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bike path next to roadway .

The City of Grimes will hold the THIRD and FINAL reading of the uniform bicycle ordinance on Tuesday, September 25 at 5:30 PM. After approval on September 25, this passage could become law:

“Where a useable path for bicycles has been provided adjacent to a roadway, bicycle riders shall use such path and shall not use the roadway known as S James Street from the south Sports Complex to the south city limits of Grimes;”

The Iowa Bicycle Coalition opposes this provision because it: (i) exceeds Grimes’ statutory authority to pass laws regulating roadways, (ii) removes bicyclists’ ability to exercise their discretion to choose the safest route to their destination, (iii) encourages harassment by motorists who are not aware of bicyclists’ statutory right to use the road, and (iv) exposes Grimes to liability for negligent upkeep of the trail which would tend to further inflame public opposition to trails. We respectfully request the Grimes City Council remove Chapter 76.12B from Ordinance #605.




Grimes has a GREAT TRAIL, but this is a bad law. The Iowa Code plainly states bicyclists have ALL the rights and duties of the operators of vehicles [321.234]. The code also says local authorities cannot make a law that conflicts with 321.234 [321.236].

You can read the whole proposal at You can also read the Iowa Bicycle Coalition’s response to the Grimes City Council at

12 Replies

Sandaltan ., September 17, 2012 at 1:46 pm

I have emailed Mayor Armstrong and asked two questions. Who will enforce the ordinance and in what court will cases be heard. Grimes has no police force that I am aware of and depends on the Polk County Sheriff for law enforcement services. The last time a Polk County Deputy Sheriff ticketed a bicyclist it did not go well for anyone and is still not settled months later. See link to Cathy Olson’s blog and you may search and find multiple news stories.



barbara45000, September 17, 2012 at 2:13 pm

ST…excellent points…


Sandaltan ., September 24, 2012 at 1:37 pm

I have not received a reply from Mayor Armstrong as to my question of who will enforce the bicycle ordinance. The final reading of the ordinance has been postponed until October 9th. The reason for the postponement has been given as one of the council members will be absent for the meeting October 25th.



Davy Sprocket, September 24, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Good call Sandaltan! I had when unenforceable laws are passed. If you right, this is a complete waste of time.


Postman39, September 24, 2012 at 8:58 pm

I don’t leave in area mentioned here but forcing bikes onto paths is flat out wrong. The paths around here your not suppose to ride over 15 mph. So how would a person be able to go for a exercise ride if they are forced onto trails with walkers,slow riders and joggers? I do ride trails at times and literally have to slow to nothing at times when coming up on walkers using their ipods.


Ragbrai Nation, September 25, 2012 at 2:00 am

>>…walkers [and their dogs, unleashed at times], slow riders and joggers…<<

Not to mention broken glass and other debris littering many trails. With the coming fall it will be wet leaves making them slick. I know some women who ride the streets in place of bike trails in the early morning or late evening due to security reasons. Ya they really thought this one through. With Grimes being one of the fastest-growing communities in IA without a doubt their city leaders have better things to do.


jwsknk, September 25, 2012 at 8:37 am

Don’t know the area but in Ames where there are some “Multi use” paths next to the road some are just to dangerous to ride. Example is along Ontario, the route in to Ames a few years ago. So many blind driveways and so many drivers only looking one way (usually their left)for traffic on the street. And being right next to the stret, one side has dips down to street level at every driveway. Then you also have the dog walkers, joggers, and the more inexperienced riders on the walk, the streets just safer out there. But the one along University is usually better than the street because very few driveways from campus out past highway 30, and most of those are into the ISU Centers lots so seldom used except when there are events there.


Sandaltan ., October 9, 2012 at 10:59 am

The third reading of the ordinance will take place during the meeting this evening.

Tom Shatava, a member of the Grimes City Council, has promptly responded to my inquiry and said he has voted against the ordinance in the past and will do so again this evening.



Ragbrai Nation, October 9, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Thanks ST, we’ll be watching it!


Sandaltan ., October 9, 2012 at 9:43 pm

The ordinance has passed, one abstention and one no vote.

A solution in search of a problem, a law in search of a criminal. The Polk County Sheriff has a deputy with experience dealing with cyclists, maybe that deputy will be tasked to patrol this dangerous two mile stretch.



Ragbrai Nation, October 11, 2012 at 9:46 pm

Yes and what deputy is going to enjoy having to be a college-educated babysitter for the City of Grimes?


Patrick, October 15, 2012 at 3:46 pm

This law isn’t a law – it’s nonsense. I’m not sure why these politicians waste taxpayer money on such rubbish. If anybody gets charged, it will go the same way as the charges filed against Cathy Olson and Lisa Schaa. Dismissed with costs taxed to Iowans.


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