"We are legal vehicles on the road:" Bicycle accidents spark roadway safety issues for Wisconsin

MILWAUKEE -- Several crashes involving cyclists have made headlines in the past weeks and it's spurring industry experts to speak out about staying safe.

"Following traffic, staying within, you know, on the sidewalk is okay but you can. Actually, we are legal vehicles on the road, we just want to make sure every traffic can see us on the road," said Amelia Kagel, Wheel and Sprocket Marketing Manager.

Amelia Kagel of Wheel and Sprocket suggests sporting reflective gear and carrying a light.

"More than anything, it's riding with traffic," said Kagel.

In spite of the recent string of serious accidents, FOX6 News is told Wisconsin still remains a relatively safe place to bike.

"We have very very few fatal crashes given half the population of the state rides a bike at some point in the time every year," said Dave Schlabowske, Deputy Director of Wisconsin Bike Fed.

Dave Schlabowske of the Wisconsin Bike Fed says one of the things that helps provide safe biking spaces is the Complete Streets law.

"Complete Streets requires that when you're using state and federal funds that a municipality consider facilities for bicycling and for walking," said Schlabowske.

Complete Streets only applies to new and reconstructed roadways -- and there are a number of exemptions. But Governor Walker has proposed repealing it as part of the budget.

Schlabowske thinks some municipalities have been frustrated with the implementation of the law but he doesn't think it should be scrapped altogether.

"All these other states are becoming more and more bicycle friendly. For us to repeal something that everybody else is doing would sort of give Wisconsin's bike industry a black eye," said Schlabowske.

A spokeswoman for Governor Walker tells FOX6 News, changing the Complete Streets law would align Wisconsin with federal regulations and reduce the regulatory burden on the Department of Transportation.

She also says the DOT will continue working with communities to make sure all forms of transportation, including bicycles and pedestrians, are accommodated on projects.