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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I strongly disagree with a few things in this article. They are quotes from the politicians.

The first is the quote that says: "I don’t think any motor-vehicle operator wants to run over a cyclist" That is not true at all. I have met motorists who have bluntly stated they do want to run over a cyclist and will do so to the next cyclist they see. There have been 27 bicycle fatalities in the last 4 years in Iowa. I wonder if the motorists who issued the threat about running over a cyclist are contributors to the 27 cyclist deaths?

Another thing I disagree with is the statement about putting people in harms way. As a cyclist I can say for certain I have no illusions what can happen when riding. I never feel any traffic law, code or ordinance will physically protect me from harm nor do I feel that it puts me in harms way. Most traffic laws are reactive vs proactive as this proposed change is. Reactive in the way that when the law is violated the violator is held more accountable with a more severe punishment, whether it is a higher fine or prison time.

I think any of the law makers who oppose this need to get their asses on a bicycle and ride at least 100 miles in the state of Iowa. 50 within a city and 50 on a county and state hwy. This way they will see how important this proposed law is and why it is needed.

The bottom line and fact is this needs to pass and pass this year at this Legislative Session. It can no longer wait.

DES MOINES – Bicycle enthusiasts have shifted gears and revamped legislation intended to improve safety for riders and others on Iowa roadways in hopes of getting a measure to Gov. Chet Culver’s desk this session.

A House subcommittee has begun work on a proposal that would expand state law governing vehicle passing rules to include overtaking a bicycle by requiring a motorist to pass a bicycle on the left while staying at least 3 feet from the bicycle.

The provision also requires the overtaking vehicle to maintain a safe distance away from another vehicle or bike before returning to the right lane of a highway, while the overtaken vehicle is prohibited from speeding up to prevent the passing vehicle from moving back into the right lane.
The proposed House language also provides protections for a “vulnerable user” of a roadway, crosswalk or shoulder that would apply to a pedestrian, person riding an animal, the operator of a tractor or machine that doesn’t have an enclosed cab, a skateboarder, a rollerblader/rollerskater, highway worker, a person riding an electric scooter or bicyclist.

The new protection applies whether the vulnerable user is using the highway in accordance with the new code chapter or not, although the person could be fined or cited for violating a separate law that might apply.

The proposed House language states a vehicle operator cannot drive carelessly or unnecessarily close to a vulnerable user or knowingly throw or project an object or substance at the user. The legislation includes scheduled fines for violations and adds enhanced fines and driver’s license suspension in situations where a violation causes serious injury or death.

“It’s a start, it’s a good start, I think,” said Rep. Sharon Steckman, D-Mason City. “With the deaths that we’ve had this year and years before in Iowa, I think we need to do something. There’s a consequence.”

The proposed changes were made after Senate File 117, a so-called bill of rights for bicyclists, passed the Senate last year but stalled in the House. Steckman said she was hopeful the new approach could get the bill moving in the legislative process.

Sen. Joe Bolkcom, D-Iowa City, a key Senate backer, said he believed the House changes improve the bill but he preferred the Senate language that requires a separation distance of 5 feet for vehicles passing or following a bicyclist.

“Three feet is not a very big passing zone at 60 mph. We’ve had 27 (bicycle) fatalities over last four years. I think a greater level of protection might be warranted,” Bolkcom said. “I think we would want to continue to negotiate. We’ll have to see what comes over and what people want to do.”

Rep. Clel Baudler, R-Greenfield, a member of the House Human Resources subcommittee considering the changes to S.F. 117, said the bill “has a lot of problems,” including the fact it is not being considered by either House transportation or public safety panels.

Baudler said he would support a requirement that bicyclists wear bright orange or yellow apparel, such as deer or small-game hunters in Iowa do so they could be better seen and identified by vehicle operators in judging their speed. He also said he had a problem protecting people who are breaking Iowa laws, such as electric scooter operators or others listed as vulnerable users who should not be on highways or shoulders.

