Washington Bikes Endorsements: Bellevue Needs Safe Places to Bike and a City Council Who’ll Help Make That Happen

Whoever fills the three council seats will help chart the trajectory of a rapidly changing Bellevue. We need people in leadership who’ll build a Bellevue Bike Network by 2020. Sign up today to help elect these bike champions.

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Washington Bikes 2017 Bellevue Endorsements:

Three of Bellevue’s seven council seats will be decided this election. Since Bellevue is a “strong council” city, with no elected Mayor, electing council members who’ll take action to advance safe biking is critical: they collectively hold the key to change.

Over the next four years, the task of city council will be to make sure safe places to bike materialize from funding sources and planning that’s already in place. Most pressing is the reality that much of Bellevue’s street network – especially downtown – is devoid of safe places to bike. Six lane roads with no bike lanes present a future opportunity for bikes, but today are unappealing to even the most experienced, fearless riders.

Until recently, Bellevue’s sole transportation focus was moving cars as efficiently as possible. But thanks to newer voices on the council the tide has started to turn in Bellevue. The city’s 2016 Transportation Neighborhood Safety tax levy was approved by local voters and came with a promise to start building a connected, all ages and abilities, bike network. Turning that funding into concrete protected bike lanes downtown is the next logical step, and bike-friendly voices on council are essential to making that happen in the next couple of years.

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Today, wide, multi-lane streets devoid of bike lanes leave little option in downtown Bellevue but to take to the sidewalk or ditch the bike altogether for all but the most fearless of riders. The next city council has the chance to make biking safe and inviting in downtown Bellevue.

Between the Eastside Rail Corridor and SR-520 trail, more people will soon be arriving to Bellevue’s downtown streets on bikes, and that number is only going to increase as more of the Eastside Rail Corridor is built in the next few years. A network of protected bike lanes in downtown Bellevue will get people safely and comfortably from the SR-520, ERC, and I-90 trails to the places they need and want to go.

We’ve endorsed candidates in all three Bellevue city council races who say they’ll work to ensure that there’s more funding for biking in the next city budget, and that they support building a Downtown Basic Bike Network in Bellevue by 2020. If elected, we’ll be holding these candidates accountable and working with them to create a more bike-friendly Bellevue.

It’s not just Bellevue where electing bike-friendly leaders now is essential. In each one of the Eastside communities we’ve endorsed, there are important funding and policy decisions coming up that can make for safer, connected communities by bike.

With less than eight weeks until Election Day, we are in the final stretch! Doorbelling and phone calling on behalf of Washington Bikes’ endorsed candidates will take place between now and November 7. Sign up below to get plugged in to ways to support your nearest bike champion!

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Washington Bikes Endorsements: This Election is Essential to Completing the East Lake Sammamish Trail

A new council and a new chance for Sammamish and King County to come together and complete this regional trail, community space, and local treasure. Sign up today to help elect these bike champions.

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Washington Bikes 2017 Sammamish Endorsements:

This November’s election will decide who fills four of the seven seats on the Sammamish City Council. None of the current council members whose terms are up are running for re-election. Instead, a slate of fresh faces is vying for the four open council seats. The fate of the election will shape the makeup of the majority of the Council, and thus the flavor of the council’s direction on key issues, including completing the East Lake Sammamish Trail, for the next four years.

The East Lake Sammamish Trail is an incomplete regional trail running 11-miles from Redmond, to Issaquah, via Sammamish. The trail is also part of the 44-mile Locks to Lake Corridor, which will connect Seattle’s Ballard Locks to the Cascade foothills. Despite the positive benefits of such a trail, building the segment through Sammamish has been an uphill struggle for King County, who owns the trail right of way and is building the trail. Progress through Sammamish has been mired by lawsuits, first between King County and lakefront property owners, and now between King County and the city of Sammamish.

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The 5 miles of the East lake Sammamish Trail through the City of Sammamish have been years in the making, whereas the Redmond and issaquah segments were smooth sailing. New leaders in Sammamish are the best hope to clearing the stalemate and moving the trail forward.

Washington Bikes believes that completing the trail to regional standards, resulting in a paved trail that’s accessible to people of all ages and abilities, is essential. That’s why we’ve endorsed candidates in all four Sammamish City Council races who will come to the table ready to work towards completion of the trail as soon as possible.

