Bicycle Coalition leader skeptical of survey which gives Iowa cities low marks

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The executive director of the Iowa Bicycle Coalition has some issues with a survey out this week by ADT that showed five Iowa communities are in the top ten for the most dangerous to ride a bicycle. 

Iowa Bicycle Coalition executive director Mark Wyatt doesn’t agree with the Iowa rankings. “I think the results of this study are incomplete and inaccurate — but I don’t want to underemphasize that we have some work to do as far as making bicycling safer in this state,”Wyatt says.

Wyatt said the coalition is addressing the issue of bike safety. He says they have been working in the Iowa Legislature to get a safe passing distance bill approved and they have been working with the DOT to complete a state bike plan by this fall. Wyatt says there are a lot of other efforts underway to improve the safety of bicyclists.

“One city in Iowa — Hudson, Iowa — has adopted a local ordinance on safe passing and we’re working on more cities to join that city to upgrade their local ordinance,” according to Wyatt. “And then finally, as of July first we are launching a 20-thousand dollar media campaign addressing the safe passing of bicycles.” Wyatt says the ADT study overlooks the work the coalition has been doing with other bike groups in making bike safety a key issues.

“Unfortunately I don’t think the study from a home security company really reflected that amount of work that’s going on in the state,” Wyatt says. “Or the amount of fatal crashes in comparison to per capita rankings to say Florida and California, where it seems much more dangerous.” While he thinks the rankings aren’t accurate, Wyatt again says Iowa is by no means done when it comes to work to improve safety for bikers.

“One death is too many in this state and we need to get to zero fatalities,” Wyatt says.

Webster City was ranked number three on the list behind New York City and Los Angeles.  The other four Iowa communities listed among the most dangerous for bicyclists are Waterloo (7th) , Sioux City (8th), Johnston (9th) and Des Moines (10th).