Does Wisconsin Want To Move Backwards For Bicycling?

Wisconsin used to be a top ranked State for bicycling. Lately the rankings have dropped and Wisconsin cities have been missing from recent stories on top bicycle locations around the country.

Yesterday, Governor Walker announced as part of his budget that he wants to get rid of a Wisconsin law enacted in 2009 that provides for "complete streets."

"“Finally, the Governor recommends several statutory changes including repealing the requirement that the department must construct bicycle and pedestrian facilities on new highway construction. Projected savings from this action are $7,400,000 over the biennium”

Complete streets is a transportation policy that requires streets to be planned, designed, operated, and maintained to enable safe, convenient and comfortable travel and access for users of all ages and abilities regardless of mode of transportation.

As of 2013 there were 27 states and 490 jurisdictions in the U.S. that adopted complete streets policies. State Law Summaries Here.

For a summary of the Wisconsin law helping make roads safer and available to all types of users click here.

Turning Right Near Bicyclist and Police Officer Education of Bicycle Laws

Check out this great video to help train police in the city of Chicago. A training video for Chicago Police Officers created in partnership between the Chicago Police Department & The Chicago Department of Transportation. Funded with a grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation Division of Traffic Safety. 

 In Chicago it is illegal to turn right in front of a bicyclist: 9-16-020 (f) Turning right in front of a bicycle - When a motor vehicle and a bicycle are traveling in the same direction on any highway, street, or road, the operator of the motor vehicle overtaking such bicycle traveling on the right side of the roadway shall not turn to the right in front of the bicycle at that intersection or at any alley or driveway until such vehicle has overtaken and is safely clear of the 

Here in Wisconsin Peter Flucke of WeBike teaches a law enforcement training course to police officers. 

In Wisconsin, before turning right, a driver must:

1. Signal 
2. Look right for bicyclists 
3. Look behind/in the mirrors for bicyclists 
4. Move into the right/curb lane 1/2 block before the intersection  
5. Make the approach as closely as practicable to the right hand edge or curb of the roadway 
6. Make the turn as closely as practicable to the right hand edge or curb of the roadway. 

See Wis. Stat. 346.31

According to the Wisconsin DOT Driver Education Handbook:

UW Madison Police are on the Prowl---To Help Keep You Lighted on your Bicycle

WI law requires a white front light visible from 500 feet, and a rear red reflector or steady or flashing red visible from 500 feet.

UWPD is coordinating 2 initiatives for their annual Be Bright campaign and needs volunteers to install the light sets on bikes.  The initiatives will be Monday, October 13 and 20.  An officer will stop a biker that does not have appropriate bike lighting and while the officer educates and gets some basic information a volunteer installs the light set on the bike.  The location of the initiatives will be kept secret until the day of or the day before the event.  If you are interested in volunteering with this initiative please email Officer Kristin Radtke at  She will be in touch with the final location on the night(s) you are able to volunteer.  Thanks for considering!

Police Officer Kristin Radtke
Central Campus Community Officer
UW- Madison Police Department
Office Phone (608) 265-6753