DES MOINES, Iowa — Officials estimate around 50 percent of all fatal crashes between a bicycle and vehicle in Iowa happen when a car got too close and overcame the rider.
New proposed legislation is hoping to change that.
This week the Iowa Senate passed a bill that would require a motorist to change lanes to pass a cyclist.
“It’s an easy bill to enforce and already aligns with the laws we have for cars so it just makes sense,” says Iowa Bicycle Coalition board member Kerri Sorrell.
Current Iowa law does not specifically define how close a motorist can be to a cyclist on the road.
Local cyclist and Kyle’s Bikes employee Bill Lorenz says he’s had his share of close calls.
“I see a lot of close passing that really isn’t necessary. It would take a driver to slow down for maybe five to ten seconds to wait for traffic to clear so they can change lanes and there are just so many that won’t.”
Lorenz says he’s pushing for the bill to help make Iowa’s roads safer for everyone.
“It’s not going to change everybody’s behavior, but it’s just something that will be on people’s minds. If it makes an improvement it’s all for the better,” he said.
The proposed legislation would not require a motorist to change lanes if there is a designated bike lane.
The bill now heads to the House for debate.