Cycling Tip: Signals and Stop Signs

Because bicycles are vehicles, operators must obey all traffic signals and signs the same as if they were driving a car. That means coming to a complete stop at stop signs and stopping (and waiting through) red lights.

Wisconsin statute 346.37(1)(c)(4) does outline one exception to this rule for operators of bicycles, motorcycles, mopeds and motorbikes. The exception is for intersections where the lights are controlled by vehicle-actuated sensors – that is, the light will only change when it senses that a vehicle is present. Some sensors do not pick up smaller vehicles, such as bicycles and motorcycles, and therefore will not change no matter how long the operator waits at the light. If you are on a bicycle and have waited at least 45 seconds at a red light, and you believe the light only changes color when it senses the presence of a motor vehicle, you may proceed through the intersection if it is safe to do so.


Share & Be Aware materials were developed through a partnership between the Wisconsin Bike Fed and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation Bureau of Transportation Safety.

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