Traffic Crashes Down, Fatalities Up in 2022

Person driving in a car
For Immediate Release
For more information, contact: Cheryl Wittke, Executive Director, Safe Communities of Madison – Dane County,  (608) 256-6713

Traffic Crashes Down, Fatalities Up in 2022

 Forty-four persons lost their lives in 1,770 Dane County injury-related motor vehicle crashes last year, according to preliminary data from the Traffic Safety Commission (TSC), which reviews county crash data reported by police departments and the WI State Patrol. Compared to the previous 5 year average, in 2022 the number of crashes with injuries decreased 22% and the number of fatalities increased 24%. “This is an alarming trend,” said Cheryl Wittke, executive director of Safe Communities of Madison-Dane County and TSC co-chair. “It should be a wake-up call to everyone to think about how to stay safer when using Dane County streets and highways to ensure this trend doesn’t continue.” In 2022, Dane County experienced 8,914 total motor vehicle crashes, of which 20% involved injuries or deaths.

One positive trend from 2022 data reported at the recent TSC meeting was a significant decrease in injuries and deaths from motorcycle crashes. “Last year, two persons died in motorcycle crashes, compared to a five-year average of six. This bucks a national trend of increasing motorcyclist fatalities,” noted TSC member Randy Wiessinger, Law Enforcement Liaison/Consultant with Wisconsin Department of Transportation Bureau of Transportation Safety. Non-fatal injuries from motorcycle crashes were down 41%.

The 48-member Dane County Traffic Safety Commission conducts crash reviews quarterly. For October – December 2022, most fatal traffic crashes were outside Madison, consistent with the entire year. Four were in the City of Madison, and the others in the City of Verona, Village of Maple Bluff, and Towns of Sun Prairie, Burke, Roxbury, Deerfield, Rutland, Dunn and Dunkirk.

One notable quarterly trend was that an increasing number of Dane County drivers were killed in crashes when there was rain, snow, slush, or ice on the roads. Deaths also increased from driver failure to stop at red lights and stop signs. Nearly half (6) of the thirteen Dane County crashes resulting in fatalities last quarter involved poor weather-related road conditions or running a red light or stop sign. Wittke noted this increase is consistent with a trend in all of 2022. “Last year, thirteen people lost their lives in crashes when weather had negatively affected road conditions, compared to a previous five-year average of seven. Six died in crashes when a driver failed to stop at a stop sign or red light, significantly higher than the previous five-year average of one, and the highest number since 2016,” Wittke said.

Trends on running red lights in Dane County mirror those cited in a recent national survey from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, showing drivers self-reporting a 12% increase in red-light running from 2020 to 2021. 

 “Running a red light or stop sign is a driver’s choice,” noted Wittke. “And so is driving too fast around an icy curve or not fully cleaning snow off windshields and mirrors. We can control what we do as drivers, but we cannot control the behavior of others. This all points to the need for more defensive driving by each of us.” Wittke said in the 13 fatal crashes this past quarter, four of the deaths were of persons who were pedestrians or riding in a vehicle other than the one causing a crash. “Whether driving, running or walking, we need to be extra vigilant during inclement weather and at intersections.” She noted that in a previous traffic count at a busy Madison intersection, motorists ran red lights once every 30 seconds. 

“Dane County TSC members are collaborating with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation Bureau of Traffic Safety on new county-wide strategies to be announced shortly,” Wittke said. “By working together, we can have even a stronger impact.”


The Facts:

  • In 2022 there were 8,914 motor vehicle crashes in Dane County. Twenty percent (1770) resulted in injury or death.
  • In 2022, 38 crashes resulted in 44 fatalities. This was the second deadliest year in the last five.
  • The number of crash fatalities in 2022 increased 24% from the previous five-year average even while the total number of all injury-related crashes was 22% lower.
  • The most significant 2022 improvement was a decrease in injuries and deaths from motorcycle and bicycle crashes. Last year, two persons died in motorcycle crashes, compared to a five-year average of 6. Three pedestrians were killed compared to a five-year average of 7. All motorcycle injuries were down 41% and bicycle-related injuries down 27%.
  • In 2022, 6 persons died in crashes when a driver failed to stop at a stop sign or stop light, compared to a previous five-year average of only 1.
  • In 2022, 13 died in crashes when weather negatively affected road conditions, compared to a previous five-year average of 7.
  • Of the 13 fatal crashes during the fourth quarter of 2022 (October-December):
    • 4 fatalities were pedestrians or riders in vehicles other than the one causing the crash.
    • 3 involved drivers running a red light or stop sign.
    • 3 involved poor weather conditions (snow, ice, slush, water, fog).
    • 25% were unrestrained; 25% were teen or senior drivers; and 33% involved alcohol.

