It’s a small bill, but it’s indicative of the ascendency of bikes.
Assembly Bill 668 would require that bikes operated on most multi-use state trails (but not mountain bike trails) be equipped with lights on the front and rear. It’s a common sense rule that the Bike Fed supports.
But the reason it’s even an issue is a good one. Simply put, more people are biking at different times of the year. The advent of fat bikes especially means more people are biking on trails and coming into contact with other users. Most notably, in the winter they’re sharing the trail with snowmobilers and, in fact, it was the Wisconsin Snowmobile Association that requested the bill.
While we’ve had a recent shot of real Midwestern winter in southern Wisconsin during the last week and a half, it has otherwise been another snowless season. Trails that once supported many weekends of snowmobiling may now sit vacant for months on end due to global climate change. Bikes could be the answer to keep the trails in use and the tourism industry healthy.
So, making yourself visible on a multi-use trail is the safe thing for you, but it’s also the courteous thing to do for other users. And the very fact that the bill has even been introduced is an indication that cycling is an expanding part of the tourism industry.
The bill was voted out of committee last week and we expect it to pass both houses by the time the legislature adjourns next month.