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Wednesday, April 16, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 46.0° F  Partly Cloudy and Breezy
The Daily


Madison Snaps: December 6, 2007

Bicycling Madison Style
Bicycling Madison Style
Credit:Kristian Knutsen
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Today's image is titled "Bicycling Madison Style" and was photographed by Kristian Knutsen.

This photo shows a bicycle commuter at the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and Dayton Street in downtown Madison on Thursday morning. It's a scene that Paul Soglin in particular can appreciate.

The former Madison mayor and summertime biking blogger raised more than a few hackles on Wednesday when he complained about his encounters with winter bicyclists following the pair of snowstorms last Saturday and Tuesday. "The bicyclists who braved the week's second storm should be taken out and shot,' he declared, genuflecting towards stereotypes about Madison hippies and other tired tropes about the town. "Spare them and the poor driver, when they skid on treacherous streets and slide under the wheels of a truck delivering fresh vegetables."

Predictably, a torrent of objections followed from commenters, though Soglin did receive one gleeful backslap from James Rowen, his former mayoral aide and onetime Madison candidate for the office, along with another chuckle from Waukesha conservative pundit James Wigderson. Most responses, though, were thoroughly negative, as bicycling supporters lambasted hizzoner for his flippant remark about shooting and his blind eye towards the dangers of driving in the snow. Negative responses came from bikers around the nation -- here, here, and here -- the general sentiment being "that kind of low-brow trash talk does nothing but dehumanize bicyclists and justify any harm that might come their way."

Soglin deserved the "virtual tongue lashing" wrote Emily Mills. "Riding in any kind of weather, but especially inclement weather like we've been having, without proper safety gear and adherence to the laws of the road is stupid. But riding your bike in the snow in general is not stupid." She concludes that bicyclists clearly have more to fear from drivers when it comes to safety on the road, no matter what the weather.

"Just because the weather is getting colder doesn't mean that you have to put your bike away," declares the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin in a factsheet providing tips for biking in wintertime. "Join the growing number of folks in Wisconsin who are enjoying bicycling all year around."

Soglin had plenty of rejoinders for his dissenters in a follow-up this morning, though. "Bicycling is a great sport and an excellent way to commute," he concludes. "Bicycling in winter has its merits. No one needs to remind me of cars that encroach on a bicyclist's space. I have been almost run over more than once, and I am a good defensive rider. Going out in Tuesday's storm was stupid."

This is the latest entry of Madison Snaps: photos of Madison-area events and locations. The Isthmus group photo pool is the primary source for Madison Snaps, which are published here with the permission of individual contributors. If you are interested in having your photo eligible for Madison Snaps, please respond to the posting on the Flickr group page, or send a message. There is no compensation for Madison Snaps photos, which are © to the respective photographers.

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