Iowa bike ban petition headed nowhere

Tractor on Missouri farm pokes through shedReally stupid ideas bubble up from time to time and my first instinct is not to comment on them. One of those is a petition drive to ban bicycles from farm-to-market roads in Iowa.

No shared farm-to-market roadways in Iowa

Here’s the text of the petition being circulated by the Citizens for Safety Coalition of Iowa:

We the undersigned are Iowa residents who urge our Legislature to support a ballot initiative for the November 2010 election which will prohibit bicyclists from using state and county defined farm-to-market roads.

Bike Ban logoA farm-to-market road is a state or county road which serves to connect rural or agricultural areas to market towns.

Over the past ten years the number of bicyclists using these farm-to-market roads for recreational purposes has increased dramatically as have the number of preventable accidents and fatalities.

Rural commerce and citizens are significantly impacted when forced to share the farm-to-market roadways with bicyclists. Because of the growth of today’s commerce and agricultural business, shared roadways are no longer safe or practical in today’s society.

What are the bike-banners really griping about?

  • Bikes don’t pay taxes or have licenses on them. (If people want to ride their bikes on the highways, we should tax the air they put in their tires as we are taxed on the gas we put in our cars.)
  • Bikes don’t belong on the road. (Get their asses off the road for their safety and mine.) (After this, can we ban them from city streets?) (They tell you not to swerve for deer, so why swerve for bikes.)
  • Bikes should stay on their own bike trails. (If you want to play basketball, you go find a basketball court. If you want to cycle, you should have to go to a trail.)
  • Slow-moving farm equipment needs to be on the roads. (It is a shame that leisure time cyclists have more of a right to the road than the hardworking farmers supporting this state.)
  • Cyclists are law breakers. (They can’t seem to follow rules, so ban them.)

You get the idea. I couldn’t read more than the first 300 or so comments without getting a headache. By the way, if you want to sign their petition, find it yourself.

See my Slow Moving Vehicle triangle? Treat me like a tractor

If you’ve been reading this blog long, you know that’s my mantra. I ride with a Slow Moving Vehicle triangle on my Camelbak and left pannier to drive home that point. I identify with farm folks, who have always been pretty friendly when I’ve encountered them and would like to be treated like a piece of big, slow-moving farm equipment.

Do Iowans need to worry about the bike ban?

Not really.

  • The petition drive hasn’t been all that popular. Even the organization’s site says they’ve only gotten 782 signatures out of a goal of 1,500.
  • A counter petition launched by the Iowa Bike Coalition gathered over 2,000 signatures in a week.
  • Iowa is the home of RAGBRI, one of the first and oldest group bike rides in the country. It’s so popular that the organizers limit the number of week-long riders to 8,500 cyclists. The event, which is sponsored by the Des Moines Register, is estimated to bring about $24 milllion dollars into the state during the week-long ride that has gone through all 99 Iowa counties in the past 36 years. Small towns vie to host the event.
  • Iowa does not recognize petitions from citizens as a means of introducing new legislation. That means that BOTH petitions are non-starters, although movements like these may let legislators see which way the wind is blowing.

Ban all slow-moving vehicles

What convinced me to visit this topic? A posting on the phred list by virtual friend Gene, who said he took a lot of the comments on the pro-ban list and did some search-and-replacing of key phrases.

Why stop at bicycles? I say ban all slow-moving vehicles.

  • Tractor poking through side of storage shedTractors don’t pay the fuel taxes which pay for the road upkeep so there should be no tractors or combines on any paved roads.
  • Fields are for farm equipment, highways are for cars. We have come up over a hill and had to make a complete stop as slow-moving tractors were right over the hill.
  • Iowa has plenty of corn, soybean, and wheat fields that the STATE OF IOWA has spent many hundreds of thousands of dollars subsidizing for the farmers – this is where they belong. They cause serious situations on the roadways!! We have hundreds of square miles of fields JUST FOR them!
  • They have forced me into head on traffic to avoid hitting them because I was too lazy to slow down and wait until it was safe to pass and also I’ve had to slam on the brakes on highways. They won’t even move over to the shoulder of the highways to let traffic pass! It’s ridiculous!!
  • Roads are for cars!!!

2 Replies to “Iowa bike ban petition headed nowhere”

  1. I read about this on Dave Moulton’s blog, too. It seems the guy who started it is actually a gun store owner. You’d think someone who is always worried about getting his rights infringed upon would not be so flippant about others’ rights.

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