02

Blog

Bike Safety in Iowa

The Des Moines Register is publishing a series of articles on bicycling in Iowa. My understanding is that they had planned the series, but the highly publicized hit-and run-death of Gregary “Wade” Franck brought bicycling safety issues to the forefront of many minds in Iowa.The current article is titled, “Why does Iowa have so many bike-car crashes?” The media often turns to horror stories about bicycling and talks about how unsafe it is to ride a bicycle. While we certainly need roads to be safer for use by bicyclists, we also need to convert Iowans to the idea that bicycling is a form of transportation. In order to do that bicycling needs to be seen as a safe alternative for of transportation.The article states that, “Iowa’s bicycle fatality rate remains relatively low compared with other states, ranking 40th at just under one fatality per million residents, according to federal figures.” There are things to fix in Iowa with respect to bicycle policy and infrastructure, but it isn’t as if it’s unsafe to ride a bicycle. I’d like to see stats on collisions per trip across different modes of transportation.

I’ve often called bicycling “the new golf,” rather than attributing an increase in mature riders to the “Lance Armstrong Effect.” My experience suggests that there are an increasing number of older people riding bicycles in the last few years, which would explain an increase in the number of older riders involved in collisions.

Finally, a number of states have seen bicycle infrastructure plans fester in recent years. Often this goes back to the Department of Transportation being all about moving cars. Bicycles are viewed as mere recreation.

Consider the comparison to the motorcycle. I have a motorcycle I love to ride. Sometimes I ride it to work. Sometimes I ride it to run errands. Sometimes on weekends I ride with my father-in-law down to Cantril for lunch, then back through Lacey-Keosaqua State Park. Sometimes, he likes to ride in the rolling hills north of Iowa city. When we make these trips it is for no purpose other than recreational riding. If not for the fact that we were riding motorcycles, we wouldn’t go. We ride for the joy of riding. In fact, I’d have to admit that most of the motorcycle riding I do is for pure enjoyment and recreation, but no one would ever tell me that my motorcycle isn’t a form of transportation. The bicycle is no different.

Just because people ride bicycles for recreational purposes doesn’t mean the bicycle isn’t a valid form of transportation. The more we come to recognize the bicycle as a form of transportation the easier it will be to secure infrastructure dollars and get meaningful policy changes our of our government. Real change starts with the recognition of the value of the bicycle as a mode of transportation.

I’ll be talking about these issues and more this Wednesday night at Firetrucker Brewery from 6-10. Anyone interested in bicycle safety, policy or issues is welcome to attend.

Comments

Rachael Maney Nov 28, 2018

I asked my 7 year old son, Will, to draw me a picture of each of these things: life with cars; life with electric cars; life with autonomous cars; they all looked the same. But the fourth picture- life in a modern, forward thinking, and environmentally, economically, and socially responsible place- looked very different. Even […]

Read More
Matt Johnson Nov 06, 2018

We were somewhere around Denison on the edge of the corn fields when the Eurostyle Chamois Butter began to take hold. I remember saying something like “I feel a bit lightheaded, maybe we should stop at a watering station…” And suddenly there was a terrible roar all around us, and the road was full of […]

Read More
Peter Wilborn Oct 02, 2018

October is a big month in the triathlon world, with the Kona Ironman World Championships on the 13th. So it is good news that Triathlete Magazine chose its October issue to focus on bicycle safety and advocacy. Bike Law Director (and our resident triathlete) Rachael Maney was featured and interviewed in the piece. She shared […]

Read More
Peter Wilborn Sep 28, 2018

Chicago has become one of the nation’s top cycling cities, but along with more has come an increase in dooring crashes. A Chicago news channel has covered the issue and interviewed attorney Brendan Kevenides, Bike Law’s legal resource in Illinois. Brendan explained the growing risk to cyclists and how the “Dutch Reach” can help.  The […]

Read More
Amy Benner Johnson Sep 21, 2018

Drivers are coming within less than 1.5 feet of cyclists on the road in Knoxville with alarming regularity. Drivers are coming within less than two feet of cyclists on the road in Knoxville with alarming regularity. It’s not your imagination. It’s not all in your head. Your combined senses of touch, sound, and sight all […]

Read More
Rachael Maney Sep 12, 2018

You may have already seen the video below. If you haven’t, please watch. On Tuesday, August 24th just before 7PM, Jeff McCord and approximately 20 other cyclists were stopped at the intersection of Karl Daly and Grants Mill Road in Irondale, Alabama, a town outside the city of Birmingham. As McCord waited for an ambulance […]

Read More
Rachael Maney Aug 30, 2018

In 2010, Richmond, California got lucky when Brooklyn born Najari Smith planted roots in the Bay Area city, quickly claiming a very important role in his new community. Having given more than 1,100 bikes to Richmond’s youth and community members in the last 6 years, Najari’s vision and mission to promote a bike-centric lifestyle has […]

Read More
Bruce Hagen Jul 17, 2018

On July 11, 2018, a very experienced rider and friend to many in the Rockdale County area, Albert “Ab” Roesel, was killed while out on a rural road doing a ride that he no doubt had done many times before.  Ab was 75 years old.   The police investigation concluded that Ab had been headed Southbound, […]

Read More
Brendan Kevenides Jun 04, 2018

At sea a boat under power must give way to a more vulnerable craft.  The law requires that a power driven vessel give way to a sailing vessel.  A sail boat must give way to a craft engaged in fishing. These simple rules are consistent with the maxim that with greater power comes greater responsibility. […]

Read More
Commuter Bike
Bruce Hagen May 29, 2018

Recently, my wife and I moved into a new home that’s closer to my office, which has allowed me to start commuting by bike.  I rode my bike to and from my office 4 consecutive days before my schedule forced me back into the car. My hope and plan is to commute by bike at […]

Read More
Pat Brown May 10, 2018

Strength, ambition, and courage are just a few words that come to mind when we think of Anthony Lue.  Growing up, Anthony enjoyed playing competitive sports such as baseball, volleyball, basketball and mountain biking, but his true passion was discovered on his high school track.    After winning gold for 100m hurdles at the provincial championships […]

Read More
Lauri Boxer-Macomber Apr 30, 2018

Following a horrific bicycle crash in 2016, Dr. Michael Rifkin has become a new type of bicycling advocate — one who is deeply committed to ending distracted driving. Read his op-ed on Making Distracted Driving in Maine Taboo here. Dr. Rifkin’s piece reminds us that we can be distracted by our phones and other electronic devices even […]

Read More
Load More