The 2019 legislative session brought big wins for people who bike!

The 105-day legislative session adjourned on time Sunday April 28th, here’s what Washington Bikes accomplished

The 2019 legislative session was a fast-paced and intense 105 days, but we successfully  achieved Washington Bikes’ entire 2019 legislative agenda – ensuring investments in trails, sidewalks and bikeways, and establishing policies that improve safety for people who bike.

Before diving into the specifics of successes this session, it’s worth noting that this year was only the second time since 1980 that the legislature adjourned it’s “long session” (where the biennial budget is passed) on time.

With Democrats in control of the State House, Senate, and the Governor’s office, they worked to pass some unprecedented policy changes. But differences between the chambers on budget proposals – both what is funded, what revenue was viable to fund those proposals, and the position on some of the bills necessary to implement the budget – meant it wasn’t clear until the final minutes that they would actually adjourn on time.

Washington Bikes 2019 legislative agenda – here’s what happened!

Vulnerable user/Safe passing legislation

Washington Bikes led efforts to pass legislation to strengthen the rights of people bicycling, walking and other types of vulnerable roadway users. At its core, the Vulnerable user/Safe passing legislation does two things:

  • Increases the penalty for specific infractions involving people biking, walking, rolling, etc. (The increased fine will go towards education of law enforcement, the courts and the public regarding safe interactions with people who are vulnerable on the roadway. For more detail on what’s included in the new law, see here.)
  • Establishes a strengthened safe passing law (give a lane or provide at least three feet)

The vulnerable road user and safe passing bill passed the legislature with bipartisan support! The bill is awaiting signature by the Governor. Huge thanks to prime sponsors of the legislation Sen. Emily Randall (26th LD, Bremerton) and Rep. Christine Kilduff (28th LD, University Place) for their leadership and work throughout the session.

Growing investments in connected and safe infrastructure for people who bike & walk

Washington Bikes worked to secure funding for bicycling improvements, via the multimodal account and bike/pedestrian grant programs. The multimodal account dedicates funds for transportation for rail, ferries, transit, biking and walking. Multimodal account investments for biking and walking include the bicycle and pedestrian grant program and project list and the Safe Routes to School grant program.

Sen. Hobbs (44th LD, Lake Stevens) introduced a transportation revenue package which maintained the same level of investment for active transportation as the 2015 transportation revenue package and included a sales and use tax on new bicycles as part of the revenue proposal. The package did not move forward this year, but it did provide an opportunity to begin educating legislators as to why there is an even greater need for increased investment in active transportation and why taxing a form of transportation and recreation that we want more people to choose is counter intuitive.

The $41 million currently budgeted for SRTS and the bike and pedestrian grant program in the 2019-2021 biennium leaves over 200 applications unfunded statewide. These unfunded projects represent $146 million, close to half of the entire bike/ped and SRTS funding in the 2015 package at $306 million. Washington Bikes looks forward to continuing the work towards increased investments for people who bike in Washington’s next transportation revenue package.

Protecting and connecting trails statewide

Trails form a backbone of many of the biking and walking networks statewide. Washington Bikes, along with our trail advocate partners, worked to ensure the investments detailed below were secured for the development and maintenance of trails throughout Washington.

  • $5.7 million at the Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation to protect and rehabilitate the Beverly Bridge a key connection along the Palouse to Cascades Trail. (Capital budget)
  • $85 million for the WWRP, which go towards improving outdoor recreation opportunities, trail development and enhancing state parks. The original ask was $180 million. (Capital budget)
  • Two additional projects along the Palouse to Cascades Trail are funded on the WWRP list. New this year is a requirement that a mediation process be convened to address ownership, development and use conflicts along the Palouse to Cascades Trail in Adams and Whitman counties in order for the Malden to Rosalia project funding to be released.

