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3 Ways Bicycle Accident Cases Are Different Than Car Crash Claims in Iowa

Posted By Tim Semelroth - 09.18.19

After a serious bicycle accident in Iowa, many victims don’t realize they need to take certain steps to make sure their rights are protected.  Although you may believe your wreck was a “regular” accident, bike crashes differ from “regular” personal injury claims, such as car crash claims, in a few ways:

1. Many Motorists Are Biased Against Bike Riders Using Iowa Roads

Many motorists believe that bicycles do not have a right to be on the road. They believe bicyclists should not ride on public streets unless they are traveling in a designated bicycle lane.

Bicyclists have the same right to be on the road as any motorized vehicle driver.  However, bikers who believe that they are second-class citizens on the road will often fail to take appropriate steps after a bike wreck caused by someone else.

While bike accidents can be different than car crashes, there are a few similarities between the two.  Following a car accident, most people know they should call the police, take pictures, exchange insurance information, talk to any bystanders who may become witnesses, and seek medical attention for injuries.  Unfortunately, many people don’t realize that the same steps should be taken after a serious Iowa bicycle accident.

2. Iowa’s Bicycle Laws Are Different than Other States

For example, Iowa has no mandatory helmet law for bicyclists, though wearing a helmet is strongly encouraged. Another example is that Iowa’s minimum speed limit laws do not apply to Iowa bicyclists.

3. Iowa’s Bicycle Laws Vary Depending On the Situation

In Iowa, bicycles are allowed on nearly all neighborhood and main roads. When a bicyclist is on the roadway, they are supposed to follow the same rules as motorists.

The laws that govern bicycles when riding on the sidewalk, however, differ from those governing bicycles on the roadway.

Whether bicycles are allowed on the sidewalk depends on the city in Iowa that you’re in — a typical ordinance in Iowa allows bicycles on sidewalks except in congested areas.  For example, in Cedar Rapids, bikers may:

  • Use sidewalks within Cedar Rapids, but
  • May not use the sidewalk in the business district of Cedar Rapids, or
  • Anywhere that a “no sidewalk riding” sign is posted.

Bicyclists are also subject to different laws when riding during the day compared to riding at night. During the day, bikers aren’t required to use lights or reflective gear. However, they must use a headlight and taillight or red reflector from sunset to sunrise or whenever visibility is reduced. This is important to remember because a biker who fails to use a light or reflector at night may be partially at fault if a bicycle accident occurs due to their lack of visibility.

If you have been seriously injured while riding your bicycle, don’t settle your claim before you’ve talked to an experienced Iowa bicycle accident attorney.  RSH Legal offers a free, no-obligation case evaluation for Iowa bicycle accident victims.  Call 1-800-433-0283 to schedule yours today.

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