There is news to share, but it isn’t good. On Thursday, the Iowa House voted HF513 out of the House Transportation Committee. Unfortunately, there was an amendment (H3157) to require bicyclists to display 144 square inches of high-visiblity material or reflective material on roads with speed limits 45 mph and above. There would be a $25 fine if violated. Organized rides involving 500 or more riders and with peace officers present are exempt. This was a rapidly introduced amendment and we have NOT viewed the language (it wasn’t made available or online). The bill passed 13-7. The bill is now eligible to for debate in the House.
Ultimately, the real problem that needs addressed is dangerous and distracted driving. The Iowa Bicycle Coalition urges bicyclists to be visible, but we oppose a law that makes it mandatory. We understand that many people prefer high visibility apparel and we don’t discourage that. The laws treat cyclists much differently when specific material is mandated. If you don’t wear the right color or amount of material; if your hi-viz material isn’t visible from the correct angle; or if you cross the wrong road you would be breaking the law. Like we have learned with lights at night, crashes might become your fault if you don’t have the right color on.
What can you do to help?
Nothing works better than a personal visit with your legislator. Plan to attend the Iowa Bicycling Day at the Capitol on February 20 from 10 am to 3 pm. You can RSVP at https://2018bikedayatcapitol.eventbrite.com.
We want to know what you think about the high visibility material proposal. Take the survey on High Visibility Apparel/Material at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/6T7DR56 and let us know what you support and why.
Please share these links with your friends who support bicycling.