Iowa DOT News Release



National Bike Month reminds Iowans to share the road

Posted on: April 30, 2009

AMES, Iowa – April 30, 2009 – Increased sunshine, temperatures and gas prices have many Iowans taking to the road on two wheels this spring. With National Bike to Work Week set for May 9-15, the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) is reminding motorists and bicyclists to safely share the road.

In addition, the DOT is offering the Iowa Transportation Map for Bicyclists, which highlights bike-friendly routes. The map identifies bike trails and traffic levels on all paved roads, and includes insets of Iowa's 16 largest cities. It is available online at www.iowabikes.com or by calling 515-242-4705 or 800-345-4692.

Even with the safest routes mapped out, bicyclists are killed on Iowa roadways every year and hundreds more sustain injuries.  

Reported bicycle/vehicle crash data by injury severity
2004-2008

Year

Injuries

Fatalities

Major

Minor

2004

481

7

53

200

2005

417

11

45

184

2006

468

5

42

215

2007

452

7

42

217

2008

454

5

48

255

Totals

2272

35

230

1071

Here are steps bicyclists can take to reduce risks.

·         Obey traffic signs and signals. Bicyclists must follow the same rules of the road as drivers of other vehicles.

·         Never ride against traffic. Motorists are not looking for bicyclists riding on the “wrong” side of the road. State law requires bicyclists drive like drivers of other vehicles.

·         Follow lane markings. Do not turn left from the right lane. Do not go straight in a lane marked “right turn only.”

·         Do not pass on the right. Motorists may not look for or see a bicycle passing on the right.

·         Keep both hands ready to brake. You may not stop in time if you brake one-handed. Allow extra distance for stopping in the rain because brakes are less effective when wet.

·         Wear a helmet and never ride with headphones. 

·         Use hand signals. Hand signals let motorists and pedestrians know what you intend to do. Signal as a matter of law, courtesy and self-protection.

·         Choose the best way to turn left. There are two choices: (1) Like an auto, signal to move into the left-turn lane and then turn left. (2) Like a pedestrian, ride straight to the far side of the crosswalk, then  walk your bike across the roadway.

·         Establish eye contact with vehicle operators when making maneuvers. Never assume other drivers have you in their line of sight.  

·         Look out for road hazards. Watch for parallel-slat sewer grates, gravel, sand or debris. Cross railroad tracks at right angles.

·         Use lights at night. The law requires a white headlight (visible from at least 500 feet ahead) and a rear reflector or taillight (visible up to 300 feet from behind).

Motorists have a responsibility to be aware of all other vehicles on the road. The following are tips for motorists to safely share the road with bicyclists.

·         Do not honk at bicyclists. This may startle the bicyclist and cause the person to lose control of the bike.

·         Use extra caution when passing a bicyclist. Move entirely into the left lane; do not pass a bicycle on a two-lane road if oncoming traffic is near.

·         Be aware of quick motions by the bicyclist; they may have to swerve to avoid road hazards, such as potholes, debris, drainage grates, and railroad tracks.

·         Be careful when opening a vehicle door on a roadside. Road widths often force bicyclists to ride close to parked vehicles where they may be injured by an opening door.

·         When in doubt, yield to bicycles.

The Iowa Bicycle Safety Coalition offers a variety of classes to learn more about bicycle safety. To find out more, log on to http://www.iowabicyclecoalition.org/education.htm or e-mail bikeinfo@iowabicyclecoaliltion.org.

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Contact:  Milly Ortiz at 515-233-7733 or milly.ortiz@dot.iowa.gov

 

 


Iowa highway in the evening