Update October 2013
The Iowa Bicycle Coalition promotes safe and enjoyable bicycling in Iowa through education, events, better policy, and growing a community of supporters.
Bicycling in Iowa is safe, enjoyable, and accessible for all.
The following lists make up our values in four categories. Click each heading for more information.
Cyclists have legal rights and responsibilities
- Bicyclists have a legal right to use the public roads of the state of Iowa.
- Motorists should pass bicycles in the same manner as they would pass other vehicles by using the opposite lane clear of oncoming traffic and not returning to the right side of the roadway until safely past the bicyclist.
- Increasing and supporting public awareness of the right of the legal rights of bicyclists is important for safe and enjoyable cycling.
- Educational material on the rights and responsibilities of bicyclists should be included in driver education programs, the driver’s manual, and the driver’s license exam.
- Cyclists using the roadway are to follow the rules of the road.
- Experienced, knowledgeable cyclists should take the responsibility to educate other cyclists through formal instruction, personal interaction, and by setting a good example in the safe and efficient operation of their bicycles.
- Age-appropriate education for young cyclists in both basic skills and in learning the rules of the road should be encouraged.
- All cyclists of all ages should be encouraged, but not mandated to wear a well-fitted bicycle helmet every time they ride. Trail users should be encouraged to adopt and follow the rules of the road, for example, keeping to the right except when passing.
- Cyclists should receive equitable legal treatment in cases of cycle/vehicle collision and in cases of the lawful use of the road.
- Motorists who threaten or attack cyclists are committing a prosecutable offense.
- Bicycling on unpaved trails where bicycle use is permitted is done responsibly.
- Sidewalk bicycling is dangerous for pedestrians and can lead to increased bicycle-motor vehicle collisions. People with the ability to understand and follow traffic principles should bicycle on the streets or appropriate bicycle facilities (and not on the sidewalks) for both pedestrian safety and self-safety.
- Bicyclists should have the right to choose their route based on their own personal safety.
- The use of alcohol and drugs while bicycling could have severe, if not fatal consequences for the bicyclist as well as others around them. Bicyclists should not ride while their abilities are impaired. Please ride responsibly.
- Bicycling on trails where bicycle use is permitted is done responsibly and care is given when around pedestrians and non-cyclists (cyclists hate being ‘buzzed’ by cars, so pedestrians should not be ‘buzzed’ by bicyclists)
- Bicyclists should use headlights and taillights or rear reflectors at night as required by the Code of Iowa. Penalties for bicycling without lights should include the repair or purchase of a headlight and taillight in lieu of a financial penalty.
City and county governance need to incorporate services, planning, and regulations that encourage and facilitate the development of equitable, accessible, quality multi-modal transportation services and facilities
- Communities should adopt complete streets policies that require the construction of safe bicycle facilities in public transportation roadways.
- Bicycle transportation networks should connect as a system just as automobile-focused transport systems connect.
- ‘Complete street design’ education and planning training for city officials and planners is conducted regularly to achieve high-quality transportation services and facilities.
- Road surfaces should be free of obvious hazards.
- Cities and towns incorporate the interests of cyclists in the design, maintenance, and policing of roads.
- Multi-user paths are well designed for safety and access.
- Zoning ordinances specify the equitable quantity, acceptable design, and strategic location of bicycle parking.
- Zoning ordinances require bicycle parking whenever automobile parking is required.
- Covered bicycle parking is provided where automobile parking is covered.
- Cities provide bicycle lock-up racks on public property near the entrances of businesses and in other locations likely to be frequented by bicyclists.
- Public garages provide bicycle racks, preferably within view of the lot attendant.
- Municipalities work proactively with area businesses to provide appropriate bicycle storage.
- Employers provide safe and convenient bicycle storage and showers and lockers for their employees who cycle to work.
- Bicycles belonging to employees or residents are allowed to be brought inside buildings and into elevators.
- Mass transit vehicles, including planes, buses, and trains, are modified to carry bicycles.
- Covered and secure bike parking is provided at public transit stations. The public is informed about the availability of multimodal transportation.
- Bike Share Systems are a good investment as public transportation.
Facility Design and Maintenance
Public roadways are transportation corridors that need to safely and efficiently accommodate multiple motorized and non-motorized modes of transportation.
- Generally accepted national standards and practices for cycling, for example, AASHTO guidelines and NACTO guidelines should be used to design bicycle facilities.
- Pavement markings, such as sharrows, and bike lane stripes are commonly utilized.
- Bicycle warning signs are posted when there is insufficient room for side-by-side lane sharing or when there are narrow roads with significant traffic.
- Full user assessments of benefits and tradeoffs for incremental increases in the paved width of heavy traffic roads are conducted before design decisions are made.
- Roadways should be maintained free of sand, gravel, ridges, and holes.
- Annual street maintenance plans include resources for winter sand removal from streets, filling of longitudinal cracks, and addressing other unsafe road designs such as drain grates.
- Loop detectors at signalized intersections are adjusted to detect bicycles.
- Multi-use trails and greenway corridors incorporate the needs of non-bicyclists, complement the road network and:
- accommodate all users, including pedestrians and in-line skaters
- function as a low-speed roadway, not as sidewalks
- have sufficient sight lines where paths cross roadways
- ensure that barriers, if any, where paths cross roadways are sufficient to accommodate two directions of travel for tandems, recumbents, and bicycles with trailers
Public Policy can and should support safe and enjoyable cycling.
- Iowa should have a vision zero policy encouraging reduction of roadway deaths, including bicyclists, to zero fatalities per year.
- Iowa’s transportation system should be designed to reduce bicycle crashes. HSIP funding should include funds to reduce bike crashes.
- Bike Lanes, separated bike lanes, protected bike lanes, and/or buffered bike lanes are part of the roadway. Construction of these facilities should be included in roadway construction.
- Drivers of vehicles who open their doors into the paths of legally operating bicyclists without checking their mirrors or looking should be liable for damage or injuries from a crash.
- Hit and run penalties should be equal to drunk driving penalties.
- It is important that local governments and the Iowa DOT have a viable reporting system so that bicyclists can notify them of problems.
- Recreational trails are a form of public, not private, development.
- The State Recreational Trails program deserves sufficient funding to continue current projects, develop future bicycle trails and assist with trail maintenance.
- Citizens, municipalities, and law enforcement should cooperate to increase public safety for all road users through improved enforcement and compliance with the legal rules of the road.
- Police officer training should include knowledge of the rules of the road with respect to bicycling.
- Bicyclists need to register their bicycles, place identifying information inside the bicycle, and make it a practice to lock their bicycles securely.
- Law enforcement officers have a role in assisting in recovering stolen bicycles and apprehending bicycle thieves.
- Mandatory sidepath laws are clearly against the Code of Iowa.
- Bicycle events on Iowa roads should not require permits.