Letter: Laws aren't enough to protect cyclists

Steve Sovern

“But somebody’s gonna get killed,” my friend from the YMCA proclaimed three times during our usual chat in the YMCA parking lot. Noting I was riding my bike, he began by saying, “all the folks at city hall must ride bikes.” This would explain why, in his view, the city is overly accommodating to bicyclists. I offered that cities having good bike facilities were most likely to thrive. He answered, “But somebody’s gonna get killed.”

When asked to explain, he told of an experience when driving his pickup on a two-lane blacktop. He encountered a bicyclist in his lane. There was no shoulder. He complained of having to slow dramatically. I explained my understanding that, in Iowa, a bike must be treated as a vehicle having a right to the lane. “But somebody’s gonna get killed,” he protested.

He then posed a dangerous scenario of rounding a blind corner at speed and meeting a bicyclist in his lane with a car approaching in the other lane. I gave him my understanding of Iowa law requiring him to control or stop his vehicle within the “clear assured distance ahead.” “But somebody’s gonna get killed” was his reply.

The very next morning on July 19, Daniel A. Lehn was tragically struck from behind and killed by a pickup. There was no shoulder on the two lane highway. How should I respond to my friend when I expect he will say he told me so?

Steve Sovern

Cedar Rapids

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