Support for the creation of the Active Transportation Safety Advisory Committee

Washington Bikes worked alongside active transportation advocates to pass legislation to merge the Cooper Jones Bicyclist Safety Advisory Committee and the Pedestrian Safety Advisory Committee forming the Active Transportation Safety Advisory Committee (ATSAC). The bill passed the legislature and has been signed into law! The ATSAC will be convened by Washington Traffic Safety Commission and comprised of stakeholders who have an expertise connected to bicycle and pedestrian street safety. The Council will analyze data related to bicycle and pedestrian fatalities and serious injuries and then identify vulnerabilities in the system and recommend improvements.

Of note, some legislators were supportive of including a sunset date for the ATSAC. But ultimately the bill was passed without a sunset date, so the work of the Council will be ongoing. An amendment by Sen. Sheldon (35th LD, Potlatch) was introduced while the bill was before the Senate Transportation committee, it is included in the final bill and strengthens the bill by requiring WTSC to also gather crash data on private property (i.e. in a parking lot) for consideration by the Council.

It was a productive legislative session. The team at Washington Bikes is thrilled we were able to help create safer streets, increase protections for people who bike, and connect and grow bicycle and trail networks throughout Washington state.

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A break down of what’s included in Washington Bikes’ 2019 priority legislation the Vulnerable Roadway User (VRU)/ Safe Passing bill

Wondering what SB 5723/HB 1966 actually mean for people biking and walking? Read on to see how the proposed legislation, if passed, will increase protections.

SB 5723, prime sponsored by Senator Randall (26th LD) passed the House Transportation committee last week and is headed to the Rules Committee. The bill is a step away from a vote on the full House floor.

Caption: SB 5723 Prime sponsor Sen. Randall speaking in support of the vulnerable road user bill on the Senate floor.

Caption: SB 5723 Prime sponsor Sen. Randall speaking in support of the vulnerable road user bill on the Senate floor.

Time and time again Washington Bikes has heard of failure to cite the state’s current VRU law, negligent driving in the second degree with a vulnerable roadway user. Whether that be for lack of awareness or ambiguity around when it should be cited, this new proposed legislation attempts to mitigate challenges in citing of an infraction involving a vulnerable roadway user. How will the bill do that? The proposed bill will make mandatory a fine increase for specific traffic infractions that are commonly dangerous for the most vulnerable people on Washington’s streets. Additionally, the bill clarifies “safe passing” laws. Read on for more specifics from the bill.

 

Caption: Rep. Kilduff, prime sponsor of HB 1966, speaking in support of the vulnerable road user bill.

Caption: Rep. Kilduff, prime sponsor of HB 1966, speaking in support of the vulnerable road user bill.

Who counts as a vulnerable roadway user?

A pedestrian, a person riding a bicycle, an electric-assisted bicycle; an electric personal assistive mobility device, moped, a motor-driven cycle, a motorized foot scooter, a motorcycle, a person riding an animal, a person operating a farm tractor or implement of husbandry without an enclosed shell.

What is safe passing?:

Current state law states, the driver of a vehicle overtaking other traffic proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left of it at a safe distance and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken traffic.

Safe passing under the proposed law:

For people walking, bicycling, riding an animal or farm tractor without an enclosed shell the safe passing language is amended to direct a person passing to:

  • Two or more lanes of traffic: Give a lane. If there are two lanes of traffic traveling the same direction, a person must move completely into the lane to the left to pass the vulnerable user.
  • Single lane of traffic:
    • When there is sufficient room to the left of the vulnerable user reduce speed, pass at a safe distance, where practicable of at least three feet.
    • When there is insufficient room to the left of the vulnerable user in the lane for traffic moving in the direction of travel, before passing, move into the lane for traffic moving in the opposite direction when it is safe to do so.

The proposed legislation provides clarity for where a vulnerable roadway user should be expected on the roadway, where they should operate or walk if safe to do so. Vulnerable roadway users should operate or walk to the right side of the road way or in a shoulder or sidewalk if provided, safe or accessible. There are specific exceptions called out for people who bike, for example when taking a right hand turn from a right hand turn lane.

Strengthened penalties for specific traffic infractions:

The following traffic infractions have a high propensity for bad outcomes for people walking and biking. Under the proposed legislation, when law enforcement cites one of these traffic infractions involving a vulnerable roadway user there will now be a mandatory doubling of the base fine. The additional fine will be deposited into the newly created vulnerable roadway user education account.

