the insurance company that insures over half of the 99 counties in Iowa.
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Old 08-27-08, 11:25 PM
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In general, renters or home owners policies will cover liability claims made against a cyclist (if they're listed on the policy, anyways.) They may even cover damage to the bike itself in an accident. And the limits are generally higher than the pathetic minimums required for automobile coverage -- that $20k minimum (Texas, for example) is generally burned up in the first few hours if you seriously injure somebody.

(Of course, you should check your own policy to be sure. And of course, not everybody is covered by home owners or renters policies.)

And not that this has anything to do with this new requirement in Iowa county. It's just to point out that more cyclists are insured than many people realize.

Last edited by dougmc; 08-27-08 at 11:25 PM. Reason: added more thoughts
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Old 08-28-08, 12:17 AM
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Originally Posted by one_beatnik View Post
... It's being pushed by the insurance company that insures over half of the 99 counties in Iowa.
And the insurance company is?

I would love to be part of a group of more than 11 riders, that is comprised almost entirely of people from outside the USA, preferably French speakers, I knew there was still a use for my British passport

I would be happy to let them know our exact date and time of arrival and also a route which would be every damned road in the county every day of the week and twice on Sunday!

T-Shirts would say "Shove your ordinance up your arse."
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Old 08-28-08, 06:16 AM
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group rides will just have to be broken down in to packs of 9. and be impromptu.
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Old 08-28-08, 06:44 AM
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be impromptu
This is also part of the problem. The definitions of "organized" are non existent. You plan a ride with 10 of your buddies and 20 show up. Now what? Again, this will have to be tested in court.
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Old 08-28-08, 07:09 AM
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Sounds like they need a little civil disobedience.
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Old 08-28-08, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by bikewidget View Post
That lawsuit issue in Iowa that prompted Crawford County to ban RAGBRAI is back. Now Hardin County is requiring any bike ride of 10 or more to register and carry $1 million in liability insurance. No similar requirements for car rallies, tractorcades, or Shriner precision motor scooter teams. More here including text of the ordinance.

Have "car rallies, tractorcades, or Shriner precision motor scooter teams" done as much damage to the image of their respective organizations as the RAGBRAIers have done to cycling? Given what critical mass is doing in the cities, I'd say a million is online the beginning.

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Old 08-28-08, 08:32 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by Roughstuff View Post
Have "car rallies, tractorcades, or Shriner precision motor scooter teams" done as much damage to the image of their respective organizations as the RAGBRAIers have done to cycling? Given what critical mass is doing in the cities, I'd say a million is online the beginning.
Care to expound on the "damage to the image of their respective organizations " done by RAGBRAI?
What damage?
What organization? The Des Moines Register or what?
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Old 08-28-08, 09:01 AM
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If that man's wife hadn't sued the county, this wouldn't be an issue. It's too bad he died, but it wasn't the county's fault that he hit a crack in the road. If the judge had just said, "I'm sorry for your loss, but you know as well as anyone else the county isn't liable here," we wouldn't be in this mess.
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Old 08-28-08, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Nick The Great View Post
If that man's wife hadn't sued the county, this wouldn't be an issue. It's too bad he died, but it wasn't the county's fault that he hit a crack in the road. If the judge had just said, "I'm sorry for your loss, but you know as well as anyone else the county isn't liable here," we wouldn't be in this mess.
Don't believe there was any judge or jury deciding anything, and the man's wife and the county's insurance company settled out of court. Please correct me if I am wrong.
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Old 08-28-08, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Don't believe there was any judge or jury deciding anything, and the man's wife and the county's insurance company settled out of court. Please correct me if I am wrong.
Ok you're right, but my point still stands. The women still did a disservice to RAGBRAI.
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Old 08-28-08, 10:11 AM
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I'm not a trial lawyer, nor do I play one on TV. How-so-ever, you say The women still did a disservice to RAGBRAI. Say what?

If this is true: It has been reported by the Des Moines Register that a county deputy was assigned to
warn riders, but the deputy left prior to the 2004 crash that killed Kurt Ullrich. Orange cones that were placed to warn riders were removed prior to the fatal crash.


Then it logically follows: The county 1) knew about a potentially deadly hazard, 2) recognized the hazard to the point that they sent a deputy to warn and place orange warning cones, and 3) failed to adequately perform its most primary governmental responsibility: protect the public.

So, why are you trying to cast his widow as the villain?
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Old 08-28-08, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by bike4life View Post
I'm not a trial lawyer, nor do I play one on TV. How-so-ever, you say The women still did a disservice to RAGBRAI. Say what?

