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Number of Bicycle Accidents Has Influenced Group to Try to Ban Bicyclists from Iowa Roads


As interest in cycling grows, so do bicycle accidents propelling the view that cycling is not safe. Opinions do differ on the safety of cycling. As with motorcycles, the number of accidents can be attributed to both reckless cyclists and negligent drivers.

The Chicago Tribune recently ran an article that showed the issues that arrive from differing opinions on the safety of cycling. Like many places, Des Moines, Iowa has seen a growing interest in cycling and likewise a growing number of bicycle accidents.

This growing number of bicycle accidents has raised concern among the people of Des Moines. The article in the Chicago Tribune describes a movement under way to ban bicyclists on country roads in Iowa.

Two groups have emerged from this movement. One group, Citizens for Safety Coalition of Iowa, are advocates of the ban. The other group, the Iowa bicycle coalition, opposes the ban and argues that it is not a solution to the problem with bike accidents.

Problem with Bike Accidents on Iowa Roads
The problem with cycling on Iowa roads is more than just what you would typically think of with bicycle safety. The problem is on specific roads that are referred to as farm-to-market roads.

The Citzens for Safety Coalition of Iowa is advocating for petitions and Legislature to support a move to ban bicycles from only these roads referred to as farm-to-market roads.

Differences in How to solve Problem
As mentioned previously, there are differences in opinion in how to solve the problem of bicycle accidents on farm-to-market roads. One way, as listed above, is to simply ban cycling all together.

An alternative solution, advocated for by the Iowa Bicycle Coalition, is to seek to raise awareness about bicycle safety to reducy these personal injury accidents. Mark Wyatt of the Coalition has sayid in the Tribune article that banning bikes isn’t the answer to safety concerns, but rather education and awareness, better engineered roads and enforcement of traffic laws.

While opinions such as Wyatt’s seem to be the reasonable middle ground to tread on in solving this problem, pressures such as a lawsuit in 2004 fueling the legitimacy of banning cyclists from farm-to-market roads. The personal injury accident lawsuit was over the death of a rider in the 2004 Crawford County annual summer bike ride.

In 2007, the pressure of safety concerns and the lawsuit resulted in the canceling of the summer bike ride. Groups will have to work together in light of all these pressures to come to a solution to the growing problem of the increasing number of bicycle accidents in Iowa.

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