We’re hiring for our new Executive Director!

Washington Bikes and Cascade Bicycle Club are looking to hire! We seek a bold, creative, experienced and visionary leader to serve as the next Executive Director. The next Executive Director will lead these dynamic, well-established and respected organizations by demonstrating  a passion for growing and expanding our influence and impact in pursuing Washington Bikes’ mission of ‘People Who Bike Make a Difference’ and Cascade’s mission of ‘Improving Lives Through Bicycling.’

The next Executive Director of WA Bikes and Cascade will have an opportunity to take the helm of a vibrant, growing and respected organization and build a lasting legacy for Washington state. The E.D. of both 501(c)4 Washington Bikes and 501(c)3 Cascade Bicycle Club will be the torchbearer; setting out immediately to build trust while creating a culture of “best practices” and embodying the values already set forth by the missions of the organizations. We are seeking the consummate manager of managers who is as comfortable in the budgeting process as they are working with key partners, political stakeholders and major donors.

The Washington Bikes & Cascade Bicycle Club Executive Director will have overall strategic and operational responsibility for fulfillment of WA Bikes’ 5-year strategic plan with a mission of being the statewide voice for people of all ages and abilities who ride bicycles for transportation, health, travel and recreation. WA Bikes works to elect, build relationships with, and hold accountable policymakers to improve the safety and accessibility of bicycling throughout Washington state thereby improving the health and prosperity of our communities. The Executive Director also oversees Cascade’s mission to improve lives through bicycling, teaching the joys of bicycling, advocating for safe places to ride and producing world-class rides.

Please review our Position Profile for more details. Annual salary is $110,000 – $150,000 based on experience and qualifications.

Cover letter and resumes should be submitted via email to Adam Forest (adam@theforestgroup.com). This announcement was originally posted on April 20, 2017. The position will remain open until filled. Applications reviewed on a frequent rolling basis.

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Making Bikes Count: Washington creates interdisciplinary panel dedicated to the safety of people who bike

People who bike make up a disproportionate number of traffic fatalities and serious injuries when compared to people that travel by other means. While experts across fields, from law enforcement to transportation planning to public health, are dedicated to eliminating this disparity, these sectors need a better way to collaborate.

That’s why Washington Bikes is celebrating the creation of the Cooper Jones Bicyclist Safety Advisory Council.

Senate bill 5402 passed the legislature on April 17, and Gov. Inslee will soon sign this legislation into law, forming the first interdisciplinary panel dedicated to examining causes of serious injury and death of people who bike in Washington. This means bicyclist safety will be treated with the same diligence as pedestrian safety as well as impaired driving, both of which already have their own dedicated panels.

Experts and advocates representing more than 10 disciplines and stakeholder groups will convene quarterly to review, analyze and share data; identify patterns in bicyclist injury and death; and identify points at which the transportation system can be improved.

Facilitating these practices puts us on the path to eliminate disparities in traffic injury and death for people who bike, and ultimately, to achieve Target Zero objectives.

What’s more, investing in bicyclist safety at the state level spurs action among counties and municipalities. When the state leads, local advocates and agencies follow suit, using vetted, trusted and evidence-based recommendations to advance policies in their own communities.

Advocating for the safety of people who bike is a core tenant of all that we do at Washington Bikes. With the creation of the Cooper Jones Bicyclist Safety Advisory Council, we are elevating the safety of some of the most vulnerable road users in a comprehensive statewide manner.

Washington Bikes would like to express gratitude to the family of Cooper Jones, who after the loss of their son, worked tirelessly to lay the groundwork for bicyclist and pedestrian safety legislation in Washington state. Also, we’d like to give a huge thanks to Senator Liias and Representative Kloba, the prime sponsors of the companion bills this year. Their leadership and commitment to making Washington’s communities safer for people who bike is greatly valued.

To stay engaged on this and other important bike issues, sign up for WA Bikes E-News.

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Day 96 of the legislative session: An update on where things stand for people who bike

Safety improvements for Washington’s streets and roadways, connecting and protecting trails, and ensuring active transportation and recreation are supported through the state’s budgets.