* * * * * * * * *

Potential Interviewees:

The following may be contacted for comment directly:

  • Crash trends and Traffic Safety Commission role/membership: Cheryl Wittke, Exec. Director, Safe Communities of Madison – Dane County and TSC co-chair., (608) 256-6713
  • Motorcycle crash trends: Randy Wiessinger, WI Department of Transportation Bureau of Transportation Safety; contact through DOT Office of Public Affairs,, (608) 266-3581.
  • Traffic crash data/trends: Jeremy Kloss, Program and Policy Analyst, WI Bureau of Transportation Safety and Technical Services; contact through DOT Office of Public Affairs,, (608) 266-3581.
  • AAA study on red light running and tips for driving in bad weather: Nick Jarmusz, AAA Wisconsin,, (608) 556-4744.

Two-thirds of Dane County Fatal Crashes Involve No Seatbelts or Helmets

For Immediate Release

For more information, contact: Cheryl Wittke, (608) 256-6713 Executive Director, Safe Communities of Madison – Dane County

Two-thirds of Dane County Fatal Crashes Involve No Seatbelts or Helmets

Two-thirds of Dane County motor vehicle crashes involving fatalities from July to September this year resulted in deaths of persons not wearing seat belts or motorcycle or bicycle helmets. This alarming trend triggered an urgent reminder from members of the Dane County Traffic Safety Commission (TSC) for area residents to remember to use life-saving measures.

The nine crashes during the third quarter of 2022 resulted in 11 deaths, according to a recent report by the TSC, a coalition of 48 county public and private organizations meeting quarterly to monitor and improve traffic safety.
“Most of the deaths involving lack of seat belts or helmets may have been preventable with the use of these safety devices,” said Sgt. Matt Meyer, Dane County Sheriff’s Office and TSC co-chair, who noted the group quarterly monitors all fatal crashes in the county, including use of seat belts and helmets. “It is alarming that seatbelt usage in the state dropped to 88.2% last year after reaching a high of 90% in 2019.”

The most recent TSC report recorded three crashes where a driver or passenger died not wearing a seat belt, required by Wisconsin law. Three other crashes involved motorcyclists, bicyclists or moped riders not wearing helmets.

Five of the nine fatal crashes occurred outside Madison: in the city of Sun Prairie and towns of Bristol, Burke, Medina and Windsor.

TSC member Sgt. Adam Zoch, Wisconsin State Patrol, said law enforcement agencies notice drivers of older vehicles are less likely to buckle up since they don’t get the audio reminder beeps. Also less likely to buckle up are those traveling short distances, he said. “Those just going down the street to the grocery store or going at lower speeds sometimes don’t bother. But that doesn’t take into account behavior of other drivers who may be speeding, impaired by alcohol or drugs, or driving distracted.”

One local physician has seen this happen all too often. “I wish I could help people understand that it’s usually the routine day-to-day driving when fatal crashes happen,” said Hee Soo Jung, MD, Director of Surgical Critical Care for UW School of Medicine and Public Health. “Most are at speeds under 40 and within 24 miles from their home. It’s never when we expect it.”

That’s one of the reasons seventeen TSC-member law enforcement agencies use grant funding from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation for officer overtime to conduct high-visibility traffic enforcement monitoring seat belt use, along with speeding and impaired driving. Agencies alert the public ahead of time in hopes of achieving voluntary compliance and encouraging positive driving habits. Local police departments receiving these grants often coordinate their efforts between communities.

“There is a clear relationship between not using seatbelts and the likelihood of dying or being severely injured in a crash,” TSC Co-chair Matt Meyer said. “Persons not wearing seatbelts in Wisconsin were seven times more likely to die and three times more likely to suffer a serious injury in a traffic crash.”

In his role as a trauma surgeon, Dr. Jung has plenty of experience to know that is true. “When I hear an EMS report that someone coming in did not wear a helmet or a seat belt, I prepare myself to take care of injuries that are much worse.” He said unbelted motorists often experience more traumatic injuries from being thrown around or being ejected from the vehicle, and motorcycle riders without helmets are much more likely to have severe brain injury and facial fractures.

TSC Co-chair Meyer noted that in the last three years, two of every three (64%) of persons dying in Dane County motorcycle accidents were not wearing a helmet.

