Safe Bicycle Riding Tips and Laws in Wisconsin
Safe bicycle riding in Wisconsin during the summer and fall is great. Here are some tips for safe bicycle riding in Wisconsin:
WHY ARE HAND SIGNALS IMPORTANT FOR SAFE BICYCLE RIDING?
Signaling is important because it keeps you safe while bicycle riding.
Hand signaling is important while bicycle riding because it tells other bicyclists or automobile drivers what you intend to do while riding. This is just like a turn signal or brake signal on a car.
Remember to signal when turning and/or suddenly stopping or slowing. A cyclist can use his or her left arm to signal turning left, and right arm to signal turning right. A cyclist must signal continuously during the last 50 feet traveled before turning. Signaling does not have to be continuous if the hand is needed to control the bicycle. Also, a signal to indicate stopping or slowing is not needed when a cyclist is approaching an official stop sign or traffic control signal. [i]
a) Left turn or U-turn- left hand and arm extended horizontally
b) Right turn- right hand extended horizontally OR left hand and arm extended upward
c) Stop or decrease speed- left hand and arm extended downward
WHY DO YOU NEED TO WATCH FOR TRAFFIC SIGNALS?
You need to watch for traffic signals because safety is important for both the bicyclist and other vehicles on the road.
A bicycle is considered a vehicle [iii], and therefore must obey all traffic controls. This includes yielding the right of way to pedestrians at marked/controlled and unmarked/uncontrolled crosswalks and intersections. [iv] Obey traffic signals and watch for uncontrolled intersections. This includes stopping at stop signs.
Yet, there is one small exception for traffic signals controlled by vehicle actuated intersections (lights that only change when vehicles are present in one direction or another). A cyclist may proceed through a red light at an intersection IF the cyclist has stopped at the red light for at least 45 seconds and no other vehicle is present, and the cyclist reasonably believes the traffic signal is vehicle actuated.
Hence, it is important to use hand signals when bicycling to alert other motorists of your intention to turn or stop, so that the other motorists can react properly as well.
WHERE CAN YOU RIDE WHEN BICYCLING UPON A STREET?
Unless explicitly stated otherwise, bicyclists are allowed to ride on the street in Wisconsin, as long as you follow the rules of the road and are safe.
First of all, remember to ride as close as practicable to the right hand edge or curb. Yet, there are a few exceptions to this rule: [v]
a) When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
b) When preparing for a left turn or U-turn at an intersection or a left turn into a private road or driveway.
c) When reasonably necessary to avoid unsafe conditions, such as but not limited to, parked cars, animals, pedestrians or surface hazards (think potholes, especially this time of year).
In conclusion, remember to use hand signals when turning, stopping or slowing down. Also, watch for, and obey traffic signals, except for when a traffic light is only activated when a car is present. Furthermore, bicyclists may ride upon a street, as close as practicable to the right hand edge or curb, unless certain exceptions as stated above apply.
Finally, those are some basic and not all encompassing rules of the road to get you started for the cycling season, whether you are a professional/amateur out for a training ride, pretend professional, weekend warrior, or a casual cruiser.
Here is to hopefully a wonderful bicycling season. Enjoy the ride. Yay bikes!!!