Assistant Attorney General: Iowa Law Fails to Protect Cyclists

May 9, 2016

An assistant Iowa attorney general is calling on state lawmakers to take action next session on laws to protect bicyclists on Iowa roadways. Iowa Assistant Attorney General Pete Grady says current law makes it nearly impossible to prove recklessness in cases where drivers hit bicyclists. 

At present, Grady says prosecutors need to show the vehicle operators knew their actions would cause harm.

"I don’t think anyone would define reckless behavior as requiring a better than 50 percent outcome for danger or harm, but that’s the standard we have here in Iowa," he says. 

The Iowa legislature failed to pass a bill during the 2016 session that would have required drivers to change lanes entirely to pass a cyclist on Iowa's roadways. 

"We had bills filed in 2015, 2011, 2008, and we haven’t had any movement on bicycle safety laws in any of those sessions of the Legislature," he says. 

During this hour of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Grady.

Mackenzie Elmer, a breaking news reporter with the Des Moines Register, and Assistant Mitchell County Attorney Aaron Murphy also join the conversation. 

Elmer has been researching cases where Iowans have been hit and killed by drivers while on bikes in the state for the last several months. She found that in most cases, drivers are fined but receive no jail time