How many Share the Road license plates do you see while on your bike, on foot, riding the bus, or driving a car? We hope the answer is LOTS!! At the end of November we learned we passed the 5,000 mark. Yes, over 5,000 people have purchased a Share the Road license plate since the Department of Licensing began issuing them in January 2006. And that doesn’t count personalized plates, or those outfitting motorcycles and trailers.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Share the Road specialty plate, here’s the lowdown. In 2005 nearly 2,000 supporters signed a petition saying they’d be willing to purchase a specialty license plate for their automobile. The initial cost for new plates is $40, of which $28 is returned to Washington Bikes to fund our education and outreach programs for bicyclists and drivers. In succeeding years, the renewal rate falls to $30 and the same $28 comes to the Alliance. And that $28 is a tax-deductible donation, too.
Over the past seven years the Share the Road license plate has matured into a stable revenue source for Bicycle Alliance, bringing in over $100,000/year. We want to give a grateful shout-out to the people who see the value in promoting our Share the Road philosophy on their automobiles. The $28 from your purchase funds driver’s education materials that educate and query test-takers on responsibly sharing the road with bicyclists. We also produce outreach materials outlining the rights and responsibilities of motorists toward bicycle riders and vice-versa and distribute these at events around the state. The latest item is our new pocket guide to state bike laws.
Last October the Department of Licensing announced a $20 hike in the cost of purchasing a license plate. In light of recent federal transportation cuts a portion of this increase will go toward sustaining the Safe Routes to School program. With funding from that program the Bicycle Alliance has educated young people in 31 school districts how to ride safely and identify less trafficked routes to school.
Not only that, but the Share the Road plate serves as a mini-moving billboard with a message about safety on the street visible to everyone who sits behind one at a stoplight or sees it coming toward you on a neighborhood street or a state highway. When you think about it, it’s the only specialized plate with a message that is actually about behavior in and around vehicles. When people read that message they’re seeing it in the perfect time and place to help them think about their behavior.
We hope people who are committed to increased transportation choices and safe interactions on the street will continue to support our message of “Share the Road” and purchase/renew this prized plate. Let’s reach 6,000 lickety-split!
Post a pic on our Facebook site of you and your car with the Share the Road license plate, and we’ll enter you in a contest to win free registration for the RAPSody Ride this August 25 and 26—a beautiful way to see the Puget Sound!