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  • Sun June 29 2008
  • Posted Jun 29, 2008
Nearly 100 bicyclists took to the streets of Crawford County, Iowa Saturday, but it wasn't a leisurely ride, they were on a mission. These cyclists want the county to support the Des Moines Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa, which the county had pedaled away from, fearing potential law suits. It's eleven fifteen on Saturday morning and many folks are getting geared up and ready to go cycling. Some consider it a protest ride while others say they're simply supporting the sport. Stephanie Pombrio says, "I think we just want to tell people that cycling is fun and it's a great hobby." Crawford County supervisors voted to ban RAGBRAI from their roads last fall after settling a lawsuit with the family of a rider who died in 2004 while riding in the Des Moines Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa. That cost the county $350,000. The county sheriff says since then officials have tried to take measures to limit their liability. Mike Bremser Sheriff says, "Crawford County was trying to work with the state legislature trying to protect counties from law suits that occurred during RAGBRAI and at this time nothing in place that's done that." Organizers of Saturday's bike ride ask "what's next?" Greg Losh Council Bluffs Iowa says, "The county has a lot of property and it gets used by a lot of groups. Are they going to keep passing ordinances to ban every single group?" Business owners acknowledge RAGBRAI comes with a significant economic impact to host areas along the route, but some say without legislation taking liability lawsuits off of the counties shoulders that host RAGBRAI, some have reservations about letting the event in. Cyclists in Saturday's ride say they acknowledge those dangers on the road, and say riders have to take responsibility for themselves. Organizers of Saturday's ride say they're frustrated at the situation as a whole, and not necessarily at the county. They agree legislation should put liability back where it belongs, on the individuals.

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