Monday, July 26, 2010

Baileys Harbor works toward bike plan

Kevin Luecke, the Bike Fed's lead planner, has been working with towns in scenic Door County to develop bike plans. Bicycling is on the rise in this area, with hotel owner Bryan Nelson observing in the Door County Advocate, "Ten years ago I might have seen a couple of bike racks on the vehicles in my lots. Now it's about 80 percent. It used to be golfers."

Read the complete article here.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Basic Concepts of Bicycling in Traffic

This blog entry was originally written by Arthur Ross, the Pedestrian & Bicycle Safety Coordinator for the City of Madison and a member of the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin, for our Wisconsin Bicyclist newsletter. We hope it helps you bike smarter and safer. For similar articles, please check out the Articles and Resources section of the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin website.

The most basic concept to keep in mind when learning how to ride a bicycle safely in traffic is that your bicycle is a vehicle. The rules for riding a bicycle in traffic are the same as for driving any other vehicle, like a car. Following these rules of the road is the safest way to ride and your best defense against being involved in a crash.

Here are five essential concepts that will help you bicycle more safely:
  1. Ride on the right side of the road, always in the same direction as other traffic. Riding against traffic is unpredictable, especially to drivers at intersections, driveways or to those exiting parking spaces. Remember that bike lanes go one way only, in the same direction as other traffic on the street.
  2. Ride as far to the right as practicable, not as far right as possible.
    • Practicable means safe and reasonable.
    • Mid-block, your lane position depends largely on the width of the lane and your speed with respect to the speed of other traffic. The faster you are traveling (such as downhill) the farther left in the lane you need to be. The narrower the lane, the farther left you need to be to ensure that overtaking motorists will pass you safely. Wisconsin law requires a motorist passing a bicyclist to give at least three feet of clearance when passing.
    • Stay far enough away from the curb, or from the edge of the road, to avoid hazards such as sand, broken glass and potholes that tend to accumulate there. About three feet is typical. Also ride at least three feet from parked cars to avoid a suddenly opened car door.
    • When approaching and reaching an intersection, your lane position depends upon your destination. On the right for a right turn, towards the center if going straight, to the left (or in a left turn lane) for a left turn.
  3. Turns are made the same way on a bicycle as they are when driving a car. To change your lane position, or your position within a lane, first look behind you to see if there is any other traffic nearby. Traffic in the lane you want to move into has the right of way. Signal and change lanes/position within a lane when there is a safe opening in traffic. Again, this is the same way you change lanes and turn as when driving a car. A left turn can also be made by riding straight through the intersection, stopping, and walking or riding your bicycle across the street when safe.
  4. Obey all traffic signs and signals. These apply to bicyclists as well as motorists. Be especially alert for yield and stop signs, traffic signals, and one-way streets. Obeying traffic signs and signals is your first defense against crashes, and is the best way to gain respect from other road users.
  5. Ride defensively. Be aware of what is going on around you, both in terms of roadway conditions as well as other traffic. Watch the road for hazards like sand, broken glass, potholes and railroad tracks. Watch side streets, driveways, alleys and parked cars for traffic that may enter the street in front of you or turn across your path. Remember that trees, shrubs, fences, bright sunlight and darkness can make it difficult for you to see and for others to see you. Adapt your riding style to minimize these and other hazards.
At night, use a white headlight and a red rear reflector. Many bicyclists also use a red flashing light on the rear of their bicycles. During the day, wear bright colors to help others see you.

Know and watch for others' mistakes. Some common situations to be alert for include: a motorist coming toward you who turns left in front of you; a motorist passing you then turning right in front of you; a motorist pulling out from a stop sign, driveway or parking space without yielding to you.

Finally, help fight road rage by respecting others' rights. If you, as a bicyclist, want to earn the respect of motorists and pedestrians, then you need to respect their rights as well. Never compromise someone else's safety for your own convenience.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Milwaukee 2010 Bicycle Master Plan Open House is Tomorrow

For the last two years, the Bike Fed has been working with the City of Milwaukee on a bicycle plan that will more than double the miles in the city's bicycle network and otherwise make it easier for Milwaukeeans to pedal about town. Tomorrow, you'll have the opportunity to learn the details of the plan and make written comments at an open house at the Zeidler Municipal Building.

    What: Milwaukee by Bike 2010 Bicycle Master Plan Open House

    When: Wednesday, July 14, 2010, 4-7 p.m.