As we reported this summer, the stalemate between city and county is currently being mediated by the courts. The city of Sammamish is currently appealing a court-endorsed decision that two sets of stops signs on the trail face towards low-traffic roads rather than the trail. It’s yet another example of the Sammamish council fighting the inevitable and much loved trail at every turn. And this time its at the expense of trail safety: Stop signs throughout the rest of the trail face the roads that bisect it; trail users will expect the same in this location. Furthermore, limited sightlines along the trail mean that people crossing the trail slowly (e.g. older and younger generations on foot and on bikes) wouldn’t be able to foresee whether they have a safe crossing distance.

The stop signs are just one example of the city digging its’ heels in at the expense – literally – of residents and completion of the trail. Our Sammamish endorsed candidates bring passion, pragmatism and new ideas to the table. If elected, we plan to work with them to open a new chapter on the East Lake Sammamish Trail, and one day soon stand alongside them to open the final segment of the trail for all people to safely use and enjoy.

It’s not just Sammamish where electing bike-friendly leaders now is essential. In each one of the Eastside communities we’ve endorsed, there are important funding and policy decisions coming up that can make for safer, connected communities by bike.

With less than eight weeks until Election Day, we are in the final stretch! Doorbelling and phone calling on behalf of Washington Bikes’ endorsed candidates will take place between now and November 7. Sign up below to get plugged in to ways to support your nearest bike champion!

 

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Washington Bikes Endorsements: Why The Eastside Needs Bike Friendly Leaders Now More Than Ever

This November let’s elect bike champions to pave the way for Eastside communities to take bold steps in creating safe places to walk, bike and get to transit, for all people, regardless of age and ability. Sign up today to elect these bike champions and read on about what’s at stake in east King County this election.

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Washington Bikes 2017 Eastside Endorsements:

Washington Bikes has endorsed state Senate and city council candidates in nine Eastside communities this year. That’s because from Kenmore to Renton, and everywhere in between, there’s growing demand for safe places to bike. Bike-friendly leaders are needed now to help deliver on key projects and funding already underway in some communities, and in demand in all communities.

Completing Trails Networks
From the Burke Gilman to the East Lake Sammamish trails, there is an almost-connected trail network that knits together Kenmore to Redmond (via Bothell) and very shortly Kirkland to Renton (via Bellevue). In Redmond, Bellevue, and Kirkland, Washington Bikes has identified champions who support completing the Eastside Rail Corridor trail through those communities. In Sammamish, a pro-trail council matters now more than ever, and we’re confident the four Washington Bikes endorsed candidates will help complete the East Lake Sammamish Trail.

Safe Streets: Greenways and Urban Bike Networks
While Eastside communities are abundant with well-loved regional trails, they often lack safe places to bike on streets – in neighborhoods, near schools, and in downtown shopping and employment centers. Electing bike-friendly leaders on King County’s Eastside this November will ensure that policies, funding, and laws which make for safe streets and better trails advance over the next several years. For example, the City of Kirkland is constructing its first neighborhood greenways next year and ongoing funding and elected representative support will be needed so that the greenway network can expand.

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East King county has an abundant – and growing – trails network, but many communities lack safe on-street bike networks to get to work, transit, or to run errands by bike. By electing bike champions on the Eastside this November we can start building much needed urban bike networks and last-mile connections.

Keeping Funding Commitments
Last year, residents in Bellevue and Kenmore approved tax measures that include funding safe places to bike. We need elected representatives who’ll make sure sufficient funding from these new funding sources go to projects that will truly make Bellevue and Kenmore walkable and bikeable. In Bellevue, this means electing leaders who are willing to dedicate funding towards building a downtown Bellevue bike network by 2020.

Safe Biking and Walking to Transit
Biking and walking are healthy and affordable ways to get to transit – but only if transit hubs and station areas are accessible on foot and by bike. With Link Light Rail stations slated to be built in Mercer Island, Bellevue and Redmond, elected leaders who will champion walk- and bikeability in the coming years are essential. For example, the forthcoming Marymoor and Downtown Redmond Link Light Rail stations hold potential to both connect the Eastside Rail Corridor and East Lake Sammamish trails through Redmond, and to connect the abundant trail network in that area directly, safely and intuitively to the future light rail stations. It’s an exciting prospect but one that will require Redmond city council members who support expanding safe places for people to bike.

