All the bike tour routes on the Milwaukee Mural Map have been created and tested by local and avid bike riders. They know the roads and paths and have made suggested tour routes based on what is safest and most convenient for riders. Notes and suggestions are included on all routes to make the most of your ride. If you have any questions about or suggestions for the bike tour routes, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you do not have a bike or do not have a way to transport it to the city, you can rent bikes at a number of locations in Milwaukee. Bublr Bikes stations abound across the city (ones along the bike routes are already on the map); Coast in Bikes on the South Side rents bikes; and you can also borrow bikes at any of the Urban Ecology Center locations if you have a membership.
If you have never biked in the city before, here are a few tips and laws you should know:
- Take normal safety precautions like wearing a helmet and high visibility clothing, learning hand signals, and putting lights/reflectors on your bike (a white front headlight and red rear reflector are both required by law if you are biking at night). You should also wear full shoes, not flip flops or sandals – you don’t want the concrete to take a bite out of your toes if you ever have to slam your foot down
- Bike on the right side of the road with traffic and only on the streets (it is illegal to bike on the sidewalk)
- Use bike lanes whenever possible and ride in the middle of the turn lane (or leftmost lane) if you are making a left turn. In other words, claim the lane as yours. Act like a car. It is better to do this than to try to cross over the lanes to make the turn. Drivers from both directions will be able to see you better, which will lessen the chances of you getting hit. Make sure to make ‘vroooommmm’ sounds to enhance the bike-as-car experience
- Likewise, if the street is too narrow, feel free to hog the whole lane. It’s much safer than getting pinned against a curb or lane full of parked cars
- Wave or make eye contact with drivers at stops and before turns so that they know you are there
- Don’t stop in a driver’s blind spot. They may make a surprise turn right in front of you
- Parked cars may have people inside of them that may pop out at any second! Bike a few feet away from them when you can (by law you should bike 3 feet away from all parked cars, and drivers should likewise give you an extra 3 feet of space when they pass you)
- By new law, if you have waited for a full 45 seconds at an intersection and the light has not changed (because your bike is too light to trigger the sensor), you are allowed to bike through a red light. Make sure you are safe to do so first, though!
- Bring a bike lock in case you would like to make a stop at any of the many wonderful places in Milwaukee
- High five other bikers looking at murals (high five everyone looking at murals)
For more information about bike laws and bike safety, please refer to the Wisconsin Bike Federation’s website: http://wisconsinbikefed.org