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Laws & Ordinances

Learning your local bike laws can help you avoid problems and ride safely. It is important to note that state laws supercede local ordinances in all cases except those regarding sidewalk riding and bicycle registration. Some municipalities may still have older conflicting laws on the books.

Imagine of young girl and her father riding on the sidewalk wearing a helmet.

Can I ride on the sidewalk?

  • If you are older than ten, you must ride in the street.
  • It is permissable to ride down the sidewalk in your neighborhood with your child, but avoid riding on the sidewalk in business districts.
  • Always ride at a pedestrian pace.

Woman cyclist stopped at an intersection at the stop sign.

Do I have to stop at red lights and stop signs?

Yes, bicyclists also have to stop!

However, if you're stuck at a red light for more than 45 seconds and there's no traffic approaching, you can go ahead and cross the intersection. Some traffic signals can't detect a bicyclist and won't change to green unless a car approaches, so this exception prevents riders from getting stuck indefinitely.

Cyclists commuting to work by Milwaukee's City Hall

Do I have to register my bicycle?

No, but we recommend it!

Registration is free and helps the police return your bicycle to you if it's ever stolen. You can get a bicycle license sticker from any library or police station and then activate it online.

Where can I find out more?