Bicycle Registration and Regulations



Bicycling at The University of Iowa

The University of Iowa encourages bicycling as a healthy and viable form of transportation. In an effort to protect pedestrians, bicyclists and property, the University has set up a few common sense rules for operating and parking bicycles on campus. These rules have been adopted in accordance with Chapter 262 of The Code of Iowa and Section 681-4 of the Iowa Administrative Code.

These regulations are in effect 24 hours a day seven days a week. Your cooperation in observance of these rules is appreciated.

Bicycle Regulation Sections

1. Registration

2. Operating Regulations

3. Parking Regulations

4. Definitions

5. Iowa City Regulations

1. Registration

A voluntary free registration program is offered to all University students, faculty and staff. Registration offers the following advantages:

1) Assists in the identification of lost or stolen bicycles;

2) Serves as a deterrent to theft;

3) Reduces/eliminates the need to immobilize/impound illegally parked bicycles.

(a) You can register your bike online with the University Parking Office. Required information:

Owner’s name, address and University I.D. number (if applicable)

Bicycle description - Make, Model, Color

Manufacturer’s identification number (serial number)

(b) Registration is complete when the registration decal is permanently and visibly affixed to the bicycle’s seat tube or the diagonal down tube.

(c) Valid Iowa City and Coralville registration decals will be accepted in lieu of a University registration if the decals are affixed and visible on the bicycles.

(d) Change in bicycle ownership must be reported to the Parking and Transportation office in order to update registration records.

Bicycle Image detailing serial number locations

2. Operating Regulations

Bicyclists are to operate their bicycles in a responsible and courteous manner, and observe the operating regulations. The University Public Safety Department enforces these regulations through the issuance of citations and fines. For more information, call (319) 335-5022.

2.1 Operating on Public Streets

When operating on public streets, bicycles are considered vehicles by the Iowa Code and should be operated in accordance with all traffic laws. For more information, contact the University of Iowa Public Safety office, or the Iowa City and Coralville Police departments.

2.2 Operating in Pedestrian Areas/Slow Zones

A pedestrian area is any walkway, sidewalk, crosswalk, plaza, patio, play court, parking facility, loading zone, or other University facility that is intended primarily or partially for use by pedestrians. When operating a bicycle in these areas:

(a) Bicyclists must maintain control of their bicycle.

(b) Reckless operation of a bicycle is not permitted.

(c) Bicyclists must always yield the right of way to pedestrians.

(d) When passing pedestrians in either direction, cyclists must maintain a minimum of 6 feet (about one bicycle length) of separation without leaving the walkway. If unable to maintain the minimum separation when passing, the cyclist must operate at a speed just above the average walking pace (about one bicycle length per second) while passing.

2.3 Prohibited Operating Areas

(a) Bicycles may not be ridden on grass, planting beds or any other non-paved areas, except designated bicycle trails.

(b) Bicycles may not be ridden in University buildings.

(c) Bicycles may not be ridden on sidewalks, walkways or any other pedestrian areas posted as dismount zones.

2.4 Citations & Fines

Failure to maintain control $25.00

Reckless operation $25.00

Failure to yield to pedestrians $25.00

Improper passing $25.00

Operating a bicycle in a prohibited area $25.00

3. Parking Regulations

Bicyclists should always use bicycle racks to protect property, pedestrians and access to University facilities.

3.1 Violations

(a) Bicycles must not be:

Parked inside University buildings.

Attached to or rested against trees or shrubs.

Attached to or rested against signs, handrails, or handicap parking meters.

Attached to or rested against street furniture.

Parked in a manner, which limits access to, or use of any University facility or safety device.

Parked in specifically prohibited parking areas.

(b) Properly registered bicycles found in violation of these regulations may be cited. If the violation creates a safety hazard, damages property, or prevents use of or access to any University facility, the bicycle may also be impounded.

(c) Unregistered bicycles or bicycles not displaying proper registration decals found in violation of these regulations may be cited and either immobilized or impounded.

(d) Bicycles may not be abandoned on campus.

