A group that calls itself the "Citizens for Safety Coalition of Iowa" is asking people to sign a petition that asks the legislature to create a ballot initiative for the November 2010 election that would ban bicycles on "farm-to-market" roads. Dan Jones of Van Meter is a spokesperson for the coalition.
Jones says they’re just a small group of people neighbors and friends, who have gotten together after a few accidents on the highways. "We’re tired of it, we think that the bicyclists should be held to the same laws that motorists are. They should have to have their license and insurance, anything that I’ve ever known that’s been on these highways has to have insurance on it," Jones says.
He says the farm-to-market roads are basically most highways other than the interstates. Jones says bicyclists create problems on the roads. He says some of the smaller highways or rural roads don’t have shoulders, and don’t have a place for motorists or cyclists to get out of the way to avoid a problem.
Jones says it is particularly tough for those who drive large farm equipment on the roads and have to deal with the bicycles. Jones says bicyclists are choosing the roads over bike paths because they say the bike paths are crowded with walkers that slow them down.
Jones says: "They think they need to go too fast for the women and children that are walking on their bike paths, well if they turn that into our perspective of it, we’re running 55 miles-an-hour on a pavement in a 3,000 to 5,000 pound vehicle. I don’t think their odds are very good, I think they’d be a lot safer on the bike paths." Jones says the bike paths are paid for through fees on snowmobiles and A-T-V’s and the bikers aren’t even using them.
Jones says they hope this will grow into a statewide movement to ban the bikes from these roads. The petition says the number of bicyclists using these roads over the past 10 years has grown dramatically as have the number of preventable accidents. It says " shared roadways are no longer safe or practical in today’s society."
You can see the petition on-line here .