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Boone Cyclist Killed Training for RAGBRAI

  • 27 June, 2013
  • Jared

PaulLadd2The thoughts and prayers of RAGBRAI are with the family, teammates and friends of Paul Ladd who was killed while riding his bike in Boone while training for RAGBRAI this week.  You will be in our thoughts as we ride RAGBRAI next month.

The daughter of Paul Ladd reached out to us to remind everyone to be safe out there!  I think her own words say it best….

My name is Allyson Ladd and RAGBRAI is a tradition that is near and dear to my heart. After riding the entire course in 2010, I convinced my dad to participate. He rode last year with Team Navy and absolutely loved it. He was planning to ride again this year with his team. 

This week, my Dad was involved in a fatal accident while riding his bike (see Des Moines Register article below), training for the event. He was struck by a car from behind and died on impact from severe head trauma. 

I understand this is a heavy and difficult matter to discuss, but I was wondering if you could please post something on your site and/or Facebook in regards to bike safety?  My Dad was an extremely cautious rider who made every possible attempt to make himself visible on the road, but it’s always a nice reminder to hear what we can do to protect ourselves from vehicles who don’t pay attention to cyclists — especially this time of year when there are so many of us!  

Additionally, Team Navy and other riders will be wearing these jerseys on day two to honor my Dad and any other individual who has had their life taken from them while training for the event. If you could please spread the word, it would be sincerely appreciated. 

Thank you for your tremendous work. You should be extremely proud of the wonderful event that you have made a “must-do” Iowa (and world!) tradition. 

Allyson Ladd 

Let’s all be safe out there! 


Boone Cyclist Killed Training for RAGBRAI

byJoel Aschbrenner, Des Moines Register

 The Boone man hit and killed while riding his bike Monday was retired Marine colonel who was training for RAGBRAI, family members said.

Paul L. Ladd, 59, the director of the Boone County veterans affairs office, was finishing a 40-mile ride when he was struck by a car, said his wife Debbie Ladd.

Ladd was preparing to ride in the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa for the second time with a group of veterans called Team Navy. The team plans to honor Ladd during the second day of the week-long ride by wearing jerseys reading “3 Feet Please”, a motto advocating for vehicles to give cyclists a safe berth on the road.

Safety was important to Ladd whether on his bicycle or his Harley Davidson, Debbie Ladd said.

“That morning, I kissed him goodbye and said ‘Be safe,’” she said. “He said, ‘I’m always safe.’”

The accident occurred shortly before 7 a.m. on a county road north of Boone. Ladd died at the scene.

Police said that Christopher Fawcett of Stratford was driving the car and that charges were pending an ongoing investigation.

A native Iowan who grew up on a farm near Jacksonville, Ladd served in the Marines for 28 years until retiring in 2004. For the past eight years he had lead the county veterans affairs office, which helps veterans access their benefits.





  1. Don Martens

    So sad, so sad. I shared on my Facebook timeline. Drivers need to be reminded.

  2. Craig

    Condolences to his family and all the other families of riders that were lost this year. It’s always sad to lose members of our riding family when they are just trying to do something they love. Last week while riding we had people throwing beer bottles at people on a ride. It’s a sad day when people can’t bother paying attention when driving in their cages or just do not like people for doing something that everyone grew up doing as a child.

  3. Sharon Lanphier

    Prayers for the family during this difficult time. So very sad. I shared on my timeline. A necessary reminder for all. The jerseys are a great idea.

  4. Team Navy

    Our plan is to honor Paul on the second day (longest mileage day) of RAGBRAI by wearing the “3 feet Please” yellow jersey that day. In addition we plan to wear red wrist bands the entire week in his memory. All in an effort to support Ride Right and riding safely.
    Paul was one devoted patriot who carried a very significant burden immediately after 9-11. He was also a great supporter of all Veterans in Iowa and worked tirelessly to ensure they were taken care of.
    Paul was a great guy that lit up the time we got to spend around him. Strong yet, humble. I can proudly say for Team Navy it was privileged to ride RAGBRAI miles with him. He was a true warrior and team player. One thing for sure is, he was doing what he loved to do when he left us… Semper Fi Shipmate

  5. Todd Backes

    This is very sad news. I rode RAGBRAI from 2010-12, now living in Singapore but still keep up on news stories surrounding the event. Although I don’t need to be a part of the “RAGBRAI family” this is a human tragedy that should not have happened. Sending thoughts and prayers from across the ocean.

  6. barbara

    can anyone wear one of those jersey or just a team thing? Just thinking what a neat honor it would be to him seeing a whole sea of yellow jerseys while raising safety issues as well…

  7. Mary

    I’m so sorry…..

  8. Jeff Dunn

    Very sorry for your loss! A really nice tribute to him by Team Navy for honoring him by wearing the “3 feet please” yellow jerseys and bringing greater awareness to cycling safety.

    Paul Ladd and his family will be in our prayers.

  9. Craig Campbell

    Paul was my pledge son in college for the Delta Chi Fraternity. My prayers go to the family

  10. Frank Urban

    Prayers for Paul Ladd, family and friends. Would it be possible to share some details of the accident (light conditions, lights on bicycle, reflective wear, rain, road conditions, and anything else) for us all to especially look out for to help us be safe please?

