At the Capitol Update 1-19-2021

The Iowa Bicycle Coalition staff and lobbyists had a busy day at the Iowa Capitol working on bike and traffic safety policy legislation.

The day began with a “super speeder” bill aimed to make the unintentional or intentional death caused by speeding 25 mph over the speed limit a class C felony. The law enforcement agencies are supportive and report this issue is difficult for them to take to prosecutors and see a conviction because of Iowa’s difficult reckless driving jury instructions.  On the other side, the Iowa Alliance For Justice report speed has been used as a threshold to prove recklessness. This is an issue we continue to monitor.

We heard about difficulties moving the “change lanes to pass bicycles” bill through the Iowa House unless we have a change with our stance towards day-time visibility adjunct requirements.  People in the caucus want to see a compromise with a high-viz clothing requirement or daytime light.  Currently, the Coalition doesn’t see room to compromise on this issue because it would expensive to outfit bicyclists with day-time lights or clothing; difficult to follow because there isn’t a consistent standard in clothing visibility and reflective clothing isn’t effective during the daylight hours; and the law would place an additional burden of liability upon the cyclists based upon what they are wearing and could negate the liability to motorists who cause a crash.

Low-speed electric-assist bicycles, on the other hand, seem like a bill that could see passage this year.  The law would expand the definition of conventional bicycles to three-wheeled bikes and add the three-tier classes of e-bikes with the addition of Class 3 up-to-28-mph pedal-assist bikes that are already on the road.

There is much anticipation of a requirement for phones to be in hands-free mode if used while driving.  Both the house and senate want to see this law passed and feel it is for the common safety of all road users.

The most important part is that legislators need to hear from you, their constituents.  They are elected by you and want to have your input on these issues.  Click https://actnow.io/xZ2FCp1 to contact your legislator or complete the form below.

 

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