Every Eastside Community Counts
In each one of the Eastside communities where we’ve endorsed, there are important funding and policy decisions coming up that can make for safer, connected communities by bike. There’s work to do to make streets around schools safer for children, for investments in recreational places for biking and for connected on-street bike networks. That work starts with electing bike-friendly leaders.

With less than eight weeks until Election Day, we are in the final stretch! Doorbelling and phone calling on behalf of Washington Bikes’ endorsed candidates will take place between now and November 7. Sign up below to get plugged in to ways to support your nearest bike champion!

 

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Washington Bikes Endorsements: The Time is Now for Seattle

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On November 7 let’s elect four leaders to set Seattle on course to build a healthier, more economically competitive and safer transportation system. Sign up today to elect these bike champions!

Washington Bikes 2017 Seattle Endorsements:

As the fastest growing large U.S. city, Seattle is at a critical juncture to catch up to its peers – including Vancouver, BC, Minneapolis, and Washington, DC – who are setting the course to shift their transportation systems toward a future that is healthier, more economically competitive and safer. With the Seattle Department of Transportation gaining momentum in its buildout of the Move Seattle Levy, and with Light Rail expanding to Northgate by 2021, the time is now to propel Seattle forward by realizing a citywide vision of connected bikeways in the next four years.

Building a connected bikeway network will help more people get where they need to go on Seattle’s increasingly constrained right-of ways. It will also address additional challenges, such as:

  • making Seattle’s transportation system more forgiving and safer for all residents – whether they are an 8-year old who wants to bike to school safely or an 80-year-old that seeks to age-in-place in their community;
  • addressing the root causes of improving public health and safety so that all residents have access to healthier and smarter forms of transportation; and
  • meeting the demands for new, faster, and safer options to get across downtown in minutes without facing the frustrations of increasing congestion.

Solutions to these challenges require active transportation investments and policies for bicycling, walking, and transit, while using Vision Zero or Sustainable Safety approaches to improving safety in Seattle.

The Washington Bikes-endorsed candidates for Seattle affirm a host of policies and investments that begin to address these questions with answers for how to make Seattle’s transportation system affordable, modern, healthier, and safer for all.

Through the interview and written questionnaire process, the endorsed candidates provided unequivocal support for:

  • Growing investments in Safe Routes to School across Seattle
  • Identifying strategies to improve tourism via bicycling in Washington state
  • Support for projects that transform streets and roadways from places designed for cars to places designed for caring neighbors and thriving businesses
  • Supporting the Framework Agreement for completing the Burke Gilman Trail’s Missing Link and beginning construction of this long-awaited trail segment in 2018
  • Building the Basic Bike Network downtown by 2019
  • Accelerating the buildout of complete streets across Seattle

By successfully implementing these initiatives and goals, Seattleites will finally be able to safely bike from the Rainier Valley to downtown, and from Golden Gardens to the University of Washington by the time light rail expands to Northgate in 2021.

Following the November 7 election, Washington Bikes looks forward to working with the mayor, councilmembers, and the City Attorney to make America’s fastest growing big city turn into America’s best city to bike in over the next four years.

Washington Bikes thanks all the candidates for their dedication to Seattle.

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With less than eight weeks until Election Day, we are in the final stretch! Doorbelling and phone calling on behalf of Washington Bikes’ endorsed candidates will take place between now and November 7. Sign up below to get plugged in to ways to support your nearest bike champion!

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Washington Bikes Endorsements: Look for these bike champions on your November ballot

Washington Bikes announces 2017 general election endorsements

Starting in May, Washington Bikes’ policy team has had the opportunity to question and interview candidates running for office—we’ve had a lot of fun doing it. The reasons for doing it are important, too. Washington Bikes works to secure funding for bicycle infrastructure and policies that increase access and safety. To make that happen, it matters who Washington’s elected leaders are.

We’d like to thank all of the candidates, endorsed or otherwise, for taking the time to participate in Washington Bikes’ endorsement process.

The Washington Bikes endorsement speaks to thousands of engaged Washingtonians statewide who care about a range of issues. From wanting more connected trails, to safer neighborhood streets, to more opportunities for physical activity, Washingtonians are looking for leaders who will advance these priorities. We asked city-specific questions of candidates, like:

  • Will you work to ensure that Bellevue’s bicycle rapid implementation plan (BRIP) funding in the next biennium (2019-2020) is allocated at a higher level than the current amount?
  • Do you support completing the East Lake Sammamish Trail (ELST) to King County regional trail standards?
  • Do you support the implementation of a downtown Seattle Basic Bike Network by 2019?