Traffic infractions with a vulnerable roadway user:

  • Safe passing
  • Following too closely
  • Yield the right of way when entering an intersection from different highways
  • Yield the right of way when a driver is taking a left hand turn
  • Yield the right of way at a stop or yield sign
  • Yield the right of way when crossing a highway or private road

Creation of the vulnerable roadway user education account:

SB 5723 will create the vulnerable roadway user education account where the increased fines for the above specified traffic infractions will go to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission to be spent on programming that will educate law enforcement, judges, prosecutors and the public regarding vulnerable roadway users.

Please check back for updates and if you have any questions reach out to AlexA@wabikes.org.

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Announcing 2019 Active Transportation Lobby Day at the Washington Bike Summit

Event Announcement: Active Transportation Lobby Day

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Washington Bikes and Cascade Bicycle Club are partnering again for the Washington Bike Summit (February 11 and 12 in Olympia at Hotel RL). On Tuesday, Feb 12, we will hold our Active Transportation Lobby Day. It’s a chance to meet with your legislators and advocate for people walking and biking in Washington State.

Due to time and capacity constraints, we are only able to coordinate meetings for people who are also attending the Washington Bike Summit. You must sign up for the Active Transportation Lobby Day no later than January 31, and therefore you must register for the Washington Bike Summit no later than this date.

When you register, please select “Active Transportation Lobby Day” and we will follow up with an email with information about legislative meetings and volunteer lobby training.

Register now for the Washington Bike Summit, and pick from over 20 sessions about new mobility, including Open Streets, mobility justice, and ebikes!

 If you have already register for the Washington Bike Summit, but forgot to sign up for the lobby day, or if you have any other questions, please email MeganC@cascade.org before Thursday, January 31. 

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What to look for from Washington Bikes in the 2019 legislative session

Improved street safety, connecting and protecting trails, and growing investments in infrastructure for people who bike and walkIMG_2590

Washington Bikes is excited to be kicking off the 2019 legislative session in Olympia this week. This is the 105-day session or the “long session” which is the start of the biennium or two-year budget period.

In 2018’s “short session” Washington Bikes:

  • led efforts to update the statutory definition of bicycle to include e-bikes while ushering in a regulatory framework for the new technology
  • in partnership with Washington Trails Association secured funding for an economic and health benefits study for hiking, biking and walking (vendors are just beginning their work on the data gathering)
  • helped secure investments for maintenance and development of Washington’s trails
  • protected investments in the multimodal account which directly funds the Safe Routes to School and Bicycle and Pedestrian grant programs.

We accomplished all of that in 60 days! This year Washington Bikes is looking forward to again, helping to create healthy, active and thriving communities. We are also looking forward to having a bit more time to achieve the following legislative and budget priorities that will make a difference for people who bike.

Washington Bikes 2019 Legislative Agenda

Vulnerable road user/Safe passing legislation

Washington Bikes is working with Representative Kilduff (28thLD, University Place) on legislation to update Washington’s vulnerable roadway user (VRU) law. The VRU law update will provide clarity regarding when the VRU is applicable, strengthen the penalties, direct funds from VRU penalties toward education of the public, law enforcement and courts regarding the VRU law, and lastly, define a safe passing distance from people who are biking and walking.

Growing investments in connected and safe infrastructure for people who bike & walk

The multimodal transportation account dedicates funds for transportation for rail, ferries, transit, biking and walking, which are multimodal in nature. These investments include: the bicycle and pedestrian grant program, regional mobility grants and Safe Routes to School programs and projects. To ensure all Washingtonians – even those that cannot drive a car – can get around, Washington Bikes supports opportunities to grow the multimodal account and bike/pedestrian grant programs. Additionally, the limited multimodal dollars must remain dedicated to the purpose of providing transportation choices and solutions.

Protecting and connecting trails statewide

Trails form a backbone of many of the biking and walking networks statewide. Key project priorities include the development of the cross-state Palouse to Cascades Trail.