  11. Noel Heyer

    I am so sorry to hear of the loss of this soldier. I was struck by a vehicle a month ago, fortunatly for me I was struck by the mirror and only sustained brusing on my upper arm, the vehicle was traveling at an estimated 60 mph when i was struck, they did not stop.
    I have been in the USAF for 23 years and this will be my first RAGBRAI and i am riding with the Air Force Cycle team. I will be riding with this man and his family in my thoughts.

  12. mcpartla

    My sincere condolences to Paul Ladd’s family and friends. A reminder to us all who love bicycling that biking on the roads in the best of circumstances is hazardous and an untimely fall, a careless driver and/or cyclist and it can all change in an instant.

  13. Craig

    Semper Fi brother. RIP

  14. Jo Avey

    Allyson, you are an inspiration. thank you, and your family, for sharing your dad and his story.
    Our family has a great friend in recovery from a hit-and-run. Steve, like your dad, was properly attired and riding by the rules of the road. He’s a veteran rider who coached our son, who later raced professionally. Steve’s rehabilitation will be painful and long. He has apprehension about riding on the road again. I would love to give him a jersey like the one Team Navy will be wearing the second day of RAGBRAI in honor of your dad. Any chance one could be purchased?
    RAGBRAI rider x7

  15. Andy

    One year ago today, my friend Dr. Larry Becker was killed while training for RAGBRAI. I am saddened to see that someone else training for such a fun event as this has been killed. My condolences to Allyson and her family.

  16. Jan Hughes McIntosh

    My deepest sympathy to Paul’s family. I went to Harlan high school with Roberta and remember the family well. Our family are avid cyclists as well and we totally support any efforts to make cycling safer for everyone. Ride on!

  17. Janet Wallace

    May God Bless all of you. We know he will be riding with us.

  18. Al Bastidas

    Please BE KIND to Cyclists
    I am very sorry for your lost, very sorry. Last week a fireman was hit by a person, who was driving a pickup truck, the firemen still in a coma. Like Mr. Ladd he was also hit from behind. I have been doing advocacy for the past 7 years, and lately I am realizing that the core of the problem is not just the inadequate laws, or the lack of signs or infrastructure, it is more than lack of awareness and education, in my mind is just lack of social and personal responsibility. Please BE KIND to Cyclists works diligently to spread this message to as many people as we possible can. We you use all the media channels available to do us.
    I invite you to like as on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/PleaseBEKINDtoCyclists?fref=tsand visit out web page http://www.bekindtocyclists.org . leave us your comment and feedbacks are always welcome.
    bellow are my thoughts after last week tragedy published in today’s paper.

    Austin American-Statesman: http://bit.ly/17tKIGR

    “It will be a better world when we see that people on bicycles have the same hopes and dreams as everyone else. We like to make friends and we go to the same schools. People on bicycles are firemen and engineers; they serve us at restaurants, they cut our hair, they babysit our children and they teach them to read. They see the same doctors we see. We are the same.

    When you take a look, it really isn’t that hard to like people on bicycles. We are just like everyone else. We’re just like the drivers who are our neighbors and friends, the drivers who love their families and pets, the drivers who go to work every day, and the drivers we share the roads with. We all deserve the same respect and understanding. We all want to end the day in our own cozy and comfortable beds.

    Please be mindful of everyone on the road, whether you are behind the wheel, on your bike or just walking. We are all in this together. Do your part. Please, be kind.”

    Al Bastidas
    Austin, Texas

  19. Ron Dabney

    As a former Marine, my condolences go to the Paul family. I am also a former Iowa native living in Idaho the past 38 years. I get upset when I see inattentive drivers (cell phone and text users) and fear for the safety of all people on bikes.

    My H.S. friend, Dick Morrison participates in the RAGBRAI and has for several years.

  20. Rollie Sumwalt

    So, so sad. Our prayers to the Paul family.

  21. Durk Buffington

    Semper Fidelis, Col Ladd.

  22. Brian Will

    Paul was my Delta Chi brother. I remember him with much respect and appreciate his guidance while at UNI. I’m also an avid cyclist so his honor will ride with me on this RAGBRAI. ~Kimball!

  23. Brett D. McLain

    I am retired USN Paul was retired USMC I ride a Goldwing and Paul rode a harley Paul was a republican and I am a Democrat. Some how we were the best of friends/my counter part in Boone County as a CVSO County Veterans Service Officer/ESGR / IACCVSO / NACVSO and American Legion. Paul was on a mission to make life better for veterans. I miss you my bother RIP I willl carry on the mission to help Veterans of Story and Boone County. And to continue to ride RAGBRAI each year. 2013 is ride number 13 for me. Brett McLain Retired USN CPO. Thank you Team Navy for all you do for Veterans.

  24. Randy Henriksen

    Paul was my second cousin…and dear friend since we were young boys in J-ville…he was 2 years older…but we maintained a life long friendship…which I am am so blessed for his fight for us Veterans..I hope each member of Team Navy will Dip their Tire a second time for Paul….Thank you ALL for serving….God Bless and be safe out there

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