As temperatures warm up, more Iowans are hitting roads and trails on bicycles.
Mark Wyatt, executive director of the Iowa Bicycle Coalition, says safety should be a top priority for both motorists and people who are pedaling to their destination. This year, Wyatt’s organization lobbied state lawmakers for “safe passing distance” legislation.
“I believe over half of the states have something on the books,” Wyatt said. “Wisconsin’s had a three-foot safe passing distance since 1973, but the Iowa Legislature decided not to adopt that. They did adopt a bill that states motorists shouldn’t steer unreasonably close to bicyclists and shouldn’t throw items at bicyclists.”
May is Bicycle Safety Month. Wyatt says his organization, based in Coralville, is working to educate bicyclists about how they can avoid being hit. Some of the tips include using hand signals, stopping at stop signs and riding with the flow of traffic. “I think those messages are really important across the state to try and encourage people to follow traffic rules,” Wyatt said.
In addition to promoting safety and bicyclist’s legal rights, the Iowa Bicycle Coalition works with communities across the state to design bike-friendly transportation facilities and services. “We concentrate on seeing what we can do to change urban environments to make it easier for people to walk or bicycle,” Wyatt said.
May 17th through the 21st is designated as Bike to Work Week.
(Additional reporting by Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)