  • Support: $3.5 million in State Park’s and Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP) funding requests to protect and further develop the Palouse to Cascades Trail. (Capital budget)
  • Support: $5.7 million in the Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation’s funding request to protect and rehabilitate the Beverly Bridge a key connection along the Palouse to Cascades Trail. (Capital budget)
  • Support: $130 million WWRP funding request, including improving outdoor recreation opportunities, trail development and enhancing state parks. (Capital budget)

Support for the creation of the Active Transportation Safety Advisory Committee

The Cooper Jones Bicyclist Safety Advisory Committee and the Pedestrian Safety Advisory Committee will merge to form the Active Transportation Safety Advisory Committee (ATSAC). The ATSAC will be convened by Washington Traffic Safety Commission and comprised of stakeholders who have an expertise in bicycle and pedestrian street safety. The Council would analyze data related to bicycle and pedestrian fatalities and serious injuries and then identify vulnerabilities in the system and recommend improvements. This is agency request legislation.

Washington Bikes will be working hard over the next 103 days to help create safer streets, increase protections for people who bike, and connect and grow bicycle and trail networks throughout Washington. Stay in touch by signing up for Washington Bikes’ alerts!

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Welcome Gabe Meyer, new Policy Director for Washington Bikes

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Gabe Meyer is the new Policy Director for Cascade Bicycle Club and Washington Bikes. Gabe oversees all political advocacy efforts to shape public policy to make bicycling safer and more accessible for all. Based in Seattle, his team works on issues at the neighborhood, city, county, regional, and state levels in Washington State.

Before joining Washington Bikes, Gabe held numerous positions with non-profits and political campaigns, most recently as Finance Director for De-Escalate Washington’s Initiative 940 and as Campaign Manager for WAmend’s Initiative 735, before that. He has experience at the city, county, state, federal, and international levels of policy-making through positions at Not This Time, McGinn for Mayor, the King County Municipal League, Mike Honda for Congress, Seattle’s World Affairs Council, and the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, among others.

Gabe’s career has focused on constructing outcome-oriented teams and building organizational strength. He approaches his work through a social, racial, and environmental justice lens and sees many ways improved active transportation policy can better society and our world. Gabe is excited to bring these skills to build power for bike advocates with Cascade.

Gabe’s love for biking spans the areas of travel, recreation, and commuting. He once rode on his own from Phoenix to Tucson and looks forward to this year’s STP. Gabe often mountain bikes off I-90. And from first to third grade, Gabe biked to and from school every day.

Gabe was born in Seattle, raised in Southwest Washington, and graduated with a degree in  Political Science and Communications at Seattle Pacific University. He earned his Master’s Degree from Seton Hall University’s School of Diplomacy and International affairs, focusing on negotiations and economic development.

In his 20s, Gabe lived in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Jose, Geneva, Paris, and New York before returning to settle down in Seattle. He now lives in Capitol Hill with his wife Angela and their dog Poptart.

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Join us for the 2019 Washington Bike Summit

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Don’t miss this opportunity to connect with bicycling advocates, planning professionals, and legislators during the 2019 legislative session in Olympia, WA.

The Washington Bike Summit, including all panel sessions, breakfast, and lunch, will be held at Hotel RL in Olympia (2300 Evergreen Park Dr SW).

2019 Washington Bike Summit
You can now check out all of our guest speakers. For all details related to the Washington Bike Summit, go to cascade.org/summit.

Rooms are going fast for the legislative session.  Book your hotel now!  To get specials rates at Hotel RL for attending the Washington Bike Summit, call calling Donielle Vanderlip at 360.252.0984.

Early bird registration is now open!  Registration cannot be purchased on-site, so now is the best time to book!

Early Bird Registration (Now until January 31, 2019)
$200 Both Days //  $115 One Day

Late Registration  (February 1, 2019 – February 7, 2019)
$250 Both Days  // $145 One Day

Scholarships
As a non-profit organization, we work to broaden the inclusion of voices and perspectives at the conference for the benefit of all participants. If you need help to defer the costs of registration, then consider applying for a scholarship!

