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Madison Bicyclists And Laws Of The Streets

June 5, 2019

A reader sent me a letter which was submitted to Madison elected officials regarding biking in the city.  I wholeheartedly concur with the tone and message.  Far too often, from my point of view behind the wheel of my car, I find some bikers acting as if they are superior to all others on the street, and able to flaunt laws.

Hello Mayor and Alder,

I saw your smiling faces on the news for the kick-off of Bike Week in Madison.  It surely is a healthy exercise and means of transportation that the city has spent a lot of money on to promote safe operation.

Unfortunately, in the last several days, we’ve seen numerous examples of very UNSAFE operation by cyclists.   So I’m wondering which of the 70+ activities for bike week are specifically oriented toward safe operation BY bicyclists.  

On Saturday my partner witnessed a cyclist blow through a red light on the square, which has heavy pedestrian traffic and who depend on the walk light to proceed.  On Sunday we both witnessed a cyclist sail through a four-way stop intersection on the East side just as I was going to take my turn with the right of way.  (I’ve already been hit in the city of Madison by a biker when I was proceeding at a green light).   And on the Carpenter portion of the bike/ped trail on Monday I was about 1 1/2 feet from the right edge and a bicyclist (san helmet and with no bell or verbal warning) passed me on the right to the point I could feel the wind.  I shouted after that the rules say pass on the left on the trail (and gave another salutation)

By safety oriented activities I don’t mean advising cyclists that they have equal rights to the road and should wear helmets, I wonder how many sessions tell them they should obey stop signs equally with motor vehicles, look both ways, travel the right way on streets, etc.  I’m sure they are aware there is NO enforcement in the city of Madison for breaking the rules of the road for cycling.  If there is, how many non-warning tickets were written last year.

I am waiting to see if there is reply from anyone in the city.  If there is one I trust my letter-writing reader submits it to me.

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