RAGBRAI LI Route Announced on Jan. 27!

safety issues while riding

Many newbies posting lately asking advice on things, so I thought I’d throw in my 2 cents (sense?) worth. One of the biggest dangers I saw last year while actually riding was what happens at every stop sign along the route that had rumble strips before it. About 1/10th mile before most stop signs out on the route there were 3 sets of rumble strips to notify cars of the coming stop sign. Without fail, some bicycle rider would scream “RUMBLE” and the crowd of riders would slam on brakes, scatter to the left and right of the strips immediately without looking where they were going. This was a real safety issue IMHO. Solution…don’t inflate your tires so hard that you bang along on top of the strips but at a pressure where you can ride over them comfortably, ride wider tires, don’t bring a bike that can’t handle rumble strips, don’t have so much stuff attached to your bike that you’re worried it will all fall off  if you ride over the strips,  yell “SLOWING” but continue on in a straight line w/o weaving. Obviously more safety hazards exist while riding…solutions, ride right, yell your intentions, no sudden moves/stops (last year I got a bee down the front of my jersey and had to make a very quick exit from the road to get it out, but fortunately didn’t cause any accidents, whew), point out hazards (potholes, etc). Yes RAGBRAI is a big rolling party, but remember that the rolling part still needs to be done safely (if for no other reason than for the safety of those riders near you).

36 Replies

jwsknk, February 7, 2011 at 11:52 am

look before “Coming off right”, the perferred side. try to get over to the right side before the stop. Some people will set up on the left side of the road. be very carful about getting over to that side to get off. look back for traffic and esp pace lines coming down that left side.
don’t let the tire pressure be too low, snake bites, (pinch flats) a common thing on the road.
like numbers said, if you can’t safley get over early, don’t swerve at the last second or once you get into the rumbles. hold your line and get up off the saddle and don’t lock up your knees and elbows.

#14290

Tony, February 7, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Rumble strips are a way of life to Iowa riders. For those riding this that are not from here. Rumble strips are groves cut in the road to alert drives of a stop or the road edge. Most rural intersections have them. The first is right after the Stop Ahead sign. There are 3 sets total. It is in the best interest of your bike do not ride over them. If you are forced to ride over them. Do not brake. Maintain speed. Do not attempt to steer off of them. Go straight ahead, hold your line. Get up off the saddle. Hold the handlebars firm. But not a death grip. Do not tense up. Never ever under inflate your tires. As sunk said. You will for sure get a snake bit flat. Most counties cut rumble strip with a small 1-2 foot smooth surface next to the shoulder. Others cut it all the way. That is why so many riders go left of center at rumbles. Always assume rumbles at intersection out in the country. Beside the “rumbles” call out. You will see riders hold there arm straight out with a fist that has the pinky and thumb extended. They will rock their hand then point at the rumbles. This general gives you plenty of time to safely navigate the rumbles. On group rides like this. You must always be aware of your surroundings. Ride defensively. RAGBRAI has all levels of riders.  Use a mirror and let riders around you know your intentions to change off your line of travel.

#14291

Bartaped, February 7, 2011 at 1:28 pm

RUMBLES !!!!!!   Rumbles!!!!!!!!!  Rumbles!!!!!!!!!! ………. Sorry just training………hehehe

#14292

RoyBoy, February 7, 2011 at 1:42 pm

Problem I have had is mid-afternoon drousy spells where I get mesmerized by the white line on long stretches. I forget to look up the road and I have nearly run into people who have stopped in the road and not on the shoulder.
People stopping and standing in the road is also a hazard at food and drink vendors outside of towns. At the popular vendors it can be a choke point and becomes dangerous when other riders want to maintain their speed at these points.

#14293

SFC JKL 2, February 7, 2011 at 1:49 pm

For my two cents I’ll say look to the left to make sure no one is coming then announce”bike on” when entering the roadway.  I saw several accidents last year (one bad) of riders not paying attention and just pulling out into traffic.  This is especially bad if your pulling into the “fast lane” from the left side of the road. 

#14294

IdaGrovian, February 7, 2011 at 1:52 pm

And if something does fall off your bike after rumbles or RAILROAD TRACKS don’t come to a screeching halt in the middle of the road along with your idjit buddies – it’s just a cell phone for goodness sakes!

#14295

cofb, February 7, 2011 at 2:26 pm

More on rumble strips.. They typically come in sets of three. The first strip you encounter should be about 200 feet before a Stop Ahead sign.
The set closest to the actual stop sign should be 300 feet before the actual stopping point.
While the middle set is placed between the first and last set.

#14296

Gypsy Rose, February 7, 2011 at 2:26 pm

Last June I rode Montreal’s Tour de I’lle, an annual event that draws 30,000+ riders who all start at the same time for a 35-mile ride through the city. When riding in that density of cyclists, one quickly learns what is perhaps the biggest cause of accidents – riders who alter their current speed and/or direction without regard for those behind. I can’t tell you how many times I saw riders who suddenly saw something off to one side that interested them and, without notice, suddenly veered off to the road edge and stopped – often colliding with riders immediately behind them or causing a chain reaction back through the pack.

While the RAGBRAI riders may be more spread out than the masses in Montreal, those types of moves are still very problematic. I would consider a bike or helmet mounted mirror a must, along with constant attentiveness to a cardinal safety rule – be predictable.

Best,
~ Kevin

#14297

Zinger, February 8, 2011 at 10:03 am

Exactly why I leave the over night town mid morning and take my time enjoying all the pass through towns – the crowds are considerably thinned. That said, a little common sense, courtesy, and communication go a long way.

#14298

Michrider !!!, February 8, 2011 at 11:10 am

Zinger said: Exactly why I leave the over night town mid morning and take my time enjoying all the pass through towns – the crowds are considerably thinned. That said, a little common sense, courtesy, and communication go a long way.

Zinger, this is just a guess but I’m betting that you enjoy a beer or three along the way!!!

#14299

verylastrider, February 8, 2011 at 12:25 pm

 IMHO, I think the first leg on the first day is the most dangerous due to inexperienced riders going way too fast for the crowd. The next worst day is the first leg of the last day with tons of inexperienced ending town riders jumping in for the first time, to take the ride home..

#14300

Michrider !!!, February 8, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Ride right, ride safe and watch your A.$.$.!!!

#14301

SFC JKL 2, February 8, 2011 at 7:29 pm

I find Tuesday to be the most aggravating.  By that time, everybody seems to think they’re Lance because they have 2 days of riding under their belt and they start hanging out in the left lane full time.

#14302

Papa T, February 8, 2011 at 8:14 pm

Mitch, I can testify that Zinger, a wonderful woman and very HOT, does enjoy a libation or two along the way!

 In fact, should you be fortunate enough to meet her on the route,  Papa T would consider it a serious  error NOT to buy her a libation of her choice!  Like the Papa will!

DIMICNW?

#14303

Michrider !!!, February 8, 2011 at 8:17 pm

Papa T said: Mitch, I can testify that Zinger, a wonderful woman and very HOT, does enjoy a libation or two along the way!

 In fact, should you be fortunate enough to meet her on the route,  Papa T would consider it a serious  error NOT to buy her a libation of her choice!  Like the Papa will!

DIMICNW?

Papa T, I had the pleasure of meeting Zinger last year.  Yes, I’ll be buying her a beverage or so!!! 

#14304

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