A place I am biking to doesn’t have bike parking. What can I do?

Reach out to the business and tell them about the City’s program to have bike parking installed. https://www.cityofmadison.com/bikeMadison/programs/bikeParking.cfm 

For more details and email templates you can use, read this blog post.

Can I ride my bike on the sidewalk?

For the most part, it is legal to ride on the sidewalk in and around Madison. More details are below. If you decide to ride on the sidewalk, be nice to people walking, and be aware that people in cars may not expect you at intersections or driveways.


Riding your bike on the sidewalk is generally allowed in Madison. The exception is where buildings extend all the way to sidewalk, as is the case in many parts of downtown or in commercial districts such as Williamson Street or Monroe Street. The City has a brochure giving you the details. Another exception are the inside sidewalks on the Capitol Square. No biking allowed there, because the state government says so. If you ever need the exact city ordinance:

(1) No person shall ride a bicycle on the sidewalk where a building abuts the sidewalk. Bicycle riding  on sidewalks is  permitted, except as prohibited in this subsection and otherwise regulated in this  chapter.



Riding your bike on the sidewalk is generally allowed in Monona. The exception is Monona Drive between Winnequah and the city limits with Madison:

(E) Operation on Sidewalks.

(1)Bicycles shall not be operated on Monona Drive sidewalks from the northern limits of the City to Winnequah Road and on the Yahara Cove Boardwalk at River Place.

(2)Whenever any person is riding a bicycle upon a sidewalk, such person shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give audible signal before overtaking and passing such pedestrian.

City Ordinance

I’ve reported a problem, but the answer I have received is unsatisfactory. What else can I do?

You can contact your district’s alder or use the public comment period at a meeting of the Pedestrian/Bicycle/Motor Vehicle Commission to escalate the issue. Your neighborhood association may also be a good resource. Try posting on Nextdoor and see if you can get your neighbors interested in the issue. Finally, you could email us at Madison Bikes to get advice or post about the issue on our Facebook Group.

A traffic light is malfunctioning. What do I do?

If you think this poses an immediate danger, between 8am and 4pm call Traffic Engineering at (608) 266-4767. At other times, call 911. For less urgent problems (e.g. a loop detector that doesn’t detect you on a bike), use the Report-a-Problem website. You can use the Street Signs or the Bikeway Concerns categories. The latter lets you upload a picture, which sometimes makes for a more effective report.

There’s a pothole/snow pile/missing sign/malfunctioning streetlight/glass… on the bike path. What do I do?

Take a picture (if possible) and submit a report via the city’s Report-a-Problem form: https://www.cityofmadison.com/reportaproblem/bikeway.cfm This is usually a very effective way to have things fixed. If the issue is on the UW campus, email their bike/ped coordinator.

Some things that may help get an issue fixed:

  • take a picture that shows the problem (or include a little sketch that helps understand the exact location or problem)
  • include sufficient detail in your problem description
  • be nice
  • follow up if the problem persists (also see below)