Actually, your mentality is a large reason why there are so many bicycle accidents in Madison. I live there too and there is actually someone waiting for an ambulance just outside my apartment complex as I write this. The reason, they were on a sidewalk, going against traffic, on a road with a bike lane. Madison is also the only place I've ever heard of that had an accident where a bike failed to stop for a stop sign at an intersection between a bike path and road, was hit by a car, and there were suggestions to put up a stop sign for the cars!
Please visit http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/safety/veh ... /rules.htm
and find out what the rules and LAWS related to riding a bicycle are in the state of Wisconsin. First and foremost, you are legally required to stop at a stop sign, along with obeying all other traffic laws. You also have to give the right-of-way to pedestrians. I've seen people crossing the street get hit by bikers that failed to stop on campus and close calls are routine. I've also nearly hit, and nearly been hit by bikes that didn't stop at intersections while in a car.
Second, it's actually more dangerous to ride on the sidewalk if your past the learning stage and is illegal unless the community has passed an ordinance permitting it. Why? The sidewalks are built for pedestrians. If they step out of a business, bus, car, etc. they shouldn't have to look for a fast moving object on a sidewalk. The reason for the accident by my apartment is you can't see far enough down the sidewalk until you pull into it. A bike moving at 10-20+ MPH doesn't have time to stop and can't be seen before pulling into the sidewalk.
Finally, riding with traffic is for your own safety. A car making a right onto a street isn't looking for a fast moving bicycle coming from the opposite direction. It also increases your risk of a head on accident because a car coming at you has less time to see you and take evasive action because you are going toward them rather than away. It also increase the force of the accident. For example, if the car is going 25 MPH and you are going 10 MPH the gap is being closed at 35 MPH. On the other hand, if you are riding where you are supposed to, the gap (and accident) occur at 15 MPH.
Ambulance just got here... Please follow the laws for your sake and mine!
Madison Resident & Biker