Bicycling

A helmeted bicyclists rides in a protected bike lane in the early evening, with the bike's front light bright. A row of cars, headlights on, are off to the right side.
Bike covered in fall leaves is leaning against a brick wall.
Image of a biker in a purple t-shirt and black shorts wearing a helmet and using a protected bike lane. To the right is a yellow road sign showing a biker with a helmet, another sign below it reading "Share the Road."

Bike Parking Options

Bike racks are located near almost every building on campus. A list of sheltered wintertime bike parking locations can be found on the bicycle commuting page.

Image of a student walking near several bikes parked at bike racks in front of Chadbourne Residence Hall on the UW-Madison campus.
A pedestrian walks past parked bikes and a sign for Barnard Hall and Chadbourne Residential College (Photo by Jeff Miller/UW-Madison)

Bicycle cages are shared storage areas with a secure locking system and protection from the weather. Cages are a great option for bicycle commuters who wish to keep their bicycles and accessories safe. There is no limit on the amount of time your bike can be stored, which makes a bike cage a great option for students who don’t want to bring their bikes home for the winter. Any UW-Madison employee or student is eligible to rent space in a bike cage.

New applicants can place themselves on a waitlists online for bike cage locations. Applicants will be sent an offer to purchase when one of their waitlist locations opens up. Please note that lockers and cages do not turn over very often, so there may be a long wait.

Existing renters may renew their locker or cage annually. An offer to renew will be sent in summer each year. Existing renters must accept their renewal offer before the noted deadline or they may lose their rental spot.

Bike cage locations:

  • In Lot 29 (21 N. Park Street Ramp)
  • In Lot 10 (Education Building)
  • In Lot 27 (Nancy Nicholas Hall Garage)

Also see the map of campus bike locker and cages.

Annual cost

  • $65, prorated monthly

How to join the bike cage waitlist:

    1. Visit the Transportation Services eBusiness portal
    2. Click Add/Edit Bike Locker or Moped Waitlists (located under Permits)
    3. Click Employee or Student Login and login with your NetID
    4. Check the I Agree box
    5. Click Next under Add/Edit your Account Waitlists
    6. Select locations (up to two) to be on the waitlist for and follow directions provided
    7. When a spot at your waitlist location opens up, you will be sent an offer to purchase online. You will need to log in again at that time to pay for the cage.

Join the Bike Cage Waitlist

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Bicycle lockers are individual storage units constructed of a highly durable waterproof material with a security locking system. These features protect a bicycle from adverse weather conditions and deter thieves and vandals.

There is no limit on the amount of time your bike can be stored in the locker. Any UW-Madison employee or student is eligible to rent a bike locker. They are available to rent on a first-come, first-served basis.

New applicants can place themselves on a waitlists online for bike cage locations. Waitlists are reviewed regularly, and applicants will be sent an offer to purchase when one of their waitlist locations opens up. Please note: lockers do not turn over very often, so there may be a long wait.

Existing renters are given the right of first refusal for renewals.

Dimensions and specifications:

Each locker is approximately 40 inches wide, 70 inches in length, and 50 inches tall. The lockers house two separate spaces with one door on each end and a divider in the middle.

Locations

  • AFCH/Lot 63B
  • Bock Labs
  • Computer Science
  • Grainger Hall
  • Lot 36 (Observatory Drive Ramp)
  • Memorial Library
  • Steenbock Library
  • Taylor Hall
  • UW Hospital/Lot 75
  • UWMF Centennial Building
  • Veterinary Medicine
  • Waisman Center
  • WARF Building

Also see the map of campus bike locker and cages.

Annual cost

  • $85, prorated on a monthly basis

How to join the bike cage waitlist:

    1. Visit the Transportation Services eBusiness portal
    2. Click Add/Edit Bike Locker or Moped Waitlists (located under Permits)
    3. Click Employee or Student Login and login with your NetID
    4. Check the I Agree box
    5. Click Next under Add/Edit your Account Waitlists
    6. Select locations (up to two) to be on the waitlist for and follow directions provided
    7. When a spot at your waitlist location opens up, you will be sent an offer to purchase online. You will need to log in again at that time to pay for the locker.
    8. If you receive an offer, accept and pay for it. You may pick up your key at the 124 WARF office after 11 a.m. the business day following payment confirmation.

