Bicycle Accidents on the Rise in Iowa

Filed under "Current Events"
Thursday, September 29, 2016
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Bicycle accidents and injuries in Iowa are on the rise.  According to the Iowa Bicycle Coalition website, seven (7) Iowans have died in bicycle crashes this year alone.  From 2010 - 2015, the Iowa DOT has collected and published data regarding bicycle accidents in its 2010 - 2015 Iowa DOT Bicycle Crash Data Report.  After analyzing the data, the 2015 Iowa Bicycle Crash Report has concluded that in 2015, five people died and 237 people sustained injuries in crashes involving bicycles and motor vehicles. The amount of bicycle/motor vehicle crashes between 2014 to 2015 increased by 20%. 

The Iowa Bicycle Coalition is an organization created in 2004 in part to increase safety and reduce bicycle accidents.  According to their website, their mission is to build partnerships, educate Iowans, and help to establish safe and enjoyable bicycle transportation and recreation networks throughout Iowa.  The Spellman Law Firm has seen far too many accidents and injuries resulting from unsafe operations of motor vehicles and bicycles.  The Iowa Bicycle Coalition has created a list of safety tips which the Spellman Law Firm believes can help to try to reduce accidents and injuries between motor vehicles and bicyclists.  Following these driving tips can help increase safety and reduce fatalities and injuries.  

  • Safe Driving Tip 1: People ride bicycles on the same roadways as cars and trucks. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 2: Bicyclists are people, not obstacles.
  • Safe Driving Tip 3: People riding bicycles can and should be on the roadways.
  • Safe Driving Tip 4: Bicyclists have the same right to public roads. Iowa Code 321.234 
  • Safe Driving Tip 5: Bicycles cannot ride on interstates or highways with minimum speed limits. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 6: You should expect people riding bicycles everywhere.
  • Safe Driving Tip 7: Bike riders have the same rights and responsibilities as the driver of a car. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 8: Bicycles have to stop at stop signs or signals just like cars. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 9: Drivers must use “a safe and reasonable passing distance” with bike riders. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 10: The rule is to change lanes to pass bicyclists. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 11: The oncoming lane must be clear to pass. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 12: When passing, don’t return to the right until safe. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 13: Don’t follow bike riders too closely. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 14: Faster traffic should yield to slower traffic. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 15: Yield to a bike just like you yield to a car.
  • Safe Driving Tip 16: When turning your car you yield to people on bikes. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 17: Look for bicycles in all directions, including over your shoulder, when turning.
  • Safe Driving Tip 18: Where will you see bicyclists? Shared roadways. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 19: Where will you see bicyclists? Paved shoulders. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 20: Where will you see bicyclists? Bike lanes. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 21: Must bike riders use bike lane or trail? No 
  • Safe Driving Tip 22: Reasons to not use the trail: There could be debris or dangerous potholes.
  • Safe Driving Tip 23: Reasons to not use the trail: The bike path could also be crowded.
  • Safe Driving Tip 24: Reasons to not use the trail: Bicyclists destination makes it inconvenient or impractical.
  • Safe Driving Tip 25: It’s the driver’s responsibility to give the bike rider the benefit of the doubt.
  • Safe Driving Tip 26: Don’t honk or yell if you see a bicyclist riding on the road. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 27: Crossing a bike lane? Slow down and stop if needed.
  • Safe Driving Tip 28: Crossing a bike lane? Look for approaching bike riders. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 29: Crossing a bike lane? Proceed when the bike lane is clear. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 30: Driving near a trail crossing? Yield to bicyclists on trail.
  • Safe Driving Tip 31: Driving near a trail crossing? Check your blind spots and mirrors. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 32: Driving near a trail crossing? Yield the same way you yield to pedestrians.
  • Safe Driving Tip 33: Driving near a trail crossing? Remember that bicyclists are faster than walkers.
  • Safe Driving Tip 34: You must yield to bicyclists just as you would if the crosswalk was marked. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 35: Stopped or parked cars can create blind spots. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 36: Sharrows are guidance for bike rider positioning.
  • Safe Driving Tip 37: Green lane markings make the bike lane stand out. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 38: Bike route/wayfinding signs are the best routes to popular destinations.
  • Safe Driving Tip 39: Share the Road signs remind drivers that bike riders have the same legal right to the roadway. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 40: School speed zones helps slow traffic during peak hours. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 41: Slow down when you approach a person on a bike.
  • Safe Driving Tip 42: Passing a bike? Make sure the left lane is clear of oncoming traffic. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 43: Passing a bike? Move a safe and reasonable distance to the left. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 44: Passing a bike? Allow room in case the person riding moves to avoid obstacles. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 45: Passing a bike? Change lanes when passing a bicyclist. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 46: Passing a bike? Don’t return to the right until safely past the bicyclist. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 47: Passing a bike? Don’t try to squeeze in when you don’t have enough time or room. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 48: Designated ‘No Passing” Zones mean that you cannot pass.
  • Safe Driving Tip 49: Treat passing the bike rider as you would treat passing a car. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 50: Driving at an intersection with bikes? Slow your speed. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 51: Driving at an intersection with bikes? Wait to pass after an intersection. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 52: Driving at an intersection with bikes? Use your turn signal when turning right. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 53: Driving at an intersection with bikes? Look and scan your blind spots before you turn the wheel. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 54: Driving at an intersection with bikes? Slow or stop before turning left. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 55: Driving at an intersection with bikes? Look for people in the oncoming lane. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 56: Driving at an intersection with bikes? Don’t turn until the roadway is clear. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 57: Driving at an intersection with bikes? Check your mirrors and scan over your shoulder. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 58: Bicyclists may be coming from opposite direction on a trail. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 59: Driving at an intersection with bikes? Always signal when turning. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 60: Always expect bike traffic. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 61: Sidewalks and trails near roads are ripe for crashes. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 62: It is easy to overlook people on bicycles, if you aren’t paying attention to driving. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 63: People on bicycles may be traveling faster than you think. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 64: Bicycles may approach from either direction. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 65: Children bicycling on sidewalks are not able to judge moving traffic. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 66: Bicyclists on the roadways may pass cars that are stopped or parked. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 67: People riding bicycles will try to avoid the door zone when passing. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 68: Watch The Door Zone. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 69: Passengers or drivers who open doors into moving traffic can cause crashes. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 70: Be sure to check your mirror before opening the door to your vehicle. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 71: Close your door after loading and unloading.
  • Safe Driving Tip 72: Bicyclists are encouraged to ride to the left cars several feet outside the so-called “door zone”. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 73: Honking Isn’t Helping.
  • Safe Driving Tip 74: If you are unable to pass don’t honk or tailgate. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 75: People on bikes riding on roads have the legal right. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 76: The bicyclist may be riding to the left to avoid car doors and to be visible to drivers. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 77: The bicyclist may be avoiding obstacles like pot-holes and debris. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 78: You can startle the bicyclist and potentially cause a life threatening accident.
  • Safe Driving Tip 79: It’s better to slow down, give the bike rider the space. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 80: Avoid ANYTHING which may impair your ability to drive safely. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 81: Do not send text messages while driving.
  • Safe Driving Tip 82: Do not consume drugs or alcohol and drive impaired.
  • Safe Driving Tip 83: Do not allow yourself to get distracted while driving. 
  • Safe Driving Tip 84: Public roads belong to all of us: people who drive cars and people who ride bikes. 

        See Iowa Coalition Website:  

If you or your loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, please call The Spellman Law Firm at 515-465-5326 for a free consultation.    

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