Milwaukee Bike Theft Reduction Initiative

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Police Department provides the following information regarding its participation in the Milwaukee Police Department’s Bicycle Theft Reduction Initiative (MKEBTR).

Additional information may be directly located on the MPD MKEBTR website here.

Securing Bicycles

No bicycle lock is guaranteed to survive the efforts of a determined bicycle thief. However, it is possible to minimize the odds of your bicycle being targeted through a few of the following suggestions.

  • Utilize U-Locks rather than Cable locks as the primary method of securing your bicycle
  • Cable Locks are a common target of bicycle thefts. Check reviews of the four commons types of bicycle locks; U-Locks, Chain Locks, Folding Locks, and Cable Locks, before you purchase what fits your needs for security, practicality, and price.
  • Secure both the frame and front wheel of your bicycle, with two U-Locks if possible
  • When available, use locations that are preferably metal or are securely attached to the ground when securing your bicycle. Such as; a bicycle rack, a light pole, or other “immovable” object.



ULock Example
Bicycle Locked with ULock to Bicycle Rack Example

Bicycle Registration

Reviewing the 2018 Uniform Crime Reporting data provided by the FBI shows a bicycle is stolen nearly every 3 and a half minutes in the United States. While some organizations estimate bicycle theft in the United States is much higher since the data reflects only reported bicycle thefts to Police throughout the United States.

Bicycle Registration is critical to supporting efforts in bicycle recovery, identification, and theft reduction. Bicycle thieves have been known to sell bicycles out of the region where the bicycle was initially taken.

UW-Milwaukee Police Department, in partnership with the MKE BTR, advise all riders in the UWM community to register their bicycles with BikeIndex.org



Bike Index is a non-profit bicycle registry, accessible nationwide, and at no fee!
UW-Milwaukee Police Officers, and many other Police agencies, can utilize Bike Index as a resource to reunite stolen bicycles with their owners.

Reporting Lost/Stolen Bicycles

Notifying the UW-Milwaukee Police Department as soon as feasible of a crime on campus is recommended. UWM PD can be notified through multiple methods.

  • Bicycle theft reports can be given in person at the UW-Milwaukee Police Department. We are right on campus in the base of Sandburg Residence Halls – West Tower, 3410 N. Maryland Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53211
  • Officers can take bicycle theft reports by phone through our non-emergency phone line, (414) 229-4627
  • UW-Milwaukee Police are available 24/7 through an online Contact Us form here
  • Initial contact for reporting a bicycle theft may be made through the RAVE Guardian phone app. More information available here

Bicycle Community Resources

The UW-Milwaukee community and surrounding area is rich in bicycle enthusiasts and services. Many of these organizations offer great opportunities to learn about the wonderful sport and exercise of bicycling as well as about the Milwaukee community. While this is not a comprehensive list of resources, please visit these resources for more information about bicycling at UWM, the Milwaukee community, and in Wisconsin.

Notable Bicycle Statutes

With the help of information compiled by our sister agency UW-Oshkosh Police Department’s Pedestrian Safety webpage (uwosh.edu/police/pedsafety) and review of the State of Wisconsin Department of Transportation – Bicycle Safety (webpage), we compiled the following sections of information.

Bicycle, pedestrian, skateboard, and motor vehicle traffic significantly increases each year during the fall semester. The traffic safety information below may prove useful today, tomorrow, or sometime in the future.

Please remember that safety is the responsibility of all users of the roadways and crosswalks. Knowledge of the applicable laws will help everyone be safe.

