Mayor, aldermen kick off Wisconsin Bike Week

Posted at 11:49 AM, Jun 06, 2016

It's Wisconsin Bike Week, and Milwaukee city officials and employees cycled to work Monday morning in a show of support for the effort.

Mayor Tom Barrett, along with Aldermen Nick Kovac and Jose Perez, biked to the Zeidler building with employees from Milwaukee's Department of Public Works and members of the public.

"This is a great way for the city to celebrate the summer and to get in better shape," Barrett said.

The Mayor said bicyclists should benefit from the roadwork being done to repave bumpy streets around Milwaukee. Many roads in the city are under construction this summer.

"Our expressways, our buses, the downtown streetcar, the bicycles, it's all part of a comprehensive strategy to make it easier to get around Milwaukee," Barrett said.

Dave Schlabowske, Deputy Director of the Wisconsin Bike Federation, said the week is supposed to raise awareness about bicycle safety and also encourage more people to ride.

"Wisconsin has some of the best cycling in the country," Schlabowske said.

Barrett said the city is hoping to achieve "platinum" status as a cycling destination. Milwaukee is currently a bronze level city for bicycling, according to the League of American Bicyclists.

UW-Milwaukee Professor Bob Schneider said approximately 2,500 people bike to work in Milwaukee each day. He said the city would have to hit 25,000 people a day biking to work to achieve a platinum rating.

Schneider said the goal can be achieved though a collaborative approach of enforcing traffic laws, encouraging more people to bike, and the engineering of streets and trails to make them more bike friendly.

"Part of it is just encouraging people and letting them know that bicycling is an option," Schneider said.

Wisconsin Bike Week runs through Sunday.