The Iowa Deputy Attorney General has issued a letter on mandatory sidepath laws and states they conflict with the Iowa Code.
“In light of the statutory language of Iowa Code, we believe it is clear that the city of Grimes cannot by ordinance prohibit bicycles from using the roadways, including a city street, and require bicyclists instead to use a bike path that is available,” Pottorff wrote.
The Iowa Bicycle Coalition has been working to eradicate local laws that are in conflict with the Iowa Code to reduce confusion. Bicyclists and motorists need a clear and uniform understanding of the rules of the road. Laws that arbitrarily restrict bicycling in certain areas and allow it in others are confusing.
In addition, sidepaths can have hazards like turning vehicles and intersections. Finally, snow removal, debris, and other modal users can cause conflicts. Bicyclists should be able to make their own decisions on safety and destination.
The Iowa Bicycle Coalition continues to support trails and their usage. A well-built trail should not require a law for usage, but should naturally encourage bicycle use because it is safe and serves the destinations of cyclists.