In 2006 Madison, Wisconsin won the distinction from the League of American Bicyclists of being named a gold-level Bicycle Friendly Community–one of only nine U.S. cities to earn this ranking. Any community interested in becoming more bike-friendly can learn from Madison’s example. Read full descriptions of these five tips.
#1: Set ambitious goals and involve the whole community. Miffed that they weren’t able to get a platinum-level ranking from the League (!), Clear says that the city council drafted a report titled “Making Madison the Best Place in the Country to Bicycle” in 2007. In 2008, the city adopted that report’s recommendations.
#2: Treat bike lanes as being as vital as city streets. Madison has 89 miles of bike lanes and paths in a city that’s just over 84 square miles.
#3: Give cyclists places to wait. To help reduce accidents and to improve the visibility of bikers among drivers, the city painted “bike boxes”…where bicyclists can wait for the light to change. Madison is one of only a few cities nationwide that use these.
#4: Remember pedestrians. To protect both bikers and pedestrians, police are now required to report crashes between bicyclists and pedestrians that result in damages of more than $200.
#5: Involve local academia. Madison’s conversion to a biking mecca didn’t happen overnight, says Clear. The process took about 12 years and was spurred largely by students at the University of Wisconsin, which has an annual enrollment of roughly 40,000.