No matter the answer to our survey, we are grateful for our local candidates and electeds who help shape Washington’s thriving communities.

Washington Bikes’ endorsement comes with engagement efforts through communications and/or boots on the ground. Additionally, we are making financial investments through the Washington Bike PAC directly into target campaigns. Please read on to find the endorsed candidates in your area.

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*Download a PDF the endorsement list.

With less than eight weeks until Election Day, we are in the final stretch! Doorbelling and phone calling on behalf of Washington Bikes’ endorsed candidates will take place between now and November 7. Sign up below to get plugged in to ways to support your nearest bike champion!

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Sammamish Council Elections Could Mean A Better Way Forward for the East Lake Sammamish Trail

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The East Lake Sammamish Trail was back in Federal Court this summer. And while the court decision is another step towards a completed trail, electing pro-trail Council members in this fall’s Sammamish Council elections is essential to completing the trail without further litigation and delay.

Early this summer, the city of Sammamish ordered King County to stop construction of the East Lake Sammamish Trail (ELST), just as King County crews neared completion of the penultimate segment of the 11-mile trail. At issue was placement of stop signs in two locations on the trail. The city intervention is the latest in a twenty-year City-County disagreement about re-development of the disused rail corridor running along the eastern shore of Lake Sammamish, including 5 miles running through the city of Sammamish.

Once complete the ELST will be a safe, connected multi-use trail from Redmond to Issaquah, and could soon connect to the Eastside Rail Corridor. The ELST segment through Sammamish has been slow and litigious, in contrast to the trail through Redmond (opened 2011) and Issaquah (opened 2013).

To resolve the latest dispute and keep working on the trail, King County asked the Federal District Court to step in and make a decision on the case. That decision came on August 7th when the Federal District Court ruled in favor of King County, meaning that construction can resume and the region is one step closer to realizing its vision of the 44-mile Locks to Lakes corridor for all to enjoy.

This short video, produced by Cascade Bicycle Club, captures why the ELST matters to caring neighbors and people throughout the region:

STOP SIGNS ARE FOCUS OF LATEST LEGAL DISPUTE:

The dispute centers around placement of two stop signs, where roads (206th Avenue SE and SE 33rd Street) cross the ELST in Sammamish. King County is building the trail and wants the stop sign on the residential access roads, given that the number of people using the trail is anticipated to be higher than the few that access the shoreline homes via these two roads. This approach reflects best practice and design and engineering guidance developed by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). The city issued the stop work order as it believes the stop sign should apply to the many trail users, not the smaller number using the road.

THE RESOLUTION: STOP SIGNS ON ROAD NOT TRAIL

This week, a full two months further into Western Washington’s notoriously narrow construction season, crews are returning to the site to keep building the trail. On August 8th a written Federal District Court ruling affirmed that King County has the right to determine the stop signs orientation as the owner of the corridor right of way.

It’s a win for future trail users because it will make for a more intuitive, safe trail user experience. And, with the County work crews back at work, we can look forward to walking and biking the trail – a safe, protected, connected route – by October.

CITY COUNCIL ELECTIONS: A CHANCE TO RECOMMIT TO THE ELST VISION

While the court ruling means construction can now resume, the sad reality is that without the mid-June order to stop work, we’d be riding and walking the trail today. After the 20-year delay in completing the trail, WA Bikes believes it’s time for city and county leaders to work together to prevent any further delays and instead focus on completing this essential trail connection. Instead, the city is appealing the court ruling, which doesn’t stop work on the trail but does come at a financial cost.

This election season represents the chance to elect a pro-trail council in Sammamish. Four of the seven Sammamish city council seats will be vacated this November. With a majority of council being newly elected by voters (none of the current council members are running for reelection), Washington Bikes’ plans to endorse candidates in all four races who commit to making Sammamish better for people on bikes – including by providing leadership in the city and working to make sure the East Lake Sammamish Trail is completed for all to enjoy, without further delay.

