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UW police stop bicyclists, give away free bike lights

Published On: Oct 30 2012 10:19:18 PM CDT
MADISON, Wis. -

Some bicyclists on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus were surprised Tuesday night when they were stopped by police because of safety concerns.

State law requires bicyclists to have at least a front light on their bikes after sunset. The fine for not having a bike light is about $160.

UW-Madison police on Tuesday stopped bikers who were violating the law, but instead of ticketing them, they educated them and also set them up with free front and back lights for their bikes.

"A lot of them don't know it's a state law, and then you also get another good chunk of violators who know and they just don't have the money for it," said Kristin Radtke, a UW-Madison police officer.

"I think it's a pretty good idea. I've seen a lot of bike crashes -- daytime and nighttime here on campus -- and they're pretty ugly, so I'd like to avoid those," said Drew Conner, a UW-Madison freshman.

UW-Madison police partnered with Safe Communities and received a grant through the Dane County Bike Association in order to make the light giveaway possible.

Police gave out 50 bike lights Tuesday, and they plan to give out another 50 in the next few weeks.

In Dane County this month, two bicyclists have been killed in crashes.

Officers said Tuesday's event is a great reminder for people to keep themselves as visible as possible while riding their bikes, no matter the time of day. 

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