Capital Clicks

Proposed bill requires lights on bikes, not the riders

By: - January 27, 2020 4:29 pm

Bicycle riders would need lights on the front and rear of their bikes at night and in inclement weather under legislation approved by the Senate Transportation Committee on Monday.

The committee sent several bills to the full Senate Monday, including a constituent’s bicycle safety bill, Senate File 51, that prompted a brief discussion of safe light placement.

State Sen. Zach Whiting is a Republican from Spirit Lake. (Photo courtesy of the Iowa Legislature)

Sen. Zach Whiting, R-Spirit Lake, said an Iowan whose vehicle struck a bicyclist from behind asked for the bill. Currently, a reflector can be used in place of a light on the back of bicycles. The original bill would have allowed the bicyclist to wear the rear light, but an approved amendment by lawmakers would require that the light be affixed to the bike. The penalty is a $25 fine, but violators would be given 72 hours to install or replace a light to avoid the fine.

Several senators said that change might lead to danger if a backpack or clothing item inadvertently covered up the light.

The committee also passed:

  • Senate Study Bill 3002, which establishes a minor’s farm driver’s license;
  • Senate Study Bill 3021, which matches federal legislation to apply a lifetime ban on commercial driver’s licenses for anyone convicted of using a commercial vehicle for sex trafficking; and
  • Senate Study Bill 3022, which changes rules to add federal exemptions for vehicles subject to odometer disclosures.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.