When I heard about the proposed ordinance in Dallas County that would force cycling events to obtain one million dollar insurance policies I had a few questions. Here they are and the answers that I got from Mark at the Iowa Bicycle Commission.
Question:"What I want to know is what types of rides are affected? Is this bill going to affect shop group rides, for instance? It seems to me that in cases like this that I have been paying attention to, the law is open ended enough that even if friends decide to meet for a group ride, and use say, the internet to arrange the ride, the law can be applied to infer that the ride was an "organzed ride" and therefore be subject to the penalty of that particular law, (whatever that ends up being in this case)"
Answer: "What types of rides? Any ride where it is advertised OR any ride withan entry fee. This includes internet and e-mail. We do not know what the number on the ordinance will be, but we have heard 10-20 people."
Question: "If there is an organized ride without insurance, and someone does get hurt and tries to sue, what happens then? Or what if no one gets hurt and the State finds out about the ride. What is the "punishment"? "
Answer: "What if someone sues and there is no insurance? The ride organizer isresponsible for the damages if they lose. If they sue the county -the county is ususally insured. If no insurance or form filed, the penalty is $750.
Mark closes out by saying this: "As I said, this is local to Dallas County, but if it passes, expect itto spread across the state, one county at a time. Also expect therules to be different in each county. They want to make it sodifficult that we have to beg for the legislature to fix this."
As you can see, if this doesn't get nipped in the bud, we can expect a time period where cycling on Iowa roadways will be difficult, if not impossible, in groups for any reason.