• Tue June 17 2008
  • Posted Jun 17, 2008
By JEFF ECKHOFF Dallas County supervisors are expected to vote next week on a new ordinance that would require liability insurance for any organized bicycle ride featuring 20 riders or more. The proposed law, authored by the Iowa Association of Counties in response to a 2004 RAGBRAI fatality, would require the sponsors of any qualifying bicycle event to maintain a $1 million liability insurance policy that also covers the county. Violators would be fined between $750 and $1,000 “for each day or portion of a day that a violation continues.” “There’s a heightened awareness of liability exposure, and I think there’s a desire that we should continue protecting ourselves,” Dallas County Supervisor Mark Hanson said Monday. “We’re having a hard enough time keeping up with our roads the way they are.” Jeff Mertz, biking enthusiast and former Waukee councilman, said the proposed ordinance would be a death knell for many cycling groups, including charity fundraisers. Mertz said he’s been told that liability insurance would range from $300 to $3,000, depending on the size of a bicycle ride. Such a pricetag essentially would do away with small clubs who gather riders over the Internet, Mertz worries. “It makes a huge impact,” he said. “We’re talking about $4 a gallon gasoline, about trying to get people to live healthier lifestyles, and they want to take away bicycling.”

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