Less than two weeks until Sine Die

It’s day 96 of the legislative session. Washington Bikes has been head down, working our priorities through the legislative process. Wednesday, April 12 was the cutoff for bills to make it out of their opposite chamber in order to continue on to the Governor’s desk for signature. And with that, the focus in Olympia has turned towards the budgeting process. The Republican-controlled Senate and the Democratic-controlled House have both released their initial versions of the Operating, Transportation and Capital budgets. The regular session will Sine Die (adjourn) on Sunday, April 23. Budget negotiations have yet to start, which means we are awaiting an announcement of the special session. The special session will be dedicated to passing the final budgets and addressing the McCleary mandate for K-12 education.

Legislation

Washington Bikes’ priority legislation — creating the Cooper Jones Bicyclist Safety Advisory Council — has almost made it through the legislative process. SB 5402 passed the full House last week and now awaits concurrence in the Senate before heading to the Governor’s desk. Huge thanks to our prime sponsors, Senator Liias (21st LD) and Representative Kloba (1st LD), for championing this legislation to help address improving street and road conditions by taking a dedicated look at crashes involving people on bikes.

Washington Bikes has been working with a coalition of organizations, construction professionals, medical professionals, law enforcement, and families who’ve lost loved ones to distracted driving collisions to update Washington’s outdated distracted driving laws. SB 5289 passed the full House this week — this bill too, needs concurrence in the Senate before heading to the Governor’s desk for signature. When the bill is enacted in 2019, holding a wireless device while driving will be a traffic infraction with penalties that will hopefully deter the current common usage of phones while driving. This distraction while driving correlates to disturbing trends in collisions and injury.

Budgets

Still a work in progress, but Washington Bikes is advocating for priorities that impact people who bike in all three budgets.

  • Transportation Budget — Safe Routes to School (SRTS) and bike/pedestrian grant funding levels are currently maintained in both the House and Senate versions of the budget.
  • Capital Budget — We are working to secure funds for maintenance, protection, and development of trails statewide. The Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP) contains the majority of these trail projects through the recreational trails program.
  • Operating Budget — We are working along with Washington Trails Association to secure funding for an economic impact study. The study will take a deep dive looking at how hiking, biking, and walking positively impact Washington’s economy. In addition, the study will quantify the health benefits of these activities.

Stay tuned as regular session concludes and for an update on how Washington Bikes’ 2017 legislative priorities faired. Stay touch by signing up for Washington Bikes’ alerts!

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Cooper Jones Bicyclist Safety Advisory Council

SB 5402 and HB 1795 introduced in both the House and Senate target reversing the trend in fatalities and serious injuries of people on bikes throughout Washington’s transportation system.

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 than to drive a car, but why?

To answer this question, Washington Bikes has partnered with Sen. Liias and Rep. Kloba in efforts to better understand the causes of serious injuries and deaths in Washington state and find strategies improve safety for those biking on Washington’s streets and roads.

At its heart, SB 5402/HB 1795: establishes the Cooper Jones Bicyclist Safety Advisory Council to convene a panel of interdisciplinary professionals from law enforcement, multimodal transportation planners, public health representatives, municipalities, victim’s families, bicycle advocates and transportation researchers. The panel will meet quarterly to analyze bicyclist-involved collision data. 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 an annual report to the legislature that includes recommendations for safety improvements.

Washington Bikes’ expects the recommendations of this panel to help inform and guide future policy and funding decisions made in Olympia and at the local level, leading to a reduction in deaths and serious injuries on Washington’s streets and roadways.

Cooper Jones

Cooper Jones

The legislation honors the heritage of The Cooper Jones Act of 1998 which set the foundation for bicycle safety legislation in Washington state. Named for 13-year-old Cooper Jones of Spokane, Wash., the Jones family worked relentlessly after the tragic loss of their son to strengthen safety laws for people who bike. Now, 20 years later, Washington still has a lot of work ahead to make streets and roads safe for people who bike. The Cooper Jones Bicyclist Safety Advisory Committee aims to honor the work of the Jones’ family while making much-needed transportation system safety improvements for those that bike.

SB 5402 was heard in the Senate Transportation Committee on Tuesday, Feb. 7. HB 1795 is scheduled for a hearing on Monday, Feb. 13 in the House Transportation Committee.

