Those of you that follow Statewide bicycle advocacy initiatives are no doubt familiar with the Bicycle Safety Bill.  For those unfamiliar, there is a bill that died last year in the legislature looking to add some protections for bicyclists.  Opinions of the need for the legislation varied, of course, even amongst cyclists, and the potential effectiveness of the bill was similarly debated.  If you poke around on the IBC website you can learn more about the bill and the history of it, and if you dig in the email archives of the bikeiowa listserve you can find more.

distracted driving drawing courtesy of doktored

I (Steve) am of the opinion that this bill is a step in the right direction and can help cyclists, as long as it is just a step.  The bill could and should go further, but the protections afforded cyclists currently are woefully inadequate.  It is no joke that a person can run a cyclist over and kill them, claim that they did not see them, and drive away with a failure to yield ticket, a $200 fine, and a sad face, I would hope.  I took a few moments to write a letter to some legislators about this bill, here is what I said:

I am writing to urge you to support the Bike Safety Bill, amended Senate File 117.  I moved to Ames, IA in 1990 to study engineering at ISU from the Chicago suburbs.  Four years later I graduated with a degree in Community and Regional Planning, a working knowledge of healthy transportation systems, and four years of bicycle commuting under my belt.  Bicycle riding was easy here compared to those suburbs, and I quickly saw the value in it; to me, the City of Ames, the State of Iowa, these United States, and, indeed, the World.

Looking back now on 20 years of recreational cycling all over the state as well as 20 years of continued commuting wherever I needed to go in Ames, Des Moines, and lately Iowa City, I continue to love my favorite mode of travel.  Except when I get hassled by a car on the road.  It is hard to explain the fear and anger, yes, anger, that accompany being narrowly missed by a motorist, whether through their inattention (texting, talking on the phone, eating a bowl of cereal balanced in their lap – true!) or naked aggression I feel that even as an experienced cyclist I need help out there.  I ask you to help, please, by supporting this bill.

Just last Spring I opened my own business here in Iowa City, a bike shop focused on the needs of commuter cyclists.  My customers need your help.  My partner in business and life, Cody, also is a year round bicyclist, she needs your help.  Please support amended Senate File 117, for me, for my customers, for my partner, for the City of Iowa City, the State of Iowa, these United States, and, as ever, the World.

Contact your representatives and let them know how you feel about this bill!