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Current Articles

State Motorcycle Laws


Wisconsin motorcycle laws are similar to most states, however it is important to know and understand them before you drive on WI Highways and streets.

Some of the laws are federal and apply to all states.

Only motorcycles certified by the federal government for highway operation are permitted on the highway.

Cycles cannot be attached to any other moving vehicle unless the cycle is being towed for repair.

No person may operate a motor vehicle in Wisconsin, including a motorcycle, unless the owner or operator of the vehicle has liability insurance in effect for the vehicle being operated and carries proof of insurance when driving.

Law enforcement may ask for proof of insurance at any traffic stop or accident.

Failure to have insurance could result in up to a $500 fine. Failure to have proof when requested could result in a $10 fine.

You do not need proof of insurance when registering a vehicle or obtaining a driver license, unless DMV specifically requested proof of financial responsibility (SR-22) after a revocation or suspension.

Refer to Section 344.61–34465 Wis. Stats. for full details.

More than one passenger may ride upon the motorcycle if the motorcycle is designed for more than one passenger. See the definition of a Type 1 motorcycle

Below are links to a chart for all continental U.S. states and also the WI. Motorcycle handbook.

Enjoy and be safe.

WI Motorcycle handbook (PDF)

U.S. Motorcycle Law Chart (PDF)


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Get Ready for Riding Season


  1. Be Ready: mind, body and bike

There are three ways riders should ready themselves for a ride. First, there is mental readiness. Are you ready to concentrate on riding? If you are angry or preoccupied by something, taking your bike out may not be the best idea. A proper attitude will not only make you safer but your spouse and co-workers are less likely to plot against you.
It goes without saying that drugs and alcohol should be avoided at all costs, but I'm going to say it anyway. Alcohol affects your judgment, reaction time, and balance, among other things. Loss of your control over these things can easily mean your bike will soon be lying on its side and dripping important fluids. You may even get a ride in the back of a squad car. Even simple cold and allergy medications can seriously impair your riding, making you sleepy or sluggish.  

Next, you must be physically prepared. Start with good protective gear. This means a good-fitting helmet, gloves, eye protection, jacket, long pants and sturdy boots or shoes. Wear gear that is designed for use on a motorcycle, not a beach or a fancy nightclub. The people you see wearing a helmet, a smile and not much else are not well protected. Likewise, folks in eight layers of leather, Kevlar, body armor, but no helmet are not well protected. It is a whole package, and you need to wear it every time. If it's too hot to wear protective clothing, it's too hot to ride, period.

Try not to choose all black gear. Sure, it looks cool, but bright colors will help you stand out in traffic.

Third, you must make sure that your bike is up for the job. This includes not only fixing the parts that break, but doing all the preventive maintenance that is so easy to skip: regular oil changes, properly adjusted controls, a properly adjusted chain and suspension, good tires, working turn signals, you get the idea.

2.   Know where you are
When it does come time to make an emergency maneuver, you need to know what's around you. In fact, this is good information to have at all times. Being aware of what is in your immediate space cushion will always help you guide your ride safely. Failure to be aware of your position in relation to those around you can cause dire consequences when faced with the need to make a quick lane change. Other vehicles have a nasty habit of sneaking in to places you can't see them, like the blind spots over your shoulders. Sometimes it's hard to imagine a mini-van disappearing, but it can happen. Once in that blind spot, you can find that a vehicle is easy to forget until you try to turn and find yourself mere inches from an enormous bumper and big tires. Pay special attention to what's in front of you, especially oncoming traffic. It's easy to disregard traffic traveling in the opposite direction but that is where the greatest threat lies. Be ready for the car that turns left in front of you.

3.  Keep a 2-4 Second Following Distance
Following too closely to the vehicle in front of you is arguably one of the greatest sins committed by most riders on a regular basis. When traveling on a highway, the minimum distance to keep between you and the vehicle in front of you is 2 seconds, but that is the bare minimum. A 2-second following distance is like buying the cheapest bullet-proof vest you can find: sure, it's protection, but if you really want to be safe, you'll upgrade. That upgrade would be to a 4-second following distance. Keep in mind two seconds is the distance needed on clear sunny days. At night or during inclement weather you need to increase your safety margin to four to eight seconds.

4.  Practice
The very best time to practice these habits is every time you go out for a ride. Spend at least a few minutes every ride concentrating on each of these habits and soon they will become second nature to you. Don't focus so hard on practicing that you lose sight of the job at hand. Instead, integrate practice into your normal riding routine.