“The hardest cases for me are the ones where people–with so much left in their lives–are taken from us too early because of preventable trauma,” said Dr. Jung. “It’s my job to give patients and their families bad news. I get that. But if I had one wish, it would be that I never have to sit with your family, in that quiet room, to tell them with a broken heart that you didn’t make it.”

Helmet use is also a major factor in deaths of bicyclists involved in crashes. TSC Co-Chair Meyer said of bicyclists dying in Dane County crashes over the past six years, 80% were not wearing helmets.
Adam Brinkman, MD, Pediatric Trauma Director at American Family Children’s Hospital, stressed the importance of not only wearing a helmet but one that fits well. “A properly fitting helmet will absorb force when a moving head strikes a stationary object, such as the ground, a pole, or a car. Helmets are designed to cushion the skull and brain, which, if not protected, can suffer serious injuries. We have taken care of many patients who failed to wear a bike helmet since they were ‘just going around the block’ or ‘to a friend’s house down the road.’ Helmets save heads!” he said.

* * * * * * * * *

The Facts:

• Crashes involving motorists not wearing seatbelts represented 10% of all Dane County crashes and 42% of all deaths in the first nine months of 2022. (Source: WisDOT Crash Database)
• Over the past six years, the majority (59%) of unbelted drivers and passengers involved in crashes involving death or injury were 16 to 35-year-olds. (Source: WisDOT Crash Database)
• In a six-county area including Dane, those with lower-than-average rates of seatbelt use are males (84.5%), young drivers aged 16-24 (82.6%), pickup drivers (82.9%) and local motorists not on highways or interstates (82.5%). (Source: 2020 WisDOT Annual Seatbelt Survey)
• In the last 3 years in Dane County, 273 motorcyclists were killed or injured. Of these, 64% were not wearing helmets. (Source: WisDOT Crash Database)
• Of Dane County bicyclists over the past six years injured in a crash, those aged 5 to 24 were least likely to be wearing a helmet. (Source: WisDOT Crash Database)

* * * * * * * * *

Potential Interviewees: The following may be contacted for comment directly:
1) Crash trends and Traffic Safety Commission: Sgt. Matt Meyer, Dane County Sheriff’s Office, co-chair, Dane County Traffic Safety Commission, (608) 284-6876.
2) Traffic Safety Commission role/membership: Cheryl Wittke, Exec. Director, Safe Communities of Madison – Dane County and TSC co-chair., (608) 256-6713.
3) Law enforcement agency experience with seat belts, helmets, WisDOT traffic grants: Sgt. Adam Zoch, Wisconsin State Patrol,, (414) 477-0421.
4) Seatbelts and associated crash injuries: Hee Soo Jung, MD, Director Surgical Critical Care, UW School of Medicine and Public Health,, (608) 262-6246.
5) Bicycle helmets and associated crash injuries: Adam Brinkman, MD, Pediatric Trauma Director, American Family Children’s Hospital,, (608) 262-0466.

Drunken driving crashes spike in Dane County; at least 11 killed in first half of 2022

This article originally appeared on and can be found here.
Chris Hubbuch | Wisconsin State Journal

Drunken driving crashes — including at least 11 fatalities — rose sharply during the first half of 2022, according to a new report.

There were 80 automobile crashes between January and June involving alcohol, 41% more than the five-year average, according to the Dane County Traffic Safety Commission, a coalition of public and private organizations working to improve traffic safety.

While the commission is continuing to analyze the data, co-chair Cheryl Wittke said the rise in drunken driving correlates with an increase in drinking since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.

“There’s just been an overall spike in alcohol use,” Wittke said.

Of 16 fatal crashes this year, 11 involved drivers whose blood alcohol levels exceeded the legal limit of 0.08%, in some cases by up to three times. Wittke said the actual number of alcohol-related fatalities is likely higher because of the time it takes to get lab results on blood drawn after a crash.

Wittke, who also serves as executive director of Safe Communities of Madison-Dane County, said the commission is working on prevention strategies to be rolled out this fall. “We believe it’s preventable,” she said.

The Dane County Sheriff’s Office and 13 police departments have grant funding from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation Bureau of Transportation Safety to cover overtime for high-visibility traffic enforcement efforts aimed at curbing dangerous driving.

