Editorial

A Trooper's RAGBRAI

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The following was submitted by the Iowa State Patrol Safety Education Unit:

Not at my intersection -

Four words that an Iowa State Patrol trooper knows well, especially on RAGBRAI.

A group of off- duty troopers grabs a table at the local restaurant. It's busy with all the bikers in town, but they aren't complaining. They're just happy to be out of uniform and in a room with air conditioning. They have spent the entire day directing traffic at busy intersections on RAGBRAI. In a few minutes they will be enjoying their only sit down meal of the day.

Conversation immediately turns to the day's activities. The early crew recounts the sunrise and number of bikers without headlights. The late crew one-ups them by talking about the heat and the near misses at their intersections. It's all in good taste; the banter is a catharsis for the guys to unwind. When the food arrives, conversation drops as appetites teased all day by trail mix and water are finally satisfied.

When the check arrives, conversation has already turned to the hotel for the night. Making the trip across the state means a different hotel each night. Assignments are discussed for the next morning, and strategies for controlling traffic are checked and re-checked. To the outsider, these conversations are no more than "cop talk." But for the troopers sitting there at the table, this conversation holds so much more. You can see it in their eyes and hear it in their voices. What they are planning can make a difference for someone the next day. Behind closed doors, each one of them will tell you the same thing. They fear the car vs. bike crash that could be reality tomorrow. This gives birth to the four words that we all live by on RAGBRAI'"Not at my intersection."

As you pass us by this week, consider the time and effort that has gone into the planning and execution of a safe RAGBRAI experience. There are times when "Courtesy, Service, Protection" means being direct with those we are serving. These actions are directly tied to everyone's safety, both bikers and motorists. Your help is appreciated in making our goal a reality, "not at my intersection."

Not at my intersection.