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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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)
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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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Olympia Update: Here’s where Washington Bikes’ priorities stand with nine days to go in the 2018 legislative session

Lots of exciting progress, but more work remains FullSizeRender-488x700

Washington Bikes has been hustling to move our legislative agenda through the fast-paced, 60-day legislative session in Olympia. Our 2018 agenda focuses on issues including:

  • understanding the economic development and health benefit opportunities of Washington trail communities,
  • funding for building out and maintaining Washington trail networks,
  • updating laws to accommodate new technologies that break down barriers to riding bikes, and
  • working to improve safety on Washington’s streets for vulnerable roadway users.

Read on for an update on our progress with nine days to go!

Measuring the economic impact & health cost savings of biking and hiking in Washington. Washington Bikes and Washington Trails Association working with legislative champions, Senator Van De Wege (Sequim) and Representatives Barkis (Olympia) and Chapman (Port Angeles) advocated for $125,000 to conduct the study of the economic and health benefits of hiking and biking for Washington state (Operating budget). Both the Senate and House versions of the Operating budgets include the $125,000 funding for the Recreation and Conservation Office to carry out the study.

Legislation to update Washington’s e-bike laws to national standards. SB 6434 (Sen. Rolfes) concerning electric-assist bicycles had a successful hearing in House Transportation committee (opposite chamber of where the bill originated). The bill was then voted out of committee, sent to House Rules committee, and last night the bill was pulled from House Rules to the House floor calendar. The legislation has until Friday, March 2 to be voted on by the full House.

Legislation to strengthen Washington’s vulnerable user laws. HB 2900 (Rep. Kilduff) concerning violations of traffic laws that place vulnerable roadway users at increased risk of injury and death. Unfortunately, HB 2900 died in House Rules with the House of Origin cutoff deadline. This bill was introduced late in session and came through House Transportation committee with direction to continue working on the policy. The need for more effective vulnerable user laws is significant because the education and awareness about the existing law is lacking. Luckily the bill sponsor and stakeholders will continue to work on refining this legislation with hopes of strengthening the vulnerable user laws in a future legislative session.

Next Steps before Sine Die
The legislature is currently in the process of passing the 2018 supplemental Operating, Capital and Transportation budgets. Afterwards, focus will turn to floor activity and passing the remaining legislation for the 2018 legislative session.

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Olympia Update: Bike Priorities Continue to Progress at the Capitol

Week 5 and 6 brought committee action, floor action and budget deadlines for Washington Bikes’ legislative agenda.

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Bill sponsor, Senator Rolfes speaks in support of SB 6434 concerning electric-assisted bicycles.

We’ve now passed the halfway point of the 60-day legislative session. With only three weeks of session left, there is still much work to be done. Timelines and movement of bills continue at a rapid pace. Read on for a quick update on where things stand in Olympia for people who bike.

Legislation to update Washington’s e-bike laws

  • SB 6434 (Rolfes) and HB 2782 (Kilduff) were exec’d out of the Transportation committees. SB 6434 moved forward with an agreement that work would be done to address the issue of a trail or greenway that runs through multiple jurisdictions having the potential for unique e-bike code in each of those jurisdictions along the trail.
  • SB 6434 was voted on the full Senate floor on February 9. Senator King offered a floor amendment that requires local jurisdictions that share a trail be in agreement on a code change should they update their e-bike code from the state framework. This will prevent a mismatching of e-bike code along a single trail.
  • Senators Rolfes and Nelson spoke enthusiastically in favor of the e-bike bill on the Senate floor. Final passage was 44-2 and the bill is now on to the House!

Legislation to strengthen Washington’s vulnerable user laws

  • HB 2900 (Kilduff) was exec’d out of the House Transportation committee with the direction to keep working some of the concerns that had been raised my members during executive session.
  • There are two proposed floor amendments that will makes some changes to the underlying bill, but work to address concerns the concerns that’d been raised. Read below for a description of the changes.
    • The mandatory doubling of infractions will be deleted, meaning discretion will be restored.
    • The Vulnerable User Education Fund will direct funding to educate and raise awareness of the public (and motorists) regarding interaction with vulnerable roadway users and with any remaining funds direct funding to educate law enforcement and justice professionals.
    • A report back to the legislature will be required for analysis of citations given of the vulnerable user law (criminal and civil) and updating on the education/awareness programs being carried out.
  • HB 2900 has been pulled out of Rules and is ready to run on the full House floor, it’s now a waiting game.

Budget priorities: Measuring the economic impact & health cost savings of biking and hiking in Washington

  • Washington Bikes and Washington Trails Association in partnership have submitted a budget request for $125,000 to conduct the study of the economic and health benefits of hiking and biking for Washington state (Operating budget). The legislative sponsors of the requests are Senator Van De Wege and Representatives Barkis and Chapman.
  • Budget requests were due last week. The supplemental budgets are expected to be released next week.

What’s next?

Wednesday, February 14 is House of Origin cutoff, bills will need to be passed out of their house of origin if they are to stay alive this session (unless they are considered Necessary to Implement the Budget). Committee hearing schedule will begin again on Thursday. SSB 6434 (e-bike bill) has been scheduled for a hearing in House Transportation Thursday, 2/15. Washington Bikes will continue to work on behalf of bicycling in Olympia over these next few weeks. Things are moving fast, but check back here for updates on our legislative progress!

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Olympia Update: A Big Week for Bikes!

IMG_4719Week 4 saw several advances for the 2018 Washington Bikes Agenda.

