New Washington Bikes Board Members

New Washington Bikes board members have been elected by the board of Cascade Bicycle Club. Chosen for their experience, geographic representation, and the balanced perspectives they bring to both the policy and political work of the organization, the new board members will serve one-year terms. They will be adopting a new strategic plan in the next few weeks.

Leda Chahim, Seattle

Leda-ChahimChahim serves as Government Affairs Director for Forterra, where she is in charge of developing and advancing state and federal proposals aimed at creating livable, affordable communities and conserving working farms, forests and natural lands across the state. She serves on the boards of the Washington Association of Land Trusts and the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition. She’s also a member of the International Living Future Institute’s inaugural Cascadia Congress and is an appointed member of the Forest Resources Coordinating Committee, a federal advisory committee to the Secretary of Agriculture. Leda holds degrees in Political Science and Conservation Biology from the University of Washington.

Paul Dillon, Spokane

Paul-DillonPaul Dillon serves as the Public Affairs Manager for Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho. Previously he was the legislative assistant for Senator Andy Billig of the 3rd Legislative District of Spokane and co-founded an environmental news site published by the Spokesman-Review called Down To Earth. He was the board president for Pedals2People, a former community bike nonprofit in Spokane, and serves on the board of the Center For Justice. Dillon holds a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Washington University.

Jane Hague, Bellevue

Board Secretary

Jane-HagueHague served on the King County Council 1993-2015. Prior to joining the Council she served as the Manager of Records and Elections for King County, and was an elected member of the Bellevue City Council. She has served on the King County Boys and Girls Club Board of Directors, was elected President of the National Association of Counties, and was one of the founding members of the board for Sound Transit.

Haley Keller, Seattle

Board Treasurer

Haley-WoodsKeller is co-founder and co-owner of Peddler Brewing Company in Ballard, which opened its doors in 2013. A graduate of the Cascade Bicycle Club Advocacy Leadership Institute, she is a leader in the Connect Ballard neighborhood advocacy team and continually seeks ways for Peddler Brewing Company to support the bicycle community. Keller received her BS in Mathematics and Master in Teaching from Seattle University and taught math at Lake Washington High School in Kirkland.

Ron Sher, Medina

Ron-SherFounder and CEO of development firm Sher Partners, Sher devotes considerable time and energy to creating community gathering spaces. He owns Third Place Books, with locations in Lake Forest Park,  Ravenna, and Seward Park. He redeveloped the Crossroads Shopping Center and developed other retail properties.  He holds a PhD in agricultural economics from Washington State University, serves on the board of Washington Conservation Voters, and is a former member of the board of the Project for Public Spaces and Cascade Bicycle Club.

Daniel Weise, Kirkland

Board President

Daniel-WeiseDaniel Weise is an ex-academic (PhD MIT, Assistant Professor at Stanford University, Microsoft Research group leader) who, for the last decade, has been a community volunteer. He serves on the boards of several nonprofits (including Climate Solutions and the Washington Environmental Council), on various other advisory panels and for-profit boards, and he assists technology start-ups. In his spare time he is a recreational cyclist, gardener of edible plants, and angel investor. His favorite investment, though he will probably never make a nickel from it, is the DailyKos.

Washington Bikes Organizational Structure

In September 2015 the board of Washington Bikes, then a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, voted to merge with Cascade Bicycle Club. Under new bylaws for Washington Bikes, now a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, Cascade Bicycle Club is the sole member of Washington Bikes and as such elects the board. An initial board consisting of Cascade executive committee members was chosen to provide oversight in the initial phase of the merger implementation.
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Willapa Hills Rail-Trail Links Chehalis to Pe Ell

Projects like these represent the culmination of our work to grow investments in trails to record highs. With each trail project we come a little closer to having a connected network of safe, accessible bikeways across the state.

Willapa Hills Trail, Adna Bridge, railroad trestle. Picture by Discover Lewis County.

