Iowa Bicyclist’s Death Raises Concerns About Barred Driving Penalties

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ANKENY, Iowa -- It's normally a weekly Wednesday routine at Kyle's Bikes in Ankeny that bicyclists say builds camaraderie, but this bike ride held an even stronger meaning.

"This is special, it's not for the advocacy, it's to remember Wade tonight and who he was," said BikeIowa.com founder Scott Sumpter.

Dozens gathered for Gregary “Wade” Franck, a well-known employee at the bike shop. "We're riding for an individual that made a huge impact on the biking community and as you can see they've really come out to show the support for the man he was," Dave Douglas said.

Franck died Tuesday from injuries sustained in a Sunday crash in the 5100 block of Grand during the Urban Assault Ride event.

"There's alot of heavy hearts that's for sure, and there's folks that witnessed it and they are having difficulties with what they saw," Kyle Robinson, the owner of Kyle's Bikes said.

Police say the driver, 31-year-old Jonathan Rodriguez Leyva had a blood alcohol content of nearly three times the legal limit and was driving with a barred license. Leyva is charged with homicide by OWI, homicide by reckless driving and failure to render aid resulting in death. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Aug. 27.

"It's not even the cyclist issue, its a bigger issue. How did the legal system fail?" Sumpter said, referring to the circumstances surround Leyva's criminal history.

"It is not a bike against car thing, It is a why was this guy on the streets?" Robinson said.

In addition to any other penalties, Iowa law states a violator with a barred license faces a fine of $1,000 and the continuation of being barred but little else. Major Lance Evans says, just like any other law, they rely on citizens to obey them.

"We are relying on these individuals to honor the state's barrment of their license to remove the privilege from them," Major Evans said. "There's really not a mechanism in place for us to monitor whether they are following the letter of the law except for if they are caught driving again."

Many of those who continue to ride for Franck feel more should be done to prevent any of Iowa's 16,000 barred drivers from getting behind the wheel.  "Just makes you question how? Why did he get off so easy and ultimately it ended up resulting in somebody's death," Sumpter said.

They will also continue to remember a man with a passion for life on the open trails. "He was obviously loved by a lot of people and some are like, I didn't know Wade but he sounds like he was awesome," Robinson said.

Robinson also says there have been rides planned using #RideForWade in places as far as Afghanistan.

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