Wisconsin law states that: No person may operate a bicycle, motor bicycle, or electric personal assistive mobility device upon a highway, bicycle lane, or bicycle way unless it is equipped with a brake in good working condition, adequate to control the movement of and to stop the bicycle, motor bicycle, or electric personal assistive mobility device whenever necessary. A definition of brake is "a device for arresting or preventing the motion of a mechanism usually by means of friction, or something used to slow down or stop movement or activity
While the above law makes clear that a Wisconsin bicycle must have a brake, the law does not specify what type of brake.
Some children's bikes have a coaster brake (also known as back peddling or foot brake). The brake works by applying pressure backward on the pedals. Although a fixed gear bike may not have the same set up as a coaster brake, there is nothing in the above law that states a bike must have a hand mounted brake or that the
Other State Bike Brake Laws
California's bike brake law states:
No person shall operate a bicycle on a roadway unless it is equipped with a brake which will enable the operator to make one braked wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement.
Oregon's law is simlar and states: A bicycle must be equipped with a brake that enables the operator to make the braked wheels skid on dry, level, clean pavement. strong enough to skid tire. Washington DC has a bike brake law that specificially mentions fixed gear bikes. "Each bicycle shall be equipped with a brake which enables the operator to cause the braked wheels to skid on dry, level, clean pavement; provided, that a fixed gear bicycle is not required to have a separate brake, but an operator of a fixed gear bicycle shall be able to stop the bicycle using the pedals." Florida has a very specific bike brake law that includes stopping distances in feet: Every bicycle must be equipped with a brake or brakes which allow the rider to stop within 25 feet from 10 mph.
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