Let’s make Washington’s transportation system safe for ALL users. Keep in touch with us by signing up to Washington Bikes’ alerts to help us pass this important safety legislation.

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Cascade and Washington Bikes’ Chief Strategic Officer Barb Chamberlain accepts director role at WSDOT’s new Division of Active Transportation

barb-w-bike-2011-mediumThe Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) has named Barb Chamberlain Director of the newly created Division of Active Transportation. Barb served as the Executive Director of Washington Bikes 2012-2015, then became Chief Strategic Officer (CSO) when Washington Bikes and Cascade Bicycle Club merged to form the nation’s largest statewide bike nonprofit.

Barb helped lead the orchestration of a successful merger between Cascade and Washington Bikes. As Chief Strategic Officer, she was instrumental in the development of new 5-year strategic plans for both organizations. Under her leadership as CSO, Cascade began to increase activation and engagement statewide as well as lay the groundwork for becoming a resource hub across the state.

“Barb has been instrumental in expanding our impact and our partnerships across the state of Washington, and is recognized nationally as a leader,” said Charles Ruthford, Cascade board president. “She will be sorely missed at Cascade and Washington Bikes, but we are excited about her future and appreciate her continued dedication to active transportation.”

Cascade applauds WSDOT for establishing the Division of Active Transportation, ensuring that Washington state continues to be a leader in planning and building for the future of transportation for everyone. A focus on biking and walking is critical in achieving active, sustainable transportation and improved safety across the state, and Cascade looks forward to the positive impact of this new division.

“I’m proud of all that has been accomplished during my time at Cascade and Washington Bikes,” said Barb. “I wouldn’t consider leaving if it weren’t for this incredible opportunity to set the direction of a new division from its inception. I look forward to continued collaboration with biking, walking and trail groups all across the state as partners in the future.”

Barb’s last day at Washington Bikes and Cascade is February 24. Please join us in congratulating her on this new position!

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Strengthening Washington’s Distracted Driving Law

SB 5289 and HB 1371 introduced in both the House and Senate aim to curb the epidemic of distracted driving across Washington state

This week the transportation committees in both the Senate and House will take up legislation to strengthen our state’s distracted driver laws. In 2007, Washington state became one of the first states to pass a law to place restrictions on distracted driving. Since then, technology has rapidly advanced in the time since these laws were first enacted. Our phones are now used for email, social networking, surfing the internet and so much more. All of these behaviors equate to risky distractions. 2014 and  2015 saw attempts to  pass legislation — most recently in 2015 by Sen. Rivers and Rep. Farrell.

This legislation helps close loopholes and stiffens penalties to reduce this growing concern, especially as smart phones become more and more central to people’s lives. Washington is experiencing a steady increase in distracted driving deaths. In 2016 they made up a third of all traffic fatalities.

Driving distracted  poses a significant threat to people in vehicles and to vulnerable users, like people biking and walking. Distracted drivers are the cause of an increasing share of fatalities found among pedestrians and bicycle riders. Reducing distracted driving helps create a culture of safety for drivers and the most vulnerable road users – children, pedestrians, and bicyclists. The risks around distraction can be more intense because bicyclists and pedestrians — including children — are less visible and more prone to go unnoticed by distracted drivers, with tragic consequences.

Samuel Thompson

Sam Thompson

Families who have been changed forever by distracted driving plan to testify in Olympia this week, including the family of Sam Thompson who in 2014 picked up his phone and responded to a text message while headed to an appointment in Colfax, WA. Immediately after the text, Sam’s car veered across the center line into oncoming traffic resulting in a fatal head-on collision with a semi-truck. He would have turned 21 the following week.

Since their tragic loss, Sam’s family have worked to raise awareness by making highway signs warning against texting and driving, speaking to high school students, and working with Washington State Department of Transportation on public safety campaigns. This week it’s Sam’s family’s turn to tell their story to legislators who can make a difference by strengthening laws that improve enforcement and sharpen penalties to deter drivers from distraction.

Here are two ways you can act now & make your community safer:

Call

Between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., dial 1.800.562.6000 to leave a message for your legislators.

– OR –

Email

Follow this link to get a message to your legislators.

Join us to make some common-sense improvements to Washington state’s distracted driving laws. Keep in touch by signing up to Washington Bikes’ alerts to pass this important safety legislation.

