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Iowa’s bicycling advocates say they want stiffer penalties and more appropriate reckless driving charges to curb cyclists deaths, which have already surpassed past last year’s total.

The Iowa Bicycle Coalition is launching a more aggressive platform that includes opening new, statewide discussion of Iowa's limited reckless driving law.

“We’re up to seven fatal crashes this year, normally we’ll see three to five in one year,” said Mark Wyatt, president of the coalition. “It’s one thing to remember those victims of crashes, injuries, fatalities. But how can we stop it?”

Wyatt said the coalition decided to pursue changes to the state’s limited reckless driving law aftera Register investigation showed drivers who kill cyclists are typically given small fines and no jail time.

Since 2011 in Iowa, 25 bicyclists have died in collisions with cars. Only one driver was given prison time, of the closed cases. Jonathan Leyva Rodriguez was sentenced in June to 34 years in prison after driving drunk and killing cyclist Gregary "Wade" Franck in November.

Reckless driving is one of the toughest things to prove under Iowa law, law experts say. But it’s one of the few ways prosecutors can secure a vehicular homicide indictment that might result in more serious punishment.

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