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Wisconsin Bike Fed hopes to remind drivers "We Are All Pedestrians"

By Ryan Jenkins,


MILWAUKEE — It's Wisconsin Bike Week and one of the main goals of the Wisconsin Bike Federation is to humanize pedestrians and cyclists while raising awareness around safety.

"I remember being the person driving who was really frustrated either behind a cyclist or I couldn't find a parking space," said Marybeth McGinnis, a program manager for Milwaukee Walks, a division of the Wisconsin Bike Fed.

She rode her bike to the intersection of 27th and Wisconsin on Monday to host a "Crosswalk Day of Action." The event helps to remind drivers about the rules of the road in high pedestrian areas.

"One of the things that makes biking and walking safer is more people trying it out and getting on the roads because then drivers expect people to be biking more," said McGinnis.

That's one reason bikers joined Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson for a bike ride through Walker's Point early Monday morning.

"If you feel safe riding your bike down a busy street like National Avenue, you're going to feel safe walking down the street, visiting businesses on that street, waiting for the bus or driving on the street," said Mayor Johnson.

The mayor also doubled down on his commitment to invest in bike-friendly infrastructure throughout the entire city.

"Over the next few years, we'll be constructing over 20 miles of new protected bike lanes on streets," said Johnson. "Streets like Lapham Blvd. Streets like Lincoln Avenue, streets like Howard Avenue, Highland Blvd, Walnut Street, Lisbon Avenue, Hopkins Street, Roosevelt Drive, Van Bueren, Michigan Streets and so many more streets will be able to be protected and be able to have more people with easier better safer access to biking infrastructure."

Local bikers are excited to hear that news. But, beyond engineering, McGinnis thinks education is just as critical. It's why she says the Wisconsin Bike Fed is launching the "We are all pedestrians" campaign — an effort to humanize pedestrians.

"We are helping people understand which driving behaviors are dangerous to pedestrians," said McGinnis.

McGinnis says we will start to see billboards popping up around the city with messaging aimed at keeping pedestrians and cyclists safe when out and about. An intentional push for safety at the start of Wisconsin Bike Week.

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