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Puget Sound Bike Plan Update: Attend a Workshop

From Kimberly Scrivener, Senior Planner, Puget Sound Regional Council.

The Puget Sound Regional Council is updating the Regional Bicycle Network and looking for feedback.

The Regional Bicycle Network is a set of existing, planned and aspirational connections that, once built, will connect people to regional destinations through a safe bicycling network.   This is currently part of the adopted Active Transportation Plan; PSRC is updating this network to ensure consistency with recently adopted comprehensive plans and other recent planning efforts.

The update will include:

  1. working with local jurisdictions
  2. hosting charrette style workshops in each county so planners can work with neighboring jurisdictions, public health and bicycle advocacy groups;
  3. working closely with the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee as well as other PSRC committees and countywide groups for comment.

More information about the development of the network, what is being updated, and how to submit comments can be found on the PSRC website.

A Pierce County bike plan charrette in 2012. Image courtesy of Puget Sound Regional Council.

A Pierce County bike plan charrette in 2012. Image courtesy of Puget Sound Regional Council.

Meanwhile… SAVE THE DATE for a local charrette style workshop:

Pierce County: Wednesday February 8, 2:00-3:30pm. Tacoma Nature Center (Snake Lake), 1919 S. Tyler Street, Tacoma

King County: Tuesday, February 21, 1–2:30pm. Bellevue City Hall, 450 110th Ave NE, Bellevue, Room 1E-120

Snohomish County: Wednesday March 1, 2:00-3:30pm. Snohomish County Campus, 3000 Rockefeller Ave., Everett

The charrette will be held in the public meeting rooms 1 & 2 on the first floor

Kitsap County: Thursday March 9, 2:30 – 4pm (just after Kitsap’s Transportation Committee meeting). 60 Washington Avenue, Suite 200 Bremerton

Puget Sound Regional Bicycle Network FAQs

What is the Puget Sound Regional Council?

PSRC is the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the Puget Sound Region which includes Kitsap, Snohomish, King and Pierce counties. PSRC is a member organization made up of the cities, counties, transit agencies, tribes and ports and is governed by boards made up of members. PSRC plans regionally for transportation, growth management and economic development.

Why is PSRC developing a Regional Bicycle Network?

This planning effort is part of the region’s Active Transportation Plan which is a component of the Regional Transportation Plan, Transportation 2040.  Both Transportation 2040 and VISION 2040, the region’s plan for growth, call for the development of a regional bicycle network. The Regional Bicycle Network was originally adopted in 2014 and will be updated as part of the 2018 Update. More information about the development and framework can be found in section 4.4 of the Active Transportation Plan.

The purpose of the Regional Bicycle Network is to highlight completed, planned and aspirational linkages that, once built, will connect people of all ages and abilities to regional destinations safely by bicycle. This effort is to highlight local planning efforts, emphasize important regional connections and provides a framework for coordinating across jurisdictional boundaries. It is also a way for PSRC to highlight important gaps in the regional system for decision-makers.

What criteria were used to developed this network?

PSRC spent a year during 2011 and 2012 working closely with the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) and conducting outreach to local jurisdictions.  The BPAC helped to identify which connections should be most considered when assessing connectivity to regional destinations.   These included a focus on access to centers, major transit destinations, major parks, higher education, military bases and employment hubs as well as connections to the wider regional trail system.

What kind of outreach was conducted during the development of this network?

The BPAC spent many months in 2012 and 2013 conducting peer review, developing the criteria and conducting outreach to local jurisdictions and PSRC committees. This included outreach to PSRC’s Regional Staff Committee, Transportation Operators Committee and the Special Needs Transportation Committee as well as to each of the four countywide transportation committees. PSRC also hosted eight charrettes across the region where local planners and the bicycle community were invited to collaborate and discuss cross-jurisdictional connections. These charrettes in Kent, Lynnwood, Seattle, Bremerton, Everett, Tacoma and Puyallup were well attended.  The final network was recommended by the BPAC in 2013 and ultimately adopted as part of the Active Transportation Plan by the PSRC Policy Boards in 2014.

Is this a bike map that I can use to map my ride?

