Thursday, January 29, 2009

Bicyclists Bill of Rights in the Iowa Legislature

The Iowa Legislature is considering the Bicyclists Bill of Rights. These are filled under Senate File 34 and House File 128. They each contain changes to the Iowa Code to clarify the position of bicyclists. Many other states have adopted these rules and they are working well to increase bicycling and decrease injury and fatalities.

House File 128 has been filed by Representatives Kressig, Smith, D. Olson, and Ficken.  Senate Bile 34 has been filed by Senators McCoy, Bolkcom, and Dotzler.  I was able to discuss this bill with Joe Bolkcom of Iowa City at the Iowa Bicycle Summit this past weekend.  He is completely supportive of this bill and urges as many people as possible to contact their senator or representative.
The changes being propose include:
1.          Assuring the bicyclist full use of the lane, if it is not wide enough to accommodate both a vehicle and a bicycle.
2.          A vehicle shall not follow too closely.
3.          A vehicle shall allow a distance of at least 5 feet when overtaking a bicycle.
4.          A vehicle must signal when turning but need not honk to signal a turn.
5.          Right turns by a bicyclist may be signal with the right hand and arm held horizontal, as well as with the left hand and arm extended upward.
6.          A vehicle must stop and give right-of-way to a bicycle when crossing a street, highway, or recreational trail.
7.          The driver of a vehicle may not open or leave open a door which would endanger a bicyclist.
For complete review of the bills:
Please contact your senator and legislator soon to urge passage of the Bicyclist Bill of Rights.  Stress the health and safety benefits, as well as the fact that it is “budget neutral”.  You can find your legislator at

This just in from Mark Wyatt of the Iowa Bicycle Coalition at 1:00PM, 1/29/09:

SF 34 passes subcommittee, need help with Transportation Committee

Senate File 34 was assigned to the Transportation Committee. The bill has
passed the Transportation Subcommittee with Sen. McCoy, Sen. Reynolds, and Sen.

Senator City E-mail
Tom Rielly (D, District 38), Chair Oskaloosa

Daryl Beall (D, District 25), Vice Chair Fort Dodge

Larry L. Noble (R, District 35), Ranking Member Ankeny

Swati A. Dandekar (D, District 18) Marion

Jeff Danielson (D, District 10) Cedar Falls

James F. Hahn (R, District 40) Muscatine

Tom Hancock (D, District 16) Epworth

William M. Heckroth (D, District 9) Waverly

Tim L. Kapucian (R, District 20)
Matt McCoy (D, District 31) Des Moines

Kim Reynolds (R, District 48) Osceola

Steve Warnstadt (D, District 1) Sioux City

Brad Zaun (R, District 32) Urbandale

Personal letters are always appreciated. Remember to stick to only one or two
issues at a time, provide real-life personal examples, and be polite. Also,
don't forget to carefully proofread your letter. Send your letter, addressed
simply to: "Dear Rep." (fill in the name) or "Dear Sen." (fill in the name),
Iowa Senate or Iowa House of Representatives, State Capitol Building, Des
Moines, IA 50319.

Every lawmaker now has an e-mail address and many even prefer this method of
communication. Keep in mind, however, that most legislators prefer to use e-mail
for quick and simple messages. If you have a detailed message, it's probably
best to send it via regular mail.

When speed is of the essence, you can always phone a quick message in to your
legislator by calling 515-281-3371 (Senate) or 515-281-3221 (House).

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