Iowa Senate Passes Rear Bicycle Light Bill

Cyclists push for further legislation

Apr 3, 2015
Outside Magazine
At Night

Florida is the only other state that requires a rear bike light at night.    Sascha Kohlmann/Flickr

With a vote of 45-5, the Iowa Senate passed a bill this week requiring all bicycles to display a rear lamp when traveling on shared roadways after dark, according to the Des Moines Register. Senate File 424 would require cyclists to display a rear lamp in addition to the front lamp that’s already required. If it passes the Iowa House of Representatives, the bill would make Iowa the second state, after Florida, to require cyclists to display both lights when riding during nighttime, twilight, or early morning hours.

“With spring weather upon us, if your family is like mine, we spend a lot of time on our bicycles, from this time until the fall,” Iowa Senator Tim Kraayenbrink said when introducing the bill. “I know this bill is a simple but effective way to improve the safety of our cyclists as they share the road with our trucks, automobiles, and motorcycles.”

Under the bill’s current language, cyclists found to be in violation of the new law would be granted a 72-hour period to replace or repair their rear lamp, thereby avoiding the $25 fine and having the citation expunged.

As Outside wrote in February, the law has yet to bring peace to the perennial animosity between the cyclists and motorists who share America’s roads. The Iowa Bicycle Coalition in particular has suggested more legislation to make the roads adequately safe for cyclists. On its website, the group urged members to write their lawmakers to encourage passing SF 424 and possibly amending it to require drivers overtaking a cyclist to move to the left side of the road, opposite side of the highway, or adjacent travel lane, as one would do when overtaking another motorist.

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