The Iowa Bicycle Coalition is praising a decision by the Iowa State Association of Counties to drop its push for state and county ordinances to regulate bike riders. The move to regulate bikers came after a lawsuit against Crawford County by the wife of a man who died on RAGBRAI in 2004.
Mark Wyatt of the Iowa Bicycle Coalition says tighter bike ordinances would have made it tough for those who use the two-wheeled transportation. "We see bicycle liability as something that’s a rare instance, but we see promotion of bicycling as very important, both for economic and tourism and transportation and health issues," Wyatt says, "there’s all kinds of reason to stand behind bicycling, and I think it’s something that should be encouraged all across the state."
Hardin County had just passed a bike ordinance that required bike rides of over 10 people to obtain a minimum of one million dollars in insurance before holding the ride. Wyatt says it appears that ordinance will now be pulled back. Wyatt says it looks like the Hardin County Supervisors will repeal the ordinance on Tuesday.
Wyatt says the idea of pushing for tougher bike ordinances was trying to regulate something that doesn’t need regulation. Wyatt says it’s "a perceptions versus reality issue" as he says there’s a lot of education missing as a lot counties don’t understand bicycle risk management. Wyatt says the coalition is adding an education workshop to its January conference to address bicycle risk management and tort liability.
Wyatt says the issue is especially important now in a time of higher gas prices and people looking for alternative transportation. Wyatt says any bike dealer across the state will say they’ve sold a lot more "gas price bikes" than at any other time. An effort to get the legislature to make a law to bar bike riders from collecting damages form counties and cities for most accidents failed to pass in the last session.