AMES, Iowa – July 16, 2019 – Thousands of bicycle enthusiasts and their entourages will be descending on Council Bluffs this weekend for the start of the 2019 Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI). Each year, RAGBRAI riders are treated to the best hospitality Iowa has to offer in cities along the route.
Some riders are early risers and take to the roads early to get to the next town. Others sleep a little later and take a more leisurely pace, moving from town to town. With so many riders moving at different times of day, the Iowa Department of Transportation is alerting motorists to be extra cautious of bicyclists over the next week, especially in the area of that day’s route.
Tips for motorists
- Do not honk your horn at bicyclists. They may be startled and lose control.
- Use extra caution when passing bicycles. Move entirely into the left lane; on a two-lane road, do not pass a bicycle if oncoming traffic is near.
- Bicyclists might swerve to avoid road hazards. Common road hazards for bicyclists are potholes, debris, drainage grates, railroad tracks, and narrow bridges.
- Be careful when opening your vehicle door. Road widths often force bicyclists to ride close to parked vehicles where they may be injured by an opening door.
- When in doubt, yield to bicycles.
Tips for bicyclists
- Always wear a helmet.
- Ride on the right. Ride in the right lane except when passing another vehicle, preparing for a left turn, or avoiding hazards.
- Never ride against traffic. Always ride with the flow of traffic.
- Obey traffic signs and signals. Use hand signals to advise motorists you plan to turn, change lanes, or stop.
- Make eye contact with motorists. Never assume a motorist sees you or that you have the right of way.
- Expect the unexpected. Watch for vehicles pulling into traffic from a parking spot; vehicle doors opening into your path; and debris on the road.
- At night use a headlight, taillight, and reflectors.
Even though the RAGBRAI route is taking bikers south of Interstate 80, many bicyclists in other parts of the state are getting motivated to get out and ride. The Iowa DOT reminds motorists to share the road. Remember that bicycles have the same rights and responsibilities on our highways as motorists.