You must have a cascade.org account to register or apply for a scholarship (it’s easy and it’s free!).

See you in Olympia!

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Washington Bikes & Votes: Look for these bike-friendly candidates and ballot measures on your November ballot

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Washington Bikes announces 2018 general election endorsements

This year Washington Bikes endorsed legislators who led or partnered on efforts to create safer streets, increase accessibility to trails, improve healthy communities and health outcomes, and contribute to the economic vitality of Washington’s communities. Additionally, Washington Bikes has endorsed first time candidates who share our vision for lowering the barriers to bicycling for all ages and abilities.

Why do we make endorsements? 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.

Washington Bikes is pleased to announce endorsements for two ballot measures that will appear on November ballots: the SAFE Mobility Levy and I-1631.

  • The SAFE Mobility Levy on Bainbridge Island is a property tax levy that will raise city revenues for active transportation and recreation projects by about $2.2 million a year for seven years. If passed, the measure will yield investments in infrastructure improvements for people who bike and walk, including shoulder widening, bike lanes and trail projects with an emphasis on safe routes to school.
  • I-1631, the statewide clean air initiative will impose a $15 fee on each metric ton of carbon dioxide beginning in 2020 and increase $2 annually until the state achieves its emissions goals. The funds raised will invest in programs, activities and projects aimed at improving clean air, clean energy, healthy forests and healthy communities. If passed, I-1631 will invest in reducing vehicle miles traveled and increasing public transportation, non-motorized transportation and affordable transit-oriented housing. These efforts align with Washington Bikes’ goals around healthy communities, mode shift and thriving local economies.

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 and policies that will advance these priorities.

2018 General Endorsements

*Download a PDF version of the endorsements list.

With less than six weeks until Election Day, we are in the final stretch! Are you ready to vote? Make sure you are registered to vote through the Washington Secretary of State’s office. If not, you still have a couple of days to register. Monday, October 8th is the deadline to register to vote in the November election. Curious what will appear on your November ballot? Check out your sample ballot at Ballotpedia. Lastly, Washington is a vote-by-mail state, so expect your ballot in the mail in roughly two weeks.

 

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Here’s what you need to know about Washington’s new e-bike law

New E-bike law in Washington state takes effect on June 7, 2018.

In early 2018 the Washington State Legislature passed SB 6434, establishing a legal framework consistent with national standards and giving the electric bike (e­-bike) industry greater certainty in the Washington market.

The new law also more clearly defines where e-bikes can and cannot be used on bikeways, trails and streets, as well as ensuring that jurisdictions and agencies have the tools for enforcement and management of e-­bikes on our streets and trails.

Cascade Bicycle Club published the following Frequently Asked Questions about Washington’s New E-bike Law:

What does the e-bike bill do?

Expands the definition of bicycle to include e-bikes; defines three distinct classes of e-bikes; updates rules around use of e-bikes

What is an e-bike?

A bicycle with two or three wheels, a saddle, fully operative pedals for human propulsion, and an electric motor with fewer than 750 watts of power

What are the three classes of e-bikes?

  1. Class 1: an e-bike that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling and ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 mph
  2. Class 2: an e-bike where the motor may be used exclusively to propel the bicycle (without needing to pedal) and is not capable of providing assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour
  3. Class 3: an e-bike where the motor provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling and ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 28 mph; also equipped with a speedometer

Where can I ride my e-bike?

  • It depends on where you’re riding. If your city doesn’t have specific laws on the books, the default is that Class 1 and 2 e-bikes can go everywhere traditional bikes can.
  • Class 3 e-bikes are restricted from shared-use pathways, as well as sidewalks. There is an allowance for Class 3 bikes on sidewalks in cases where there is no other safe alternative. Class 3 e-bikes are allowed on infrastructure that is within or adjacent to a highway (street).
  • E-bikes cannot be ridden on a trail that is designated as non-motorized and that has a natural surface made by clearing and grading the native soil with no added surfacing materials. This provision in the legislation was amended to help improve interactions with other types of users on soft-surface single track trails. Exceptions may be made by a local authority or agency of this state that has jurisdiction over a particular trail.