Rep. Brian Quirk, D-New Hampton, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, said he would give the bill a “50-50 shot” at House passage, noting it does not address safety concerns he has and may create a false sense of security for bicyclists when dealing with a multi-ton truck that can’t “stop on a dime.”

“It’s going to put people in harm’s way,” he said. “The law of physics tends to take over.”

Sen. Bill Dotzler, D-Waterloo, said he appreciated House members willingness to work on the issue and he was hopeful the issue could move forward this session.

“Our main goal is to make it a safer place out there on the roads,” he said. “I don’t think any motor-vehicle operator wants to run over a cyclist and certainly cyclists don’t to get run over. So we’ve got common ground right from the start and I’m hopeful that we can work something out.”
Link: Bike advocates shift gears on safety legislation | GazetteOnline.com
 

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I worry about the continuing need of legislation. The emphasis should be more on human decency and supporting cyclist as opposed to passing common sense legislation on things we should already not do. I think as we progress as a culture things like common sense legislation are going to make us dumber as a whole.

I also question the need for five feet as opposed to three. I ride the city and people get less than a foot off of my left hand side. I seem to do alright. At higher speeds I understand the risk increases substantially but I would more support common sense legislation to keep us off those roads than to impede those already on it.

If you want people to hate us less and not want to horribly murder us then educate them to the system and add more bicycle related training when acquiring drivers licenses. Legislation and our ultimate imposition onto a platform that their taxes actively cover through registration of there vehicles is only going to make them want to hurt us more. No matter how ill founded it is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
funetical, you ever been passed at 3' with the driver going 60 mph? It is similar to being passed at 6" with the driver going 25 mph. Scary feeling.

You're right about legislating human decency. The problem is when even the most decent people get behind the wheel a lot of them go through a transformation into the biggest *******s on the roadways.
 

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Slowin it up.
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Agreed. Just saying saying I think the answer is in education not legislation. There wasn't any cycling question when I took mine.

And yes. It moves your handlebars when they whip by like that. I stay off those roads. I understand that's not always an option but maybe that means a reconsideration in how or when you arrive. Like I said against common sense legislation is all.
 

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I'm becoming less confident in new legislation every day; too many people, too big a cross-section of society, believe it's OK for THEM to disregard the law, because they're "good people at heart". It's ALWAYS the "other guys", the daily scofflaws, the drunks, the thugs, the criminals, etc., that cause the problems.

They never stop to think that THEY ARE THE DAILY OFFENDERS!

You can't legislate morality, or common sense; just can't be done with any success. I wish I DID have an answer for this, I'd be out there in a second, pushing it! But I do know that education, coupled with some sort of attention-getting 'shock therapy', gets more results than another silly law. (In this case, most of the offenses would be hard to prosecute simply because of having to prove intent....)

It will eventually come down, I believe, to one of the two extremes -- either the strict liability laws, or the banishment of bikes from most roads. Don't see any other way.
 

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Agreed. I don't like the thought of being restricted but until we are on an even keel with drivers what right do we have? We don't pay. One reason I support bicycle registration. When we pay we can bitch, but it occurs to me if it's not a safe road for cyclist and we're on it any way doesn't it make it unsafe for drivers? If they don't have the right to do it how do we?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Agreed. I don't like the thought of being restricted but until we are on an even keel with drivers what right do we have? We don't pay. One reason I support bicycle registration. When we pay we can bitch, but it occurs to me if it's not a safe road for cyclist and we're on it any way doesn't it make it unsafe for drivers? If they don't have the right to do it how do we?
What does the law say in Texas regarding bicycles? Are you allowed to ride on any public roadway that does not have a minimum posted speed limit or are otherwise prevented from riding on the roadway? Is Texas a FRAP/FRAS state? FRAP/FRAS stands for Far Right as Practicable or Safe.

In some states the P in FRAP stands for Possible. In states where it stands for Practicable cyclists have a lot more leeway or freedoms when riding. It means they can decide for themselves how far to the right they can ride to keep themselves safe. In states where it means Possible it means cyclists have to ride on the far right regardless.