But Wittke said law enforcement alone can’t solve the problem. Across all age groups, Wisconsin has the highest rate of excessive drinking in the nation, said Maureen Busalacchi, director of the Wisconsin Alcohol Policy Project, which provides training and technical assistance to help communities address excessive drinking. And while the definition of binge drinking is generally four to five drinks in a two-hour period, Busalacchi said data show Wisconsinites are typically having nine drinks in a setting.

“We live in a state where heavy drinking has become normalized,” said Brian Dunleavy, whose 20-year-old son, Conor, was killed in 2012 when the car he was riding in was struck by an intoxicated driver going 100 mph on his way from one bar to another.

Lawren Prisk, 52, served seven years in prison for the crash. “I grew up in a household where my parents were big entertainers,” Dunleavy said. “We watched adults, you know, drinking a lot. They were all professional people. We thought that was OK.”

The Wisconsin Alcohol Policy Project has developed strategies to reduce binge drinking by identifying bars that routinely over-serve customers, as well as community festivals that overemphasize drinking. “There needs to be community support and buy-in,” Busalacchi said. “Our civic organizations can play an important role in terms of the standards they set.”

Dunleavy, a retired Madison school teacher who now lives in Milwaukee, said with the availability of ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft there’s no excuse for drinking and driving.

“I’m not asking people not to drink,” he said. “You need to have that game plan in place before you set out on the night. Your executive functioning definitely goes south after a few beers.”

Dane County Sees 41% Increase in Car Crashes Related to Alcohol Use

This article originally appeared in the Capital Times and can be found here.
By Allison Garfield

Dane County has seen a 41% increase in the number of car crashes related to alcohol use in 2022 compared to the previous five years, a new Traffic Safety Commission analysis found.

In total, 80 crashes from January to June involved alcohol use, compared to the previous five-year average of 57, including crashes resulting in injury or death.

While there have been 16 fatal crashes in the county this year, of those, 11 involved alcohol use.

Cheryl Wittke is a co-chair on the commission and executive director of Safe Communities of Madison-Dane County, a local nonprofit coalition of over 350 organizations working to increase traffic safety. She said the county’s trend is “disturbing” and “devastating.”

“We continue to see excessive use of alcohol as a factor in most crashes, and it doesn’t have to happen. We really can’t lose sight of the impact that the crashes have, especially on the victims and the families,” Wittke said.

Most of the Dane County fatal crashes occurred outside Madison in Fitchburg, the village of Blue Mounds, and towns of Oregon, Vienna, Dunkirk, Rutland, Dunn and Albion.

While the Traffic Safety Commission is working to determine the cause of the spike, Wittke speculated it has to do with increased alcohol consumption during the pandemic.

Alcohol is ingrained in Wisconsin’s culture; the state has the highest rate of excessive alcohol consumption in the nation, according to data from the United Health Foundation.

That also means challenges from excessive drinking appear particularly acute, as well. From 2000 to 2010, alcohol-induced deaths in the state increased by 26.6%, according to a Wisconsin Policy Forum report. Then, from 2010 to 2020, those deaths more than doubled, increasing by 115.4%.

And alcohol sales continued to climb well into the pandemic.

“As a culture, we have been drinking more alcohol during the pandemic. Already, we were consuming more previous to that, but the pandemic really amped things up,” Wittke said. “The speculation is that’s part of what’s driving the increase in in these fatalities and alcohol-related crashes.”

She said it’s time for Wisconsinites, law enforcement and local officials to “take a step back” and examine the dangerous effects of drinking and driving.

Thirteen Dane County police departments, the county Sheriff’s Office — all of which are TSC-members — have grant funding from the state’s Department of Transportation Bureau of Transportation Safety to cover police overtime for traffic enforcement efforts aimed at curbing dangerous driving behaviors.

Wittke contended much more needs to be done.

“We can’t enforce our way out of this problem. There just will never be enough police resources,” she said. “That’s what’s really exciting about the Traffic Safety Commission … we’ll be figuring out how to how to implement some strategies to address the problem.”

The upward trend is a continuation of one Dane County saw last year as well, with an unprecedentedly high number of fatal crashes in 2021 caused by both speeding and drug use. As a result, the TSC gave four task forces the job of finding solutions.

She said TSC and all its local partners will have to think creatively to address the trend, but the first step is awareness and education.

“(We’re) putting it back on the radar that this is not acceptable, and it’s definitely going the wrong direction,” Wittke said.

The city’s Vision Zero initiative aims to eliminate traffic deaths and severe injuries on city streets to prevent avoidable fatal crashes using data-driven strategy. A key policy platform for Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, her office did not respond to questions of how the initiative intends to address the major spike in alcohol-related crashes by publication.

