Campus News

It’s lit: UWPD initiative distributes bike lights, not citations

UWPD’s “Be Bright” initiative aims to ensure students have lights on both the front and back of their bikes.

Image By: Jacob Schellpfeffer

If UW-Madison police pull you over when you are riding your bike, they may just want to give you a light.

UWPD’s “Be Bright” initiative aims to ensure students obey the law by using white front bike lights visible from at least 500 feet away and a red rear reflector visible between 50 and 500 feet when riding their bikes at night.

While in the past UWPD partnered with local businesses, Trek Bicycle Corporation provided and installed the bike lights this year.

“[Trek was] kind enough to provide free bike lights,” Marc Lovicott, director of communications for UWPD, said. “When we stopped bikers who were in violation of the law, we educated them about the law and made sure they understood what they have to have [on their bikes]. Instead of writing a citation, we hand them a free bike light.”

According to Lovicott, students have reacted positively to the initiative. He said while students were initially worried about getting a $150 citation for not following the law, they changed their attitude when they realized they are receiving a free light.

“It is a nice thing to watch, and it’s great in that we are spreading the word,” Lovicott said. “It is a fun story that we hope [students] will tell their friends about and get the word out that you do need to get a bike light.”

Jacob Keller, the vice president of cycling club at UW-Madison, said the bike light initiative is a “huge gain” for the campus. According to Keller, lights are “right behind helmets” in importance for safety.

Although UWPD has not scheduled any more bike-related events, Lovicott said the department will “react to issues that we see happening on campus.”

“We are not sure what lies ahead for the rest of the fall, and we will play that by ear,” Lovicott said. “Whenever we see issues, we always try to use it as an opportunity to educate our students.”

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