If this is true: It has been reported by the Des Moines Register that a county deputy was assigned to
warn riders, but the deputy left prior to the 2004 crash that killed Kurt Ullrich. Orange cones that were placed to warn riders were removed prior to the fatal crash.


Then it logically follows: The county 1) knew about a potentially deadly hazard, 2) recognized the hazard to the point that they sent a deputy to warn and place orange warning cones, and 3) failed to adequately perform its most primary governmental responsibility: protect the public.

So, why are you trying to cast his widow as the villain?
I don't know, I wasn't there when it happened. My father taught me personal accountability and I still believe in it.

Who moved the cones? Why did the officer leave? Did "the county" say, "Hmmm lets off a cyclist today . . . leave your post . . . " I doubt it. It sucks that he died. It really sucks, sounds like he was a good guy.

He should have been watching the road. He could have stayed home and not died. He could have . . . . Ever seen the movie, "The Butterfly Effect"?

I think that no body was at fault here. This wasn't the point of the topic; I'm sorry, carry on.
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Old 08-28-08, 03:12 PM
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The county caused their own problems when they knew there was a hazard and walked away from warning of the hazard. They got off easy in the settlement, and they know it.
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Old 08-28-08, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by dobber View Post
So?

Your aforemention groups, being car drivers and organizations already carry insurance policies.
Maybe you should read the resolution. It requires far more than just insurance. Are those other groups or individual participants prohibited from suing the county? NO, but cyclist will be.

Besides, even as a cyclist I have health insurance and Home owners insusurance. So your question is off base since most cyclist also have some form of insurance and NOT ALL MOTORIST HAVE INSURANCE.
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Old 08-28-08, 04:12 PM
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$300 to $3000 per bike per ride? puhleeze! you should be able to get a million bucks of liability insurance on a bike for pennies, there's really not much property damage you can do with a bike...
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Old 08-28-08, 06:42 PM
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Here's the real problem.

I kid you not, David Vestal, the general counsel for the Iowa State Association of Counties wrote:
Originally Posted by David Vestal, ISAC General Counsel
Here is the problem, in a nutshell: under Iowa law, bicycles (sic) have a right to use Iowa’s county roads.
Horrors of horrors!!! County official discovers that cyclists have the right to use the road.

The counties' lawyer also makes a telling admission:

Originally Posted by David Vestal, ISAC General Counsel
But county roads are not designed, built, or maintained with a goal of making them safe for bikes. County roads are designed, built and maintained for cars and trucks.
So, even their lawyer admits that Iowa's counties have fallen short on their legal duty to build and maintain safe roads. It seems like one judgment in one case is a rather inexpensive price to pay for discovering such a major deficiency.

If Iowa wanted to pass a law giving counties immunity for unsafe roads, that would be one thing. But attempting to immunize counties for intentionally leaving roads unsafe for one class of lawful traffic is insane as a matter of policy.

Update: Officials drop fight to block bicyclists on county roads

Last edited by Daily Commute; 08-28-08 at 06:48 PM. Reason: update
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Old 08-28-08, 07:08 PM
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Sounds like another windfall for the legal profession. Tort reform anyone?
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Old 08-28-08, 08:57 PM
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Just today, all of this stuff has been dropped. Apparently, the insurance company and the county state attorney are satisfied that the new waiver that RAGBRAI created is satisfactory. It apparently does a better job of indemnifying the counties on their road conditions as it relates to RAGBRAI. Hardin county has also started the process of repealing the stupid ordinance that they just passed.

Several have caught what the real lawsuit was about. It was never about road conditions, it was about the negligence of county officials to protect the riders about a KNOWN road issue.

Last edited by one_beatnik; 08-28-08 at 09:02 PM.
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Old 08-28-08, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by phinney View Post
Sounds like another windfall for the legal profession. Tort reform anyone?
not a good idea, unless you're a fan of unaccountable big corporations and big government
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Old 08-28-08, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by one_beatnik View Post
Just today, all of this stuff has been dropped. Apparently, the insurance company and the county state attorney are satisfied that the new waiver that RAGBRAI created is satisfactory. It apparently does a better job of indemnifying the counties on their road conditions as it relates to RAGBRAI. Hardin county has also started the process of repealing the stupid ordinance that they just passed.

Several have caught what the real lawsuit was about. It was never about road conditions, it was about the negligence of county officials to protect the riders about a KNOWN road issue.
waivers are BS too, I've been on commercial rides in Europe, I didn't sign any waivers or wear a helmet, and I lived to tell y'all about it...
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