How To Safely Enjoy A Bike Or E-Bike In Wisconsin
Biking is a great option for commuting, exercising and enjoying fresh air. However, each year, it results in many serious injuries for cyclists who are hit by distracted or otherwise negligent drivers.
Below, we explain Wisconsin regulations for bikes and e-bikes, offer safety tips and suggestions for trails to try. We hope that this information helps you safely enjoy this sport you love. However, our Wisconsin personal injury attorneys are always ready to advocate for you if you or a loved one is injured in an unexpected bike accident.
Rules For Sharing The Road With Cars
As you bike around Milwaukee, Appleton or another part of Wisconsin, keep the following guidelines in mind:
- Travel in the same direction as traffic.
- Obey all traffic laws that apply to motor vehicles.
- When passing, cars should stay three feet away from you.
- Keep three feet away from parked cars to avoid being “doored.”
- In standard-sized lanes, stay three feet from the curb.
- In narrow lanes, bike directly down the middle of the lane.
- Maintain a straight path. Do not weave in and out of traffic.
- When traveling downhill, remain near the center of the lane to increase your visibility.
- Watch for road hazards, including potholes, cones, wet leaves and other debris.
- Adjust your speed based on the weather and road conditions.
- Use hand signals when turning so other vehicles can predict your movements.
- Anticipate distractions such as pedestrians, other bikers, dogs and wild animals.
Left-turning cars pose the greatest threat to bikers. These drivers often have trouble spotting cyclists who are traveling in the opposite direction. To increase your visibility:
- Wear reflective gear and bright color clothing.
- Have front and rear lights attached to your bike for both daytime and nighttime rides.
- Put reflective tape on your helmet or bike.
Rules For Riding An E-Bike In Wisconsin
The popularity of e-bikes has taken off in recent years. Due to their greater speed potential, high-powered e-bike riders may be barred from certain paths. Check local laws in your area before using your e-bike. Local governments decide which types of pathways e-bikes can use in their area.
However, low-powered e-bikes only follow standard bicycle regulations. To qualify, a low-powered e-bike can only have a maximum power output of 750W, it must have pedals that run the bike on human power, and motor assistance must cut out once the bike hits 20 mph.
E-bike rules vary depending on the local laws in your city or town, but in general, the following rules apply:
- If the bike is low powered, there is no age restriction.
- If the bike is a Class C electric bike*, the rider must be at least 16 years old.
- In some cities, e-bikes must be registered.
You are not required to wear a helmet on an e-bike, but it is recommended.
*A Class C e-bike has a motor that only engages when a rider is pedaling, and the motor shuts off once the bike reaches 28 mph.
Where Can You Ride An E-Bike?
E-bikes can be used on the following surfaces:
- All roadways and road bike lanes
- State mountain bike trails
Local municipalities can demine whether e-bikes are allowed on their bike paths. In most cases, e-bikes cannot be used on sidewalks, but this can vary by city.
Biking Around Milwaukee
Wisconsin regularly ranks as one of the best states for cyclists, and Milwaukee offers some great options for trails. The City of Milwaukee offers an online interactive map to help you find safe routes that are not as congested with traffic.
One of our favorite options is the Oak Leaf Trail, which offers over 100 miles of trails for bikers, joggers and walkers. If you do not have your own bike, you can rent one through Milwaukee’s shared bike system, Bublr Bikes.
What To Do If You Are In A Bike Accident
Take the following steps if you are in a bike accident:
- Seek emergency medical care if necessary.
- Exchange names and contact information with the other party.
- If you have your phone, take photos of the driver’s license and insurance information.
- Take photos of property damage and any visible injuries.
- If you did not seek emergency medical care, visit your chosen medical provider.
- Contact a personal injury attorney at Lindner Law, LLC before speaking with an insurance adjuster.
If You Need Help, We Are Here
While we hope you and your loved ones remain safe, the experienced personal injury team at Lindner Law, LLC, is ready to help in the event of an unexpected bike crash. A negligent driver can easily hit a conscientious biker in a split second. Unfortunately, bikers are vulnerable to traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord and neck injuries, road burn and other catastrophic injuries due to their smaller size and lack of protection.
At Lindner Law, LLC, our lawyers can provide the protection you need. We can help you pursue maximum compensation under Wisconsin law so that your medical bills, rehabilitation costs, lost wages and more are covered. We can offer the trusted support that your family needs after a serious bike accident.