Spring is here and Wisconsinites are getting outside to enjoy our communities on their motorcycles and bicycles. With that surge in activity comes added danger on the roads.
Wisconsin State Patrol’s May Law of the Month highlights the importance of sharing the road. Drivers should be cautious around smaller vehicles and motorcyclists and bicyclists need to practice safe riding techniques.
Motorcyclists and bicyclists are at a greater risk of being hurt or killed in a crash. In the past five years, the number of fatal crashes involving motorcycles in Wisconsin has increased every year. Preliminary data shows last year, 120 motorcyclists died in crashes. Nine bicyclists were killed in crashes in 2021.
“Motorcycles and bicycles are smaller and harder to see on the roads. We need drivers to look twice this time of year to avoid tragedy,” State Patrol Superintendent Anthony Burrell said. “Motorcyclists and bicyclists should be alert, too. Follow all the rules of the road and be predictable so drivers aren’t taken by surprise.”
Under state law, bicycles are considered vehicles and must follow the rules of the road, including obeying traffic signals and using lights at night. Drivers must stay at least three feet from a bicycle when passing.
Motorcyclists must have a class M license to operate a motorcycle. They can only ride in the same lane as another motorcycle, not a vehicle.
Motorcyclists and bicyclists are encouraged to ride within their skill level and seek out training courses to learn the best safety skills.
These safety steps are critical, whether driving in a car, on a motorcycle, or riding a bicycle:
- Share the road. Look twice for other vehicles and use turn signals to help everyone anticipate your movements.
- Watch your speed.
- Never drive or ride impaired.
- Know the rules of the road. Follow all traffic signals and laws.
- Buckle up, phone down. Avoid distractions.
- Wear protective gear.
- Scan for potential hazards in the road.
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