Applicability to Persons Riding Bicycles
  • Applicability to Persons Riding Bicycles, Electric Bicycles, and Motor Bicycles – WI §346.02(4)(a)
    • This statute provides guidance regarding the applicability of laws per Chapter 346 (Rules of the Road) of Wisconsin Statute to bicyclists. Bicycles are considered “vehicles” on Wisconsin roadways. Meaning bicyclists must obey the rules of the road and must be treated as equal users by all other vehicles.
    • “Subject to the special provisions applicable to bicycles, every person riding a bicycle upon a roadway or shoulder of a highway is granted all the rights and is subject to all the duties that this chapter grants or applies to the operator of a vehicle, except those provisions that by their express terms apply only to motor vehicles or that by their very nature would have no application to bicycles. For purposes of this chapter, provisions that apply to bicycles also apply to electric bicycles and motor bicycles, except as otherwise expressly provided.”
    Overtaking Vehicles and Devices
  • Overtaking Certain Vehicles and Devices – WI §346.075(1)
    • This statute directs motor vehicle operators to exercise due care when overtaking or passing a bicyclist with a minimum of three feet.
    • “The operator of a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle, electric scooter, or electric personal assistive mobility device proceeding in the same direction shall exercise due care, leaving a safe distance, but in no case less than 3 feet clearance when passing the bicycle, electric scooter, or electric personal assistive mobility device, and shall maintain clearance until safely past the overtaken bicycle, electric scooter, or electric personal assistive mobility device.”
    Required Signals
  • Turning Movements and Required Signals on Turning and Stopping – WI §346.34(1)(b)
    • Bicyclists are directed by this statute to provide signalling by hand and arm when completing a turn, not less than the last 50 feet traveled before turning. If the hand and arm used to indicate the signal is needed for the safe operation of the bicycle throughout the turn, the signal is not requird.
    • “In the event any other traffic may be affected by the movement, no person may turn any vehicle without giving an appropriate signal in the manner provided in s. 346.35. A person making a U-turn shall use the same signal used to indicate a left turn. When given by the operator of a vehicle other than a bicycle, electric scooter, or electric personal assistive mobility device, the signal shall be given continuously during not less than the last 100 feet traveled by the vehicle before turning. The operator of a bicycle, electric scooter, or electric personal assistive mobility device shall give the signal continuously during not less than the last 50 feet traveled before turning. A signal by the hand and arm need not be given continuously if the hand is needed in the control or operation of the bicycle, electric scooter, or electric personal assistive mobility device.”
    Method of Giving Signals
  • Method of Giving Signals on Turning and Stopping – WI §346.35
    • Bicyclists are directed by this statute to provide signalling by the hand and arm when completing a turn, not less than the last 50 feet traveled before turning. If the hand and arm used to indicate the signal is needed for the safe operation of the bicycle throughout the turn, the signal is not requird.
    • “Whenever a stop or turn signal is required by s. 346.34, such signal may in any event be given by a signal lamp or lamps of a type meeting the specifications set forth in s. 347.15. Except as provided in s. 347.15(3m), such signals also may be given by the hand and arm in lieu of or in addition to signals by signal lamp. When given by hand and arm, such signals, except signals by the operator of a bicycle, who may use either hand and arm, shall be given from the left side of the vehicle in the following manner and shall indicate as follows:
        (1) Left turn or U-turn — Hand and arm extended horizontally.
        (2) Right turn — Hand and arm extended upward.
        (3) Stop or decrease speed — Hand and arm extended downward.”
    Duty to Report
  • Duty to Report Accident; Assistance Following Accident – WI §346.70(1)
    • This statute provides the language to better understand the requirement and duty to report accidents. This is also applicable to bicycles as they are considered vehicles underneath Wisconsin statute.
    • “Immediate notice of accident. The operator or occupant of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or death of any person, any damage to state or other government-owned property, except a state or other government-owned vehicle, to an apparent extent of $200 or more, or total damage to property owned by any one person or to a state or other government-owned vehicle to an apparent extent of $1,000 or more shall immediately by the quickest means of communication give notice of such accident to the police department, the sheriff’s department or the traffic department of the county or municipality in which the accident occurred or to a state traffic patrol officer. In this subsection, “injury” means injury to a person of a physical nature resulting in death or the need of first aid or attention by a physician or surgeon, whether or not first aid or medical or surgical treatment was actually received; “total damage to property owned by one person” means the sum total cost of putting the property damaged in the condition it was before the accident, if repair thereof is practical, and if not practical, the sum total cost of replacing such property. For purposes of this subsection if any property which is damaged is held in a form of joint or multiple ownership, the property shall be considered to be owned by one person.”
