February 23, 2015

2020 Policy and Legislation

The Iowa Bicycle Coalition is concerned about the safety of bicyclists in Iowa.  Improving laws to protect bicyclists is one part of the Coalition’s bicycle advocacy strategy.  These policy and funding bills are monitored by the Iowa Bicycle Coalition and the Advocacy Strategies team at the Capitol.  You can take action on any or all of these bills from this page.

Change Lanes to Pass

The Iowa Bicycle Coalition continues to seek passage of a defined safe passing distance. Changing lanes to pass bicycles is easy to teach, easy to enforce, and easy to follow.

Current Bills:

Senate File 2 by Sen. Lofgren
Iowa Bicycle Coalition Position: OPPOSED

  • This bill requires bicyclists operating on 45 mph speed limit roads or greater to have 144 square inches of high visibility or reflective clothing or material visible from the rear.  There are exemptions for crossings and large bike events.
  • It requires motor vehicles to use the opposite side of the road or an adjacent travel lane to pass people on bicycles.
  • Prohibits motorists from steering unreasonable close to people riding bicycles in those lanes.
  • Allows motorists to pass bicyclists in a no-passing zone if there is no oncoming traffic, not at the crest of a hill, intersection, bridge, railroad crossing or viaduct.
  • Strikes the reflector option for bicycling at night and allows for a 72-hour period where the bicyclist could return an affidavit and have the ticket expunged.

Why are we opposed? This is mostly a good bill and we appreciate the efforts of Sen. Lofgren and the Iowa Senate on bike safety. However, the hi-viz clothing requirement makes the bill unsupportable by the Iowa Bicycle Coalition. The requirement to don special clothes before bicycling is wrong. Hi-viz clothing is standard when extraordinary or unusual traffic situations exist – bicycling is neither unusual or extraordinary. By criminalizing what bicyclists are wearing, the bill will shift liability for motorists breaking the law by speeding or drunk driving onto the bicyclist.

Outdoor Recreation & Conservation Trust Fund

Current Bills: NONE

Iowa Bicycle Coalition Position: PROTECT THE FORMULA

  • Iowa voters approved the creation of a conservation trust fund, also known as Iowa’s Water & Land Legacy.
  • When the legislation raises the sales tax, 3/8th cent will be directed to a conservation and outdoor recreation trust.
  • Iowa Code 461.31 creates the trust fund and an allocation formula.
  • Further Iowa Code 461.37 creates an allocation for trails of 10% of the receipts into the fund. This includes design, establishment, maintenance, improvement, and expansion of land trails and water trails.

Why is the Iowa Bicycle Coalition working to protect the formula? The Iowa Bicycle Coalition feels it is important to keep in place the formula that was proposed when the referendum was voted upon. It was a package deal that included water quality, land conservation, lake restoration, and trails. We feel the trust will provide sustainable funding for future generations to enjoy trails in Iowa. It will also create funding available for maintenance of trails.

Learn more at http://www.iowaswaterandlandlegacy.org/

Hands-Free Phone While Driving

Current Bills:
Senate File 76 by Lofgren
Iowa Bicycle Coalition Position: FOR

  • A person cannot use a hand-held electronic communications device while driving unless stopped off the traveled portion of the roadway.
  • A person may use the device if in hands free mode.
  • A person may still use a phone if it can be activated by a single button for voice communication.

Why are we FOR? We think distracted driving continues to be a menace on our roads. We support efforts to strengthen Iowa’s laws regarding the reduction of distracted driving.

NOTES: This bill has passed the Senate Transportation Committee and is eligible for consideration by the full Senate.

Electric Scooters

Current Bills:
House Study Bill 38
Iowa Bicycle Coalition Position: UNDECIDED/MONITORING
Senate Study Bill 1024
Iowa Bicycle Coalition Position: UNDECIDED/MONITORING

  • This bill creates a definition of Electric Standup Scooter for scooters that weigh less than 100 lbs, have a platform for the rider, and travel less than 20 mph.
  • A person may operate an electric stand up scooter on highways, bikeways, and sidewalks.
  • A person operating a scooter has all the rights and duties of a bicyclist.
  • A scooter must park where bicycle parking is allowed and cannot impede pedestrian traffic.
  • Scooters are exempt from insurance, licensing, and other similar regulations.

E-Scooters are not part of the mission of the Iowa Bicycle Coalition. Yet, they are light mobility. They are expanding across the US rapidly and are popular with consumers. We do support e-scooters using bicycle facilities like bike lanes and trails within similar parameters as the operators of bicycles.

We are concerned with sidewalk operations, especially in areas where bicycles are prohibited and would like to see language granting local control to municipalities. We are also concerned about requirements of motorists to yield to e-scooters (and bicycles for that matter) using crosswalks and urge language to expand crosswalk protection beyond pedestrians.

If this legislation passes, e-scooters will become a new prism for policy because they will have the same rights and duties as bicyclists.

NOTE: HSB 38 Subcommittee: Worthan, Lohse and B. Meyer.
SSB 1024 passed subcommittee and is awaiting Transportation Committee.

ACTION: Standby at this time until amendments are filed.


Current Bills:
House File 57 by Rep. Wills
Iowa Bicycle Coalition: OPPOSED
Senate File 51 by Sen. Whiting
Iowa Bicycle Coalition Position: UNDECIDED

NOTE: SF51 passed subcommittee and awaits Transportation Committee.
HF 57 has not been assigned a subcommittee.

ACTION: Standby until subcommittee is assigned.

Bike Lanes/Road Diets

Current Bills:
House File 41 by Salmon
Iowa Bicycle Coalition Position: OPPOSED

  • This bill creates a restriction on the Iowa DOT that will prohibit DOT staff from consulting with local governments about road diet recommendations.
  • The bill specifically calls out 3 to 4 lane conversions with bike lanes or parking spaces allocated with the unused space.

Why are we opposed? The Iowa Bicycle Coalition encourages the implementation of bike lanes where appropriate. We feel the Iowa DOT should not have a statutory requirement to restrict discussions of highway safety infastructre.