June 06, 2018

June Is National Safety Month: Bicyclists’ Safety in Wisconsin

BicycleJune is National Safety Month for 2018. This year’s theme is: No One Gets Hurt. Each week focuses on a different issue. These themes include:

  • Emergency preparedness
  • Wellness
  • Falls
  • Driving

As the weather gets warmer, bicyclists are taking to the roads, sidewalks, and trails. You can use the following tips and information to ensure that you and your loved ones stay safe on their bikes the entire summer.

Laws that Apply to Bicyclists in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, bicycles are treated just like cars. They are required to follow all of the rules of the road, including obeying stop lights and stop signs. Also, a ticket for driving while impaired is the same for a cyclist as it is for someone driving a car.

Bikers should ride with the flow of traffic on the right side of the road, just like any other vehicle would. They should also signal stops and turns, just like a motorist.

Riding on the Sidewalk: Is It Allowed?

Whether it is legal to ride a bicycle on a sidewalk varies with the community.  But riding on the sidewalk presents safety issues concerning pedestrians, so cyclists should lookout for walkers when on the sidewalk, as well as cars pulling out of driveways. Cyclists on sidewalks should also be extra cautious at intersections.

Here are the rules about riding on the sidewalk from several Wisconsin communities:

  • Madison: Bicycling on sidewalks is allowed, except where buildings are not set back from the sidewalks, such as in commercial districts. Keep in mind that pedestrians always have the right of way.
  • Milwaukee: If you are older than ten years old, you must bike in the street. You can ride your bike with your child on the sidewalk, but not in business districts. You are required to move at a slower, pedestrian pace when you ride on the sidewalk.
  • Eau Claire: You can usually ride on the sidewalk, but there are certain areas of Eau Claire where sidewalk riding is not permitted. There should be signs posted on or near sidewalks where bicycles are not allowed.
  • Each city in Wisconsin can make their own rules and regulations. Check your local area before you ride on the sidewalk.

General Safety Tips for Wisconsin Bicyclists

Keep in mind that cyclists should act as though they are passenger cars when riding the streets of Wisconsin. You should keep at least three feet between yourself and other vehicles. Keeping your distance allows you to avoid people opening their doors on their parked cars. Never weave in and out of traffic or along parked cars.

Learn hand signals so that you can communicate with other bikes and vehicles around you. Be sure to always yield to pedestrians, as they have the right of way in almost every situation.

Call Gingras, Thomsen & Wachs, LLP After a Bike Accident

Accidents happen when you least expect them to. This summer when you are out biking with your friends or family, remember that there are rules and laws to help keep you safe on the roads. Proper bike safety starts with knowing the rules and regulations that apply in your area. If you have been involved in a bicycle accident with another vehicle, give our personal injury attorneys a call. GCW will handle the legalities of your case while you focus on recovering from your injuries.

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