Deadly Crashes Rising in Dane County

Oringinal article by Allison Garfield
Original Article can be found here: Deadly Crashes Rise

Dane County saw an unprecedentedly high number of fatal crashes in 2021 caused by both speeding and drug use, according to the county’s Traffic Safety Commission, and will put four taskforces to the task of finding solutions. During the fourth quarter of 2021, two of every three fatalities on Dane County roads resulted from crashes where both speeding and alcohol or drug use were a factor, a recent summary from the Traffic Safety Commission shows.

From October to December last year, six fatal crashes in the cities of Madison, Sun Prairie and Middleton — and towns of Montrose and Dunkirk — caused 10 deaths, six of which were in crashes that involved both speeding and alcohol or drug use. Continuing that trend, in total last year seven fatal crashes resulted in 11 deaths that involved both speeding and alcohol or drug use, said Sgt. Matt Meyers with the Dane County Sheriff’s Office and also the co-chair of the county Traffic Safety Commission.

“This is an increase of over 40% from averages in the past five years,” Meyers said.

On average in the past five years, there have been 33 crash-related deaths. In 2021, that number spiked to 48, a 33% increase. Almost half were speed-related, according to a press release from the TSC.

Deadly Combinations Continue to Increase Risk

On top of that, excessive speed or use of alcohol or drugs causes increased risk for traffic crashes, but the combination of the two factors is especially lethal, according to Cheryl Wittke, TSC co-chair and executive director of Safe Communities of Madison-Dane County.

“When a crash involved multiple factors, it dramatically increases the likelihood it will result in death. In Dane County, we see our share of this, and no family should have to face the tragic results,” Wittke said in a statement.

Just last month, Madison Police Department officers stopped 32 vehicles during a traffic enforcement project on Feb. 21 on the Beltline, all of which were going at least 75 mph in the 55 mph zone. The trend isn’t unique to Madison. “We’re seeing that pretty much everywhere. It started in the pandemic (and) the theory has been when traffic congestion dropped, that created more space on the road for people to drive fast,” said Chris McCahill with the State Smart Transportation Initiative.

McCahill is the managing director of the SSTI — a joint project of the University of Wisconsin and Smart Growth America that aims to promote transportation practices that advance environmental sustainability and equitable economic development. He told the Cap Times that many cities, like Madison, have design issues where there are a lot of large roads meant for traffic and congestion, but in reality, serve as a catalyst for speeders.

“In Madison, we’re really interested in changing the designs of streets to make things safer for those walking,” McCahill said.

And despite efforts from the city to increase speed limit enforcement, especially on the most dangerous streets like East Washington Avenue, “there’s a cultural shift that needs to happen,” McCahill said.

A Focus on Equity Helps Eliminate Traffic Enforcement Discrimination

Traffic enforcement can have a disproportionate impact on people of color. McCahill said MPD and the city are pursuing equitable enforcement: focusing on the most dangerous driving and making sure drivers aren’t fined for minor offenses.

“There’s a lot to be done,” McCahill said. “We’re just really getting started with the Vision Zero action plan, but putting the goal of traffic safety and redesign front and center is going to be a major shift for the city.”

Vision Zero — a key policy platform for Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway — is a data-driven strategy intended to eliminate traffic deaths and severe injuries on city streets, and also improve pedestrian and bike safety in an effort to prevent avoidable fatal crashes.

2021 Brings Record Number of Traffic Fatalities for Dane County

Zero deaths in wisconsin

The number of traffic fatalities this year in Dane County already has exceeded the total for all of 2020, according to officials from the Dane County Traffic Safety Commission (TSC). This includes an unusually high number of pedestrians struck by motor vehicles.

Officials with the TSC report that thirty-five persons have died so far this year in Dane County crashes, more than all of 2020. Twenty-seven of this year’s deaths were within the months of April, May, June, and July. Seven of this year’s fatal crashes involved pedestrians, including six in Madison and one in Sun Prairie.

“This is an immediate public health issue when it comes to traffic safety,” said Sgt. Dennis Sieren, Dane County Sheriff’s Office and co-chair of the Dane County TSC. “We are extremely concerned about the increasing number of fatalities, despite local efforts to improve safety. Too many area families have lost a friend or loved one under tragic circumstances that could have been prevented.”

