|We LOVE to ride Level B Maintenance roads in Iowa, so what about Level C's?|
First off, a little brief history. There were no classifications on gravel and rural dirt roads until the 1980's when the Iowa Legislature had to react to lawsuits being brought against the Counties where drivers had driven on these primitive roads and had been involved in accidents resulting in damage to property and loss of life in some cases. Certain roads were then marked as "Level B" maintenance and signs were posted at the ends of these sections of dirt and poorly maintained roads to warn drivers that to "Enter At Your Own Risk" would mean that you would be liable for your own actions. Obviously this was done to avoid liability to the State and Counties for loss of property, damages, and personal injuries and/or death resulting from driving on these roads. That's all well and good, but what about "Level C"? What is up with that classification in Iowa?
|The warning on every Level B road is there to absolve the County from liability|
"The Level C classification was added in 1991 by HF 419. This third classification was developed to provide a
means to limit access to roads that primarily serve adjacent farming operations and there has been resistance to
vacating them. This legislation included language stating that stated Level C roads may only be established by ordinance or resolution.
In addition, Area Service C classification roads shall adequately warn the public that access is limited. Access to the road shall be restricted by means of a gate or other barrier."
Most Level C Maintenance roads I have seen are gated, and many have a white, rectangular sign near the gate. These roads are not open to the public to drive or ride on. The gate is there to restrict access, and it is my understanding that the adjacent landowner to the road is the "local authority" when it comes to granting access to any Level C Maintenance Road. The bottom line here is don't ride on the Level C's! It isn't worth the risk, not only to you as a rider, but to the gravel bicycle riding community at large. Here in Iowa we have 70,000 miles of gravel and dirt we can ride on. Don't spoil it for everyone else by riding stuff you shouldn't be on.
|Example of a Level C Maintenance sign. Courtesy of IDOT|
In the end, I cannot prevent any cyclist from making a bad decision, but there is no arguing that making the decision to ride a Level C is a bad idea. Yeah, you think no one will ever know...... until they do. I mean, I found out about this recently because some people were posting on Facebook that they had ridden a Level C in Butler County. So, yeah, we need to be careful out there, folks.