In Iowa, motorcycles make up only .3% of all registered vehicles which is about 1 out of 333 vehicles. However, motorcycle deaths in Iowa make up 16.7% of the fatalities on Iowa roadways. (In 2023, there were a total of 378 people killed in motor vehicle fatalities in Iowa of which 63 people were killed in motorcycle crashes). 

This means despite the small number of motorcycles on the roads, motorcycle riders are 55 times more likely than other drivers to be killed in a motor vehicle crash. As of May 2, 2024, there have already been 11 people killed in motorcycle accidents in Iowa in 2024. 

Does Wearing a Helmet Help? 

We are not suggesting that Iowa needs a helmet law but want you to know all the facts when deciding whether to wear a helmet or not. Iowa is one of only 3 states in the country that does not require motorcycle riders to wear a helmet and this includes children. Iowa did have a helmet law from September of 1975 to July of 1976 and during that period motorcycle deaths dropped 40%. 

Other motorcycle safety proponents point to the fact that you have limited visibility and hearing when wearing a helmet and being more alert of your surroundings can prevent a motorcycle accident from happening. In Iowa, the choice is yours as to whether you want to wear a helmet or not. 

What Else Can Myself and My Family Do to Prevent from Becoming a Statistic? 

Training is a very important part of reducing your risk. Of course, no amount of training can eliminate your risk, but training can make a big difference. For example, rider error is the most common cause of single motorcycle accidents. These preventable driver errors include driving too fast for the road conditions, not properly going around a corner, speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, etc. 

There are basic training courses that teach you about your motorcycle, starting, riding in a straight line, shifting, and stopping. There are also more advanced courses that teach you situational awareness, risk evaluation, and evasive strategies to help prevent a motorcycle accident whether you or someone else is at fault. 

Motorcycles can be hard to see and the rise of distracted drivers only makes things worse for riders. Some riders wear a brightly colored safety vest, others always have their headlights on and even some have a flag on the back of their motorcycle to increase visibility. These are some things that you should consider to reduce your risk of injury or death while riding a motorcycle in Iowa. 

What Should You Do if You or a Loved One Are in a Motorcycle Crash? 

If it is a single motorcycle crash then you should investigate what caused the crash. Was there a defective part on the motorcycle, did a tire blow out, was there an animal or debris on the roadway that caused the crash? If there was another driver that caused the motorcycle crash then it is important that you seek good advice about how to deal with insurance companies, doctors, your property damage, etc. 

For example, many riders injured by someone else think it is a good idea to tell their doctors to bill the other driver’s insurance company. This is not a good idea for many reasons including that the other driver’s insurance company will not pay the medical bills as they are incurred which could leave you with unpaid medical bills, calls from collections agencies or even eventually you being stuck with the medical bills. Iowa law only requires drivers to have $20,000 in insurance coverage for personal injuries. An emergency room visit and an overnight hospital stay alone will likely cost more than this. Therefore, if you have health insurance then the best thing is to use it to pay for your medical care and treatment. 

If you do not have health insurance then you should try to get some as soon as possible. While it will not pay for your past medical bills, it should pay for any future medical care and treatment that you need. Also, if you were treated at a hospital, you can ask that they write off your bill as not-for-profit hospitals are required to write off a certain amount of medical bills to not pay taxes. Another small source of money (usually $1,000 to $5,000) to pay for medical bills is what is called medical payments coverage on your motorcycle. However, unfortunately, many motorcycle insurance policies do not include medical payment coverage as the rider may waive the coverage. 

Tips if you or a loved one have been injured

Seek medical care immediately and tell your medical providers about everything that hurts 

If you are injured and fail to get medical treatment you are making a huge mistake. I get it, maybe you think things will be better in a few days with some ice and over-the-counter pain medications. However, if you do not see a doctor and document your problems it is likely that the insurance company will offer you little, if anything, for your “injuries”. Also, delaying going to the doctor can hurt your case. The insurance company will insist that if you were really hurt, you would have sought medical care and treatment immediately. 

Keep Important Documents

It is important that you keep copies of the medical records given to you including work excuses. Also, you should request a copy of any accident or police reports that are available. Finally, you should have a notebook or journal so you can write down how you are feeling and how your injuries are affecting your everyday life. 

Be honest about your injuries

This means when you go see your doctors and other medical providers tell them everything that hurts at your appointments. If you must write things down and bring them with you to your appointment to remember everything, that is fine. Also, do not make it sound like you are better or worse than you are. Your medical providers need to know exactly how you are feeling to document your injuries and provide you with the best medical care possible. 

Tips for dealing with the insurance adjuster

Recorded Statements

One of the first things that most insurance adjustors will ask you is that they need a recorded statement to evaluate your case. This is rarely true if there is an accident and/or police report. The real reason that the insurance adjustor wants your recorded statement is to try to get you to say things that could hurt your case later. 

For example, the adjustor may ask you “Have you ever had any back problems before?”. If you say “no”, but you saw a chiropractor 10 years ago then you have just created an issue with your credibility. The better way to answer a question like that is if you remember having back problems you say “yes”, but if you do not remember, but it is possible then you would answer “not that I remember”. 

An even better thing to do is not agree to provide a recorded statement. Sometimes when the insurance adjustor insists that they need a statement we will prepare our clients and have them provide a non-recorded statement so it cannot be used against them later on. 


Do not rush to settle your case. The insurance company may say they will pay you a few thousand dollars if you just sign a release form. If you agree to this and sign the release form then you are most likely stuck with a small settlement even if your injuries do not heal. If your injuries are serious like broken bones, surgery, etc. then you should not even consider settling your claim early because you could make a costly mistake like settling for a smaller amount than your case is worth, settling for the other driver’s policy limits when they have collectible assets or settling without the permission of your own underinsured motorist insurance company which could cause your claim to be denied. 

Consider at least talking to an experienced Iowa injury attorney

The insurance adjuster in your case is a trained professional whose job is to pay you as little as possible to settle your case. You should at least consider having a professional working for you to make sure you are not ripped off by the insurance company and end up with a stack of unpaid bills. Before you even consider a settlement, you should consult with a qualified injury attorney to find out what your rights are, other potential sources of recovery, issues dealing with medical bills and subrogation, etc. 

For more information and a free book which includes 10 Myths about Motorcycle Accidents and 6 Things to Know Before Talking to the Insurance Adjustor or Hiring an Attorney go to or Call Now 641-792-3595.  Why offer a Free Book? Because since 1997, I have represented hundreds of injured Iowans including many Iowans injured in motorcycle accidents. I have seen too many clients make mistakes before they had the “right” information resulting in them losing thousands of dollars. Whether you or a loved one has been injured in an accident or just own a motorcycle, this book is available to you.  Finally, you can learn about motorcycle accidents in the comfort of your own home with no risk or obligation. For immediate assistance call (641) 792-3595 and ask for Corey or one of our other motorcycle accident attorneys.

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