No. This map should not be used as a bike map (although it does include existing facilities as a background layer). It is an aspirational network of bicycle linkages that together form a regional network connecting people to regional destinations.

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What to look for from Washington Bikes in the 2017 legislative session

Transportation system safety improvements, connecting and protecting trails, and understanding the economic impact of biking and hiking for Washington’s economy

The 2017 Washington state legislative session kicked off last week. Washington Bikes is looking forward to a productive session where we’ll ensure that investments are made in the areas that matter most for people who bike.

Before we jump into the 2017 legislative agenda, here’s a quick lay of the land for what Washington state is facing in Olympia this year. School funding remains at the forefront in this legislative session. The McCleary case decision and the state Supreme Court have mandated that state school-funding be fully addressed by 2018 – so this is the year the solutions and funding decisions must be enacted. The partisan control of the legislature remained unchanged following the 2016 general election with Democratic control of the House and Republican control of the Senate. What does all of this mean? Education will dominate much of the legislative session and with split control of the chambers, finding compromise solutions will likely take some time. All that said, Washington Bikes’ legislative work is already underway and we’re excited about what we’ve set out to accomplish this year.

Washington Bikes’ 2017 legislative agenda will work to:

  • Make improvements to the safety of our streets and transportation system as a whole
  • Connect and protect trails throughout the state
  • Quantify the benefits of biking, hiking and walking (for the state’s economy and health cost savings)

Read on to learn how we plan to achieve these goals.

We are working on the creation of a Bicycle Safety Advisory Council which would analyze the data available from fatalities and serious injuries caused by bicycle involved car crashes. The purpose is to make our streets safer by identifying vulnerabilities in Washington’s transportation system and then recommend evidence-based solutions to the legislature.

An update to Washington’s distracted driving laws is long overdue. Technology has advanced rapidly and the current legislation is too narrow for the capabilities of today’s smart phones. The update will broaden the definition of the law so that any person (with much narrower exceptions) operating a motor vehicle while holding a personal wireless communications device will be guilty of a traffic infraction.

Washington state has some of the longest and most iconic biking and walking trails in the country. Washington Bikes is committed to keeping them open and accessible. We are supporting State Parks and Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP) funding requests for the development and maintenance of the John Wayne Pioneer Trail and others.

Washington Trails Association and Washington Bikes are requesting funding for an economic impact study to quantify the bicycle and hiking tourism industry and the health benefits associated with these forms of active recreation and transportation. It is sometimes difficult to convey the importance of healthy, active lifestyles – having quantitative data to help tell this story would be powerful. This study will help us understand:

  1. who is coming to Washington to utilize trails and hiking-biking infrastructure and their economic impact on the region;
  2. the real estate development trends around hiking and biking infrastructure; and
  3. the long-term benefits and costs of hiking-biking on our region’s health.

Look for updates on our legislative priorities here as the bills progress and the budget process gets underway!

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Walla Walla Named a Bicycle Friendly Community

By Erendira Cruz, Chair, Walla Walla Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee

Erendira Cruz (left), chair of the Walla Walla Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee, celebrating Walla Walla's new BFC designation with mayor Allen Pomraning.

Erendira Cruz (left), chair of the Walla Walla Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee, celebrating Walla Walla’s new BFC designation with mayor Allen Pomraning.

For Walla Walla, the seed for its designation as a bicycle friendly community was planted three years ago by City Engineer Neal Chavre in an e-mail to the city’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) chair: yours truly.  The time for action, however, didn’t come until the summer of 2015 when cycling enthusiast, retired US Air Force veteran, and League of American Bicyclists member Jeffrey Fritts offered his help to the Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee.  Jeffrey researched and presented on the application requirements and process to the BPAC and to City Council with the recommendation to apply. Through discussions of the potential for a joint application of the Valley’s metropolitan planning area, the initiative lost some momentum and missed that year’s application deadline.

Application plans found new life in March of 2016, when Barb Chamberlain, Chief Strategic Officer of Cascade Bicycle Club and Washington Bikes, invited me to the Washington Bike Summit in Tacoma.  The session on seeking Bicycle Friendly status spurred the spirit of competition in me. So the race was on!  I worked with community partners, groups, cycling advocates, and city staff and leaders to demonstrate Walla Walla’s progress in the main application categories; education and encouragement; engineering; safety and enforcement; and evaluation and planning.  Thanks to much input and support, the application was signed, sealed, and delivered in time for the August 2016 deadline. In November, we learned that Walla Walla had received a Bronze designation and officially became the 17th Bicycle Friendly Community in Washington, the #1 bicycle friendly state!