After three weeks of laying groundwork, meetings and productive conversations to advance some of Washington Bikes 2018 priorities, week 4 of the 2018 legislative session brought a host of committee hearings on legislation – mostly good and a little bad – for people who bike.

E-Bike Day in Olympia!

Washington Bikes’ priority legislation – to update electric-assist bicycle (e-bike) laws – were heard in Senate and House Transportation committees Wednesday, January 31.

The e-bike industry has taken off in recent years, with e-bike sales up more than 450% since 2013, according to The NPD Group. As the e-bike industry has been fast to innovate and grow, current state law pertaining to e-bikes is outdated. SB 6434/HB 2782 will update Washington state e-bike laws to national standards and provide certainty for manufacturers, retailers and consumers. Arkansas, California, Colorado and others have already implemented this legislative update.

This legislation clarifies the definition of electric-assist bicycles (e-bikes) and updates regulations to treat specific e-bikes more like traditional bicycles, allowing more types of users to enjoy the health benefits and accessibility that come with bicycling.

Additionally, in partnership with Raleigh Electric and Old Town Bicycle of Olympia, Washington Bikes hosted an e-bike demonstration in front of the capitol. Legislators, staff and lobbyists all got a chance to check out and ride around on an assortment of e-bikes.

House and Senate bills were heard in their respective transportation committees with compelling testimony from job creators like Rad Power Bikes, a mother who transports who two young children on her e-bike, as well as trail users.IMG_4682

State Senate Majority Leader Sharon Nelson, an e-bike owner herself, testified on behalf of the legislation, noting, “you get a great workout and can go on hills that previously were daunting. This [e-bike] can change your life!”

Both bills are scheduled for executive session prior to the February 7 fiscal committee cutoff.

Strengthening Washington’s vulnerable user law

A late addition to Washington Bikes’ 2018 legislative agenda is legislation that strengthens the 2011 Vulnerable User Law.

This vulnerable user bill (HB 2900) is exciting and important because since its passage in 2011, funding for the education of prosecutors and law enforcement of the vulnerable user law has been limited and oftentimes non-existent. This new legislation seeks to change that so that families and individuals who suffer from traffic violence can seek justice.

HB 2900, sponsored by Representative Kilduff, would strengthen the penalties given for specific traffic infractions involving a vulnerable user. The fines collected would be deposited into a vulnerable user education account that would go towards educating law enforcement, prosecutors and judges to educate them about how to enforce Washington’s vulnerable user laws.

Washington Bikes testified against using multimodal funds to incentivize transportation that isn’t multimodal

HB 2653 funds electric vehicle sales tax incentives. Washington Bikes position on the legislation is not about the content of the legislation, but instead based on the funding mechanism that takes money from the state’s multimodal transportation account, and spends it on vehicles that do not fit the larger definition of what multimodal transportation is. Washington Bikes holds that this limited funding source should remain dedicated to funding modes other than cars.

WA Bikes testified opposed to HB 2653 along with a coalition of multimodal partners, including the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, Feet First, Futurewise, the Washington State Transit Association and Transportation Choices Coalition.

Already, demand outstrips the supply for limited Multimodal Transportation Account funds that support Safe Routes to School projects (sidewalks to schools and trails) and programs, as well as bicycle/pedestrian safety projects. Additionally, projects that grow transit, including Regional Mobility Grants, in the state also receive valuable funding from the Multimodal Transportation Account.

If there is money to be spent in the multimodal account, it should be spent buying down more of these active transportation grant program lists. HB 2653 moved out of the Transportation committee last week and has been referred to the Finance Committee.

Check back for updates from the 2018 legislative session!

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Rise in the popularity of electric-assist bicycles prompts need to update Washington laws

Tomorrow, January 31, Senate and House Transportation committees will hear SB 6434 (Rolfes) and HB 2782 (Kilduff), these companion bills will update Washington’s electric-assist bicycles laws.

IMG_4324An 85-year-old with diabetes; a woman who suffered a stroke; a young family living car-free. These are the types of people who are benefiting from the growing availability and improved technology of electric-assist bicycles. Now, Washington Bikes is leading efforts in Olympia to ensure people like them will be able to use their e-bikes on trails and on-street bike lanes.

Newly introduced legislation clarifies the definition of electric-assist bicycles (e-bikes) and updates regulations to treat specific e-bikes more like traditional bicycles, allowing more types of users to enjoy the health benefits and accessibility that come with bicycling.

The e-bike industry has taken off in recent years, with e-bike sales up more than 450% since 2013, according to The NPD Group. As the e-bike industry has been fast to innovate and grow, current state law pertaining to e-bikes is outdated. SB 6434/HB 2782 will update Washington state e-bike laws to national standards and provide certainty for manufacturers, retailers, and consumers. Arkansas, California, Colorado and others have already implemented this legislative update.

This legislation will ensure e-bike users can ride their bikes in safe and connected places. E-bikes are important for older adults, family biking, people with disabilities and people who want to ride, but may feel intimidated by a traditional bike. By flattening hills and allowing for ease of pedaling, e-bikes increase accessibility to getting around by bicycle and the health benefits that come with!

What’s in the legislation:

  • Adoption of three-class system for e-bikes

EbikesTable

  • Class 1 and 2 e-bikes permitted on shared-use paths and bike lanes subject to local control. Class 3 e-bikes use on streets and paths within or adjacent to a highway subject to local and agency control.
  • Require labeling of classification number and top-assisted speed on all e-bikes sold after July 2018.

Do you have an e-biking story to share? We’re collecting stories like yours to demonstrate how e-bikes help more people – and more types of people – integrate biking into their lives.

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