When we last reported on Senate File 424 in March it was awaiting a final vote at the 2015 Iowa Legislature session. The bill, known as the Rear Bicycle Light Bill, would impose a $25 fine on Iowa bicyclists caught riding without a rear bicycle lamp between sundown and sunrise.
The Rear Bicycle Light Bill wasn't the only road safety-related bill that died in this year's legislative session. The following pieces of road-related legislature also failed to pass.
- A ban on cell phone use in cars
- A ban on traffic cameras
- Raising the rural interstate highway speed limit to 75 miles per hour
- Requiring regulations for rideshare companies
What this Bill's Failure Means For Bicyclists
Bicyclists who do not have a rear bicycle lamp in use while riding after sunset or before sunrise will not face a fine if police stop them. Police can, however, continue to stop bicyclists for any other violations and will consider the biker’s level of responsibility when they are called to the scene of a bicycle accident.
Even though it is not legally required for you to have a rear-facing lamp on your bicycle, it is a relatively inexpensive piece of safety equipment that could help save your life. Bicycles to be used at night should have reflectors on the pedals, rear of the seat, and on the rider themselves. The more illuminated or reflective items on the bicyclist and bicycle, the better chance they have to be seen by passing motorists.
Who Needs a Rear Bicycle Lamp
The basic answer is anyone who rides their bicycle in low-light conditions. However, bicyclists that ride on rural roads where street lights are scarce should take every opportunity to improve their visibility. Aside from installing rear-facing lamps, wearing reflective or bright-colored clothing can help improve bicycle visibility.
You should also consider adding a reflector to the back of your helmet and making sure that there are reflective plates or tape on these surfaces.
The more reflective surfaces you have, the easier you will be to see by passing vehicles.
Other safety measures to take when riding at night are to ride with the flow of traffic and stay alert at all times. Many people driving at night are driving drowsy, which can be just as dangerous as driving drunk. If you are also riding your bike while drowsy your reaction time can be slowed, making it harder to avoid accidents.
Even Safe Bike Riders Get into Accidents - We Can Help
The Walker, Billingsley and Bair personal injury law firm is dedicated to leveling the playing field between injured Iowans and insurance companies.
If you were injured while riding your bicycle at any time of day you may be entitled to injury compensation if the accident was caused by the driver's negligence. For immediate assistance, call (888) 435-9886.