Electric Bike Rebates Coming to Washington State

  • The WA state Legislature approved $5 million for rebates of up to $1,200 for electric bike purchases.
  • State budget also includes $2 million for the creation of e-bike lending programs.

Washington state has become the eighth state to approve rebates or incentives for purchasing electric bikes, an important tool to get more people out of cars and onto bicycles for climate, equity, and sustainability goals.

Gov. Jay Inslee recently signed into law a budget package that will appropriate up to $7 million over the next two years to support the purchase of electric bikes and create e-bike “lending libraries.”

The incentive program will allow e-bike buyers to get a $300 point-of-sale rebate regardless of their income. Individuals with lower incomes can receive rebates of up to $1,200. Households with incomes at or below 80 percent of their county’s median income would qualify for the higher rebate.

The proposed law would allot $5 million for these rebates. Purchases would have to be made at brick-and-mortar bike shops rather than online, and bike-related equipment could qualify for the rebates.

An additional $2 million would be used to create e-bike lending programs managed by municipalities, businesses, tribes, or nonprofits.

These electric bike incentives were a top policy priority for Washington Bikes, which has made the case that e-bikes are an affordable and equitable way to reduce climate pollution from transportation.

“This state investment in e-bike accessibility means that many more Washingtonians will have the opportunity to own or borrow an e-bike, whatever their income level,” said Vicky Clarke, Washington Bikes policy director. “Electric bikes empower people to get around affordably, sustainably, and efficiently without a motor vehicle. These investments will reduce Washington state’s climate pollution from transportation by enabling more people to hang up the car keys and pedal instead.”

In the coming months, the Washington State Department of Transportation’s Active Transportation Division will develop the two incentive programs, likely using Denver’s successful rebate program as a model. It’s unclear when the rebates will be available to consumers. 

“The state now has a lot of work to implement these incentive programs, and we hope they will be available to consumers in 2024,” Clarke said. 

A Growing National Movement for E-Bikes

Washington state’s e-bike incentives are modeled on successful programs in other states and municipalities including Denver’s highly popular point-of-sale rebate.

Washington joins California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont with statewide e-bike incentive programs, according to the Transportation Research and Education Center at Portland State University. These statewide programs are among 142 proposed or active rebate and incentive programs offered by states, provinces, municipalities, electric utilities, nonprofits and businesses across North America, according to the center’s electric bike incentive tracker.  

Many studies show that people who own e-bikes drive less, and some give up car ownership altogether. 

“Kudos to legislators and the governor for approving this expenditure, and especially to Senate Transportation Chair, Marko Liias, for prioritizing these incentives in a challenging budget year,” said Clarke. “We also thank Senator Sharon Shewmake–an avid e-biker herself–for her leadership shaping and supporting these state-level e-bike incentives for the past several years.”

Shewmake, D-Bellingham, commutes by e-bike to her job as a professor of environmental economics at Western State University. Shewmake has said that promoting electric bike use not only reduces climate pollution but also eliminates the hassles of parking, steep car payments, and urban traffic congestion.

E-Bike Lending Libraries

Clarke said the lending programs will help boost electric bike use by enabling people who aren’t ready for ownership to nevertheless get access to e-bikes–whether via long- or short-term loans, or even loan-to-buy arrangements.

“Washington Bikes and our partner organization Cascade Bicycle Club are excited to work with the state and all interested parties on how to create these e-bike lending programs,” Clarke said. “Car-share programs have proven that it’s not necessary for people to own motor vehicles, which can be a huge expense and hassle for many families who only occasionally need to use a motor vehicle.”

“The e-bike lending programs work on the same principle. We think they will be a great solution for e-bike curious individuals or families who may want to see how an e-bike fits into their lifestyle before purchasing one, or for people who need a short-term mobility option other than a car,” Clarke said.

Why E-Bikes?

Hugely popular in bike-friendly European nations, e-bikes sales are growing rapidly in the United States. E-bikes must be pedaled like regular bikes, but they provide a boost that amplifies a rider’s power, making them a practical solution for replacing cars for commuting and running errands, especially in the hilly Pacific Northwest.

