Cyclists fight to keep space on Iowa roadways - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cyclists fight to keep space on Iowa roadways

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by John Wilmer

CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) - A move is under way to ban bicyclists on county roads in Iowa. A group called Citizens for Safety Coalition of Iowa is circulating a petition and urging the legislature to support a move to ban bikes on so-called farm-to market roads.

This group says too many people are getting hurt in accidents on Iowa roadways, however, others say the answer to safer biking is education, better roads, and enforcement of traffic laws.

President of the Cedar Valley Cyclists, Kirby Baumgard says county roads are the only way some people can get around.

"The way we see it is that we have quite a few employees where we work and quite a few of us ride our bikes to work. I actually road my bike to work today and some of those guys commute anywhere from three to 15 miles and definitely have to use the county roads," said Baumgard.

The petition online already has five hundred signatures. Brian Buch left this comment on the site,   "If bikes can't maintain the minimum speed limit they should not be on the road."

Michael Daughton wrote, "For the safety of the bicyclists and to prevent the guilt that would be felt by a driver who might accidentally injure or kill one of them, I think this would be a long overdue measure."

Brent Johnson, the owner of Bike Tech in Cedar Falls, says these kinds of comments don't make sense.

"Cyclists pay the same taxes as vehicle users. A lot of these deaths and accidents could be prevented if vehicle drivers and the farmers would pay attention to the double yellow lines and give them the proper amount of passing when going around a cyclist," said Johnson.

The city of Cedar Falls has promoted itself as a bicycle friendly community with, eighty miles of trails. The city is now looking to take the next step.

"So much so the mayor appointed a task force to investigate making the streets a little bit more friendly for bicyclists and to incorporate bicycling into our transportation mindset as well as recreation," said Kim Burger of the Cedar Falls Tourism and Visitors Bureau.

Those who support this petition are hoping to get it on the ballot for the November 2010 election. 

Online Reporter: John Wilmer

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