So what does a Bicycle Friendly Community designation mean for Walla Walla?  I think of this designation as an affirmation of the work that has already been done by so many in our City. That we have a Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee and a Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan are a few obvious examples. Safety signage, especially on county roads; the Tour of Walla Walla; community support for two local bicycle shops; numerous varied riding groups; the Whitman College cycling team; and Bicycle Benefits, a bicycle and business friendly program, are further evidence of cycling’s enduring appeal to many in Walla Walla. The designation also serves as a starting point for a renewed and continued focus on bicycling education and safety in our City. Bicycle Friendly cities tend to be destination cities for bicycle tourists, bringing with them additional economic benefits.

The impacts of encouraging and facilitating cycling on health and sustainability should not be overlooked either. Cycling is not only a rewarding and multifaceted recreational option, but it can also be a viable alternative to motorized transportation. Statistics from the 2009 National Household Travel Study reveal that most school, work, and errand trips are less than ten miles and 22 percent of trips are under four miles. If even a fraction of the 22 percent of trips under four miles were taken by bicycle instead, our community would benefit from improved parking and traffic conditions, especially in the downtown core. In Walla Walla, every Valley Transit bus is outfitted with bike racks, making creative commuter options possible.  Bicycle commuters benefit from improved health and financial savings.  Finally,  the environment can benefit at the most fundamental level through a reduction in carbon emissions.

Capitalizing on the positive benefits that the Bicycle Friendly Community designation can have for Walla Walla is now up to us. As leaders, policy makers, taxpayers, parents, educators, environmentalists, law enforcement, and bicycling advocates and enthusiasts, we have a framework and tools to continue to make a positive impact on our health and quality of life in Walla Walla through bicycling. I hope, in four years, to submit an application that shows progress in our efforts and to achieve a Silver (or higher!) designation.

About the League of American Bicyclists Bicycle Friendly America Program

The League of American Bicyclists was founded in 1880 to improve road conditions for, and acceptance of, cyclists.  Since then, the League has continued with the vision to encourage and facilitate “a nation where everyone recognizes and enjoys the many benefits and opportunities of bicycling.”  It is in fulfillment of this vision that the League offers the Bicycle Friendly America program. This program awards cities recognition tiered from bronze up to platinum with a designation that lasts for a four year period.  Each designation includes a report card and recommendations for achieving the next award level.

Other Walla Walla bike news

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Outdoor recreation to be counted in US GDP

In a major win at the federal level, the Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act passed with unanimous, bipartisan support in both the House and Senate and was signed into law by Pres. Obama. As a result, for the first time ever the outdoor economy will be measured and reported in the nation’s economic report card the same way economists report on aerospace, IT, or agriculture.

Rep. Rick Larsen making use of Washington's outdoor recreation assets, on a ride with Snohomish and Skagit County bike advocates.

Rep. Rick Larsen making use of Washington’s outdoor recreation assets, on a ride with Snohomish and Skagit County bike advocates.

Our thanks to members of Washington’s congressional delegation: Sen. Patty Murray, Sen. Maria Cantwell, and Members of Congress Suzan delBene (a co-sponsor of the bill), Rick Larsen, Jaime Herrera Beutler, Dan Newhouse, Cathy McMorris Rodgers (co-sponsor), Derek Kilmer, Jim McDermott, Dave Reichert (co-sponsor),  Adam Smith, Denny Heck.

Momentum continues to build for recognition and investment in the outdoor economy. The 2015 economic impact analysis of outdoor recreation in Washington state highlighted this sector’s $22 billion annual contribution to the state’s economy. Bicycling provides ~$3.2 billion in direct expenditure; as the third most popular outdoor activity in the state, biking represents a cornerstone of the outdoor economy.

