I am aghast at how many people – both cyclists and non-cyclists – believe that requiring cyclists to operate with bicycle lights will solve the growing number of fatalities on Iowa roadways.
Iowa Code requires a cyclist operating on a highway at night to be visible from 300’, whether by lights or reflectors. Even when traveling at 55 mph, drivers have plenty of time to slow down or move over when cyclists are plainly evident from that distance.
In 2016, eleven cyclists were killed in Iowa. Only one of these crashes happened at night. In 2015, five cyclists were killed in Iowa. Only one of these crashes happened at night. In both cases, the cyclists killed at night were not in compliance with Iowa law.
I was at the scene of one of the 2015 fatality crashes. My boyfriend, Wade Franck, was killed on a bright, sunny Sunday morning. When he was killed, we were riding in a large group and there was one complete lane of traffic open for other roadway users. Wade could have had his bicycle lit up like a Christmas tree and it’s not likely the outcome would have been different because his killer was far too drunk to drive.
Why bloat the Iowa Code with unnecessary new regulations, rather than enforcing already codified regulations? If the Iowa Legislature is serious about making Iowa a safer state for cyclists, they would be focused on a “Change Lanes to Pass” law, rather than the political showmanship of needless legislation.