Washington State Parks staff have opened up the trail just west of Adna, where it had been closed since late 2015 due to restoration work on a 923-foot trestle known simply as Bridge #5. The previously unsurfaced bridge was the final gap in the Willapa Hills Trail between Chehalis and Pe Ell after two other bridges further west over the Chehalis River were completed last year.

The Willapa Hills Trail is a rails-to-trails project that, in all, extends 56 miles from Chehalis to South Bend in Pacific County. Five miles of the trail between Chehalis and Bridge #5 are paved, while the stretch from Bridge #5 to Pe Ell consists of ballast that is suitable for just about any bicycle tire except for thin road tires. Beyond Pe Ell, however, much work on several segments and bridges needs to be complete before full rideability of the entire trail is achieved.

The 22 miles between Chehalis and Pe Ell being fully open now means big things for west Lewis County. For one, bicyclists don’t have to drive out from Chehalis or Pe Ell to a trailhead miles away to reach a point on the trail; they can ride out straight from town and head back at their own leisure, forgoing a four-wheeled vehicle trip. Secondly, the trail encounters very little cross traffic all along, and its rural scenery along the Chehalis River and several pastoral farmlands makes it a beautiful option for people wishing to enjoy a long ride on Washington’s newest rail-trail — again, with the option now of originating their route from a population center.

Bikepacking is sure to be a hit with people combining the experience of bicycling with minimalist camping along the trail. And speaking of camping, Rainbow Falls State Park is a perfect spot to pitch a tent, located just off the trail in Dryad. It’s first-come, first-served, so check in at the park entrance, pay the required fee and claim your spot.

The town of Pe Ell stands to benefit, as it is home to the trailhead with the most amenities — restrooms, running water, bike racks, horse trailer parking, interpretive displays and more — and several establishments such as Evey’s Cafe, Kettle Creek and the Pe Ell Pub, among others. Stop into Pe Ell and say a friendly hello to the folks there!

As for the new bridge itself, contractors Tapani Inc. of Battle Ground, Washington recently put finishing touches on the upgrades, which include a concrete surface, safety railing and bridge stability improvements. The project lasted roughly six months, culminating with a final walkthrough on the last day of May.

If you want to experience the new bridge for yourself, the Adna trailhead off Dieckman Road is the best place to park (remember your Discover Pass!). Walk about a mile west and you’ll be among the first to experience this beautiful crossing of the Chehalis River that trains once roared over daily a century ago.

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Tell USDOT We ALL Count #MakeMeCount

Little girl on bike seen from te back, wearing helmet, others biking/walking in street.The Federal Highway Administration has once again ignored bicyclists when determining performance measures for our transportation system. We need you to speak up now.

With passage of the FAST Act signed into law December 2015, Congress just instituted a Complete Streets policy for the National Highway System (which is much more than highways; it includes main streets, arterials and other major roads). Yet despite this FHWA wants to measure performance of the system using a measure for drivers only. Their draft performance measure rules would measure congestion by measuring delay for drivers, conflating performance for all traffic with travel time reliability for motorists only. Speeding up motorists on Main Street doesn’t improve performance for people biking or walking!

We need an additional measure that measures performance or reliability for those outside of cars, whose concerns are much more around measures of access, comfort and safety. We know that what we measure, matters. If governments are not directed to measure performance for non-motorized transportation, they have no incentive to invest in improvements.

Incentivizing states to speed up drivers may result in significant danger to people biking or walking. If these draft rules are implemented, they will hinder the ability of local governments to implement Complete Streets, build protected bike lanes, and improve transportation for all people. We need to speak up now before these rules are adopted as final.

We’ve done it before. With your help we convinced FHWA to include a safety performance measure for biking and walking. We need your help again.

IRONY ALERT: Adding insult to potential injury, USDOT recently rolled out “Every Place Counts,” a design challenge aimed at undoing highway-building mistakes of the past that tore communities apart and created barriers to safe, active transportation. And USDOT Sec. Anthony Foxx has issued a 30-year plan that explicitly encourages multimodal transportation choices. Yet their own proposed rules would encourage high-speed barriers to active transportation, not discourage them.

