The Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa

Texting and Driving

The cut and paste link below will take you to a recently issued accident reconstruction report from NPS regarding a fatal accident that occurred several months ago on the Natchez Trace in Mississippi. The victim biker was a well-known and respected MD. He was wearing a bright yellow “3-foot” jersey when he was hit. The driver was a minor which is why sections of the report are redacted. The Trace is a great place to ride a bike and you see many bikers out there every day. I have ridden thousands of miles on the Trace over the last 10-15 years, sometimes alone sometimes in a group. But like every road these days the distracted drivers are not limited to the drunks. If you have kids that drive have them read the report to let them know how dangerous texting and driving really is. You might save some rider’s life, maybe even your own.

5 Replies

Profile photo of Laura
bikejohnston, February 19, 2013 at 8:52 pm

thank you. I would like my teens to read this but I may have to force it on them. Sad for all involved.



Profile photo of Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman, February 19, 2013 at 9:40 pm

As both a runner and a biker, I am actually more afraid of the texting drivers. Some days when I run I see 2 out of 3 people looking at there phones while they were driving instead of looking at the road on the side streets. I have to look at every drivers eyes, and when I jump out of their way they look surprised and I am amazed that they look angry at me.



Profile photo of Frannie N.
Frannie N., February 20, 2013 at 2:06 pm

Wow…. makes my stomach turn. I downloaded a free app that auto responds to all incoming texts based on the speed I’m going (uses GPS).
Texts can wait until I am stopped. As a cyclist who doesn’t have a trail anywhere close to me (1 hr drive time is the closest trail longer than 2-3 miles) I ride highways a lot…. how else am I going to prep for the RAGBRAI hills? Soooooooo scary.



Profile photo of Jack
Jack in VA, February 20, 2013 at 3:52 pm

I’ve ridden public transit frequently, and the bus operators almost always stay in the far right lane. I usually sit on the left side of the bus (behind the operator) and from that position can easily observe the drivers of vehicles in the adjacent left lane. On average, I’ve seen approx 40 – 50% of vehicle operators with some sort of electronic device (cell phone, smart phone, MP3 player, etc) in one hand and within the steering wheel range, at traffic speeds ranging from slow crawl (bumper to bumper) up to 55+ MPH.
You just can’t be fully reactive to traffic when your attention is diverted to a small screen less than 12″ from your eyes – even if it’s just for a few seconds.
I’ve made a commitment to NOT use thsee devices whenever operating a vehicle. PLEASE make this commitment for yourself too!

Thanks to all.



Profile photo of Tsnap Xip
Tsnap Xip, February 20, 2013 at 5:29 pm

Boswell Media has obtained a much less redacted copy of the NPS report on the accident that took the life of the late Dr. Gary Holdiness on May 6, of last year. The report only has the personal information of the juvenile involved removed. The recently obtained accident report concluded that the juvenile that collided with Dr. Holdiness was traveling at 78 mph, 28 mph over the speed limit and was actively texting during the minutes prior to the crash. The photo above shows the condition of Dr. Holdiness’s bike after it was returned to the family.

The young driver was driving almost 80 mph while texting.

Bike after accident.

In this case, it looks like the police did an outstanding job of reconstructing the accident, taking blood samples and getting phone records.

While it didn’t help the doctor in this instance, a bright yellow jersey really makes a difference in visibility…if the driver is paying attention.

I only wear yellow jerseys when riding on the road. I know 4 guys that have been killed while cycling on the road. One of them was one of my best friends. He even predicted his own death. One day he said, “While I sky dive with a wingsuit and drive fast cars at the limit, the most dangerous thing I do is bicycle to work. I’ll probably die while riding my bike to work”. Less than 3 weeks later, he was hit and killed while riding his bike to work.

I’ve been a bike rider for many years and have covered many miles. Only in the last 2 years have I started riding with a mirror. I won’t leave the house without my helmet mirror and yellow jersey.

Ride safe.



The forum ‘RAGBRAI XLI – 2013’ is closed to new topics and replies.








Clubs, Teams & Charters

Lost and Found


Gatherings & Meetings




  • Profile picture of Mike
    active 25 minutes ago
  • Profile picture of Tom
    active 31 minutes ago
  • Profile picture of Linda
    active 37 minutes ago
  • Profile picture of jake d
    active 41 minutes ago
  • Profile picture of Pamela
    active 46 minutes ago