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BREAKING NEWS

Cycling still an option

By Staff | Oct 13, 2020

With summer in full swing, riding can be a perfect social-distancing activity.

Our newsroom feels every once in a while, it’s a good idea to review the rules for those on bikes, as well as for the motorists who come upon them.

Under Iowa law, bicyclists must generally comply with the same rules of the road as drivers of motor vehicles.

Hand signals should be used to advise other vehicle operators of your intention to turn, change lanes or stop.

Yield to other vehicles when necessary.

If you ride at night, Iowa law requires that your bike be equipped with a white light on the front and a red light or reflector on the back.

Other safety cycling tips include:

* Always wear a helmet.

* Always ride on the right side of the road and pass on the left.

* Never ride against traffic

* Obey traffic signs and signals

* Make eye contact with motorists.

* Use caution at intersections. Watch out for vehicles turning across your path and be prepared to stop.

* Use a rear-view mirror to check on traffic behind you.

* Wear brightly colored clothing to make yourself more visible.

For motorists approaching those on bicycles, safety should always be a concern.

Do not honk your horn at a bicyclist. They may be startled and lose control.

Use extra caution when passing–bicyclists might swerve to avoid road hazards.

When in doubt, yield to bicyclists.

It’s the law

An operator of a motor vehicle shall not project an item or substance at a bicyclists. Anyone violating this law faces a fine of $250.

That being said, Iowa is a great place to cycle. Iowa is ranked sixth in the nation for bike-friendliness, and in Emmet County, conditions are getting better with the bike trail taking shape, connecting Emmet with surrounding areas with hope for even more.

There are an estimated 149,916 recreational riders on Iowa’s trails (this figure is conservative and may be higher due to tourism), who use the trails from 1-6 times a week. Sixty three percent (63%) of the recreational survey respondents (n=998, 1.47 travel party size) reported taking overnight bicycle trips to other Iowa communities. Recreation riders spend on average $1,208 per travel party. The IMPLAN models estimate the economic impact of recreational cyclist spending to generate $364,864,202 in direct and indirect impacts to the State of Iowa. Recreational bicycle riders (assuming they are physically fit and ride the amount of time/distance as reported in the surveys) are estimated to save the State of Iowa $73,942,511 in health care costs.

With feet on pedals and wind in hair, cycling is a low-impact physical activity that also serves as a form of transportation.