Unregistered bicycles left undisturbed in racks or other legal parking areas for seven days or more may be treated as abandoned and impounded. Bicycles may be posted with a notice for seven days prior to removal.

Registered bicycles left undisturbed in racks for one calendar month may be treated as abandoned. The Parking and Transportation department will attempt to notify the owners prior to impounding.

3.2 Fines & Fees

(a) Fines and fees may be assessed against the owner, operator, or registrant of the bicycle involved in each violation and shall be billed through the University’s Business Office.

(b) The registrant of the bicycle shall be responsible for all parking violations issued to the bicycle and is thus subject to any and all fines and fees resulting from these violations.

(c) Violations of parking regulations may also be enforced by the immobilizing and/or impoundment of a bicycle.

(d) Schedule of Fines & Fees

  • First five parking violations, $5.00    
  • Sixth and all subsequent violations, $10.00
  • Violations are cumulative for the year beginning on September 1 and continuing through August 31.
  • Immobilization fee, $10.00
  • Impoundment fee, $25.00
  • Additional storage costs $1.00/day after the first day of impoundment
  • Cutting, removing, or damaging a University of Iowa locking device, $50.00

3.3 Immobilization/Impoundment

(a) Bicycles accumulating ten or more violations for the year, September 1 to August 31, are subject to impoundment for each additional violation. Accumulation of violations starts over every September 1st.

(b) Bicycles that create a safety hazard, damage property or limit use of or access to any University facility are subject to impoundment.

(c) Immobilized bicycles not claimed after two working days are subject to impoundment.

(d) Abandoned bicycles are subject to impoundment.

(e) Bicycles may be claimed by proving ownership, registering the bicycle (if applicable), and paying the appropriate fines and immobilization/impoundment fees.

(f) All impounded bicycles will be held for 60 days, during which time the owners upon payment of all outstanding fines and charges may claim them. After 60 days, all unclaimed bicycles will be deemed abandoned property and sold pursuant to Iowa law and the proceeds applied to the costs of impoundment, storage, and sale. The balance, if any, shall be forwarded to the owner.

(g) The University will not pay for locking devices damaged or destroyed during impoundment.

3.4 Parking Violation Appeals

(a) Violations may be appealed by first paying the fines and fees, and filing a written appeal with the Parking and Transportation Office.

4. Definitions

(a) Bicycle: any vehicle having two or three wheels and fully operable pedals which is a traditional bicycle designed solely to be pedaled by the rider.  Any electric/battery powered bicycle designed not only to be pedaled by the rider but also propelled by an electric motor of less than 750 watts (one horsepower) may be treated as a bicycle and may park at bicycle racks. 

(b) Handrail: any railing intended to provide physical support to a pedestrian.

(c) Immobilization: restricting the bicycle’s use by detaining it at the point of infraction with a University locking device.

(d) Impoundment: removing the owner’s lock, transporting the bicycle to a University facility, and detaining it.

(e) Pedestrian Areas or Slow Zones: any walkway, sidewalk, crosswalk, plaza, patio, play court, parking facility, loading zone, or any other University facility that is intended primarily or partially for use by pedestrians.

(f) Street Furniture: any structure or accessory in a University pedestrian area or slow zone designed for the benefit of pedestrians. This includes, but is not limited to benches, tables, lamp posts, and trash receptacles.

5. Iowa City Regulations

Iowa City and the University of Iowa have similar regulations; however, there are a few differences. Below are some of the regulations for when you are on Iowa City property. For Iowa City’s complete bicycle regulations, contact the Iowa City Police Department, 410 E. Washington Street or go to the City of Iowa Bicycle web site .

(a) Bicycles are prohibited from riding upon the downtown pedestrian mall or upon the sidewalk in the commercial district, including the central business district.

(b) You must have a headlight on your bicycle if you are riding between the hours of sunset and sunrise.

(c) If you are within 300 feet of a bicycle rack, you must park at that rack.


Ride predictably

Ride as the operator of a vehicle

Wear a bicycle helmet

Respect the pedestrian right of way

Follow the traffic laws

Share the road and walkways


Online Registration Web Page