Getting around Milwaukee by Bike safely is easy and fun if your follow a few simple rules. Bicyclists in Wisconsin are vehicles that have the same right to the road as motor vehicles but they also have the same responsibilities. This page will give you most of the basics of riding your bike in traffic. But for more in depth information, you might want to consider taking a safe bicycling class for adults. These classes are offered a couple times a year by the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin.
In general, if you are older than ten, you are required to ride in the street. It is actually illegal in Milwaukee to ride on the sidewalk when buildings abut the walkway. This means its fine to ride down the sidewalk in your neighborhood with your 6-year-old, but don't ride the sidewalk in business districts. And when you are cycling on the sidewalk or in a crosswalk, you must ride at a pedestrian pace.
Here are a few other safe bicycling rules to follow:
1. Always wear a properly-fitted helmet.
2. Make sure your bike is working properly and the tires are inflated to the proper pressure indicated on the tire sidewall. Your bike must be equipped with a red reflector on the back and a continuous white light on the front for night riding
3. Always ride in the same direction as traffic. Never ride against traffic like you may have been taught to walk. Motor vehicle drivers do not look for oncoming traffic in their lane.
4. Ride as far to the right as is practicable not possible. That means you should ride out far enough away from the curb to avoid road hazards like gravel, grates or pot holes.
5. You should also keep about 3 feet away from parked cars to avoid being "doored."
6. Ride in a straight line and in a predictable manner. Don't weave in and out of parked cars.
7. When riding on narrow lanes in which there is not enough room for cars to pass you safely without moving into the other lane, bicyclists should ride farther out into the lane so motorists are not tempted to squeeze by and possibly force you into the curb. This technique, called "taking the lane," is legal but may earn you a few honks from the horns of impatient drivers.
Check over your shoulder before making lane changes and signal your intentions.
For more detailed commuting and safe bicycling tips, check out the Bike Lanes and Bike Routes Page the on this website and the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin Commuter Guide