Iowa is one such state where P means practicable, thankfully. This affords cyclists the necessary freedoms to determine where on the roadway we can ride to keep ourselves safe.

Does Texas have state mandatroy side path laws? Or is that left up to the individual communities if they want to pass mandatory side path ordinances? If there are any how much are they enforced?

Iowa does not have mandatory side path laws as state. Certain cities do, but they are not heavily enforced. In fact I vioate this ordinance on a regular basis because along one roadway it is the safer thing to do. I have ridden bike with a police officer while dioing this. This is part of a riding style called Adaptive Cycling, but more on that later.
 

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Slowin it up.
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What does the law say in Texas regarding bicycles? Are you allowed to ride on any public roadway that does not have a minimum posted speed limit or are otherwise prevented from riding on the roadway? Is Texas a FRAP/FRAS state? FRAP/FRAS stands for Far Right as Practicable or Safe.
Yes. Practicable state.

In some states the P in FRAP stands for Possible. In states where it stands for Practicable cyclists have a lot more leeway or freedoms when riding. It means they can decide for themselves how far to the right they can ride to keep themselves safe. In states where it means Possible it means cyclists have to ride on the far right regardless.
Always as far right as possible. If you can't get far enough over you've lost you right to the road.

Iowa is one such state where P means practicable, thankfully. This affords cyclists the necessary freedoms to determine where on the roadway we can ride to keep ourselves safe.
Cool.

Does Texas have state mandatory side path laws? Or is that left up to the individual communities if they want to pass mandatory side path ordinances? If there are any how much are they enforced?
Individual. It varies community to community. UT for instance has it own set of bike laws.

Iowa does not have mandatory side path laws as state. Certain cities do, but they are not heavily enforced. In fact I vioate this ordinance on a regular basis because along one roadway it is the safer thing to do. I have ridden bike with a police officer while dioing this. This is part of a riding style called Adaptive Cycling, but more on that later.
Can't wait.

Texas laws are limited in that they are not "overly written" leaving much to be determined by policy makers from the bench. This also allows for interpretation form community to community. Laws in Texas are only in place to keep you from hurting others, or to hurt them legally.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Adaptive Cycling is, for lack of a better term, is the style of cycling where the cyclist constantly adapts and changes to the environment in which they ride. Even if it means they violate a traffic law to do so. This is not saying be a scofflaw cyclist or a cyclist that always breaks the law. It means that not all bicycle laws are a good idea and even with the best intentions do more harm than good. An example is the mandatory side path laws.

Often times a cyclist has to adapt form one circumstance to another within seconds while riding.

Example:
In Sioux City I ride on a roadway called Hamilton Blvd between 36 th St and Stone Park Blvd. This section of Hamilton is N/S, 35 mph, undivided 4 lanes. At the intersection of 36th and Hamilton it narrows down to 2 lanes. At Stone Park and Hamilton it is divided by concrete medians. On the section I ride I typically am 1' to 3' from the curb, in the right tire track of the travle lane. At the intersection of Stone Park and Hamilton is an access to the Perry Creek Trail. It is at this intersection where I have to adapt to riding as a vehicle of the roadway, to a merging into the cross walk, making sure it is clear of pedestrians first, riding across the intersection as I merge into the crosswalk, ride up the smooth transition access to the trail and onto the trail. When the light is green and I do not have to stop this takes at the most 5 seconds. I have to think fast and look out for possible right turning traffic making sure I am not right hooked and pedestrians who may be in the crosswalk. I also have to keep an eye out for traffic facing east on Stone Park wanting to turn right to head south on Hamilton.

The example above is but one of many where I have to always adapt, sometimes in a split second, to decide the best and safest course of action when I ride.

I do not take claim for inventing the term or style called Adaptive Cycling. But I am probably the first to talk about it using the term in this sort of context and on a forum.
 
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