Shouldn’t federal rule-making support federal policy goals? We think so. Act now(Deadline for comments is mid-August but don’t wait. Spread the word; share this link on Facebook and Twitter and via email.)
Not only does the draft rule propose incentives that put drivers first, everyone else dead last, the rule also sets goals for measuring air pollutants from transportation but doesn’t include greenhouse gases. Our clean transportation choices apparently don’t count either.
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Rail-Trail Surface Improved Along Curlew Lake

Project improves school access, recreation


Curlew Job Corps students and foreman Rick Baum stand with the paver on loan from Rebecca Baker.

The Ferry County Rail Trail is rolling into Phase 3. In May an eight-foot-wide smooth, firm and very user friendly surface made of crusher fines was spread and compacted on 2.3 miles of the trail along the west side of Curlew Lake. The new surfacing connects to improvements made just last summer for a total of 5.5 miles.

A $198,000 Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) non-motorized trail grant made the new surfacing possible. Also included in the phase 3 plan are surface improvements to approximately 2 miles of rail-trail from Lundimo Meadow Road to the Curlew School, then north along the majestic Kettle River ending at the tunnel. These improvements, including a new vault toilet at the Black’s Beach Trailhead, are scheduled for later this summer.

Curlew Job Corps workers on the trail.

Ferry County Rail Trail Vice President and retired Echo Bay Mines geologist Keith Bell are pictured mixing up the new surface for the trail. The formula is 3/8 minus crusher fines with 10% water added. Volunteers and Curlew Job Corps students applied the material to the surface of the trail (using the paver) and then used a vibrating roller to compact it. Once dry it creates a firm and smooth ADA / user-friendly surface.

The RCO grant required a 50% match that was met through generously donated materials from Kinross Gold Corp., transportation of materials by ACI Northwest Inc., equipment use from Stott’s Construction, and volunteer hours from Curlew Job Corps students, Ferry County Rail Trail Partners (FCRTP) as well as many other local stakeholders and trail advocates.

Bob Whittaker, President of the FCRTP, said, “Now that the full six-mile length of trail next to Curlew Lake is improved you can see the greater potential to connect the Lake to the town of Republic. And how sweet is it that come this fall the Curlew School will have a new, safe, off-highway route to the center of town and beyond?”

Bobbi Weller, Chair of the County’s Rail Corridor Committee and an adjacent landowner to the trail, commented, “It is so wonderful to see more people on the trail. It goes to show just how important it is to win these trail grants.”

Join us in advocating for state investments in trails and other essential connections. Sign up for our e-news.

This blog post and photos came from the Ferry County Rail-Trail Partners.

IMG_1888 IMG_1460


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Take Action for Skagit County Active Transportation

Last Chance to Make a Positive Difference for Open Space, Non-motorized Pathways and Trails in Skagit County’s 2016 Comprehensive Plan Update

The Board of County Commissioners is taking public comment on final proposed changes to the Skagit County Comprehensive Plan, 2016 Update. This new comment period is focused primarily on changes to the original proposal both from the Planning Commission in May, staff recommendations and additional changes directed by the County Commissioners in June.

The proposed changes are summarized in the Planning & Development Services staff report dated June 10, 2016.

We encourage both speaking at the hearing and submitting written comments. You may also talk directly with your respective district’s County Commissioner. The Commissioner’s general phone number is 360-416-1300.

Public hearing date: Monday, June 20, 2016 at 6:00 p.m.

Written comment deadline: Thursday, June 23, 2016, at 4:30 p.m.

What to Say 

Personalize, share your own experience, and state why is this important to you. Be sure to follow the directions below for submission of written comments so that your comments will be accepted.

1. Support for the recommended inclusion of a 20-year list of non-motorized projects as part of the updated Comprehensive Plan, Transportation Element. The map of non-motorized projects in the latest version of the Transportation Technical Appendix is on page 56 and the project list begins on page 58.