Electing a pro-trail council matters now because the fate of the final 3.5-mile segment of the ELST through Sammamish still isn’t clear. Thus, it’s critical we elect leaders in Sammamish who understand why safe places to walk and bike, including trails like the ELST, are essential to our communities. Safe places to walk, bike and play – out of the way of traffic –  ensures access to outdoor spaces for all types of users, regardless of age and ability.

YOUR VOICE, YOUR VOTE, MATTERS

Sign up to keep up with WA Bikes endorsements for the November elections.

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The 11-mile East Lake Sammamish Trail will connect Redmond to Issaquah via Sammamish. 

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We’re calling on you to help improve safety for people who bike in Washington state!

Members needed for the newly formed Cooper Jones Bicyclist Safety Advisory Council

The newly established Bicyclist Safety Council is the product of a bike safety bill that Washington Bikes championed during the 2017 legislative session. Similar to the state’s established Pedestrian Safety Advisory Council and Impaired Driving Advisory Council, the new Bicyclist Safety Advisory Council’s goal is to identify strategies to reduce traffic fatalities and serious injuries involving people who bike. If this sounds like something you have energy for and expertise in, read on to learn more, and contact us before August 8.

Why is a Bike Safety Council needed?: Fatalities and serious injuries for people who bike make up 7.2% of all traffic fatalities and serious injuries in Washington state, yet only 0.9% of commute trips are made by those biking. In short, it’s riskier to bicycle.

How will the Council make it safer to bike?: The Council will review bicyclist-involved collision data (case studies). This will be an opportunity to take a systemic look and gain a statewide understanding of what is taking place, where are the biggest weaknesses, and what solutions will curb the current, alarming trends. The Council will submit recommendations to the Washington state legislature by December of 2018.

Who will be on the Council?: The Council is intended to bring together diverse voices and perspectives from professions that have a connection to active transportation, Washington’s transportation system, or a role in responding to traffic collisions. The Council is also seeking diversity in racial background, age, gender, and geographic representation. The legislation explicitly calls for the following backgrounds and professional expertise on the Council: law enforcement, multimodal transportation planners, public health representatives, municipality representatives, bicycle advocates, and transportation researchers. The Council will include approximately 15 – 20 members.

When and Where will the Council meet?: The Council will meet approximately once a month beginning in September. The kickoff meeting is planned for Spokane, WA in honor of Cooper Jones who the legislation is named for. Half of the meetings will convene in Olympia, WA and the other half will be at yet to be determined locations in Washington.

Does a seat on the Bicyclist Safety Advisory Council sound like the role for you? If the answer is yes and you have the capacity to commit to the work through December of 2018, please reach out to Alex Alston at AlexA@wabikes.org by August 8. Washington Traffic Safety Commission will make the final selections.

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Washington Bikes racks up wins over the longest legislative session in state history

July 20th was the last day of the third special session of 2017. This was the longest legislative session in Washington state history — 193 days total. Washington Bikes secured policy and funding wins that will make biking and walking safer and more accessible, statewide.FullSizeRender

All the way through the third special session, Washington Bikes continued to monitor and work to represent bicycling in Olympia. In January, we came into the 2017 legislative session with a hefty agenda and 193 days later are proud to claim some pretty big wins for bicycling. This year we secured significant new funding for the Eastside Rail Corridor, and protected historic investments in Safe Routes to School and bicycle/pedestrian grant funding. This means Washingtonians will have more safe, connected spaces to bike and walk whether they choose to do so for health, recreation, or transportation. Working with legislative champions, Washington Bikes successfully advocated for the creation of the Cooper Jones Bicyclist Safety Advisory Council and to strengthen Washington’s distracted driving laws. Read on here and here to learn how the new legislation will improve street safety for people who bike and all road users in Washington state!

Washington Bikes’ budget priorities achieve funding wins for people who bike!

Funding Levels Maintained for Safe Routes to School and Bicycle/Pedestrian Grant program: This essential funding for bicycle/pedestrian education, engineering, and infrastructure was passed in the transportation budget. Historic funding levels passed in the 2015 State Transportation Package were retained, meaning investments in safer streets, better bike connections, active communities, accessible routes to school and healthier children will continue.