    Riding at Slow Speed
  • Riding on Roadway at Slow Speed – WI §346.80(2)(a)
    • While riding on a public roadway, this statute explains that you shall be as close as practicable to the right side of the roadway. Note that you may take more of the roadway to ensure you are traveling on an unobstructed section.
    • “Any person operating a bicycle, electric scooter, or electric personal assistive mobility device upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand edge or curb of the unobstructed traveled roadway, including operators who are riding 2 or more abreast where permitted under sub. (3), except:
        1. When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
        2. When preparing for a left turn or U-turn at an intersection or a left turn into a private road or driveway.
        3. When reasonably necessary to avoid unsafe conditions, including fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards or substandard width lanes that make it unsafe to ride along the right-hand edge or curb.”
    Riding on One-Way Roadways
  • Riding on One-Way Roadways with Two Lanes – WI §346.80(2)(b)
    • While normally you are directed to travel as close as practicable to the right side of the roadway, this statute provides language for being allowed to trave as close as practicable to the left side of the roadway as well when it is a one-way roadway with two lanes.
    • “Notwithstanding par. (a), any person operating a bicycle, electric scooter, or electric personal assistive mobility device upon a one-way highway having 2 or more lanes available for traffic may ride as near the left-hand edge or curb of the roadway as practicable.”
    Riding in Groups
  • Riding in Groups – WI §346.80(3)(a)
    • This statute directs that when riding in groups of two or more, riders may ride 2 abreast (also known as side-by-side).
    • “Persons riding bicycles, electric scooters, or electric personal assistive mobility devices upon a roadway may ride 2 abreast if such operation does not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic. Bicycle, electric scooter, or electric personal assistive mobility device operators riding 2 abreast on a 2-lane or more roadway shall ride within a single lane.”
    Lamps and Other Equipment
  • Lamps and Other Equipment on Bicycles and Other Vehicles and Devices – WI §347.489(1)
    • When riding at dark, you will need a white light that is visible at least 500 feet to the front and a red reflector to the rear. The red reflector can be swapped out for a red light, which also must be visible at least 500 feet to the rear.
    • “No person may operate a bicycle, motor bicycle, personal delivery device, electric scooter, or electric personal assistive mobility device upon a highway, sidewalk, bicycle lane, or bicycle way during hours of darkness unless the bicycle, motor bicycle, personal delivery device, electric scooter, or electric personal assistive mobility device is equipped with or, with respect to a bicycle or motor bicycle, the operator is wearing, a lamp emitting a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front of the bicycle, motor bicycle, personal delivery device, electric scooter, or electric personal assistive mobility device. A bicycle, motor bicycle, personal delivery device, electric scooter, or electric personal assistive mobility device shall also be equipped with a red reflector that has a diameter of at least 2 inches of surface area or, with respect to an electric scooter or an electric personal assistive mobility device, that is a strip of reflective tape that has at least 2 square inches of surface area, on the rear so mounted and maintained as to be visible from all distances from 50 to 500 feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful upper beams of headlamps on a motor vehicle. A lamp emitting a steady or flashing red light visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear may be used in lieu of the red reflector.”
    Personal Conduct Prohibitions
  • Personal Conduct Prohibitions (on UW Lands) – WI UWS 18.08(3)
    • Bicycles are prohibited from being stored within a University building or area that obstructs free passage of vehicles and pedestrians, unless in a designated area or authorized by University Housing policies. Bicycles may not be used to perform tricks or stunts while on campus.
    • “BICYCLES. No person may park or store a bicycle in buildings, on sidewalks or driveways, or in motor vehicle parking spaces, except in areas designated for that purpose or in bicycle racks, or as authorized by university housing policies. Bicycles shall be parked so as not to obstruct free passage of vehicles and pedestrians. Bicycle riding is prohibited on university lands when and where the intent is to perform tricks or stunts and those tricks or stunts may result in injury to any person or cause damage to property.”
    Offenses Against Public Safety
  • Offenses Against Public Safety (on UW Lands) – WI UWS 18.10(8)
    • Different modes of travel are popular on campus, such as skateboards. While these alternative modes of travel are prohibited, it is common practice to allow their use if it is in the pursuit of exercise, well-being, or traveling to and from a destination.
    • “PLAY VEHICLES. No person may use a skateboard, roller skates, roller blades, in-line skates, or any similar wheeled devices, a toboggan, or a sled anywhere on university lands, except as designated by the chief administrative officer.”