Say why it’s important to you to have a vision and long range plan that includes non-motorized pathways and facilities. The projects include pathways and trails, safe bicycle and pedestrian routes, as well as safety improvements to county roadways such as usable shoulders.

You will also find new flow charts and narrative of the public process for trails, bike paths, and facilities beginning on page p. 229 of the comprehensive plan in the  trails and non-motorized projects process and flow chart.

2.  Support Skagit County’s intent to continue cooperating with local partners to identify and protect open space corridors. Open Space is defined as a combination of public and private lands, both rural and inter-urban, that form greenbelts of agriculture lands, trails, wildlife habitat, parks, significant scenic or historic lands etc. Support public access where it is appropriate. State why you think it is important for Skagit County to protect open space.

How To Participate and Comment

In Person: Show up at the County Commissioners Chambers at 1800 Continental Place, Mount Vernon WA 98273 on Monday June 20 2016 at 6 p.m. You may choose to make a public comment; however, you are also demonstrating your support by showing up. As we did for previous meetings we will have stickers available for you to wear.

If you wish to make a comment sign up on the list to speak. Keep your comments brief, 3 minutes or less, and personal.

By email: You may submit your written comments by email, which must be sent to by Thursday, June 23, 2016, at 4:30 p.m.  Include your comments in the body of your email message rather than as attachments.

By letter: Paper comments must be printed on 8½x11 paper and mailed or delivered to: “2016 Comprehensive Plan Update” Planning and Development Services. 1800 Continental Place, Mount Vernon WA 98273 by Thursday, June 23, 2016, at 4:30 p.m.

The entire 2016 Comprehensive Plan Update proposal is available for review on the project website.

Next Steps and Timeframe for Decisions

The Skagit County Board of Commissioners is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, June 28, at 9:00 a.m., for final deliberations on the 2016 Comprehensive Plan Update proposal. This is where we expect they will give departments final direction about what they want included in the adopting ordinance and the adopted documents, based on the most recent public comment period and the entire update record.

 The Board of Commissioners is scheduled to meet on Thursday, June 30, at 9:00 a.m., to approve the ordinance adopting the 2016 Comp Plan Update, based on the direction they give on June 28.

Please share this information widely with your friends, coworkers and family who may be interested.

Advocate and former Washington Bikes board member Liz McNett-Crowl is the Skagit Healthy Communities Coordinator with Skagit Regional Health and has been active for years in efforts to develop trails and get people walking and biking.

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Skagit County, Stand Up May 24: Bike/Walk Projects Are Being Taken Away

Advocate and former Washington Bikes board member Liz McNett-Crowl is the Skagit Healthy Communities Coordinator with Skagit Regional Health and has been active for years in efforts to develop trails and get people walking and biking.

If you care about better biking wskagit_bike_tulip_festival-pic-by-Pam-Headridge-from-Visit-Skagit-Valleye need you to come out and be counted in Skagit County. Stand up for your belief in a county where it is safe for residents and visitors to walk and bike on county roads — to advocate for a county that has a transportation plan that considers all users and builds a network based on their plan.

What: Skagit County Comprehensive Plan update being deliberated by the Planning Commission

When: Tuesday, May 24 at 6pm

Where: County Hearing Room at 1800 Continental Place, Suite 100, Mount Vernon, WA

Be a Visible Supporter: Molly Doran of the Skagit Land Trust and Kit Rawson of BikeWalk Mount Vernon will have stickers for supporters to wear with simple messages like “ I ♥ Bicycles” or “I ♥ Trails”, and we are encouraging all bicyclists to wear your helmet.

Why? Some of you may be aware that 11  non-motorized projects were stripped from the plan last week by the Planning Commission. As you can see in the attached Supplemental Staff Report 4, County Planning Staff is making some new recommendations and encouraging that the commission revisit their decision. Tuesday’s agenda may continue the transportation deliberations and will move on to the Open Space.