Join the Bike Locker Waitlist

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Image shot outside the Elm Drive Bike Shelter in January 2020 before its official opening.The Elm Drive bike shelter is an enclosed shelter with 40 stalls of high-density bike racks. It is free and open to anyone with a valid Wiscard.

The shelter also features a bike “fix-it” station.

Bicycles may not remain parked in the shelter for more than 72 hours.

Location: The shelter is between Dejope, Bradley, and Sullivan residence halls in Lot 37.

Location of the Elm Street Bicycle Shelter is starred; located in Lot 37. East of Dejope Hall, west of Sullivan Hall, and south of Bradley Hall.
Location of the Elm Street Bicycle Shelter is starred; located within Lot 37. Shelter is among the Lakeshore residence halls, east of Dejope Hall, west of Sullivan Hall, and south of Bradley Hall.

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Want to ride your bike to the game? Try our bicycle parking corral, free for UW game attendees. The bicycle parking corral is sponsored by UW Transportation Services and provided by the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin using Saris racks.

The corral is open for bicycle parking from two hours before game start until one hour after game end.

A corral attendant will greet you and provide instructions for parking your bike. You should bring a lock to secure your bike, but the corral area will also be watched by attendants (do not leave any other items of value with your bicycle).

Located off the Southwest Commuter Bike Path, just east of the intersection of Monroe and Regent Streets. Bicycle Corral Map (PDF)

Check our Twitter feed for bike corral updates.

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Bike sharing is a great way to get the benefits of bicycling without having to maintain and keep track of a personal bicycle.

There are a couple of bike share options within the city of Madison, including Red Bike and Madison BCycle.

Find out more on our bikesharing page.

Bike Parking Rules

  • Only park in designated bicycle racks.
  • Illegally parked bikes obstruct walkways and handrails, which presents serious hazards for people who use wheelchairs, canes, walkers, or who have other mobility or visual difficulties. Please don’t park your bike in the line of travel to stairs, ramps, doorways, and automatic door-buttons.
  • Bikes locked to trees can cause serious damage to or even kill a tree. Please keep campus beautiful by not locking your bike to trees/shrubs.
  • Illegally parked bikes are subject to impoundment. Bike racks (except those at residence halls) are not intended as long-term storage areas.
  • Full bicycle parking restrictions are outlined in the bicycle parking policy.
  • If you are consistently having problems finding a parking spot, please use the bike suggestion form to let us know.

Getting Around

Interactive Bike Map

The Dane County interactive bike map shows bike routes, fix-it stations, BCycle locations, and much more.

Dane County Bike Map

Low-Stress Route Finder

Find an urban street route to your destination based on low, moderate, and unrestricted comfort levels.

Low-Stress Route Finder

Plan a Route

Have a specific question about biking to campus? Consult with a Commuter Solutions expert (for free!).

Route Planning Form

Bike Laws and Safety

Madison and Wisconsin laws recognize bicycles as vehicles, granting cyclists the same rights as other drivers on the road. However, along with these rights comes the responsibility to follow all traffic laws, just as you would in a motor vehicle. For specific information on bicycle laws, or any other law enforcement issue, please contact the UW Police Department for a copy of the brochure “What you need to know to ride safe”.

UW Police Department
1429 Monroe Street
Madison WI 53711
608-262-2957
www.uwpd.wisc.edu

Wisconsin law requires a white front light and a red rear reflector on bikes to increase nighttime visibility.

Need to buy bike lights or a helmet? UW Transportation Services and University Health Services (UHS) teamed up with some local bicycle shops to offer discounted bike lights and helmets. These bike safety coupons can be picked up at a Transportation Services office or downloaded (Bike safety coupon – PDF).

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In January 2021 the City of Madison repealed its long-standing mandatory bicycle registration requirement. The City is no longer accepting new bicycle registrations. Registration with a national bicycle registration database is still recommended, but voluntary.

