Iowa legislators have voted to toughen penalties for drivers who injure or kill cyclists or bikers. The bill would also require driver’s ed courses to include instruction about how those who drive four-wheeled vehicles need to share the road with two-wheeled vehicles.
Representative Lisa Heddens, a Democrat from Ames, considers that education component important. She says it will hopefully make younger drivers more aware of other vehicles on the road. Representative James Van Fossen, a Republican from Davenport, is a retired cop who says it’s time to increase the penalties for drivers who cause injury or death to cyclists. He cites an accident that happened near Tama two year ago as evidence.
Three motorcyclists were killed and three were injured and the driver of the vehicle responsible was fined just 75-dollars. The bill, which was sought by the motorcycling group ABATE, cleared the House Tuesday. It was endorsed by the Senate on March 1st.
If Governor Vilsack signs the bill into law, drivers who fail to yield or swerve into the right-of-way of motorcycles and bikes and cause injury to bikers could be fines five-hundred dollars and lose their drivers license for three months. If the driver’s actions caused the death of a cyclist, the bill calls for a one-thousand dollar fine and a six-month suspension of driving privileges.