Bicycle safety

Bicycles are considered "vehicles" on Wisconsin roadways. That means bicyclists must obey the rules of the road like any other vehicle and must be treated as equal users by all other vehicles. Bicycles are particularly vulnerable among road vehicles. There are several simple things bicyclists can do to greatly reduce their risk of crash, death or injury.

 


Maintain at least a six-foot distance from others

When you can’t maintain a safe distance, wear a face mask to help protect yourself and others.


 


Be visible. If you can’t see the driver, they can’t see you

Use extra caution when passing trucks, buses or approaching an intersection alongside a large vehicle.

 


Be seen when stopped

At red lights, stop slightly ahead of a waiting vehicle. Avoid the driver’s blind spot.


 


Obey traffic laws, signs and signals

Running a red light or stop sign can result in a serious crash with other vehicles or pedestrians.




Be aware of your surroundings

If using earphones, wear only one while riding. Check behind you, especially when changing lanes. Watch for opening car doors.



Ride on the road, bike lane, paved shoulder or path

Follow the rules of the road. Ride to the right in the direction of traffic. Watch out for others and be alert for hazards that may result in a crash such as rocks, potholes, utility grates and train tracks.



Enhance visibility with proper lighting

Use a white headlight and a red taillight




Wear a helmet

Wearing a helmet will significantly reduce your risk of being killed or seriously injured in a crash.




Avoid getting “doored”

Riding close to parked cars leaves cyclists vulnerable to car doors that open unexpectedly.

Do

        • Be alert and watch parked vehicles carefully.
        • Ride in a straight line and maintain at least three feet of distance from parked vehicles.
        • Watch vehicle tail lights to anticipate driver actions and for exiting passengers.

Don't

        • Swerve back and forth around vehicles.





Safety at intersections

When approaching intersections where cyclists and turning vehicles merge:

Do

        • Look for turning traffic.
        • Take the full lane as necessary.

Don't

        • Hug the curb or pass on the curbside of a turning vehicle. If vehicles are turning in front of you, move away from the direction of the turn.



Downloadable ​poster ​on safe biking practices.

Related information: