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« Bicycling Madison Style: As Dumb As It Gets | Main | Student Neighborhoods: Lessons For Milwaukee From Madison's Mifflin Street »

December 06, 2007


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Everyone on here and those who would bike during a 5" Snow storm are justifying the hatred for bicyclist by everyone who does not bike. Thanks for the help in expanding a good recreational sport by showing how extreme you all are. Its starting to back fire, people in this city are sick of bike paths being plowed before the streets. The same goes for those of you who bike down willy street in the morning rush hour when the bike path parallels it a half a block away.

Jim C.

I suspect much of the anti-bike sentiment stems not from bicyclists putting themselves or others at risk, but at bicycles taking their fair share of the road and forcing cars to slow down. Madison drivers don't like anything to slow their progress, not red lights, not pedestrians in cross walks, and not bicycles. When plows push snow into roadside bike lanes, then bicyclists take their place on the road like any other vehicle. If you want that to change, then call your alderperson and ask for plows to clear the bike lanes.

I'm not defending the truly dangerous cyclists. But Soglin's initial post criticized the city for plowing even detached paths, so his anger is clearly directed at the class and not at the exception. Moreover, University Avenue designates an entire lane for bikes and buses, as well as a detached lane for opposite-direction bike traffic. If a bike truly tipped over on that lane, it's not going under some hypothetical car wheel.

Now, can we claw at the evil villains we can all agree to hate: the homeowners and landlords (including the University) who don't shovel or salt their sidewalks!


Wow, sure get the feeling you are sitting in front of the computer with a big smug grin on your face, so pleased with your "witty" responses to all the growling bikers. You continue to reference "dead bicyclists" - my question is, how many bicyclists actually died while braving the conditions during the recent blizzards? My guess is zero. Stop hatin'.

Mauricio Babilonia

On the other hand, driving a motor vehicle in winter appears to be perfectly safe:

"Snowstorm causes two deaths in fatal traffic accidents"

I'm sure there's a way to blame this on cyclists, and you'll be the one to find it.

JP Casey

I'm just a fair weather bike communter (7 miles), so I have not been on the road since the end of October. I have been surprised at the number of cyclists traveling against traffic in the past week. Rarely have I ever seen that, but this past week every trip to and from Downtown I see cyclists on Willy St. Traveling against traffic. That's just stupid and illegal even when conditions are good.


You don't need to stop biking in the winter. Go to the Wisconsin Bike Fed's "Winter Biking" page for tips on safe winter biking:

Biking in winter can also be fun. Go to the following page for winter biking events in Milwaukee, Chicago, Madison and Ann Arbor.


Another Emily

Let's see here... so if a cyclist dies this winter, will Soglin be doing the "I told you so" dance? If a cyclist doesn't die, will everyone come back to the comments section to rub it in his face?

Come on, let's stop the snowball fight. Drive or bike defensively. Outfit your ride for inclement weather should it arise. Get the message out to others to do the same.


I understand your frustration, I really do (the plows left a person-sized ice boulder in the middle of my driveway, for instance), but when you start throwing around statements like "The bicyclists who braved the week's second storm should be taken out and shot" you'll need to understand why people come out of the woodworks to yell at you.

Hyperbole never helped anyone, y'know.

I'm glad you've clarified yourself a bit, though. Perhaps you should take more care to do that in the original post next time. And as for clearing bike paths before/at the same time as clearing streets? There are lots of people who rely on those paths to get to and from work, etc. and skipping out on a day just isn't an option for them. I'm glad the city takes the time to clear them (a much easier task than clearing streets, so no wonder if they get it done sooner).

Dan Sebald

Thanks Emily. Saved me some typing.

I'll add, in response to the first post, bicycles are allowed on streets with no specific mention of time. Another question is Why is there a rush hour on Willy Street? One could say that cars should be over on Wash Ave which is just two or three blocks away. But rather than blame the motorist, look to city planning.

One problem with the bike path along Wash/Willy is the fact cyclists have a stop sign every block. Impatient cyclists don't want to lose momentum so often. It's a dangerous situation resulting from poor design. The bottom line is the city has to commit to infrastructure for alternate modes of transportation (e.g., "bike route" streets not full of pot holes) to make accidents less probable.

Oh, and good city planning to not put all kinds of development on the East side of Lake Monona thus creating a rush hour on streets that were never designed for such.

In fact, if I had my druthers, that small section of two lane, one way road circumventing the Willy/Atwood intersection would be removed and converted to a park.


I will bike where ever I want, whenever I want, and I don't care how it impacts those around me. That's just beacuse I've got a giant case of suburbam entitlement and a chip on my shoulder though.

>The same goes for those of you who bike down willy street in the morning rush hour when the bike path parallels it a half a block away.

The same goes for those of you who drive down willy street when the E Wash that parallels it is two blocks away. I actually did take the path this morning. But despite the heroic efforts of the plowing crew, there are frequently large hard piles of snow at the intersections with the street, making it inconvenient to ride there. And I'd rather inconvenience you than me.

See you on willy street.

> I will bike where ever I want, whenever I want, and I don't care how it impacts those around me. That's just beacuse I've got a giant case of suburbam entitlement and a chip on my shoulder though.

Exactly. Only, I'm not being sarcastic when I say it.

Y'know, if you could somehow work Ron Paul into your criticism of snowstorm cyclists, I bet you could break 200 comments. Easy.

Jim C.

>The same goes for those of you who bike down willy street in the morning rush hour when the bike path parallels it a half a block away.

I echo earlier comments in pointing out how ridiculous this is. Bikes have as much of a right to Willy Street as any other kind of vehicle. Why does it matter that there's a path a block away? There are other streets a block away too.

How have you outfitted your winter vehicle, with winter specific tires to keep you from inconveniencing anyone for even a second I hope, cause anything less would be an unconscionable dereliction of cicvic duty, and grounds for being shot....Response: my car is front wheel drive; the tires are all-weather specifically purchased to handle Wisconsin winters.

Sorry, all season tires are not in the same league as a proper snow tire such as Nokians. Your tires certainly do not have the severe snow service symbol on them. Get a spare set of wheels with real snow tires.

"> I will bike where ever I want, whenever I want, and I don't care how it impacts those around me. That's just beacuse I've got a giant case of suburbam entitlement and a chip on my shoulder though.

Exactly. Only, I'm not being sarcastic when I say it."

And you are everything that is wrong with this weird little town. Way to go!

>And you are everything that is wrong with this weird little town. Way to go!

Thanks. I do it for the fans.


I can control my car

Then this is a non-issue. When the cyclist who can't control his bike slips and falls in front of you, you will have been following at a safe distance and have plenty of time to stop and avoid running over the cyclist. Or hitting the car in front of you whose brake lights come on unexpectedly. Or the small child who runs into the roadway...


Is this rancor part of the fallout of the vanishing Main St bike/ski shop business model? Of Norwegian sweater-clad men translating risk-benefit terms into practical advice along with general lessons on self-preservation, fitness, conditioning, and overall savoir faire?

So much of the negativity in these comments has it's roots in insecurity. You bike. You're very proud of yourself for biking. In fact, for some reason, it's a significant part of your self-esteem. Unfortunately, nobody else cares, or if they care, they don't make a big enough deal out of it. And sometimes they even criticize you for things you do when you're biking - and you freak out, because you're so insecure.

So you bike "aggresively" but complain about how cars drive. And you don't follow traffic laws and then whine when you get called on it. And you generally act like a selfish ass because you've got all this pent up anger over your insecurity and you don't know how to behave around other people.

Keep on crying and endangering those around you bikers. I'm sure someday you'll get the praise that you so desperately crave instead of the critiques that you so desperately rationalize.


It's pretty clear that anyone boneheaded enough to ride a bicycle in traffic in a snowstorm isn't going to see the light by reading a blog and comments written by mortals.

Jim C.


I don't bike on snowy days, though I bike most other times. I don't base my self-identity on the fact that I usually commute via bike. I enjoy it. It feels good, but I certainly don't need anyone to congratulate me. I only feel the need to bring it up when other vehicles refuse to share the road with me or make my commute dangerous, or when people like Paul attack the city for paying the same attention to my roads that it does to other people's. Most people who bike care far more about these simple practical matters than anything else.

Calling bikers selfish for acting like any other vehicle is like saying that gay people flaunt their sexuality when they're simply being as honest as any old straight person. It applies a double standard that refuses to treat people's different forms of transportation with fairness.


Jim C.

Oops. The design here confuses. Previous comment addressed to the mysterious no-name. My apologies.


Props to Paul - you really pulled the loons out of the woodwork this this one. Then again, you're dealing mostly with the hipster fixie crowd who can do no wrong and look oh so cool in the cute little hats and capris. We can't all be NYC bike mesengers but we sure can dress the part, right?

Yeah, I bike commute and I work downtown and I have enough common sense to walk/drive/bus/etc when it's shity out because 1. I don't have a death wish and 2. I don't have anything to prove to anyone.

Keep up the good work Paul and PLEASE run for mayor again. Davie D has lost his mind and is no looking at mattery powered golf carts instead of trollys

Molly Bolt

After 30 some years in Madison, many many spent with a bicycle as my only transportation, I understand the frustrations with lack of consideration for bicyclists. I also understand that mutual respect goes a lot farther than "screw you, I'm riding here because I can, not because it makes sense or is the best or only option available."

I often have wondered why people refuse to use the bike paths. A lot of time and effort went into creating safe places to bicycle. So why, indeed, insist of tempting fate on Willy St.,or Gorham St., or any other incredibly busy street, during rush hour when there is a perfectly good path or alternative route a block or two away? I guess it makes a point, presumably about bicycle rights, but it comes off as more of a passive-aggressive and very foolish personal statement. Mostly annoying in its adolescent and dangerous tactics.

Paul, great commentary. And, like KB, I wish you would run again. The Mayor Dave regime is a stalled out disaster...

Not Paul

So Paul, KB and other like minded ilk :

Let me see if we can reduce this : When you're in you car, the world revolves around you and evrtyother person, being or object should just get the #&#@ out of your way ?

Not Paul

>>> Apologies for the typos in above post, corrected version follows:

So Paul, KB and other like minded ilk :

Let me see if we can reduce this : When you're in your car, the world revolves around you and every other person, being or object should just get the @$@$ out of your way ?


Awww...we hurt Notpauls feelings!

No, it's called COMMON SENSE. When conditions are poor enough that they're delaying school and pulling people out of ditches, it's time to put away your bike and fucking WALK to work. Your selfrightousness and uber-green wannabe attitude are endangering both yourself and the people who have to thread the needle around you while you head to Starbucks for your latte. It's jackasses like those on the bikes who expect the world to revolve around them

I'm guessing your the same idiots who ride up the righ side of the cars at interestions and then cork traffic when the light changes or who think events like critical mass are helpful when all you're doing is f@@@ing it up for people who actually obey the law and try to become part of traffic instead of messing it up and making the rest of us endure the wrath resulting from your stupidity and elevated sense of self worth

Matt Logan

There seems to be a lot of "Attribution Error" going on here with respect to why bicyclists are using streets during snowy conditions. Folks, you need to consider the situation us bicyclists are in before you attribute our behavior to insanity, and it really shouldn't be that hard for you because our motivations are pretty much the same as those of the people who choose to drive:

I am at work, it is quittin' time, and I want to get home for dinner in the fastest, safest, and most convenient way possible.

Sometimes, that is going to mean using Willy Street because, contrary to popular opinion, the bike paths are not always plowed before Willy Street.

Riding in a storm like that may look more dangerous than it really is. With the proper equipment and experience, it is possible to ride safely in a snow storm. I know plenty of bicyclists who opted to ride the bus to/from work this week, and I respect their judgment about knowing their own limits. I hope you respect my judgment in knowing my limits too.


I commute via bike and just wanted to clear a few things up.

I don't wear capri pants. I don't run red lights. I keep my bike under control. I could give a crap about the environment. I don't ride on roads to be passive-aggressive. I do it when it's the best place to ride. I don't cork intersections or participate in critical mass. I'm not walking to work, because that would take 3 hours.


All you damn bicyclists piss me off. You think you own the damn road. The state spends thousands of dollars a year on hundreds of miles of bike path, USE IT! I dont understand why in the summer you are on all the curvy hilly roads in the country, USE THE DAMN BIKE PATH!!!!! Every summer I nearly hit a dozen or so of you jackasses. KEEP ON THE TRAILS YOU DUMB FUCKTARDS AND STAY OFF THE ROADS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Not Paul

KB & RC = Jackasses who probably have revoked driver licenses. Is one of you actually Tracy "my throat itches so I don't have to look where I'm going" Sorum ?


Geez, Paul, why pick on us bicycle commuters we free up parking spaces in the city, we don't pollute your air that you breathe (we don't have to idle our vehicles in the morning before we begin our commute), 98% of the time don't cause more congestion on the streets and are a healthy bunch of people that help keep health insurance premiums lower. It looks like we do a lot more for you then not and here you are bashing us on a wintery day. Just how many bicycle riders ticked you off that day compared to other cars? I bet more cars gave you a headache then that one lonely bicyclist. I am your friendly year round bicyclist that rides on the bike paths in the winter, but like all of us, we have to take a road to get to a path, how neat it would be if at the end of every bicyclist's driveway there was a path and it went all the way to our work places. All path riders have to go on the roads at some point, and we expect a little courtesy from drivers until we get to that point.
Debbie, Madison Wisconsin


Mr. Soglin,
I've never looked at your blog before....have no need to do so, but I did note mention of it in the newspaper this morning as I waited for coffee at the machine. As a part-time bicycle commuter, I found the topic interesting.

I've read your posting and some of the rants it has stimulated. Quite a fascinating display of pseudointellectual social banter going on, but that's not why I'm here.

I take greater issue with the situation in Madison with idiots. It was posted before, the problem is not the bicyclists, but the IDIOTS on bicyclists. To paraphrase a movie line "I see stupid people, they're everywhere, but they don't know their stupid."

I'm sick and tired of seeing the local bicycle communting / traveling / wandering idiot that seems to feel they have some special right on the road. As a bicyclist on the road, you are a VEHICLE on the road. Act like a vehicle, not an IDIOT.

Many of the local bicyclists take it upon themselves to sneak in between cars at intersections to get up to the intersection and cross before it's legal (the light is still red). Take the opportunity and shoot these nitwits...those that ride unprepared / uneducated in the snow will hopefully remove themselves from the gene pool by their own volition.

For those that choose to ride the SW commuter path, use your damn heads. You should signal appropriately at intersections and properly announce that you are passing other cyclists, among many, many, many other things. Shoot those idiots as well.

As for the other "issues" at hand. Bicycle helmets have been designed to improve aerodynamics for racing, not for real safety. The "safety" issue is pushed by the bicycling industry as a means to sell products to people that don't need them. Search the statistics on closed head injury and think about when it would be most important to wear a safety helmet.

Lastly, don't forget, the ice age never happened.


This would all be far less of a problem if Madison simply PLOWED ITS STREETS, and used ADEQUATE AMOUNTS OF DEICER. Instead, the city worries about spending a little money on a vital service. Plus, cares not a fig about the safety of human beings such as pedestrians - instead it frets way too much about "stressing" the expendable slimy vermin infesting the lakes. Oh, and it cares not a fig about the Disabilities Act, violating the spirit wholesale by leaving every intersection an impassable sheet of bumpy rutted ice. But the worries are just flimsy excuses for poor service - what do regular people matter, when our City Council clowns just want to dump ever more money into pet projects and other social parasites?

The contrast across the Middleton or even Fitchburg city line is just stunning. Last Saturday, Madison's shiftless plushbottomed bureaucrats sat around on their bloated backsides until the snow froze up into a hard mass, before they deigned to really get the crews out. So, almost a week later, many of Madison's streets are still a hazardous, bone-jarring experience even in a car (forget walking anywhere, forget bicycling.) Middleton is not too bad at all - it's driveable, and most of it would even be bikeable with the right tires.

Oh, and then there's places like the bombed-out section of Old Middleton Road, places that aren't too good even in July. Not only won't Madison PLOW its streets, it refuses even to MAINTAIN them.

Mr. Former Mayor, what on earth do we pay Madison's huge taxes for???

Jim C.

I echo Tom and Matt. I choose the fastest, most convenient route home when I drive, and I choose the fastest, most convenient route home when I bike. I never bike in the road to prove a point; I only do so when snow, slush, or ice are in the bike lanes (on Johnson and Gorham, my routes, this happens frequently during the winter). I prefer to bike rather than take the bus or drive when I can. It gets me closer to my destination, saves me about $7 in parking, and frees me from an erratic Madison bus schedule.

As more and more people choose to bike year-round, drivers will need to spend more time sharing the roads. It's the law. And it's the fair thing to do.


"Let me see if we can reduce this : When you're in your car, the world revolves around you and every other person, being or object should just get the @$@$ out of your way?"

So you're actually the victim here and everybody else is just being rude and self-absorbed for asking you to behave responsibly.

It's comforting to look at things from that perspective, isn't it?

don't want to be ruled by the middle east

I am sick and tired of America-haters who want everyone to drive enough to allow the Saudis to own our whole country. Patriots pedal, traitors drive!


I wrote: "That said, with the proper tires and technique, you can easily, and safely, navigate Madison's roadways - and without impeding traffic."

And you responded: "Sorry, bicycling in last night's storm was neither easy or safe. The bicyclists were struggling to stay on two wheels. Do as you please on the bike paths and lanes, plowed or not."

What part of my sentence didn't you understand? With the **proper tires and technique** you can safely navigate winter road conditions on a bicycle. This is not to say that all cyclists who bike in the winter do so using the proper equipment, nor the proper technique. What about the thousands of commuting cyclists in cities all over the US and Canada who do so successfully every year? Moreover, what about the working cyclists, bicycle couriers, who do so for a living all day every day?


You are in danger of becoming a grumpy old man who has forgotten how to have fun. Lighten up.


I am a biker who obeys the rules. I stop at stop signs, I signal, I wear my helmet, and I bike in the snow. I do not bike in the midst of a blizzard. I bike on the plowed sections of roads, Madison has done a horrible job plowing the bike lanes. I have an equal and legal right to bike where it is safe. It is not safe for me to bike on the unplowed bike lane that is covered by ice. It is legal for me to bike in a lane, and take the lane if necessary. At all times of the year I am harassed, honked at, and nearly run over by people who neglect to check their blind spot.

I understand that you were not trying to be offensive and that humor is an important part of writing a blog post, but as someone who identifies with the biking culture it saddens me that you would make this type of comment. I don't think it is wrong to be critical of bikers, but bikers are highly persecuted group and think that someone in your position in the community should choose his words more carefully.


I'm the guy in the picture and I've ridden my bike to work every day for nearly 7 years. I have several bikes set up for various weather conditions, including snow and ice. I am almost 50 years old and have nothing to prove to anyone--I like biking and am confident in my abilities. It is as natural for me to ride in weather that others may find risky as it is for has been politicians to seek attention. No need to shoot anyone.

Jake Shedivy

As I'm sure you already know, there are a lot of students here in Madison, especially near the downtown area. Being a student usually means one is strapped for time and money. With so many students having busy class schedules, a lot depend on bikes to get from class to class and place to place on time. Nevertheless, bicyclist should do whatever possible to minimize the danger of biking, regardless of the weather. This means using proper turn signals, wearing helmets, using lights at night, and exercising patience and caution.

The bikes should use the plowed bike lanes and paths?! I noticed that the major bike lane on the University, the one seperated from University Ave. by a curb (to protect bicyclists from people who want to shoot them), was not plowed as of December 6th. Also, while riding home to S. Mills St. on Tuesday night from Memorial Library, I noticed that the bike/bus lane on the North side of University Ave. was untouched by plows. I was biking North on Mills St. Thursday night on my way to class at Van Hise and a car was behind me. After this driver became frustrated enough, he honked at me. Curiously, there was a red light less than a block ahead of us; why the rush? Perhaps it was you? Perhaps the City of Madison and the University should do a better job of snow removal BEFORE it turns into a 6" glacier!

I ride my bike to class every day and would never arrive on time if I had to walk or wait for a bus. Bikes are very crucial to a lot of us and are an excellent mode of transportation. I feel that bikes and cars should be able to coexist regardless of the weather, and, living in such a “green” city, I would expect this to be the common thought. As someone stated in your blog before, there are very few “nice” paths in the downtown area. Bike commuters have to go from path to path on roads; students use the roads to get to classes because there are very few bike paths around the heart of campus. If everyone exercises a fair amount of caution and patience, we will not have these disputes. I would argue that my bike, which has studded tires, fenders, disk brakes, a full suspension, and lights is much safer than your car for the simple fact that it cannot achieve as much speed, is not as large, and does not have an engine, and therefore poses much less danger to myself and others.

So, the next time I am riding my bike, probably in this crappy weather, I will make sure that I take care of everything on my end, and you make sure to take care of everything on your end; then we can all arrive at our destinations in a timely, safe manner. If I am biking in front of you, please exercise caution and do not follow too closely; after all, I do not have that nice big car with airbags to protect me. If I am following you, I will make sure to stay back far enough so that if you hit someone or need to come to a sudden stop (to shoot a bicyclist riding in a snow storm), I can stop without crashing into the back of you. Usually, you’re going faster than I am anyways. I have as much right to ride my bike on that road as you do to drive your car. I have to follow traffic signals the same as you do. Just try and cheer up and stop blurting things from your mouth that will earn you condemnation. It would not be unexpected for a group of people to be offended and upset when someone claims they “should be shot”.

P.S. You have however given me a nice excuse if I am late for class. I will just let my professor/TA know that I had to walk because I was scared Paul Soglin might shoot me for riding my bike in the snow…


I understand the need and pleasure some bike rider have for the use of two wheel transportation. However, I have yet to understand the need to be lying down while bike riding. I say this because I drive school bus and intersect the bike paths at several places. The bike rider seem to think all drivers look out for them, and there is no need for them to take caution as they approach a street, to which they have to cross. If you noticed (And I truly believe a lot of bike riders don't!!!!!) There is a STOP sign on the bike path which the rider is to obey. I can count on one hand the number of bike riders that stop. Most coast through the stop sign or never stop at all. Several times since the snow falls, I was required to apply the brakes quickly due to the bike riders not stopping, while they attempt to speed cross the street. Several times I would call to them and remind them they went through the stop sign, at which time I would either get the finger or the reply "That's your problem" Going North off Williamson St. down the hill on Dickerson St., There a bike path that goes across Dickerson and onto Wilson. A several ton school bus, loaded with children is not the easiest thing to stop on a dime, when going down a icy,snow covered street. Bikers enjoy your rides, summer, winter and fall, however, remember to obey the law and you'll never win if you collide with a 2ton vehicle.


I live in the southwest, so we don't have big snowstorms. I did live in Richland Center for years though, so I know snow. I stop riding to work, 8 miles one way, in mid december until after new years because the drivers are thinking about way too many other things such as parties and getting presents. I start to feel unsafe.

Cars just do not see bicyclists when the weather is good. When it is bad, we become totally invisible. In my nearly 30 years of commutting, I have been hit by several cars. They ALL say, the did not see me, even though I work on being very visible.

5" of unplowed snow, or badly plowed snow, is not a good place for cyclists. Big cars, small bikes do not mix.

Paul, you should not encourage the drivers. Most hate us on our bikes. Over the years, I have had at least 6 guns pointed at me by drivers....not fun I can tell you. Besides, they drive vehicles that can crush me in an instant. They don't need encouragement.


The bottom line is that there are stupid car drivers and stupid cyclists. Both may get themselves killed.

Making statements about an entire group of people who cycle in the winter is just as stupid as saying all cars should stay off the road because there where numerous car accidents reports throughout the city during the storm (probably more than bikes, and probably more severe/costly).

I'm a safe cyclist (and driver) in the winter. I don't push the limits and I'm always in control. The problem is, I can't say that about everyone else (car or bike). As a cyclist, if there is some roads beyond my ability or increases the likelihood that I'll come in contact with bad drivers, I walk.

FYI: Last Monday with all the ice on the road (after the Sunday rain) was 100 times more dangerous than a foot of snow.

FYI: Last Monday with all the ice on the road (after the Sunday rain) was 100 times more dangerous than a foot of snow.


Cyclists are entitled to a lane of traffic. Grow up.


I was a was a UW Madison student during the time Paul was Mayor.
An avid bicyclist at the time, I had a winter bicycle.
It had a Sturmey Archer hubs with drum brakes, the rear hub being a planetary geared 3 speed.
These were laced to what environmentally sadly to me became referred to as "Mountain Bike Rims".
I used an old Campy NR crankset with the small chianring fixed backwards on the outer mount.
Well, in hindsight, I should be shot for using the Campy crankset !

Snowfall is blinding to a bicyclist.
Goggles are just as safety necessary as a helmet is and always was.
In a fix, a piece or food service film can be used.
Just wrap it around your forehead to cheekbones covering your eyes.
It really works !

I still have my 1970's Bell Helmet with two reflective stipes!
[ The pads are newer though :) ]
I use a much newer helmet now.

Stay off the main roads and buslines !
Madison Buses are notorious for cutting off cyclists in any weather !
Madison buses are notorious for chasing down cyclists at high speed from behind !
In snowfall be lit up like a high powered LED Chistmas Tree !

Dan Sebald

There were some posts wondering why cyclist can't ride on bicycle paths, always.

The reason is that bike paths don't go everywhere one needs to go. To get to Willy Street Co-op, one has to leave the bike path. I again remind people that Williamson Street is not a freeway. No city street is.

Also, not all cyclists travel the same speed. Bicycle paths can be dangerous when there is a cyclist who is traveling fast relative to other cyclists, roller bladers, joggers, children wobbling on a bicycle, walkers with two dogs and a stroller, etc.

I occassionally use bike paths, and when I do I never fly past anyone. I'm thankful for them because they are multiuse havens. (Remember when consensus was that they'd never be used?) I acknowledge there are cyclists who travel through road crossings without slowing adequately. Wish they wouldn't.

I don't want to be ruled by the Middle East

I can't believe how many gas-guzzling, terrorist-loving traitors there are in Madison, WI. Amazing.


When you can pedal that bicycle 55 mph, then you should be considered a vehicle. You like to obey whichever set of laws gives you the advantage. I see bikes whipping through stop signs all the time. But then you want to be considered a vehicle and block traffic. What a crock!

Your car is the only hazard.

If you can't deal with the winter on a bike, then I don't see how you can "pedal" with the best of them. And as far as the person who stated that we've ruined a "good recreational sport"; you obviously don't get it. It's not recreation, it's transportation. It's environmentalism. It's employment. It's a way of life for some of us. Weekend warriors get out of the way.


I can bike in 5 inches of snow safely. If I fall over there is quite a cushion waiting for me. Its fun, almost as fun as skiing, and if one is a bit conservative, there is very little danger of skidding under a car or some other equally improbably thing. This ex-mayor cyclist is defending his statements pretty weakly. Does he have experience riding in the snow even? I am thinking no, he does not.

Oh, and congratulations on being featured on Good luck on that cycle advocacy, it is basically a logical fallacy to claim that these cyclists are making other cyclists look bad, that is a mistake by those making such unsupported generalizations and is not at all the fault of those cycling in an extreme way. Its like saying drunk drivers make all drivers look bad.

Happy Bike Winter from Chicago! Plan a snow ride today! Chicks dig it, and they will call the ambulance if some driver entranced in his car culture takes liberties with your safety and you are injured through no fault of your own. It will actually improve your cycling skill to learn how to ride under adverse conditions and falling on snow is decent practice on how to fall.

Tom Cordery

Paul, your comments decrying any bicycle use of roads during winter is off the mark. A properly equipped bicycle, controlled by an experienced operator who obeys the traffic laws and follows Effective Cycling or similar practices, is at least as winter-worthy a mode of transportation as anything on four wheels. If there's specific cyclist behaviours you're concerned about then by all means go there and you'd probably get some concensus (wrong way riding, no lights, going through stop signs for a few), but not all cyclists out in the weather you've described were idiots any more than were all motorists.

To the bus driver who commented on cyclists rolling through stop signs, yes you are absolutely right about that. But that's parallel to the situation with motorists, only 7% of whom routinely stop properly at stop signs and red lights.

If you don't believe me you can check this out yourself. Set yourself up by a stop sign and watch the cars. Look for people rolling through the sign or stopping in the wrong place. You'll see less than 1 in 10 do it properly. There is no answer to this beyond public education and enforcement, neither of which seem to be happening.

Incidentally Paul, the all-season tires you purchased for your FWD car, 'specially to accomodate winter', are really not adequate winter tires. Get yourself some good, modern winter tires and a spare set of steel rims. I do this every winter with my car. It's not too much trouble or expense to improve the safety of yourself and others. I'm constantly astonished by motorists who take the 'all season' label as the truth, say that winter tires on all four wheels are unnecessary, and then complain about the 'terrible' conditions when there's a bit of snow. In my part of the world many of us sneeringly refer to your tires as 'three season radials', but we have lots of misinformed people here who also misuse them as you do. In many northern countries it's illegal to drive during winter without fitting four PROPER winter tires.

Whether on two wheels or four, equip your vehicle properly, take the time and trouble to see and be seen, operate your vehicle in a predictable, legal manner, and SLOW DOWN for the conditions and the capabilities of yourself and your vehicle.

Remember, if you slide into something it's not because of the conditions. It's a 'crash' or 'collision', not an 'accident'. It's because you failed to maintain care and control, by operating beyond your limits.


I was on vacation so I missed this wonderful discussion. Allow me to propose this simple test to determine if conditions are safe to bike. Leave the name calling and snide remarks for your family.

You will need your bike and a friend who can run.

Winter Road Safety Test for Bicyclist

1. Find a flat spot of pavement away from any traffic that has snow conditions on it similar to the bike path or road you are considering navigating.

2. Sit on you bicycle seat with your front wheel aligned straight forward, hands on the handlebars, one foot on a pedal and the other on the ground for balance.

3. Have your friend take a nice long running start from straight behind you. When your friend reaches you have them push as hard as they can on the bike seat or your lower back in the direction your front wheel is pointing. At this same moment be sure to pick up your foot that was balancing you and place it on the pedal.

What happened?

If you accelerated forward in the direction your front wheel was pointed without any major deviation and you did not need to place your feet down to balance yourself then the roads are safe. Navigate to your destination safely.

If you and/or your friend skidded out of control and ate shit while performing this test then the roads are not safe to navigate on your bicycle and you're dumb.

Kelly Madison

I think everyone using 2 wheels(or more) or 4 wheels or 2 legs to get anywhere during a snowstorm needs to be aware of the conditions and who (what) else is traveling on the same roads they are. And I hope none of them take the suggestion to shoot bicyclists has been seriously. What will the chubby has been think of next? Shooting pedestrians who don't wear proper footwear for walking in snowy/icy conditions. As a long time aging biker, I'm not offended by any of the remarks about bicyclists because I know that motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists all can present a hazard to others on the road. What has me ticked off is the suggestion that anyone should be taken out and shot. Might have been funny to say that at one time but times have changed

T.C. O'Rourke

If you are close enough to someone that you cannot avoid hitting them should they make a sudden stop, you're driving too close.

If you pass a cyclists at a proper distance, they're not going to 'fall under your wheels,' should they wipe out.

If you have to rant, do it about something that counts.

OK. You're right. A handful of people ride bikes, slowly, in the middle of the street, in blizzards. You have to slow down or perhaps pass more carefully. Big deal. Given that our society surrenders every possible resource-- space, cash, energy, air quality-- so that you can cart your ass around everywhere with the least possible effort, perhaps you could just be benevolent about it.

rampaging santa

get geared up! !
Nice site for all your Winter cycling needs...

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