Are e-bikes allowed on sidewalks?

  • Class 1 and 2 e-bikes are treated as traditional bikes, which means they are allowed on sidewalks, subject to local laws that restrict bicycle riding on sidewalks.
  • Class 3 e-bikes are prohibited on sidewalks except when there is no other safe option for the bikes to travel (for example on a bridge without a trail or other safe place to bike).

How fast do e-bikes travel compared to traditional bikes?

  • The top assisted speeds of 20 mph and 28 mph can be deceiving. E-bikes typically resemble traditional bikes in function and average speed. Studies suggest a difference of 0-5 mph between a traditional bike and e-bike.
  • It’s important to note that like motor vehicles, most people biking are not typically traveling at top speed at all times. This is the same for e-bikes.

Why restrict an e-bike’s power output to 750 watts?

The maximum of 750 watts aligns with federal consumer protection regulations. If the wattage is higher than 750, it is no longer classified as a bike, but instead as a motor vehicle for the purpose of consumer protection. Above 750 watts it is subject to more rules, including licensure and registration.

What do e-bike manufacturers and retailers have to do because of this new law?

Manufacturers and retailers are required to permanently affix a label (in a prominent location) printed in arial font and at least nine-point type that contains the classification number, top assisted speed, and motor wattage.

When will the legislation become law?

The law will be enacted June 7, 2018, with the requirement to label new e-bikes on July 1, 2018.

I owned an e-bike prior to the 2018 legislation becoming a law; what happens to my e-bike?

E-bikes purchased prior to the bill becoming law are not subject to the new requirements in the e-bike law update.

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Big wins for people who bike as the 2018 legislative session adjourns

March 8 marked the close of 60 day legislative session, Washington Bikes’ saw success with its entire legislative agenda. Read on for the details!

Washington Bikes’ legislative team, state policy director, Alex Alston and contract lobbyist, Erin Dziedzic.

Washington Bikes’ legislative team, state policy director, Alex Alston and contract lobbyist, Erin Dziedzic.

It’s the close of a fast and furious 60 day legislative session. The new fully Democratic majority in the legislature made for an incredible amount of legislation being introduced and working its way through the legislative process.

The pace was markedly different than a typical second year of a biennium legislative session.

Washington Bikes laid out an ambitious legislative agenda at the end of 2017 and we are thrilled to share we experienced success in every category. What this means is:

Washington Bikes is grateful to the legislative champions who helped make these wins possible.

Updating Washington’s electric-bicycle law to national standards
Washington Bikes led a broad coalition of voices in support of updating e-bike laws. E-bike owners and riders, retailers and manufacturers, local jurisdictions and more weighed in to support the new legislation. Washington Bikes is excited about the rise in e-bike ridership because it’s bringing new people to the joy of bicycling. We heard this echoed through testimony before the legislature, e-bikes make bike riding possible and fun for families on bikes, older adults and people with disabilities. Our sincere thanks to Senator Rolfes (23rd LD, Bainbridge Island), Representative Kilduff (28th LD, University Place) and Senator Nelson (34th LD, Maury Island) for their leadership in making this bill a reality in 60 days. The bill (SB 6434) passed with broad bipartisan support and has been sent to the Governor’s desk for signature.

Protecting and connecting trails statewide
Beginning in 2017, Washington Bikes along with public agency and business partners, and the non-profit Eastside Greenway Alliance partnership, worked to secure investment in the Eastside Rail Corridor (ERC), this funding is part of a larger public/private funding package for the Wilburton Trestle. The Wilburton Trestle in Bellevue, which will create an important connection on the ERC was funded at $2.5 million in the 2017-19 Transportation budget. In week two of the 2018 legislative session the legislature passed the overdue biennial Capital budget which funded the Wilburton Trestle at $500,000, this brings total investment for the 2017-19 biennium to $3 million.