    Where: 1st Floor Conference Room, Zeidler Municipal Building, 841 N. Broadway, Milwaukee

    Who: Anyone who uses Milwaukee's streets or bike paths

    More info:

We hope to see you there! If you aren't able to make the meeting, you are welcome to read the plan at and submit comments via email or postal mail:
    Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin
    ATTN: Milwaukee Bike Plan
    106 East Doty Street, Suite 400
    Madison, WI 53703

Friday, July 9, 2010

How To Use Hand Signals Safely while Cycling in Traffic

Ran across this video on REI's YouTube channel today. Nice, simple and quick introduction to using hand signals on the bike.

And don't think hand signals are just for roads. They are great for preventing collisions on bike paths, too.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Help kids with disabilities lose their training wheels

We got this email from the Madison Area Down Syndrome Society (MADSS) today and thought some of you might be interested in volunteering. It sounds like a really fun opportunity:
Each summer the Madison Area Down Syndrome Society (MADSS) bring the Lose the Training Wheels Bike Camp to our area to help children with different disabilities learn to ride on two wheels. In addition to helping provide children with disabilities another way to stay physically fit and to socially engage with their peers, learning to ride on two wheels often inspires new found confidence and independence in program participants. ...

We are once again seeking more than 80 physically fit volunteers to serve as "spotters" and in other capacities during the week of July 12-16th. ... We are also still seeking sponsors and donors for this event.

Lose the Training Wheels is a national program that boasts an 85% success rate in getting kids confidently riding without training wheels. Interested in helping out? Check out MADSS Bike Camp page.

If you're not in the Madison area, but would like to see the program brought to your part of the state, check out their camp schedule page and read the second paragraph from the top for more information.

Milwaukee hosted a Lose the Training Wheels camp in June. Contact the Autism Society of Southeastern Wisconsin if you'd like to be involved with next year's camp.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Thanks for a great Tour de Fat!

We had a wonderful time at Milwaukee's first-ever Tour de Fat on Saturday, July 3, raising more than $12,000 for the Bike Fed. Thousands of people gathered to celebrate bicycling. We were impressed by the costumes that people came up with, and thought our executive director's daughter did a great job picking out a sundress for him to wear.

Thanks to the more than 100 volunteers who made the festival happen. You rock! (Want to help out at next year's Tour de Fat? Contact to put your name in the hat.

Congratulations to Christopher Miller, who won the car-bike exchange contest and got to trade in his 2000 Saturn SL1 for a handbuilt Black Sheep Bikes commuter bicycle.

Our hats also go off to the Bike Fed's own Jake Newborn, who won the slow biking contest. All those years of doing track stands have finally paid off!

Tour de Fat raised about $12,000 to help the Bike Fed continue its work making Milwaukee a better place to bike. The low-impact festival produced 134 pounds of compost, 45 pounds of recycling and three pounds of trash.

If you missed the event or just want to relive its glory, these news stories did a good job of capturing its spirit:

We'll be adding pictures to our Web site and Flickr page in the next day or two. Keep your eyes open!

Friday, July 2, 2010

More people making Wisconsin a better place to bike

We're pretty cranked (excuse the pun) about a deal that several Madison-area bike shops, in partnership with Trek, are offering in July. Williamson Bicycle Works, Machinery Row Bicycles, Budget Bicycle Center, Middleton Cycle, Village Pedaler (Monona) and Trek Stores-Madison will provide complimentary Bike Fed memberships to every non-member who buys a Trek bike in the month of July.

Machinery Row has additionally committed to providing a gift membership to every Wisconsinite who buys any bike there through the end of the year.

Apparently, these folks agree with us that everyone who rides a bike in Wisconsin should be a Bike Fed member. It's a great way to preserve and expand the amazing work that the Bike Fed does – whether it's educating kids about traffic safety through Safe Routes to School, improving roads and trails through partnerships with local governments, or showing workplaces how they can accommodate bicycle commuting. (And I'm not praising the Bike Fed just because I work here. I was on that page earlier in my career, too – just ask my friends.)

If you're affiliated with a business that would like to run a similar promotion, please contact our director of membership and development, Hilary Carroll. In the meantime, we're looking forward to this opportunity to connect with more people in our state and get them involved in making Wisconsin a better place to bicycle.