Making Bikes Count: Washington creates interdisciplinary panel dedicated to the safety of people who bike

People who bike make up a disproportionate number of traffic fatalities and serious injuries when compared to people that travel by other means. While experts across fields, from law enforcement to transportation planning to public health, are dedicated to eliminating this disparity, these sectors need a better way to collaborate.

That’s why Washington Bikes is celebrating the creation of the Cooper Jones Bicyclist Safety Advisory Council.

Senate bill 5402 passed the legislature on April 17, and Gov. Inslee will soon sign this legislation into law, forming the first interdisciplinary panel dedicated to examining causes of serious injury and death of people who bike in Washington. This means bicyclist safety will be treated with the same diligence as pedestrian safety as well as impaired driving, both of which already have their own dedicated panels.

Experts and advocates representing more than 10 disciplines and stakeholder groups will convene quarterly to review, analyze and share data; identify patterns in bicyclist injury and death; and identify points at which the transportation system can be improved.

Facilitating these practices puts us on the path to eliminate disparities in traffic injury and death for people who bike, and ultimately, to achieve Target Zero objectives.

What’s more, investing in bicyclist safety at the state level spurs action among counties and municipalities. When the state leads, local advocates and agencies follow suit, using vetted, trusted and evidence-based recommendations to advance policies in their own communities.

Advocating for the safety of people who bike is a core tenant of all that we do at Washington Bikes. With the creation of the Cooper Jones Bicyclist Safety Advisory Council, we are elevating the safety of some of the most vulnerable road users in a comprehensive statewide manner.

Washington Bikes would like to express gratitude to the family of Cooper Jones, who after the loss of their son, worked tirelessly to lay the groundwork for bicyclist and pedestrian safety legislation in Washington state. Also, we’d like to give a huge thanks to Senator Liias and Representative Kloba, the prime sponsors of the companion bills this year. Their leadership and commitment to making Washington’s communities safer for people who bike is greatly valued.

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