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Dane County Executive, Sheriff and Bike Federation Urge Driver’s Caution Around Bicyclists

August 24, 2016
Stephanie Miller 608-267-8823

Two Deaths Already in Dane County this Year, Ironman Weeks Away



MADISON- Today, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi, Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney and Bike Federations Executive Director Dave Cieslewicz urged drivers and cyclists extreme caution as more bicyclists will be on the roads before the upcoming Ironman. Dane County has already had 2 bicycle fatalities this year.


“Dane County is one of the best places in the nation for biking,” said Dane County Executive Parisi. “With more people than ever using bicycles for commuting, training or leisure we are urging everyone to pay attention and use caution.”


Dane County has been recognized as one of top counties for biking in the nation by the League of American Bicyclists. Over the past several years, the County has invested millions in new off-road trails and efforts to make on-road biking safer. Most recently, the County started construction of the Lower Yahara River Trail, a waterfront path that has the longest bike and pedestrian bridge of any project in the state. 


According to the Madison Metropolitan Planning Organization, there are over 645 miles of bike facilities in Dane County.  In addition to the Lower Yahara Trail, the County is also funding design work that will get underway this summer for the Glacial Drumlin Trail, and providing dollars in partnership with the Town of Westport and others for a new North Mendota Trail to help provide safer cycling.


“Thanks in part to the leadership we’ve seen in Dane County there are more people riding bikes all over the county,” said Dave Cieslewicz, Bike Federation Executive Director. “That industry accounts for 14,000 jobs and over $1.5 billion in revenues to our state economy. But as more and more people ride bikes, we need to be more aware of them and remind ourselves of the rules of the road for safe cycling. The two tragic deaths in Dane County this summer are poignant reminders of this.”


“With Labor Day only a week away and students returning to school, and last chance vacations, the roads are definitely busier,” said Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney. “The rules of the road and equal access pertain to everyone whether you’re a motorist, cyclist or motorcyclist, sharing the road is the responsibility of everyone.  Plan ahead, take your time and be willing to give another user the right-away, it will make our roads safer for all of us.”


For drivers, please follow simple steps:


1.  Look for cyclists. Don’t drive distracted.


2.  Wait until it’s safe to pass the cyclist, slow down and give the cyclist at least three feet of clearance as required by state law.


For Riders, you can improve safety with the following:


  1. Be visible. At night the law requires that you have a reflective or blinking rear light and a white front light. Even during the day a blinking rear light is a good idea and bright clothing can help.
  2. Be predictable.
  3. Don’t assume someone else will do the right thing. It’s always a good idea to look out for drivers and even other cyclists and pedestrians.


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