As warmer weather nears, more Iowans will encounter more people riding bicycles. All motorists are urged to drive carefully and pay expect people on bicycles. People have the same right to ride bicycles on the same roadways as cars and trucks. Iowa Code 321.234 states bike riders have the same rights as the driver of a vehicle.
Bicyclists also have the have the same responsibilities as drivers, except by nature where the Iowa Code doesn’t apply. For example, bicycles have to stop at stop signs or signals just like cars.
You should expect people riding bicycles everywhere. The only exceptions are interstates or highways with minimum speed limits where bicycle travel is prohibited. Since bicycles may be anywhere, you should look for bicycles in all directions, including over your shoulder when turning.
When approaching a bicycle from behind, you may safely pass the person riding a bike. However, the best advice is to slow down and give yourself time and distance to judge the speed of the bicyclist and oncoming vehicles.
Drivers must use “a safe and reasonable passing distance” with bike riders. The rule is to change lanes to pass bicyclists. The oncoming lane must be clear to pass. When passing, don’t return to the right side of the road until you are safely past the bicyclist.
Don’t follow bike riders too closely. As with any vehicle on the road, faster moving traffic should always yield to slower moving traffic. Yield to a bike just like you yield to a car.
Motorists should always drive with regard for the safety of others. To be safe, expect bicycles on any roadway. If you encounter a person riding a bicycle, slow your speed, pass only if the oncoming lane is clear and change lanes to pass. Yield your car to a bicycle just like you would for any vehicle.