On January 17, 2013, the Iowa Attorney General issued an opinion regarding bicycle side path rules, specifically the newly-passed ordinance in the City of Grimes, Iowa. A side path rule is one that prohibits the use of bicycles within the road right-of-way when an adjacent trail is available. The Attorney General noted that the Iowa Code at 321.234(2) provides that a person riding a bicycle on the highway has all the rights and duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle. Further, the Code states that local authorities are without the power to enact, enforce, or maintain any ordinance, rule, or regulation that conflicts with the Code. Ultimately, the Attorney General concluded that the Grimes ordinance violates state law. The City of Grimes has yet to decide how it will proceed in light of this opinion. Tiffany De Masters wrote a great article in the Des Moines Register regarding the interplay between the Grimes ordinance, the Attorney General opinion, and many other related issues.
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