Article taken in part from: http://www.transportation.wv.gov/dmv/msp/Pages/SafetyTips.aspx



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Warm Weather Crimes

After being stuck inside all winter, many people anxiously await the arrival of the warm spring season weather. But, there are some who dread the potential increase in crimes caused by rising temperatures.

Tracy Siska, executive director at the Chicago Justice Project, says there is a correlation between rising temperatures and violent crimes.

“Violence increases, especially street violence, muggings, assaults, battery,” Siska says. “Across the boards most crimes increase.”

Siska speculates that the spike in crime may be due to the increase in the number of interactions that people have with one another during the warmer months. Warmer weather can bring together potential wrongdoers, victims, and belongings all in the same place.

Roger Humber, director of the Criminal Justice department at South University — Montgomery agrees that warmer temperatures alone may not be to blame for an increase in crime. Like Siska, he says the rise in social interactions may be a factor.

“A factor may be the heat, or it may just be that we are all active more during this time,” he says, adding that people may experience a form of heat aggravation in warm weather that causes them to lose their temper more easily. 

Examining Factors Behind Crime Increase
Although many law enforcement departments across the country report increases in crime during warm weather months, Laura Brinkman, associate director at the University of Chicago Crime Lab says there is no clear causal explanation for the pattern that is consistently applicable across different urban settings.

Violence increases, especially street violence, muggings, assaults, battery.

“For example, it could be that it’s not the weather, but the academic summer break that leads to a spike in violent crime,” Brinkman says. “Juveniles are the most likely to commit crime, in general, so it seems almost obvious that crime may peak during summer months when students are off from school with idle hands.”

Chicago received a great deal of media attention during the spring and summer 2010 months, due to a rash of violent crimes in the city’s South Side area.

Siska says the level of violence during this time period wasn’t necessarily greater than usual, but the press put more emphasis on it than they have in the past. 

Brinkman says statistics have shown that homicides in Los Angeles, which has warm temperatures most of the year, are the highest during July and August, but are almost as high during December and January as well.
“So despite the fact that juveniles contribute to a large portion of violent crime, there is nothing special about summer that causes an increase in offending in Los Angeles,” says Brinkman. “This could suggest that the relationship between homicide and summer in Chicago is due to temperature, rather than the fact that students are on summer break.” 

Brinkman adds that these statistics could also simply mean that Los Angeles has found a better way to decrease the homicides that occur during the summer months than is used in Chicago.

“Adding to the tenuousness of the summer-break murder-spike theory in Chicago is the fact that the majority of school-age homicide victims in Chicago are actually not enrolled in school, making summer break no different a time of year for these individuals than when school is in session, aside from weather of course,” Brinkman says. “That is unless the addition of school children to the mix of individuals out and about in a given neighborhood somehow exacerbates pre-existing tension, which is again, hard to measure.”

Regardless of the reason behind the violence, Humber says that law enforcement should provide extra resources in areas with the highest amounts of crime.

“Additional patrols in high-risk areas, shortening response time to calls for service during times when criminal activity is most pronounced may help,” Humber says.

Siska believes that for the most part, there is adequate police coverage even in the areas of Chicago with the highest crime rates. He says that although some police officers could be transferred from areas with lower crime rates to the areas that see the most crime, it wouldn’t necessarily lower crime in the city.

“There’s a difference between prevention and displacement,” Siska says. “It changes who was victimized.”

Siska says that for the past 50 years, Chicago has been saying they were going to find a way to end the violence in the city and they haven’t, so something else needs to be done to stop it.

Seasonal Safety
Sergeant Dave Jacobson, of the Oak Park Police Department, in Oak Park, Illinois, says he has occasionally  seen an increase in crimes that could be attributed to warmer weather, for example property crimes such as bike thefts and auto break-ins.

“With warmer weather, people tend to start bringing out and leaving out valuables, such as bicycles, lawn furniture, etc,” Jacobson says. “This creates more opportunities for would-be criminals to commit theft.”
“You also might see more fights between teenagers as they start to spend more time hanging out outside,” Jacobson adds.

Although the spring can be a dangerous time in major cities, people are advised to always take safety precautions.

“Always be aware of your surroundings; when possible avoid unfamiliar or potentially unsafe situations; don’t leave valuables outside where they can easily be stolen; and never hesitate to call 911 if you observe anything suspicious,” Jacobson advises.

Author: Laura Jerpi

Source: Reprinted from the South Source website article “As Weather Warms Up , So Do Opportunities For Crime”.

Articleat South University


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Information and recommendations are compiled from sources believed to be reliable. The Sheriff’s Office  makes no guarantee as to and assumes no responsibility for the correctness, sufficiency or completeness of such information or recommendations. Other or additional safety measures may be required under particular circumstances.