Being a bicyclist can be dangerous when riding around cars, and an alarming number of bicyclist fatalities occur every year as a result of bike-car accidents. In 2013, there were three bicyclist fatalities in Iowa, as reported by the Iowa Department of Transportation. However, there were far more crashes that resulted in cyclist injuries. Polk County had more bike-car crashes in Iowa than any other county in the state from 2009 to 2014.
Number of Bike-Car Accidents in Iowa 2009 to 2014
Between 2009 and 2014, there were 430 bike-car accidents in Polk County, nearly doubling the number of bike-car crashes in any other county. The next greatest amount of bike-car crashes in the state between those years occurred in Scott County and totaled 222 accidents. Johnson County and Linn County followed Scott County, with 204 and 154 bike-car accidents, respectively.
Reducing the Number of Accidents in Polk County and the Rest of the State
Donnie Miller, a bicycle safety consultant, told the Quad-City Times he believes that the number of bike-car accidents in the city can be reduced with increased education and enforcement on the part of police officers in the community. He said that police officers should enforce bicycle laws equally -- cyclists who don’t follow traffic laws should be cited, as should drivers who harass cyclists. Currently, police officers use their own discretion in handing out citations -- more uniformity may help with accident prevention. Another thing that make help would be changes to Iowa Code that require cars to pass bicyclists at a safe distance (currently the law only applies to other vehicles).
What’s more, more promotion of trails throughout the Quad-City area may also help. The Quad-City metropolitan area currently has approximately 130 miles of separated trails. A Quad-City Wide Ride planned for May of 2015 is designed to promote those trails and encourage traffic-free riding.
Learn More About What to Do After a Bike Accident Occurs
Cars aren’t always on the lookout for cyclists, and when a preventable accident happens, the cyclist has a right to recovery. To help you know what to do after being involved in a bike accident in Des Moines, visit our web page on personal injury law, submit a contact form online or call us as soon as possible at 888-435-9886. We’re ready to talk with you today!