Supporters of the e-bike incentives in Washington state pointed to the costly and generous subsidies the state and federal government have provided to the buyers of electric cars as a precedent for passing this legislation into law. 

“Electric bikes are ideal for reducing many of the short trips and in-town errands that people currently do by motor vehicle, and they provide a public health boost as well,” Clarke said.

More than 45 percent of car trips in the United States are three miles or less, according to the National Household Travel Survey, while more than 20 percent are one mile or less. Many of these trips could be accomplished with an electric bike. 

A survey of e-bike owners by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities shows that, once people have an electric bike, they use their cars less. Electric bike owners ride more often, and they feel safer riding the streets on an electric bike than a traditional bicycle. 

The big boost for our climate that e-bikes provide: respondents said that 76 percent of their e-bike trips would have otherwise been made by car.

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Let’s Make Driving Less Deadly for People Biking

  • Washington Bikes is moving bills that would reduce impaired driving, impose restrictions on drivers who injure people biking or walking, increase access to driver education, and toughen penalties for drivers who kill or injure others.
  • Read our update on our WA Bikes 2023 legislative agenda.

Last year was the deadliest on Washington state roads since 1990. The number of people being killed or injured by motor vehicles while walking, bicycling, or rolling has spiked upward to rates not seen in decades. 

Washington Bikes is fighting to stem this crisis of traffic violence by compelling legislators in Olympia to approve common sense laws and reforms during the 2023 session that would:

  • increase access to driver education;
  • remove dangerous drivers from the road;
  • reduce drunk or impaired driving;
  • impose stiffer penalties on drivers who kill or injure others.

“Our streets should be getting safer but in fact they are becoming deadlier. Many of the norms of safe driving have broken down since the pandemic. We are seeing more speeding, more reckless and impaired driving, more road rage, and more hit-and-run crashes,” says Vicky Clarke, Washington Bikes policy director. 

“We need more protected bike infrastructure, more sidewalks, more traffic calming and more complete streets that are engineered to prevent drivers from making deadly mistakes,” Clarke says. “Those improvements will take time. We must also act now to change driver behaviors in ways that make them safer and more aware.”

Not all safety bills made it past initial cutoff deadlines, including our #WrongOnRed bill aimed at improving the safety of intersections and crosswalks for people biking and walking, and a bill that would have educated consumers on the dangers of bigger, heavier vehicles. Read on for an update on the WA Bikes 2023 legislative agenda at the midpoint of the legislative session.

WA Bikes Priority Bill: Get Bad Drivers off the Road

Senate Bill 5216 and House Bill 1319 would require a driver’s license to be reviewed when the driver crashes into someone walking or biking and causes “substantial bodily harm,” a legal term that includes broken bones or worse. 

“Under current law you can crash into someone walking or riding their bike, break their arm or leg, and as long as you don’t kill or permanently disfigure them, you get to keep your license without any review by the state. That’s bananas,” Clarke says. “Driving is a privilege, not a right, and with that privilege comes the responsibility to avoid crashing into innocent victims. Frankly, it’s a pretty low bar.”

Also Support: Penalties for Reckless Drivers who Injure or Kill

HB 1112 would increase penalties for deadly driving. Under current law, a driver who kills a vulnerable road user can escape stiff penalties if they admit guilt.

This bill would create a new offense of Negligent Driving with a Vulnerable User Victim. A violation of this law would be a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to 364 days of imprisonment, a fine of no less than $1,000, and the suspension of driving privileges for 90 days. 

“People who cause a death while driving in a negligent and dangerous manner should be held accountable,” Clarke says.

We Support: Safer Young Drivers, Decriminalizing Walking

Data shows that driver education works. In Washington state, however, people who wait until age 18 to get a license are not required to take a driver education course.

SB5430 would create a voucher program to cover the average cost of driver’s education courses for persons in low-income households who have not previously obtained a motor vehicle license. This bill would improve both safety and equity.

