Madison Aims For Platinum Status With National Cycling Organization

City Plans On Improving Bike Lanes, Paths, Safety Education

Madison currently has a gold level ranking with the League of American Bicyclists. Photo: Matthew Berggren (CC-BY-SA).

Madison currently has a gold level ranking with the League of American Bicyclists, but now it’s trying to become the first city in the Midwest to achieve platinum status.

Cities in western states have gotten the platinum rating as most bikable places the U.S.: There’s Fort Collins, Colo.; Davis, Calif.; Boulder, Colo.; and of course, Portland, Ore. Madison plans to apply for this coveted status with the League of American Bicyclists next summer.

In the meantime, Madison Mayor Paul Soglin is asking people to get involved by going on the city’s website to see and submit suggested bike improvements. Soglin expects to hear from avid cyclists, but is also hoping get feedback from a wide range of residents from different socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

“The more people who participate in our survey, the better the results, and the more we’ll be able to enlist support from the city council, staff, and your friends and neighbors,” said Soglin.

Possible biking improvements in the city include things like new paths, lanes, and more safety education for school kids.

Peter Gray, on the city’s Platinum Bicycle Committee, says that in 1969 half the kids across the nation biked or walked to school. That number has dropped drastically over the years in Madison and elsewhere: “13 percent of kids walk or bike to school, when over 50 percent of Madison’s kids live within two miles of their school.”

Education, both for motorists and those on a bike, is one category in which Madison fared poorly in the most recent ranking by the League of American Bicyclists: It got a 3 out of 10. Bike advocates say they are determined to boost that rating.