Included in these deliberations:

  • Additional policies and project descriptions related to the motorized and non-motorized transportation system;
  • A new policy encouraging implementation of the County’s previously adopted UGA Open Space Concept Plan;

Members of the public are welcome to attend these meetings to show their ongoing interest in the issues being considered by the Planning Commission. No public comment will be taken during the Planning Commission’s deliberations. However, your presence at the meeting helps to convey this interest. It also allows individuals to understand concerns the Planning Commission has with the proposed Comprehensive Plan amendments. This allows citizens to give informed comment on future occasions.

The public comment period as far as the Planning Commission is concerned is closed. Once the Planning Commission finalizes their recommendations on the Comprehensive Plan they will be sent to the Board of County Commissioners, who may or may not decide to have their own public comment period before they take up the Plan.

 The proposed transportation element contains the most significant non-motorized plan ever proposed by the County. We know in the past that opposition has prevailed to have most previous plans stripped of any projects or concepts related to trails and projects. We already know that there is concern among some Planning Commission members about the 20-year project list and inclusion of proposed trails or conceptual trails. Just for your information, this is a 20 year plan and it is appropriate for there to be a list of projects that are on the 6-year Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) as well as an illustrative list that goes beyond the TIP for the County to pull from in the future should the opportunity or funding arise.

Implementing the County’s UGA Open Space Plan will mean secure and transparent future implementation of the plan that was adopted several years ago. The plan enables the County to move forward in creating an advisory committee, which would be charged with creating a process of implementation, including identifying sources of funding and how the program would administer an open space program. The plan would create open space buffers between the urban and rural areas of the county, could include open spaces that provide for the protection of open space and wildlife corridors, and when appropriate could include public access or trails in Skagit County. It is important to show the Planning Commission there is local support for moving the open space plan forward.

The meeting generally lasts a few hours. Even coming for one hour will help demonstrate important support.

For more information, The written comments on the County’s 2016 Comp Plan update are posted on the project website ( and available via this link: Public Comments

Want to spread the word about issues like this in your area? Get in touch about writing a guest post.

Want to know when something like this is happening? Get on our email list.

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John Wayne Pioneer Trail: More Chances to Be Heard and to Experience the Trail

Quiet farm country in eastern WA. Randy Pulk pic.

Quiet farm country in eastern WA. Randy Pulk pic.

In addition to the Washington State Parks Commission advisory committee on the John Wayne Pioneer Trail public meetings May 10 in Preston and May 11 in Ritzville, other meetings, work parties and events are coming up.

Saturday May 14 and Sunday May 15: The Cascade Rail Foundation invites you to a South Cle Elum work party starting at 10:00 am. Meet at the historic depot, 801 Milwaukee Road,South Cle Elum, WA.

Volunteer crews will clear brush, do landscape cleanup, and feed brush into a chipper. This is a follow-up to work done in mid-April. Work items may be expanded to covering window areas of the substation with Lexan and fabricated  wooden frames, and working with a signal crew to wire and hook up two railroad block signals out on the John Wayne Pioneer Trail in front of the depot. Arrive and leave when you like; overnighters get a special “volunteer discount rate” at the adjacent historic Iron Horse Inn Bed & Breakfast. To RSVP email Paul Krueger at or visit the CRF website.

Monday May 16: JWPT Advisory Committee meeting scheduled for Moses Lake — the final meeting before the whole plan gets presented to the Washington State Parks & Recreation Commission July 21. For information contact Randy Kline:

May 19 to June 5: John Wayne Pioneer Wagons & Riders cross-state ride. Easton to Tekoa,Washington at about 20 miles a day. Horses, wagons and bicycles: the cross-state ride that created a cross-state trail. Registration required, and spots are currently available. Visit website for FAQs and registration, schedule and payment information.

Thursday July 21. Washington State Parks & Recreation Commission meeting in Clarkston. Agenda: presentation of the recommendations from four sessions of the JWPT Advisory Committee.