$2.5M towards retrofitting the Eastside Rail Corridor’s Wilburton Trestle: The future Eastside Rail Corridor trail is a 28-mile bike and pedestrian path connecting five East King County major cities. The Wilburton Trestle is an historic railroad trestle that’s being converted to a trail as part of the project. It’s an iconic stop and essential connection on the trail between Renton and Bellevue. Funding construction of the trestle enables Kirkland to Renton connectivity on the multi-use corridor by 2020. Washington Bikes, along with public agency and  business partners, and the non-profit Eastside Greenway Alliance partnership, worked to secure this funding as part of a larger public/private funding package. This $2.5M secured through the 2017-19 transportation budget brings the funding total to $7.5M, and brings the transformative project closer to realization.

$100,000 to implement the Cooper Jones Bicyclist Safety Advisory Council, via operating budget. The bicyclist safety advisory council will get underway in September; Washington Bikes looks forward to participating on the Council, and helping to identify and recommend strategies to make our state’s transportation system safer for people who bike. Additionally, Washington Bikes worked with Washington Trails Association to secure operating budget funding for an economic impact study aimed at quantifying the economic and health benefits of hiking, biking, and walking. Though the study was not funded this year, we were able to lay groundwork and are poised to seek the study funding in a future legislative session.

Passage of the new operating budget was touch and go for much of the legislative session. In the end, the state legislature narrowly avoided government shutdown passing the $43.7 billion operating budget and accompanying bills necessary to implement the budget ahead of the June 30th deadline. The budget addresses the state’s court mandated education obligation by raising property tax levies, capping school levies (a levy swap), and raising additional new revenue.

Unfinished business: the 2017-19 capital budget is the remaining budget to be passed. Despite the Senate and House having agreed upon a compromise budget, the legislature adjourned without passing the $4 billion capital budget. The final votes were held up due to conflict over another legislative matter. So session concluded without a capital budget, which is unprecedented; this will have major implications for infrastructure and building projects across the state. Specific to Washington Bikes’ work, the capital budget serves an important role in building out Washington state’s bicycle trail network.

This year, Washington Bikes advocated to secure funds for maintenance, protection, and development of trails statewide in the capital budget. The Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP) contains the majority of these trail projects through the recreational trails program. Additional money for the retrofit of the Wilburton Trestle was funded in the most recent Senate capital budget. In June, the House passed an earlier version of the capital budget, it too funded the Wilburton Trestle at $500,000. It is unclear when the new two-year capital budget will be passed, but until then, many projects will experience delays, be forced to find alternative funding, or worst case, fail to come to fruition.

Washington Bikes worked with legislators to highlight that biking is about healthier kids, increased public safety, stronger local economies and more transportation options. While we conclude the 2017 legislative session with significant wins for bicycling, there is still much work to be done.

Check back soon for an update on plans for the new Cooper Jones bicyclist safety advisory council. Stay in touch by signing up for Washington Bikes’ alerts!

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Press Release: Former Microsoft General Manager Richard Smith Named New Executive Director of Cascade Bicycle Club and Washington Bikes

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Former Microsoft General Manager Richard Smith Named New Executive Director of Cascade Bicycle Club and Washington Bikes

New executive director to take helm of the largest statewide bicycle nonprofit Sept. 5

SEATTLE, Wash., July 21, 2017 — After an extensive nationwide search, Cascade Bicycle Club and Washington Bikes announced Richard Smith as the new executive director of the organizations. Richard will begin his role on September 5.

“The board is excited to welcome Richard Smith as Cascade Bicycle Club and Washington Bikes’ next executive director,” said Charles Ruthford, Cascade board president. “Richard has the passion and proven experience in change management and leading organizations through transformation — perfect as we continue to evolve and grow as a statewide organization.”

Richard joins Cascade Bicycle Club and Washington Bikes with strong history at Microsoft as a highly effective, results-oriented executive with proven expertise in leadership, management and operations. He brings vast experience leading and inspiring organizations, driving the vision, strategy, planning, governance and internal and external engagement. Richard is an excellent communicator with diverse and extensive professional experience focused on building high impact, multi-functional teams through coaching and mentoring. Richard also brings experience building sustainable fundraising models with strong budgeting and financial management.

“I am honored and privileged to lead the staff of the Cascade Bicycle Club and Washington Bikes to achieve our mission of improving lives through bicycling,” said Richard Smith. “Bicycling is a crucial part of our Pacific Northwest outdoors identity, and enabling more people to enjoy this wonderful activity is a great reason to go to work every day.”

