Sharing the Road With Bicycles in Iowa: Where should drivers expect to see people on bicycles?

Drivers should expect people to ride bicycles on roadways shared with other vehicles, paved shoulders along roads, bike lanes, and trails.  Bicyclists can ride on any roadway except Interstate highways and roads with minimum speed limits.


People riding bicycles are not required to use a bike lane or trail if one is nearby.  There are very good reasons to not use the bike lane or trail. There could be debris or dangerous potholes. The bike path could also be crowded. Bicyclists destination makes it inconvenient or impractical. It’s the driver’s responsibility to give the bike rider the benefit of the doubt.

Don’t honk or yell if you see a bicyclist riding on the road.


If a driver is crossing a bike lane or trail, the first action for a driver is to slow down and stop if needed. Look in all directions for approaching bike riders. If you need to cross a bike lane, proceed across the lane like you would change lanes and only when the bike lane is clear.


If you are driving near a trail crossing be sure yield to bicyclists on trail. Always check your blind spots and mirrors. Yield to persons on bikes the same way you yield to pedestrians, but remember that bicyclists are faster than walkers.


Drivers may encounter signs and road markings that will indicate the presence of bike riders.  Sharrows (otherwise known as shared lane pavement markings) are guidance for bike rider positioning. Green bike lane markings make the bike lane stand out. Bike route/wayfinding signs signify the best routes to popular destinations. Share the Road signs remind drivers that bike riders have the same legal right to the roadway. School speed zones helps slow traffic during peak hours.


In conclusion, drivers should expect to see bicyclists on roads, trails, paved shoulders, or bike lanes.  If driving near a bike lane or trail, slow down and look in all directions for people on bikes. Keep an eye out for signs and pavement markings that indicate bicycle traffic.

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