Representatives of outdoor recreation met with Gov. Inslee in November. L-r: Marc Berejka, Director Government and Community Affairs , REI; Jon Snyder, Policy Advisor to Gov. Inslee on Outdoor Recreation and Economic Development; Shiloh Schauer, Executive Director, Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce; Katherine Hollis, Conservation and Advocacy Director, The Mountaineers; Julie Gregg, Director of Marketing and former WA Bikes board member, Sportworks NW; Jim Goldsmith, Board member, Washingtonians for Wildlife Conservation; Mary Dodsworth, Parks Director, City of Lakewood; Gov. Jay Inslee; Barb Chamberlain, Chief Strategic Officer, WA Bikes and Cascade Bicycle Club; Mike Schlafmann, Public Services Staff Officer, US Forest Service; Kendee Yamaguchi, Trade and Economic Development Director, Snohomish County; David Batker, Executive Director, Earth Economics; Kahty Young, President, Backcountry Horsemen; Glenn Nelson, Contributing Editor, High Country News and Trail Posse; Bob Whittaker, Founder, Ferry County Rail Trail Partners.

Representatives of outdoor recreation met with Gov. Inslee in November. L-r: Marc Berejka, Director Government and Community Affairs , REI; Jon Snyder, Policy Advisor to Gov. Inslee on Outdoor Recreation and Economic Development; Shiloh Schauer, Executive Director, Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce; Katherine Hollis, Conservation and Advocacy Director, The Mountaineers; Julie Gregg, Director of Marketing and former WA Bikes board member, Sportworks NW; Jim Goldsmith, Board member, Washingtonians for Wildlife Conservation; Mary Dodsworth, Parks Director, City of Lakewood; Gov. Jay Inslee; Barb Chamberlain, Chief Strategic Officer, WA Bikes and Cascade Bicycle Club; Mike Schlafmann, Public Services Staff Officer, US Forest Service; Kendee Yamaguchi, Trade and Economic Development Director, Snohomish County; David Batker, Executive Director, Earth Economics; Kahty Young, President, Backcountry Horsemen; Glenn Nelson, Contributing Editor, High Country News and Trail Posse; Bob Whittaker, Founder, Ferry County Rail Trail Partners.

The Outdoor Industry Association lobbied hard for passage of the act; their report on its significance provides additional information.

Outdoor recreation is especially important in rural Washington, with jobs found in every county, every corner of the state, unlike some sectors that cluster their employment in major urban areas. At a recent meeting with outdoor interests as a follow-up to the 2014 Blue Ribbon Task Force on Parks and Outdoor Recreation, which I co-chaired, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee reiterated the value of Washington’s great outdoors for future healthy generations.

Projects like the US Bicycle Route System and promotion of bike tourism have led to increased interest from local leaders and economic development interests. We’ve spoken with people from Grand Coulee and Lincoln County, Union Gap and Republic, Snohomish County and the Snoqualmie Valley, Spokane to Olympia, Port Angeles and the Tri-Cities, about how to invite more bike travelers. Across the state, leaders want to welcome those wallets on wheels!

Our recommendation: Working for Bicycle Friendly Community status sends a strong signal that a destination will welcome bike tourists; Ellensburg touts its Silver BFC status in its tourism marketing materials.

Including outdoor recreation and bike travel/tourism in local economic development plans also elevates their significance. In Wenatchee, for example, the community’s newly adopted action plan includes a regional trail network as a priority. Walla Walla recently celebrated news that they’re receiving a National Park Service planning grant for a regional trail network there as well.

Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Shiloh Schauer presented Gov. Inslee with the community's new action plan. It includes a regional trail network as a top priority, with the Chamber taking the lead to move the network forward.

Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Shiloh Schauer presented Gov. Inslee with the community’s new action plan. It includes a regional trail network as a top priority, with the Chamber taking the lead to move the network forward.

Trails in particular provide a destination asset — the more mileage in a trail system, the farther people will travel to experience it by bike and the more they spend when they’re on the trail. Washington Bikes works with advocates around the state to increase state investment in these valuable assets, from the John Wayne Pioneer Trail to the Olympic Discovery Trail to the Whitehorse Trail and beyond, along with investments in on-street bike networks for everyday riding in your hometown.

If you believe in the value of trails and bike tourism to grow our state’s economy, support our lobbying efforts for investment and policy to improve bicycling for all. With your donation you’ll be joining thousands of people who are riding with us!

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