Richard brings experience in the nonprofit sector. He is currently a board member with the Seattle Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and has raised over $250,000 for the local Beat the Bridge to Beat Type 1 Diabetes event. Richard was also the executive sponsor of his division’s Diversity & Inclusion efforts at Microsoft and is looking forward to applying the learning and investments Microsoft provided him in this area for building equity, diversity and inclusion at Cascade and the broader bicycling community.

“Cascade has grown to be a tremendously successful organization for its members and community,” said Richard. “I am looking forward to continuing that success and working with the staff, board, our passionate volunteers, and the broader community to make bicycling accessible and safe for everyone.”

Originally from England, Richard has lived in Seattle for the past 25 years. Richard came to Seattle from New Zealand, where he had lived for 18 months, and landed at SeaTac with his wife-to-be, Jeanne, along with a backpack and a bicycle in a box. Richard always had a bike ready to go, but more recently, with the help of the Cascade Training Series, became confident enough to take on the one-day Seattle to Portland (STP) challenge, Ride from Seattle to Vancouver and Party (RSVP), Chilly Hilly and other local rides such as 7 Hills of Kirkland and RAMROD. “Bicycling has become my passion and importantly a great tonic for mind and body,” said Richard.

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About Cascade Bicycle Club

Cascade Bicycle Club, the nation’s largest statewide bicycle organization, is powered by over 17,000 members and 36 staff and serves bike riders of all ages and abilities throughout the Puget Sound region and across Washington state. With a mission to improve lives through bicycling, we deliver community and school-based education programs, grassroots organizing workshops, free group rides, world-class events and more. Learn more at cascade.org.

About Washington Bikes

Washington Bikes grows bicycling all across the state of Washington every day. We advocate for bicyclists’ rights, endorse political candidates and hold officials accountable at every level of government, working with them to shape the policies that will make bicycling a safe, accessible form of transportation, travel and recreation. Through our efforts we increase funding for bicycle facilities; provide tools for local advocates to improve their communities; and promote the health, safety and economic benefits of bicycling. Our work and that of our many partner organizations means more biking all across Washington, the #1 Bicycle Friendly State in America (eight years in a row)! To learn more, visit WAbikes.org.

Media contact: Brent Tongco, Senior Director of Communications & Marketing, brentt@wabikes.org, 206.939.4307 (office), 303.828.7794 (cell)

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Distracted driving — always irresponsible, now illegal

On Sunday, July 23 Washington state’s new distracted driver legislation will take effect. Here’s what you need to know.

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SB 5289, the driving under the influence of electronics (E-DUI) bill, passed the state legislature with bipartisan support in the 2017 regular legislative session. Washington Bikes advocated for the legislation alongside a diverse coalition of individuals and organizations, including victims’ families, construction professionals, medical professionals, and transportation organizations. On May 16th, as Governor Inslee signed the bill into law, he sped up the date for enactment to July 23rd.

This diverse coalition was motivated to come together to ensure distracted driving laws in Washington were strengthened for a very compelling reason — people are dying. Fatalities from distracted driving are on the rise and people walking and biking are significantly impacted. A recent study examined deaths of people walking and biking attributed to distracted driving between 2005 and 2010 and the numbers are disturbing: Deaths for people walking increased from 344 to 500 and for people on bikes from 56 to 73.

Washington’s new distracted driving law is intended to deter a specific dangerous behavior that has become more and more common: Driving while distracted by electronic devices. The intent is to keep everyone on our streets safe; the law will be most impactful to vulnerable street users, like people walking and biking. Given that many of us are behind the wheel at some point, here’s a rundown of how to comply with the law and keep people safe.

  • So what do you need to know to follow the law? It’s simple really, put your phone down while driving (this means ALL electronic devices, including tablets, laptops, and video games). Pledge to put down the phone.
  • What are the consequences if caught driving with your hand-held device in use?
    • First E-DUI – $136
    • Second E-DUI (within 5 years) – $234
    • The ticket amount goes up with each offense
    • The ticket will go on your record and is available to your insurance provider
  • You might be wondering, can I use my phone while I’m stopped at a light? The answer is no. The new law prohibits use of your phone when stopped in traffic or at a traffic light. This also means no typing messages, accessing information, watching videos, or taking photos while stopped.

This new law simply reinforces what all of us know is the right thing to do: Paying attention when we drive. On the road. Off the phone. It’s the law.

Pledge to put down the phone.

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