A northwest Iowa man who struck five cyclists with his motorcycle several years ago is now pushing for a stricter law requiring bike lights.
Daryl Hasche hit five teenage girls with his motorcycle while riding in the dark five years ago, The Des Moines Register reports. The cyclists were riding side by side, and didn’t have any lights on their bikes.
“By the time my headlights hit their reflectors, it was too late,” said Hasche, who was not injured in the accident. Three of the cyclists were taken to a hospital for injuries.
Hasche was not charged. He paid a $60,000 civil settlement to one of the cyclists.
Now, he shares the story of the accident in order to encourage cyclists to use bike lamps and to call attention to the topic for Iowa lawmakers.
Republican Rep. John Wills says a bill requiring flashing rear-facing lights on bicycles between sunset and sunrise could be introduced through the Iowa House Transportation Committee this session. But, he says the bill’s language has not yet been finalized.
Currently, state law only requires a bicycle to have a front-lighted lamp, when it’s dark outside.
“I am definitely going to be talking to some of these people who sell bicycles because, in my opinion, if they sell a bicycle that doesn’t have a white light on front and red light on the back, they’re selling an unsafe piece of equipment,” Hasche said prior to the event.
According to Wills, the bill could end up attached to other proposed legislation requiring drivers to change lanes when passing cyclists.
Iowa Bicycle Coalition executive director Mark Wyatt said bicycles are not legally required to be sold with lights, and noted that federal consumer safety officials make an assumption that bicycles are generally not ridden at night.
“We want to look at anything that promotes safety and we want to keep an open mind about it, but ultimately we don’t want unnecessary regulations … that would be so unusual it would prevent people from bicycling,” Wyatt said.
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