By Ross Seymour
Wisconsin has a short statute on how people are to use bike/ped paths. Those rules are found at Sec. 346.803 of the Wisconsin statutes. The rules apply to “Bicycle Ways.” Bicycle ways are defined as any path or sidewalk designated for the use of bicycles by the relevant governmental body. (Sec. 340.01(5s)) Bicycle ways are distinguished from bicycle lanes. Lanes are for the exclusive use of bicycles while ways are not exclusively for bicycles (presumably to include pedestrians).
First, the bicyclist must exercise due care and give an audible signal when passing another bicyclist or a pedestrian. Due care would mean giving a wide enough berth while passing or taking care to pass on a section where it would be safe. While most bicycle ways around here have good sight lines there are a few places where you can’t see far ahead enough to pass safely. On a regular road these sections would have “no passing” signs or markings.
The audible signal requirement actually comes out of the Rule of the Road for motor vehicles. A little known requirement is that when passing another automobile, the passing car is required to give an audible signal while passing (presumable a toot of the horn). (Sec. 346.07(3)) An “audible signal” is left undefined by the statutes. Read more
The Pettibone Experience
A car free day in the park!
Bring your family & friends & experience Pettibone Park in a fun, safe & very different way. Come by bike, skate or scooter, throw in a picnic & have a great time in the park!
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Communities around the country are beginning the realized that our streets are not just pipelines for the automobile, totally separated from our communities and the people who live in them. The idea of complete streets works to integrate our streets into the fabric of our communities by making them accessible and safe for all users. In 2009 the state of Wisconsin passed Complete Streets legislation and in 2010 Minnesota followed. So what does a Complete Street look like?
Since each complete street is unique, it is impossible to give a single description. But ingredients that may be found on a complete street include sidewalks, bike lanes (or wide paved shoulders), special bus lanes, comfortable and accessible transit stops, frequent crossing opportunities, median islands, accessible pedestrian signals, curb extensions, and more. A complete street in a rural area will look quite different from a complete street in a highly urban area. But both are designed to balance safety and convenience for everyone using the road. Look at our ‘Many Types of Complete Streets’ slideshow to see examples from across the country.*
What are the benefits of Complete Streets?*
Complete streets can offer many benefits in all communities, regardless of size or location.
- Complete streets make economic sense. A balanced transportation system that includes complete streets can bolster economic growth and stability by providing accessible and efficient connections between residences, schools, parks, public transportation, offices, and retail destinations.
- Complete streets improve safety by reducing crashes through safety improvements. One study found that designing for pedestrian travel by installing raised medians and redesigning intersections and sidewalks reduced pedestrian risk by 28%.
- Complete streets encourage more walking and bicycling. Public health experts are encouraging walking and bicycling as a response to the obesity epidemic, and complete streets can help. One study found that 43 percent of people with safe places to walk within 10 minutes of home met recommended activity levels, while just 27% of those without safe places to walk were active enough.
- Complete streets can help ease transportation woes. Streets that provide travel choices can give people the option to avoid traffic jams, and increase the overall capacity of the transportation network. Several smaller cities have adopted complete streets policies as one strategy to increase the overall capacity of their transportation network and reduce congestion.
- Complete streets help children. Streets that provide room for bicycling and walking help children get physical activity and gain independence. More children walk to school where there are sidewalks, and children who have and use safe walking and bicycling routes have a more positive view of their neighborhood. Safe Routes to School programs, gaining in popularity across the country, will benefit from complete streets policies that help turn all routes into safe routes.
- Complete streets are good for air quality. Poor air quality in our urban areas is linked to increases in asthma and other illnesses. Yet if each resident of an American community of 100,000 replaced one car trip with one bike trip just once a month, it would cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 3,764 tons of per year in the community. Complete streets allow this to happen more easily.
- Complete streets make fiscal sense. Integrating sidewalks, bike lanes, transit amenities, and safe crossings into the initial design of a project spares the expense of retrofits later. Jeff Morales, former Director of Caltrans, said, “by fully considering the needs of all non-motorized travelers (pedestrians, bicyclists, and persons with disabilities) early in the life of a project, the costs associated with including facilities for these travelers are minimized.”
Introduction to Complete Streets Slide Show
The Driftless Region Bicycle Coalition (DRBC) applauds both Wisconsin and Minnesota for taking the first step and passing state level complete streets legislation, but this is not where it ends. We need Complete Street statues, ordinances and policies at both the county and city levels as well. Why? By having a well written policy at all levels the likelihood of having every transportation project take all users into account increases. State level policy does not always affect local streets. Also from an advocacy stand point having local, county and state level policies give us more grounds to challenge poorly designed transportation projects.
The DRBC is currently working on a Complete Streets campaign in the Driftless Region. Our goal is to get every county and incorporated community to pass a strong, complete and well written Complete Streets ordinance and supporting policies. If you would like to personally get involved with this effort or if your organization would like to support our Driftless Region Complete Streets Campaign, please contact us. We would welcome your support and participation.
Organizations can participate and support complete streets several ways:
- Assign a staff member to work with the DRBC in the planning and implementation process.
- Send the DRBC a let that will be made public stating your organizations support for Complete Street policies in our communities.
- Spread the word about the benefits of Complete Streets and help us build the buzz.
- Provide financial support to the campaign.
Individuals can become involved by actively participating in the DRBC Advocacy & Policy Committee meetings.
For more information, please contact us.
Complete Street Resources
- An Introduction to Complete Streets slide show
- National Complete Streets Website for more information.
- Wisconsin Complete Streets Law (BFW website)
- Minnesota Complete Streets Law
- Minnesota Dept. of Transportation Complete Streets Page
- Minnesota Complete Streets Coalition
- Wikipedia article on Complete Streets
- Complete Streets article on the Streets Wiki of the Livable Streets Initiative
- S.584 — Complete Streets Act of 2009 (Introduced in US Senate – IS)
This bill has been read and referred to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.
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