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Des Moines-Ames, IA Bicycle Accident Lawyer

The Des Moines - Ames region is popular with bicyclists but experiences a growing number of accidents

Bicycling is becoming more popular in the Des Moines and Ames regions. There are organizations and programs that promote biking and bike safety, including the Des Moines Bicycle CollectiveIowa Bikes, and Ames Bike Smart.

Despite safety improvements, bicycle accidents are common in Des Moines and Ames

According to Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, in 2012 nationally, 726 lost their lives in bicycle/motor vehicle crashes nationally, just under two people every day of the year in the U.S. The death rate from bicycle crashes is high due to the relative lack of protection bicyclists have in an impact with a motor vehicle.

Bicycling Laws in Iowa

Iowa traffic-safety laws are designed to allow bicyclists to share the road safely with motor vehicles in an increasingly crowded space.

According to the State of Iowa Department of Transportation:

  • Roadway: Bicyclists can ride wherever they want if they’re traveling at the speed of traffic. If traveling slower than the speed of traffic, they can still position themselves wherever in the lane is necessary for safety. The law says that people who ride bikes must ride as close to the right side of the road as safely practicable except under the following conditions: when passing, preparing for a left turn, avoiding hazards, if the lane is too narrow to share, or if approaching a place where a right turn is authorized.
  • Bicycle lanes: On a roadway with a bike lane, bicyclists traveling slower than traffic must use the bike lane except when making a left turn, passing, avoiding hazardous conditions, or approaching a place where a right turn is authorized.
  • Direction of travel: Bicyclists must travel on the right side of the roadway in the direction of traffic, except when passing, making a legal left turn, riding on a one-way street, riding on a road that is too narrow, or when the right side of the road is closed due to road construction.
  • Motorized bicycles: Motorized bicycles may not be used on trails, bike paths or lanes unless allowed by local authorities.
  • Bike path obstruction: No one may stop on or park a bicycle on a bicycle path.
  • Sidewalks: Individual cities and counties control whether bicyclists may ride on sidewalks.
  • Freeways: Bicycles (including motorized bicycles) may not be ridden on freeways and expressways where doing so is prohibited.
  • Toll bridges: Bicyclists may not cross a toll bridge unless permitted.

Get information on bicycle crashes from Des Moines and Ames law enforcement

The Des Moines Police Department and the Ames Police Department offer information on accidents. The Polk County Sheriff's Department is also a useful resource for information.

The Iowa Department of Motor Vehicles provides information on traffic and safety laws.

These departments are good resources after a bicycle crash.

Des Moines bicycle crashes have common causes and deadly outcomes

While helmets and proper reflective gear make bicycling safer, riding a bicycle is riskier than driving a car. Maintaining control is more difficult on two wheels, and when collisions happen, bicyclists are at greater risk of serious injury or death because they don't have an enclosed vehicle for protection.

Common causes of bicycle crashes include:

Motorist turning across path of cyclist;

Cyclist riding into the path of a motor vehicle;

Cyclist turning right from a major road and from a minor road;

Child cyclist playing or riding too fast.

When someone is injured in a Des Moines or Ames bicycle accident, what needs to happen next?

In an injury bike crash, it is crucial to get appropriate medical treatment, regardless of the financial cost. The major hospitals in the area include:

As soon as possible, an injured person should contact their insurance company to find out how medical treatment is covered under their insurance policy. Since insurance policies often have unique provisions to deal with bicycle-accident injuries, it is important to review the policy and speak with the insurance adjuster to get clarification on coverage.

When an accident is serious or fatal, get help from a Des Moines bike accident attorney

When a bicycle accident, caused by the negligence of a motorist, results in serious injury or death, the next step is to find an experienced Des Moines - Ames bicycle accident attorney to start the financial recovery process by launching an insurance claim. Major injury or wrongful death claims are complicated and can be hard to manage without legal help. Since most personal injury lawyers offer a free initial consultation and work on a contingency basis, meaning that there are no up-front costs and all fees are paid when the claim is settled, there is no downside to speaking with a great Des Moines - Ames personal injury lawyer right away, to get help for an injured bicyclist.

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