For information on how to voluntarily register your bicycle with a national bicycle registration database, visit the City of Madison bicycle registration page.

For questions about bike registration, call the City of Madison’s bicycle program office at (608) 266-4474 or the UW Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator at (608) 263-2969.

Benefits of registering your bicycle

Bicycle Identification

If your bike is stolen, its serial number is needed to aid police in its recovery. When a bike is registered with the Madison Police Department, the serial number can be cross-referenced with the bike owner’s name, and acts as an independent proof of ownership. Recovered bicycles that are not registered have less chance of being returned to their rightful owners, since proof of ownership is often more difficult to obtain.

Theft Deterrence

Thieves may be less likely to steal a bike with a registration sticker since its owner can easily be identified. Stolen registered bicycles are posted on both statewide and nationwide crime computers.

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  • Communicate with other road users. Even expert bicyclists need to be prepared for motorists, pedestrians, and other cyclists behaving unpredictably.
  • Be visible. Wear bright colors during the day. Use good lights and reflectors at night. Wisconsin law requires at least a white front light and a red rear reflector. Make sure that other drivers can see you. Discount coupons for bike lights are available at all Transportation Services offices and for download: Bike safety coupon – PDF.
  • Communicate with other drivers. Make eye contact with them to be sure you have been seen. Signal turns and lane changes.
  • Be aware of hazards. Watch ahead for surface hazards like broken glass, sand and potholes. Weather and light conditions create visual hazards, too. Watch for other traffic, including pedestrians, at intersections and driveways. Adapt your riding style as needed to minimize these and other potential hazards.
  • Obey all traffic signs and signals. Obeying the law is your first defense against being involved in a crash, and is the best way to gain respect from other road users. Bicyclists can be ticketed for traffic violations.
  • Always ride with traffic. Besides being illegal, riding against traffic in the roadway makes you unpredictable, especially to drivers turning at intersections, exiting driveways, or leaving parking spaces.
  • Ride at least three feet from parked cars to avoid being hit by a suddenly opened car door. A motorist passing a bicyclist is also required to give a bicycle three feet of clearance when passing.
  • Cross railroad tracks at an angle to avoid catching your wheel and falling.
  • Ride defensively. Be aware of what is going on all around you, and watch out for other drivers’ mistakes. Some common situations to watch for include:
    • a motorist coming toward you who turns left in front of you
    • a motorist passing you and then turning right in front of you
    • a motorist pulling out from a stop sign, driveway or parking space without yielding to you
  • Wear a helmet. Head injuries cause 75% of bicyclist deaths. Protect yourself from the unexpected by wearing your helmet whenever you ride. Discount coupons for bike helmets are available at all Transportation Services offices and for download: Bike safety coupon – PDF.

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Bike impoundment

Bicycles are primarily impounded when they’re identified as abandoned—left in a bicycle parking area for more than three days (72 hours) without moving. Bike parking at University Housing facilities is an exception. Please note: the Elm Drive bike shelter is not part of a University Housing facility.

When possible, three days’ notice is given before removing bikes. Bicycles may need to be removed without notice if:

  • Pedestrian access is impeded (especially at handrails at steps or wheelchair ramps)
  • Emergency or construction needs arise

Bike recovery

If you think your bike has been impounded, contact the Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator at (608) 263-2969 or charles.strawser@wisc.edu. Please have information pertaining to the date and location your bike was last seen and a physical description of the bike.

If your bicycle was impounded from a location in the City of Madison not on the UW Campus (State Street Mall and some locations on University, Park, and Lake Streets), contact the City of Madison’s Bicycle Recovery Program.

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Bike disposal

Impounded bicycles unclaimed after 60 days are delivered to UW SWAP, where they are then made available for sale.

If you are moving and don’t want to take your bike with you, don’t abandon it! Donate your unwanted bike to a local non-profit program instead, such as:

Abandoned bicycle report form

To report what appears to be an abandoned bicycle, please use the feedback form below. Include as much detail as possible regarding location and bicycle description. Bikes are impounded several times per year. Your complaint will be kept until the next impounding session, at which time the bike will be tagged.

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Cyclist and Pedestrian Feedback