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John Wayne Pioneer Trail: Public Hearings May 10 and 11

State Parks to host second round of public planning meetings for John Wayne Pioneer Trail

Columbia Plateau Trail crosses over John Wayne Pioneer Trail in eastern WA.

The Columbia Plateau Trail crosses over John Wayne Pioneer Trail in eastern WA.

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission invites the public to help plan for the future of the John Wayne Pioneer Trail in eastern Washington through a second round of public meetings.

Because the trail spans such a distance, State Parks has scheduled two meetings that will cover the same topics. The first meeting is 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 10, at the Preston Community Center, 8625 310th Ave., Preston. (Directions: The second meeting is 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 11, at the Washington Association of Wheat Growers, 109 E. First, Ritzville. (Directions:

These meetings are the second of two rounds of public meetings in which State Parks staff will provide information on the planning process and gather information and comments from the public that will help lead to a long-term plan for the John Wayne Pioneer Trail. At these meetings, State Park staff will have a presentation followed by a breakout session to collect public comments on preliminary recommendations for a range of trail-related issues, including noxious weed and vegetation management, trailhead and camping opportunities, fencing and trail-use permits.

To view a map and get more information about the John Wayne Pioneer Trail planning project, visit The public may provide written comments at the meeting, online or by contacting Randy Kline, Parks Planner, (360) 902-8632

Washington Bikes Senior Director of Policy Blake Trask serves on the advisory committee appointed to produce a plan to address management and recreational use issues on this section of the trail. The advisory committee members represent an array of trail interests, including:

  • Adjacent landowners
  • Tekoa Trestle and Trails Association
  • Agriculture
  • Tourism and economic development
  • Natural resources
  • Historic and cultural resources
  • Hikers/walkers
  • Cyclists
  • Equestrians
  • Utility provider

Our round-up of bike travel posts about the John Wayne Pioneer Trail gives you a sense of what an incredible asset this is for the state and how important it is to preserve, manage, and promote the trail in a way that creates success for all interests and grows the economic benefits of bike tourism.

A longer version of this post first appeared on the Washington State Parks site.

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Will Your Town Celebrate Bike Month with a Proclamation?

Spokane bike rack

One of the 3 racks at Spokane City Hall that fill up when advocates appear before City Council.

Want your city or county to be recognized for its bike-friendly qualities in the nation’s #1 Bike-Friendly State? How about a quick way to determine which local elected officials are bike-friendly or to give a few moments of publicity to someone you already knew makes a great ally? Ask them to sponsor a Bike Month proclamation.

Step 1) Download or copy our sample proclamation.

Step 2) Tailor it with the names of your local bike group, May Bike Month activities, supporters and partners who appreciate the value of bicycling for your community’s quality of life, health, and economy, and anything else that captures the unique experience of bicycling in your community.

Step 3): Take the proclamation to your mayor, city council, and/or county leadership and ask them to adopt it.

Step 4) Don’t forget to tell your friends on Facebook and alert the local media when a group of people on bikes plan to show up at a City Council meeting for a celebration of biking. You want those elected officials to be recognized and appreciated for their support.

Additional things you can do: Consider organizing an informal ride to City Hall. Take pictures of people riding and those overflowing bike racks. And make sure you invite a variety of people from different backgrounds wearing all kinds of clothing to show that bikes are for everyone. (Looking for even more ideas? Check out our Bike Advocate Toolkit.)

Step 5) Come back and drop a link here to the local media coverage, minutes of the City Council, and what-have-you; tweet the link and tag us at @WAbikes; post it on our Facebook page; and email us.

We’ll shout out every town, city, and county in Washington that wants the positive reputation that goes with supporting and celebrating bicycling and add to the applause and acclaim.