Additionally, with the passage of the $4 billion Capital budget an $80 million investment in the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP) was enacted. The WWRP includes projects that will improve outdoor recreation opportunities, trail development and enhancement of state parks. WIthin the $80 million WWRP is $13 million for trails throughout Washington state!

Measuring the economic impact & health cost savings of biking and hiking in Washington
Washington Bikes and Washington Trails Association advocated for funding of a study to be conducted by the Recreation and Conservation Office to quantify the bicycle and hiking tourism industry and the health benefits from these forms of active recreation and transportation. This deeper dive, building on the 2015 outdoor recreation study will provide new strategies for health cost savings and grow our state’s economy, particularly in rural areas. The $125,000 study was funded in the 2018 supplemental operating budget. Our thanks to Senator Van De Wege (24th LD, Sequim), Representatives Chapman (24th LD, Port Angeles) and Barkis (2nd LD, Olympia) for championing the study throughout the 2017-19 biennium.

The Washington Bikes legislative team has had a fun session working hard on behalf of better bicycling statewide. This work doesn’t happen without you. Make a donation today to support the legislative work that made these priorities possible!

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Olympia Update: E-bike legislation has passed the legislature!

On the evening of February 27 the House of Representatives passed E-Bike legislation (SB 6434) with 86 votes in favor, 12 opposed

Last summer, Washington Bikes began working with stakeholders and partners to begin crafting legislation to update Washington’s e-bike laws to national standards, and in a manner that worked for Washington communities. SB 6434 (Sen. Rolfes) and HB 2782 (Rep. Kilduff) introduced at the start of the 2018 legislative session were the outcome of that work. Tuesday night, the Washington State Legislature passed SB 6434, sending the e-bike bill to the Governor’s desk for signature.IMG_4719

While innovation and demand in the e-bike industry are the reasons a statute update was necessary, interest was also strong among Washington state legislators. While developing and discussing the bill, we discovered four state lawmaker e-bike owners and we had the opportunity to introduce the innovative technology to many more legislators who are now interested in e-bike ridership and ownership.

This is exactly the impact we expect this legislation to have. More clarity for e-bike users, industry and local jurisdictions, while increasing accessibility for new and different types of people choosing to ride e-bikes. Now after strong bi-partisan votes for this legislation it’s clear that Washington state legislators agree:

“I have a class 1 electric bike, we live on a very very hilly island… An e-bike shop opened up on the island, I decided to go on

a ride with a girlfriend who has bad knees and we had a blast. We weren’t going over 20 mph, but it’s pedal assist, so essentially you get a great workout, you can go up the hills that before were daunting…this can change your life, I’m in love with my bike”

  • Majority Leader, Senator Sharon Nelson (34th LD, Maury Island)

“This is a really fun bill, it will open up the world of bicycling to all types of users!”

  • Bill sponsor, Senator Christine Rolfes (23rd LD, Bainbridge Island)
RepresentativeKilduff

Rep. Christine Kilduff

“…Rising in enthusiastic support of this legislation and I do so as an e-bike owner and obvious enthusiast…If you have not personally taken one for a spin I commend it to you, I personally feel like superwoman when riding mine…E-bikes are here, I think the future is largely electric, this bill conforms with what is going on in the market…and I urge your support!”

  • Bill sponsor, Representative Christine Kilduff (28th LD, University Place)

Now the bill is headed to the Governor Inslee for signature, likely in the coming month. It’s been a great ride. Our sincere thanks to primary bill sponsors, Senator Rolfes and Representative Kilduff for their leadership throughout the 60-day session. Also, thanks to Senators Curtis King (14th LD, Yakima), Rebecca Saldaña (37th LD, Seattle) and Representative Mike Chapman (24th LD, Port Angeles) for their work on crafting improvements to the legislation.

Ultimately, this legislation is about giving more people more options and the freedom to get out on a bike. As the legislators above noted, e-bikes open up a world of possibilities, particularly to the 60% who would like to bike but feels limited in some way.

Washington Bikes works to make bicycling better in Washington state. It doesn’t happen without you. Make a donation today to support the legislative work that made this bill possible!

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