Crash in Sigourney

It is August 22 today. It has been one month since I started my vacation to Iowa for this years Ragbrai. I hope to be released back to work this week. From what I remember I was going down hill when a young lady swept into me to cause my crash. I was screaming at her to get her attention she never looked to her right. Maybe she had earphones on? I had a closed head Injury, severe concussion, shoulder and knee injury. I was ambulanced out with loss of consciousness. I was in and out of it. Cracked helmet.

Just want to thank Team Airforce. They managed my crash site and were my first responders. Thank you Guys and Gals are my Heroes!

The ER in Sigourney ,nurses, Doctor, Cat scan Tech.

I had 26ish miles to go and Saturday to finish.

Not able to ride right now. Hope to come back next year and finish the last two days.


Ginger Rodriguez (Team Guacamole and chips) one woman team from Texas.

7 Replies

Jack in VA, August 22, 2016 at 9:45 pm

Ginger, So sorry to hear of your accident, but SO GLAD to hear that you’re on the mend. As much as I love RAGBRAI, it still scares the crap outta me to see some of the inattention that some of our fellow cyclists do not pay to others around them. Multiply this by the speed we can reach on some of these downhills, and it can just get downright scary.

Also, a special THANK YOU to all of the responders and care providers you mentioned – especially the Air Force team members! It sucks that your ride came to such a sudden end, but knowing that you were immediately cared for helps reassure me that if (or God forbid WHEN) a similar incident should occur to anyone else, there will be a rapid and professional response.

Here’s hoping that YOU can get back on the horse soon!
Best wishes to you! See you next year!


vlrodriguez5005, August 23, 2016 at 8:40 am

Thank you Jack! I usually stay away from large rides like the MS 150 in Texas. I rode as a Medic with the Fire Department. Theses large rides can be dangerous due to riders that don’t know how to ride in a crowd. I’m glad I did Ragbrai though.



Juan Medium Moose, August 23, 2016 at 11:03 am

Best of luck with your recovery, Ginger. May it be full and quick.


KenH, August 24, 2016 at 8:21 am

Sorry to hear about your crash and wishing you a speedy and complete recovery! I had a bad crash in 2010 as I was turning into my neighborhood after a ride. A serious concussion, punctured lung, broken ribs, and not diagnosed but probably a broken tailbone too. The concussion was so bad I had trouble walking for a few weeks after I got out of the hospital. The concussion also wiped out my memory of that afternoon completely, I don’t even remember having taken a bike ride that day. I remember having lunch with my wife and waking up in the hospital and absolutely nothing in between. But everything is fine now, mentally and physically and I hope you have the same end result!

The rider who swerved into you may have had headphones but they are uncommon on this ride as far as I can tell. She might have just been oblivious to her surroundings (possibly because she was a frightened and focused on her own survival if this was a high speed downhill) or she might have not realized you were addressing her. It is surprising how difficult it is to tell if comments are directed at you or someone else at times when traffic is dense. It is possible that if you were screaming “on your RIGHT” that she did not process RIGHT properly (or has trouble with the left/right thing as many do) and moved right because she “heard” you say “on your left.” It is also possible that she was deaf. I had never considered this possibility before but this year I saw a rider with a sign on her bike that said “Deaf Rider”.

Unfortunately we can’t know for sure unless we could talk to her and so we can’t take away from your experience the best way to prevent this in the future. I’m in the same boat with my accident, you can’t learn from experience unless you remember the experience and I don’t.

Crashes like yours are rare on this ride but as you know they are awful experiences when you have them. I wish I could make them go away. Since they do occur it is obvious that our current safety methods are inadequate. It is hard to say what we need to do to make them better. The Register does not release even accident statistics as far as I can tell, let alone the accident details that would allow us all to contribute ideas on how to prevent them in the future. I understand the legal risks associated with that. However, we who are out there on the road are in the best position to come up with ideas about safety improvements but if we are not brought into the process of brainstorming improvement suggestions our potential remains untapped.

Thanks for sharing. Because you shared this a few of us, at least, will have a renewed commitment to making sure we ride in a manner to ensure our own safety and that of others.


Brian Wallenburg, August 29, 2016 at 2:15 pm

Screaming down hills is dangerous by itself, much less on RAGBRAI. My wife and I do not pass people down hills for this exact reason. She normally goes first and I intermittently touch the brakes to stay behind her. RAGBRAI is not the place to set speed records, especially down hills. Often, the most serious biking accidents of RAGBRAI occur on the downhill portion of a hill. For what? 5 or 10 mph faster for 45 seconds…. not worth it in my book. Ride safe, ride right, and pass left. Hope everything turns out ok Ginger, bike accidents suck!


LawnchairMan, September 4, 2016 at 10:24 pm

In view of other comments, I had to re-read Ginger’s. I have the impression that Ginger was going downhill when a girl came from the left and collided with her. Although Ginger was screaming at the girl while going downhill, that doesn’t mean she was “Screaming downhill” as in speeding. As I have said in other places in this forum, it is the duty of the rider changing his/her line to make sure the path is clear next to them. It’s like changing lanes in a car except that bicycle “lanes” are narrower and are not always marked. It sounds like the other girl was out of line; literally.

Ginger, I hope you do recover quickly. I crashed at the first 3.5 miles of Ragbrai 2015 and cracked my patella. It took me twelve weeks to get back on the bike. I wasn’t completely sure I could do seven days in a row this year, but I did. So, I hope you come back strong for next year’s ride. Rubber side down!


vlrodriguez5005, September 6, 2016 at 12:04 am

I was screaming at her . She came from the left right over me. I had a rider to my right. I kept my line staright. Was not racing downhill. She never looked at me. our bikes tapped three times before I went down. Happened fast probably in three seconds. Even if I had time to tap my brakes she still would have clipped the front of my bike. Sucks to follow the rules and have an irresponsible bike take you out. Thanks for the well wishes. Hope to finish the last 2 days next year.


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