Madison Bike Week is from June 1 through June 8, 2024!

Does the city clear the bike paths in the winter?

Madison plows arterial bike paths 7 days a week and holidays.

I’ve noticed those bike counter displays on the Southwest Path near Monroe Street and on the Cap City near Nortshore Drive. Is there a way to see past counts?

Yes, you can see all the numbers from the two counters online.

Southwest Path:

Cap City:

What kind of lights do I need on my bicycle?

Wisconsin Statute 347.489(1) states that if you ride your bike in the dark, you must have a white front light (either attached to the bike or to yourself, e.g. as a helmet light) as well as a red reflector or red light in the rear. This is the full text of the statute:

347.489  Lamps and other equipment on bicycles and other vehicles and devices.

(1)  No person may operate a bicycle, motor bicycle, personal delivery device, or electric personal assistive mobility device upon a highway, sidewalk, bicycle lane, or bicycle way during hours of darkness unless the bicycle, motor bicycle, personal delivery device, or electric personal assistive mobility device is equipped with or, with respect to a bicycle or motor bicycle, the operator is wearing, a lamp emitting a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front of the bicycle, motor bicycle, personal delivery device, or electric personal assistive mobility device. A bicycle, motor bicycle, personal delivery device, or electric personal assistive mobility device shall also be equipped with a red reflector that has a diameter of at least 2 inches of surface area or, with respect to an electric personal assistive mobility device, that is a strip of reflective tape that has at least 2 square inches of surface area, on the rear so mounted and maintained as to be visible from all distances from 50 to 500 feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful upper beams of headlamps on a motor vehicle. A lamp emitting a steady or flashing red light visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear may be used in lieu of the red reflector.

Wisconsin Statute 347.489(1)

This is the legal minimum requirement, but it’s probably a good idea to have an actual light and not just a reflector in the rear. Also keep in mind that certain lights can be very irritating to other people on bikes or on foot, especially when they are aimed to high or flashing rapidly.

Can I ride my bike to a drive-through counter?

Yes, you can, at least within the City of Madison. Madison has an ordinance that prohibits businesses from denying service to people on bikes at drive-throughs. Code of Ordinances, 28.151, Vehicle Access Sales and Service Windows, section (g) states: “Bicyclist use of sales and service windows shall not be prohibited.”

Can I take my folding bike on the Metro bus?

Yes, you can. After a question from a Madison Bikes supporter and some back-and-forth emails, we received this response from Metro:

We discussed and have approved bringing your folding bike onboard (so long as it is folded). As with any large item, the key is to make sure to minimize disruption to other passengers ability to move about the bus. Sometimes it takes a bit of trial and error to find the best spot to stow your large item but I’m sure you’ll develop a system.

I have notified our dispatchers and asked them to get the word out to drivers. We have a very large driver group and it may take a while to get the word out to everyone. Because this is a new development for them, you could encounter some drivers that will not allow the bike on. Please let me know if this happens and I can contact the driver. Our policy still stands that we will not allow bikes inside of buses because of their size, but in my mind, a folding bike isn’t a bike when it’s folded…it’s a bunch of bike parts being transported in a nice neat organized fashion.

Madison Metro

I have an old bike/bike parts that I no longer need. Is there an organization that accepts them as donations?

Madison has several of those! Check out Wheels for Winners, Freewheel Bike Collective, Free Bikes 4 Kids, and DreamBikes

Do I need to buy a state trail pass to commute on the Cap City Trail?

You need a trail pass to ride “on the nine miles of the trail that go through the Capital Springs E-way south of Madison between Verona Road and Nob Hill near Industrial Drive.” However, you can request a subsidized pass if you use the trail primarily for commuting. Cap City Trail website.

Where do I find a bike map of Madison? Dane County? Wisconsin?

There are lots of excellent maps of our bike network. For Madison and Dane County you can get free printed maps as well as pdfs. The Department of Transportation also has pdf bike maps for any county in the state. And the Bike Fed sells printed statewide maps.


Dane County

Wisconsin all counties

Where do I stay up to date about bike advocacy and other kinds of bike events in Madison?

Become a Madison Bikes Member. It’s free! Every Monday we publish a blog post with past and upcoming events for the week. You can subscribe to them via email, RSS, and we also post them to our Facebook Page and Group.