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Accept the responsibilities that go along with your rights
Madison and Wisconsin laws recognize bicycles as vehicles and give you, the bicycle driver, the right to use most roads. Along with this right comes the responsibility to obey the same laws as other drivers. Understanding a few basic concepts can go a long way towards reducing the conflicts between motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians.

Obey Traffic Signals  & Signs Obey Traffic Signals & Signs
As a vehicle, bicycles must obey all the Rules of the Road. Cyclists have the same privileges and duties as other vehicles.

Always Ride with  Traffic Always Ride with Traffic
Riding against traffic is unpredictable. Drivers turning at intersections, exiting driveways or leaving parking spaces are not expecting wrong way bicyclists.

Ride to the Right in  a Straight Line Ride to the Right
in a Straight Line

Ride as far to the right as practicable, but stay far enough away from the curb to avoid hazards. Ride in a straight line at least three feet away from the curb to allow room for moving around road hazards. Watch for cars entering from driveways.

Beware of Car Doors Beware of Car Doors
Ride at least 3 feet from parked cars to avoid being hit by a suddenly opened car door.

Passing moving or  stopped cars or bicycles Passing moving or
stopped cars or bicycles

Three feet of clearance is required when passing moving or stopped cars or bicycles. Motorists passing bicycles also have to give three feet of clearance.

Changing Lanes Changing Lanes
The change lanes, look behind you for traffic and signal first. Traffic in the lane you want to move into has the right of way. Look back and wait for an opening in traffic before moving over.

Making Left Turns Making Left Turns
There are two ways to make a left turn:
1) Look back for traffic, signal, then move when safe.
2) Ride straight through the intersection, dismount at the opposite corner and walk your bike across the street.

Scan the Road Ahead Scan the Road Ahead
At intersections, watch for turning cars and pedestrians. When mid-block, watch for cars pulling out of driveways, alleys and parking spaces. Make eye contact with other drivers. Yield the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks.

Riding Two Abreast Riding Two Abreast
Ride single file when other traffic is present. Riding two-abreast is permitted as long as other traffic is not impeded.

Crossing Railroad  Tracks Crossing Railroad Tracks
Cross railroad tracks at a right angle to avoid getting your front wheel caught. Slow down and look behind you for traffic. Change your lane position if necessary to line up to cross the tracks at a right angle. Return to your original lane position after crossing the tracks.

Passing Busses Passing Busses
Pass busses on the left. Bus drivers have blind spots to their right and rear. Passing on the right could get you squeezed against the curb if the bus pulls over. Be prepared to stop for pedestrians who may cross the street in front of the bus.

Be Careful at  Intersections Be Careful at Intersections
Proceed carefully, make sure you are visible, and signal your intentions. Watch cars at intersections carefully. Make eye contact with drivers. Be visible. Ride further out in the lane as you approach intersections. Be prepared to stop or make an emergency turn if necessary. Vehicles making turns can be particularly dangerous.

Pay Attention to Motorists  Making Right-Hand Turns Pay Attention to Motorists Making Right-Hand Turns
Be alert for drivers speeding up then slowing down as they pass you. Do not pass cars on the right near intersections; you will be in the driver’s blind spot. Do not rely on other drivers’ turn signals.

Communicate with  other Drivers Communicate with other Drivers
Make eye contact and signal your turns and lane changes.

City of Madison Bike Map

helmets save lives

Recent studies indicate that wearing a bicycle helmet can reduce your risk of a head injury by 85%. Protect yourself from the unexpected by wearing your bicycle helmet every time you ride.
Use a light at night. It's the law!
Register your bike