After a busy 2013, which featured several victories as well as a long conversation over transportation revenue that fell short, the short 60-day 2014 legislative session is now over a week old. Through its 2014 legislative agenda, Washington Bikes continues to work for you in Olympia to:
Grow investments that get Washingtonians where they want to go. Washington Bikes continues to support transportation investments that focus on fixing Washington state’s decaying infrastructure, and by making smart investments in successful programs that provide safe routes to schools for our children. We’re also seeking investments in complete streets for Washington’s main streets and business districts, as well as investments in trails and bikeways that improve mobility and spur economic development. (In progress: SHB 2041 would provide revenue for the state Safe Routes to School grant program that is already included in the bipartisan 2013-15 biennial transportation budget. The bill is scheduled for executive session on Wednesday, January 22)
Cultivate the Multimillion-Dollar Bicycle Travel & Tourism Industry. Bicycle travel and tourism is big business. Oregon receives $400 million annually from the industry. An improved understanding of bike travel and tourism in Washington state is needed to make smart choices for growth statewide, particularly in rural areas.
Reduce Student Transportation Costs. Pupil transportation costs Washingtonians approximately $450 million annually. A pilot bill or proviso would explore how to improve pupil transportation options and to save the state and school districts money by incorporating safe walking and biking solutions for students.
Improve Safety for Washingtonians. Washington Bikes supports:
- Strengthening our distracted driving laws to reduce unnecessary injuries and deaths. (In progress: SB 6227 just introduced by Senator Eide will receive a hearing on Tuesday, January 21)
- Clarifying how cars should cross bike lanes at intersections, and consolidating groups of cyclists to pass through intersections to avoid congestion and confusion with larger groups of cyclists.
Pave the Way for Safe Passing on Washington’s Roads. Explore legislation to facilitate motor vehicles to safely pass people who are walking and biking, while maintaining an appropriate distance. Options include:
- Allowing vehicles to cross to the left side of a double parallel solid line if passing a person on a bicycle or on foot in the same direction.
- Enacting a minimum 3 foot passing distance, similar to 2013’s motorcycle safety legislation that now requires motorcycles to keep 3 feet of distance when overtaking those walking and biking (SSB 5263 sponsored by Senator Benton).
Promote Better Transportation Investments Through Better Data. Significant data gaps exist around the rates of bicycling statewide. Comprehensive non-motorized data collection could help improve decision-making and safety investments.
You know, I liked the motorcycle passing laws better before 2013, when motorcycles were required to give cyclists a full lane, like any other vehicle. Now motorcycles are required to pass everyone in a separate lane EXCEPT vulnerable road users.