Call

Blog

Law
02

Blog

Iowa Bike Laws

IOWA BICYCLE LAWS 

It’s important to know your legal rights (and duties) when bicycling in Iowa. It is especially important after a bicycle accident (we call them bicycle “crashes” and explain why here).

For any questions about the State’s bike laws, or about your rights to the road, contact attorney Jim Freeman directly.

Right to the Road

  • Iowa bicyclists generally have the same rights, and same duties, as drivers of motor vehicles.

Prohibitions

  • Sirens are not permitted on bicycles except for used by a police or fire department.

Helmets

  • There is no statewide requirement for helmet use.

Where to Ride

  • Bicycles are to ride as close as practicable and safe to the right side of the roadway except when overtaking another vehicle or when preparing to make a left turn.

Sidewalks

  • Iowa state law is silent as to bicycling on the sidewalk, but some municipalities prohibit sidewalk biking.
  • Iowa City – City Plaza or Commercial District
  • Cedar Rapids – Business District
  • Fairfield – Central Business District

Bike Lanes, Bike Paths and Multi-Use Paths

  • Iowa bicyclists are not required to ride in or upon bike lanes or paths.

Stop Signs and Traffic Control Devices

  • Bicyclists are required to come to a full and complete stop at all stop signs and traffic lights displaying a red signal.

Signaling

  • Bicyclists must use hand/arm signals when turning and stopping.
  • Left turn – Left hand and arm extended horizontally.
  • Right turn – Left hand and arm extended upward.
  • Stop or decrease of speed – Left hand and arm extended downward.

Actions Against Bicyclists

  • A driver shall not steer a vehicle toward a bicyclist.
  • It is illegal to throw an object or substance at a bicyclist.

Vulnerable User Law

  • Iowa has additional penalties that may be imposed in a collision that results in the injury or death of a cyclist.

Group Riding

  • Iowa state law does not address how many riders may ride abreast.
  • Come towns or cities may have their own restrictions.
  • Iowa City – Single file

Distracted Driving

  • No texting while driving

Equipment

  • Every bicycle must equipped with a white front facing headlight, and a red rear reflector or light, visible from at least 300 feet when used at nighttime.
  • Lights must be used sunset to sunrise and when conditions provide insufficient lighting to see a person at a distance of five hundred feet.  Conditions may include fog, snow, and rain.

Electric Assist Bikes

  • “Bicycle” includes an E-bike with pedals and an eclectic assist motor of less than 750 watts (one horsepower) with a maximum unassisted speed of less than twenty miles per hour.

Comments

Waller Bike Crash Carnage
Rachael Maney Oct 02, 2021

PRESS RELEASE FROM BIKE LAW’S NATIONAL DIRECTOR RACHAEL MANEY In light of the recent Waller Bike Crash in Texas, and in an effort to help untangle and unpack some of the emotionally-charged comments, questions, and inaccurate assumptions being made, we want to update you on the parts that we can share. I hope that this […]

Read More
Brother James
Peter Wilborn Sep 29, 2021

23 years ago today, the world lost my brother Jim. He was killed on his bike by an under-aged driver who blew through a red light. While the years don’t really blunt the loss, they foster gratitude for the gifts left behind. My brother blessed me with so much, but 3 things stand out:   […]

Read More
Family bicycle charity
Bike Law Aug 17, 2021

GUEST POST BY BIKE LAW AMBASSADOR KURT AREHART The bike charity Raleigh Community Kickstand, or just Kickstand for short, is a four year-old project organized under Oaks & Spokes, a 501(c)(3) engaged in fostering cycling in Raleigh. Kickstand channels donated bicycles to low-income and homeless members of our community whose lives can be improved with […]

Read More
Contributory negligence Bike crash
Ann Groninger May 08, 2021

If you’ve met me, you’ve heard talk about contributory negligence many times, including here and here and here. My vocation and my passion as a bike crash attorney is representing injured bicyclists and families of bicyclists who have been killed by careless drivers. Contributory negligence severely impairs the right of these individuals and bicyclists to […]

Read More
Asian-American Triathlete
Rachael Maney May 04, 2021

Bike Month 2021 is setting the bar pretty high. Two days ago, Sika Henry became the first Black woman to earn her pro card in the sport of triathlon. And today, Bike Law and I are honored and excited to announce our sponsorship of the only Asian-American racing on the professional triathlon circuit, Clarice Chastang […]

Read More
Cycliq video close call
Rachael Maney Apr 22, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 23, 2021 Jon Korin, President Bicycle Advocates for Annapolis & Anne Arundel County (‘BikeAAA’) 443-685-4103, [email protected]   Rachael Maney, National Director Bike Law 410-382-7803, [email protected]   DRIVER CONVICTED ON CYCLIQ VIDEO EVIDENCE Christopher Lee Bradshaw of Lothian, MD was convicted of violating Maryland’s 3-foot bicycle passing law and negligent driving on […]

Read More
cycling friendship
Ann Groninger Apr 21, 2021

Cycling friendships are wonderful benefit to our sport and community.  A major part of our work as bicycle “accident” lawyers means putting a value on losses that our clients suffer as a result of injures from crashes. When it comes to past and future medical expenses, lost income and other financial losses, the job is […]

Read More
Contributory Negligence
Ann Groninger Apr 08, 2021

There is finally a positive development in the fight against Contributory Negligence in North Carolina. Last week a bill called the “Victims’ Fair Treatment Act” was filed in the North Carolina Senate. If passed, the bill would finally bring North Carolina into line with all but 3 other states by eradicating this deeply unfair law. […]

Read More
Bike Shop with wheels
Danny Feldman Apr 04, 2021

Birmingham is blessed to have a number of great bike shops.  Two of these shops, although very different, are the focus here.  Future blog posts from Bike Law Alabama will focus on some of the other great shops in Birmingham and throughout Alabama. A NON-PROFIT BIKE SHOP: REDEMPTIVE CYCLES Why choose Redemptive as your Bike […]

Read More
Load More