Bicycle Safety and Laws of Wisconsin

Officer Brad Davis portrait
Brad Davis, University Apartments Community Police Officer

Recently we received a call from a concerned resident stating that bicyclists not stopping at the stop sign at the corner of Eagle Heights Dr and Lake Mendota Dr, near the Eagle Heights Community Gardens. If you’re a bicyclist, please obey these signs since oncoming traffic driving up the hill does not stop.

Here are some safety tips from our Community Officer, Brad Davis, from this past summer.

With warmer weather comes more and more bicycles on the roadways. UWPD often gets complaints, both from bicyclists about vehicle drivers and vehicle drivers about bicyclists. Let us take a look at the laws and general rules about each group.

Bicycles are considered “vehicles” on Wisconsin roadways. Bicyclists must obey the rules of the road like any other vehicle and should be considered equal users of the road by motorists. As bicyclists are more vulnerable to injury here are a few important safety tips.

  1. Wear proper personal safety equipment, helmets and lights at a minimum.
  2. Act like a vehicle; obey all traffic control signals.
  3. Ride with traffic and at least 3 feet from the curb and in a straight line. Be visible and predictable.
  4. Signal all maneuvers, turns and stopping, so motorists can see your intention. Sudden and unexpected movements lead to accidents.
  5. Remain alert and exercise patience for motorists on the roadway.

Motorists play an important part in the safety of bicycles and other vehicles. Here are a few things to remember when it comes to bicyclists.

  1. Bicycles are vehicles and belong on the road.
  2. Be aware of bicyclists on the road and understand they need room to maneuver around potholes, sewer grates, and other obstructions.
  3. Leave at least 3 feet when passing and change lanes whenever possible.
  4. Train yourself to scan for bicycles as well as pedestrians at intersections, especially when turning.
  5. Remain alert and exercise patience for bicycles on the roadway.

For more information regarding rules, laws, and tips for bicycles on the roadway visit the DOT website and this link:

 Written by Officer Brad Davis, University Apartments Community Officer (Email:, Twitter: @UnivAptsUWPD, (608) 219-4698).