Walking across the street shouldn’t be a crime. That’s why we support HB1428 to allow people to walk across the street when it’s safe to do so. It’s time to repeal the crime of “jaywalking,” which has historically been used to disproportionately target people of color. 

We Support: Lowering the Blood-Alcohol Limit

Drunken or impaired drivers are responsible for more than half of all traffic fatalities. Washington Bikes supports a bill to reduce the legal blood-alcohol limit to .05.

The goal of SB 5002 is to change behavior and make people think twice before getting behind the wheel when drinking. If approved, the state would develop a public information campaign to make the public aware of the law change. 

“With the popularity of rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft, it has never been easier to get a sober ride home,” Clarke says. “Take a taxi, designate a sober driver if you’re out with friends or family, use public transit or walk.”

Critics say this proposed law won’t work. Data shows otherwise. Traffic fatalities decreased in Utah after that state lowered its legal limit to .05, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study. Other groups including the National Academy of Sciences, the National Safety Council, the National Transportation Safety Board, theWashington Traffic Safety Commission, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving agree that .05 saves lives.

#WrongonRed, Higher Fees for Deadlier Vehicles

Washington Bikes worked with legislators to draft bills that would restrict right turns on red near schools and at certain intersections where lots of people use the crosswalks. Crosswalks should be safe places. Instead, they are one of the most dangerous locations for people biking and walking. 

Drivers of vehicles making right turns at red lights frequently do not stop or look both ways as required by law. Instead, they roll through without checking if vulnerable road users are present–with dangerous consequences.

Our #WrongonRed bills failed to get voted out of House and Senate committees despite overwhelmingly supportive public comments. “We hope to revive these bills in coming sessions once hesitant legislators have had more time to learn about this issue,” Clarke says.

Another bill that appears dead for the session is one that proposed increasing fees for the heaviest and deadliest vehicles that pose the greatest risk to people biking and walking. 

“Automobile safety regulation is a federal issue, and we urge Congress to take a look at this issue. There are technologies being deployed in other countries such as pedestrian airbags and devices that can save the lives of people who are hit by motor vehicles,” Clarke says.

The Climate Emergency and Bicycling

Biking for transportation has incredible potential to both reduce climate pollution and improve the resiliency, health, and sustainability of our communities. 

That’s why Washington Bikes supports SB5452, which would allow communities to use impact fees charged to developers to pay for bicycle infrastructure improvements.

Washington Bikes also supports efforts to strengthen the groundbreaking Climate Commitment Act approved in 2021 that creates a program for reducing climate pollution from some of the state’s largest polluters. Revenues would be spent on a host of initiatives including efforts to reduce carbon emissions from transportation, and to fund a statewide school-based bike education curriculum for our state’s youth.

Keep up to date on our priority legislation in our Washington Bikes Bill Tracker, and sign up for Action Alerts and our e-newsletter to stay informed about upcoming votes.

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WA Bikes Bills Would Restrict Right Turns on Red, Re-Test Bad Drivers

  • Two of Washington Bikes’ high-priority safety bills have been introduced in the state Legislature, with hopes for passage this year. 

Protecting people who bike and walk is simple, really.

Every driver who seriously injures someone walking or bicycling should lose their license until they can pass a driving test. And right turns on red should be restricted at intersections near schools and in locations with heavy pedestrian and bike use.

That’s the gist of Washington Bikes’ two highest-priority bills introduced in the legislative session that convened in Olympia on Jan. 9. 

In addition to these bills, Washington Bikes is supporting a host of other legislation to:

  • address the public health crisis of traffic violence;
  • increase the climate resilience of our communities by making them more bikeable;
  • expand affordable access to e-bikes;
  • ensure adequate funding for safer bicycling statewide.

Washington Bikes encourages everyone who supports safer streets and a more bikeable state to participate in our WA Bikes Lobby Day on Feb. 6. Lobby Day takes place all day at activists’ convenience. Our policy team will share the resources and talking points to connect community members to their legislators.