Draft language in case the download file doesn’t work for you:

The City/County of ____


Whereas, the bicycle is a healthy, convenient, financially and environmentally sound form of transportation and an excellent tool for recreation and enjoyment of [insert city/county]’s scenic beauty, local attractions, and friendly neighborhoods; and

Whereas, throughout the month of May, the residents of [insert city/county] and its visitors will experience the joys of bicycling through educational programs, commuting events, Bike to School Day, trail work days, helmet promotions, charity events, races, or by simply getting out and going for a ride; and

Whereas, [insert city/county]’s road and trail system attracts bicyclists each year, providing economic health, transportation, tourism, and scenic benefits; and

Whereas, creating a bicycling-friendly community has been shown to improve citizens’ health, well-being, and quality of life, growing the economy of [insert city/county], attracting tourism dollars, improving traffic safety, supporting student health and learning, and reducing pollution, congestion, and wear and tear on our streets and roads; and

Whereas, Washington Bikes, [insert local bicycle club/ organization/chamber/tourism bureau], Cascade Bicycle Club, the League of American Bicyclists, schools, parks and recreation departments, police departments, public health districts, health care providers, companies and civic groups will be promoting bicycling during the month of May YEAR; and

Whereas, many of these same groups are also promoting bicycle tourism year round to attract more visitors to enjoy our local restaurants, hotels, retail establishments, locally produced foods and beverages, and cultural and scenic attractions; and

Whereas, these groups are also promoting greater public awareness of bicycle operation and safety education in an effort to reduce collisions, injuries, and fatalities and improve health and safety for everyone on the road;

Now therefore, I, _____, Mayor/Executive of [insert city/county], do hereby proclaim May YEAR as

Bike Month

in [insert city/county], and I urge all residents to join me in this special observance

Signed this ___ day of May, YEAR

Mayor/Executive _______________


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2016 Legislative Session Recap

Kidical Mass Wenatchee RideThe 2016 state legislative session represented a time to assess and solidify gains following the 2015 legislative session. Last year state leaders made historic investments in bicycling, health, and safety, made advances in promoting outdoor recreation, and passed our priority legislation that addresses broken red lights for bicycle riders.

A status report on the 2016 priorities based on our legislative agenda:

  • Investments that get Washingtonians where they want to go: Retain historic funding levels made by 2015 Legislature for the Safe Routes to School Grant Program, Bicycle Pedestrian Safety Grant Program, Complete Streets Grant Program, as well as the bicycle and pedestrian project list.
    • End of session outcome: Through the supplemental budget, progress continues on implementing the historic investment
  • Protecting Trails Statewide:  Washington Bikes will monitor and explore the potential for additional investments that connect and improve trails for neighboring residents, visitors, and neighboring communities that benefit from the economic opportunities that trails bring via the $3.1 billion that bicycle riders spend in Washington state.
    Iron Horse Trail is a western portion of the John Wayne Pioneer Trail. Pic by Visit Kittitas County.

    Iron Horse Trail is a western portion of the John Wayne Pioneer Trail. Pic by Visit Kittitas County.

    • End of session outcome: Through lobbying by supporters of the John Wayne Pioneer Trail, a budget proviso of $100,000 (not new money) was included to direct Washington State Parks to control invasive species along the trail.
  • Growing the Multimillion Dollar Bicycle Travel & Tourism Industry: Funding for a study of the economic impact of bicycle travel and tourism by the Department of Commerce will help quantify the industry and improve strategies to grow our state’s economy.
    • End of session outcome: Conversations about the need for growing bicycle travel and tourism continued and will be a priority in future years.
  • Strengthen Washington State’s Distracted Driving Laws: The Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC) agency request legislation would improve upon the current law by broadening the definition so that any person (with much narrower exceptions) operating a motor vehicle while holding a personal wireless communications device is guilty of a traffic infraction.
    • End of session outcome: Again, this legislation fell short.

Looking toward 2017 with many budget challenges looming (particularly around education), many are expecting a challenging legislative session. Over the summer Washington Bikes will be working with partners and stakeholders statewide to craft its upcoming legislative agenda. Stay in touch to know what’s happening.

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