Even though 2020 saw a drop in traffic volume across the county from the prior year, traffic officials started to see an increase in total crashes and serious injuries. Despite less traffic, at the end of 2020 Dane County had more fatalities than the prior year, and this trend is accelerating in 2021. Fatal crash data reported by city and county agencies is reviewed and analyzed quarterly by the Dane County Traffic Safety Commission. Results for the second quarter of 2021 showed:

  • Over half of crashes resulting in fatalities involved a driver using alcohol or other drugs.
  • Three fatality crashes involved a semi-truck or other commercial motor vehicle.
  • Four fatal crashes involved a pedestrian struck by a car or semi-trailer truck.
  • Speeding was involved in eight of the fatal crashes, with a maximum speed of 92 mpg in a 35-mpg zone. In all of 2020 there were twelve speed-related fatalities, more than double the previous
    year (5).
  • Twelve fatal crashes involved only one vehicle or motorcycle.

“We’re not sure why the significant increase in fatalities,” said Cheryl Wittke, TSC co-chair and executive director of Safe Communities of Madison – Dane County. “One theory involves how the behavior of drivers changed during the height of the pandemic last year. Vehicle volume was down significantly, and drivers increased speed. Perhaps some drivers accustomed to fewer vehicles on the roads have not adjusted their speed and fully resumed defensive driving skills as roads became more congested.”

“The common denominator for most crashes is risky driver behavior,” added Sieren, noting that distracted or inattentive driving, such as use of cell phone or looking away from the road, is likely a
contributing factor in many of the fatalities. “Everyone needs to be more aware of their surroundings and more vigilant about safety threats.” He offered these reminders:

  • Slow down. Know the speed limit and stay under it.
  • Keep your distance from vehicles in front of you.
  • Watch for vehicles turning ahead with or without signaling.
  • Avoid alcohol or drugs before or while driving.
  • Make sure all people are wearing seat belts or motorcycle riders wearing helmets.
  • Yield to pedestrians, even if they are crossing inappropriately.
  • Pull over to use the phone, eat, smoke, or reach into the back seat.

Bicyclists, Motorist Share the Same Road, Same Responsibilities

Summer is a great time to enjoy our community on a bicycle. Bicycling is not inherently dangerous, especially when everyone follows the rules of the road. What’s dangerous are the often-illegal interactions that occur between bicyclists and motorists every day, increasing the danger for everyone. More than 90 percent of bicyclist fatalities involve a collision with a motor vehicle. According to bicycle/motor vehicle crash statistics, when an adult bicyclist is injured, it is typically due to motorist error. When a child bicyclist is hit, it’s typically the child’s. Motorist-caused collisions with bicyclists occur most often when a motorist: (1) turns left (or right) into the path of a bicyclist at an intersection; (2) fails to stop for a stop sign or other traffic control device; or (3) exits a driveway or alley without first stopping and then looking.

To safely interact with bicyclists on the roadway, motorists must follow these laws:

  • Yield the right-of-way to oncoming vehicles, including bicycles, before turning left at intersections or driveways.
  • Stop for all traffic control devices (stop light/stop signs) and yield to all traffic before proceeding.
  • Leave at least three feet between you and a bicyclist (or any other vehicle) when passing.
  • Do not exceed posted speed limits, and reduce speeds when necessary (especially at night).
  • Do not drink and drive.

Bicyclists need to follow all the rules of the road – especially stopping for stop lights and signs. Parents can do a great deal to teach their kids to be safe bicyclists, and to help children develop habits to last a lifetime:

  • Don’t allow children to ride their bicycles unless wearing a properly fitted bike helmet. (A helmet should be parallel with the ground and fit snugly.)
  • Set a good example and wear a bicycle helmet too.
  • Only buy a helmet that has Snell, ASTM or CPSC approved labels. Hockey, football or other sports helmets are not bike helmet substitutes.
  •  Teach children to be safe bicyclists:
    • Look left, right and left again before entering the street.
    • Go to the edge of parked cars to search for traffic when crossing the street.
    • Look over your left shoulder before moving toward the center of the road.
    • Be alert for cars leaving or entering driveways or making turns across your path.
    • Obey the same signals and signs as motorists, e.g., stop signs, traffic signs, yield signs.
    • Warn pedestrians if you are riding on sidewalks and paths.
    • Be sure to use hand signals when biking.
  • Make sure children are visible. Use lights and reflectors at night. Wear bright-colored clothes by day.
(Information provided by Dean Health System, Madison Department of Transportation – Traffic Engineering, St. Mary’s Hospital Medical Center)