Last Updated: 8/3/2023

There is no specific amount of distance that Iowa law requires drivers to give cyclists; instead, the law reads that vehicles must pass bicyclists at a “safe distance.” While this distance may be a bit arbitrary, other states say that a safe passing distance is three feet and is a good standard to apply.

In Iowa, bicycle and traffic laws help to maintain a safe relationship between drivers and cyclists. But when drivers infringe upon these laws, accidents can result. 

When Drivers Fail to Follow the Safe Distance Law

When drivers fail to pass or ride next to a cyclist at a safe distance, the motorist is in violation of the law. Not only has a legal violation occurred (resulting in a traffic citation), but the cyclist may be in danger, too.

Driving too close to a cyclist can cause many terrible consequences.

  • The cyclist being struck by the driver
  • Forcing the biker into traffic
  • Running a pedalcyclist off the road

Who’s liable for an accident caused by an unsafe distance?

When driving too closely to a cyclist who is riding safely around traffic results in an accident, the driver may be held accountable for damages.

Ways to prove that a driver was driving at an unsafe distance—and that this, in fact, caused the accident—include the following.

  • Witness testimony
  • Video footage
  • Police reports
  • Testimony of parties involved
  • Physical evidence

The types of evidence listed above are crucial if filing an accident claim for a bike crash. If the fault of the driver in question can be proven, then the cyclist will be able to recover damages for all monetary losses, and may also be eligible for noneconomic damage recovery, too.

Do I need a bicycle accident attorney?

When riding around Des Moines or Newtown and seeing negligent drivers and wondering things like 'how much space must drivers give cyclists,' know that Walker, Billingsley & Bair is here to help you.

Being a cyclist can be a nerve-wracking experience at times. When aggressive or distracted drivers get too close, and accident can happen that results in serious injuries. If you’ve been in an accident caused by an unsafe driver, let a bicycle accident attorney help you.

At Walker, Billingsley & Bair, our bicycle accident team is dedicated to your needs as a bike accident victim. For assistance in learning about your rights and filing a claim for damages read our bicycle/pedestrian accident library.

Corey Walker
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With over 28 years legal experience, Corey has been recognized for his work as an injury attorney.