UW–Platteville police and Platteville police are increasing enforcement of laws regulating bicycle and skateboard use after both have been receiving numerous complaints and concerns regarding bicyclists on the roads not following state traffic laws.
UW–Platteville police said complaints are from drivers who claim that bicyclists are blowing through stop signs, entering into crosswalks without looking to see what is coming, and disregarding those walking on the sidewalks.
UW–Platteville and city police will be ramping up enforcement of bicyclists and skateboards violating state law, local ordinances, and university Chapter 18 violations and will provide safety tips via their websites on bicycle and skateboard safety. Citations for bicycle and skateboard violations can range from $162.70 for not having a front headlight on a bicycle, to $175.30 for failure to stop at a stop sign, to $263.50 for riding a skateboard on a city street.
If you are unsure about the laws and ordinances regarding bicycles and skateboards, here are a few. For the best information, please refer to:
• A bicycle is defined as a vehicle, and the operator of a vehicle is granted the same rights and subject to the same duties as a driver of any other vehicle.
• Lane positioning: Always ride on the right, in the same direction as other traffic. Ride as far to the right as is practicable (not as far right as possible). “Practicable” generally means safe and reasonable. State law lists a few situations when it is not practicable to ride far to the right. On one-way streets, bicyclists need to follow the same flow of traffic.
• Bicyclists are required to use the same hand signals as motorists. Hand signals are required within 50 feet of your turn. It is not required continuously if you need both hands to control the bicycle.
• State statutes allow local units of government to permit vehicles on sidewalks though local ordinances . 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. At intersections and other sidewalk crossings (alleys, driveways, etc.), a bicyclist on the sidewalk has the same rights and duties as pedestrians.
City of Platteville ordinances state that no one shall ride upon or use any bicycle, skateboard, roller skate or in-line skate on any sidewalk adjacent to any street in the area bordered by Pine Street, Water Street, Furnace Street, or Chestnut Street. No one shall use any skateboard, roller skate or inline skate on any city street except while crossing a roadway at a crosswalk.
• Bicycling at night requires at least a white front headlight, visible to others 500 feet away, and a red rear reflector visible to others 50 to 500 feet away. A red or amber steady or flashing rear light may be used in addition to the required reflector. These are required on streets, paths or sidewalks.
For more information, go to http://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/safety/education/bike/rules.aspx, wisconsinbikefed.org/for-your-community/share-be-aware/bicycle-laws/, or www.uwplatt.edu/transportation/bicycling