A new national report ranks Iowa 32nd in the nation in terms of bicycle safety. The report from the Alliance for Biking and Walking suggests cities and states should take steps to make their communities more bike and pedestrian friendly.
Mark Wyatt, with the Iowa Bicycle Coalition, says 8% of trips in Iowa are by bicycle or foot, but bicyclists and pedestrians account for 7% of the state’s traffic fatalities. “I think one of the biggest things that the national report shows is if we increase the amount of bicycling – safety increases,” Wyatt said. “I think that’s a big encouragement factor. The more people we can get on bikes, the safer it’s going to be for everybody.”
The report claims motorists tend to be more aware of their surroundings when there are more bicycles on the road. Wyatt is pushing Iowa lawmakers to pass a bike safety bill this session. He says the measure would require motorists, when they’re passing a bicycle, to leave at least five feet between their vehicle and cyclist.
Wyatt’s organization is holding an Iowa Bicycle Summit today and tomorrow in Des Moines. He says today’s events are directed at city planners, engineers and others who’re interested in implementing more bicycle traffic in their communities. Saturday’s session is geared more toward bicycling enthusiasts.
The Iowa Bicycle Summit is taking place at Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines. Wyatt says Cedar Falls, Iowa City, Davenport and Des Moines are among the Iowa cities that have begun to implement bike ways and shared lanes arrow markings. He claims those cities are seeing an increase in bicyclists and a decrease in traffic conflicts between bikes and vehicles.
See the Alliance for Biking and Walking report here: www.PeoplePoweredMovement.org/benchmarking