Sharing the roads: Use simple common sense and courtesy

Some recent discussions of Iowa’s proposed bike safety legislation became quite contentious and more than a bit confusing.

Whether or not it passes (look for an update soon), motorists and cyclists alike would do well to follow what the Iowa Department of Transportation says about bicycling on Iowa roads. It is reproduced below.

You can find the same information here.

SHARING IOWA’S ROADS
WITH BICYCLES

Under Iowa law, bicycles have a right to use Iowa’s roads.

SAFETY TIPS FOR MOTORISTS

  • DO NOT HONK YOUR HORN AT BICYCLISTS. They may be startled and lose control.
  • USE EXTRA CAUTION WHEN PASSING BICYCLES. Move entirely into the left lane; on a two-lane road, don’t pass a bicycle if oncoming traffic is near.
  • BICYCLISTS MIGHT SWERVE TO AVOID ROAD HAZARDS. Common road hazards for bicyclists are potholes, debris, drainage grates, railroad tracks, and narrow bridges.
  • BE CAREFUL WHEN OPENING YOUR VEHICLE DOOR. Road widths often force bicyclists to ride close to parked vehicles where they may be injured by an opening door.
  • WHEN IN DOUBT, YIELD TO BICYCLES

SAFETY TIPS FOR BICYCLISTS

  • ALWAYS WEAR A HELMET
  • RIDE ON THE RIGHT. Ride in the right lane, except when passing another vehicle, preparing for a left turn, or avoiding hazards.
  • NEVER RIDE AGAINST TRAFFIC. Always ride with the flow of traffic.
  • OBEY TRAFFIC SIGNS AND SIGNALS. Use hand signals to advise motorists you plan to turn, change lanes or stop.
  • MAKE EYE CONTACT WITH MOTORISTS. Never assume a motorist sees you or that you have the right-of-way. Expect the unexpected such as: parked vehicles pulling into traffic; vehicle doors opening into your path; and debris on the road.
  • AT NIGHT USE A HEADLIGHT, TAILLIGHT AND REFLECTORS

It isn’t all that complicated, is it?

Pass that along to your motoring and cycling friends, and pedal on.

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1 Response to “Sharing the roads: Use simple common sense and courtesy”


  1. 1 Georgie Pease March 14, 2009 at 9:05 am

    Good stuff. Yes, so simple. It makes you wonder why we’d even have to tell people this stuff to begin with.


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