[numbers in brackets refer to Wisconsin State Statutes ]

Vehicular Status - The bicycle is defined as a vehicle.  [340.01(5)]  The operator of a vehicle is granted the same rights and subject to the same duties as a driver of any other vehicle [346.02(4)(a)]

Lane Positioning - Always ride on the right, in the same direction as other traffic.  [346.80(2)(a)]  Ride as far to the right as is practicable (not as far right as possible).  [346.80(2)(a)]  Practicable generally means safe and reasonable.  346.80(2)(a) lists a few situations when it is not practicable to ride far to the right.

 • When overtaking and passing another vehicle traveling in the same direction;

 • When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or driveway;

 • When reasonably necessary to avoid unsafe conditions, including fixed or moving object, parked or moving vehicles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards or substandard width lanes [defined as a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and motor vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane].

One Way Streets – Bicycles on a one-way street with 2 or more lanes of traffic may ride as near to the left or right-hand edge or curb of the roadway as practicable (in the same direction as other traffic).  [346.80(2)(b)]

Use of Shoulders – Bicycles may be ridden on the shoulder of a highway unless prohibited by local authorities.  [386.04(1m)]

Riding 2-Abreast – Riding 2 abreast is permitted on any street as long as other traffic is not impeded.  When riding 2 abreast on a 2 or more lane roadway, you both have to ride within a single lane.  [346.80(3)(a)]

Hand Signals – Bicyclists are required to use the same hand signals as motorists [346.35]. Hand signals are required within 50 feet of your turn.  It is not required continuously if you need both hands to control the bicycle [346.34(1)(b)]

Passing – A motorist passing a bicyclist in the same lane is require to give the bicyclist at least 3 feet of clearance, and to maintain that clearance until safely past. [346.075]  A bicyclist passing a stopped or moving vehicle is also required to give at least 3 feet of clearance when passing.  [346.80(2)]

Use of Sidewalks – State Statutes allow local units of government to permit vehicles on sidewalks though local ordinances.  [346.94(1)]  When bicycles are allowed to be operated on sidewalks, bicyclists must yield to pedestrians and give an audible warning when passing pedestrians traveling in the same direction. [346.804]  At intersections and other sidewalk crossings (alleys, driveways), a bicyclist on the sidewalk has the same rights and duties as pedestrians.  [3436.23,24,25,37,38]

Bicycling at Night – Bicycling at night requires at least a white front headlight and a red rear reflector.  The white front light must be visible to others 500 feet away.  The red rear reflector must be visible to others between 50 and 500 feet away.  A red or amber steady or flashing rear light may be used in addition to the required reflector.  These are required no matter where you ride—street, path or sidewalk.  [347.489(1)]

Duty to report accident – [346.70] – The operator of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or death of any person, or total damage to property owned by any one person of $1,000 or more shall immediately give notice of such accident to the police.  “injury” means injury to a person of a physical nature resulting in death or the need of first aid or attention by a physician or surgeon, whether or not first aid or medical or surgical treatment was actually received; “total damage to property owned by one person” means the sum total cost of putting the property damaged in the condition it was before the accident or the sum total cost of replacing such property.  This section does not apply to accidents involving only vehicles propelled by human power.

*Source: Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin Bicycle reference card
608/251-4456   bfw@mailbag.com    http://www.bfw.org

Wisconsin DOT Pedestrian/Bicycle Safety Program
(608) 267-3154 funded by NHTSA

Other references

Rules for riding bicycles on the road - Wisconsin DOT