WA Bikes made great strides towards a bikeable state in last year’s legislative session, including more than $1 billion for safer bike lanes, sidewalks, and trails. That progress would not have been possible without community voices alongside us in Olympia. “This session, we need your help making sure leaders hold true to those investments and pass policies to keep people on bikes safe,” says Community Organizer Tamar Shuhendler. 

Sign up for Lobby Day on Feb. 6. We’ll provide you with tools to help set up meetings with legislators, and to effectively communicate your story to them.

“Attending Lobby Day is even more important this year because there are many new legislators following the November election,” Shuhendler says.

Top Priorities for Safer Bicycling

Washington state is experiencing a traffic safety crisis. Fatalities are at a 30-year high, and vulnerable road users are being injured and killed at rates unseen in decades. That’s why our legislative priorities for 2023 include a focus on policy changes to reduce traffic violence

In the run up to this legislative session, we’ve worked with legislators to draft bills that achieve this goal. Below are the high-priority legislative efforts we are pushing during this session.


Crosswalks should be safe spaces for people biking, walking, and rolling. Unfortunately, crosswalks are among the most dangerous locations. More than 20 percent of people hit by motor vehicles while biking or walking are in crosswalks. This is due in large part to vehicles turning right at red lights.

SB5514 sponsored by Sen. John Lovick, D-Mill Creek, would restrict right turns on red at school, library, and community center intersections with the heaviest amount of bike and foot traffic. The bill would not ban all right turns on red, but would rather outlaw them at intersections in dense urban cores where people walking, biking, and rolling through crosswalks face the greatest danger from inattentive drivers.

Bad Driver Re-Testing

Sen. Marko Liias, D-Lynnwood, is lead sponsor on a bill to require drivers who have hit and injured someone walking or bicycling to lose their license until they can be re-tested.The Legislature passed a bill that intended to do this as part of the Cooper Jones Act in 1998, but due to a problem with the process of sharing information between police and the Department of Licensing, many drivers are not being re-tested. 

HB1319 would fix this technical problem and ensure the law is followed.   

Educated Drivers are Better Drivers

Data show that a third of all serious crashes in Washington state involve drivers between the ages of 18 and 25. Data also show that young people who take driver’s education are safer behind the wheel. That’s why we support expanding driver education for all new drivers. 

Under current law, people who wait until age 18 to get their driver’s license can skip driver ed classes. Sponsored by Sen. Shewmake, D-Bellingham, SB5430 would create a voucher program for young people within low-income households to access affordable driver’s education. “We support this bill because educated drivers are better drivers,” Shuhendler says.

Bikeable Communities are More Resilient to Climate Change

Bikeable and walkable communities are more climate resilient. That’s why Washington Bikes supports legislation (SB 5093 and SB 5203) to reform how cities and counties plan for housing and transportation.

“Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Washington state,” Shuhendler says,  “and this legislation would jumpstart the process of planning communities that are less car-dependent and where people can make more trips by walking, biking, and transit.”

Invest in Safe Places to Walk, Bike, and Roll for Transportation and Recreation

Last year’s Move Ahead Washington transportation package was a historic achievement in terms of funding for biking and walking infrastructure and programs. Now, we are working to ensure that the commitments made in Move Ahead Washington receive funding–and that legislators don’t try to siphon off the $1.3 billion in bike, walk, and roll funding for other purposes.

“WA Bikes Lobby Day on Feb. 6 will be an important opportunity to tell legislators that you support Move Ahead Washington and its investments in a more bike-friendly state” Shuhendler says. 

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Announcing WA Bikes’ 2023 Legislative Agenda

  • Limit right turns on red
  • Reduce the legal blood alcohol limit
  • Curb the largest and deadliest vehicles.

In early January, the Washington State Legislature will convene for a “long-session” of 105 days, all in-person for the first time since 2020. Between Jan. 9 and April 24 state leaders will be humming to the tune of Schoolhouse Rock (or is that just us?) as they work to pass bills into law.

We are excited to work with Bike Champions in the Senate and House Transportation Committees and across the Legislature to advance policies in four areas to make biking safer and more accessible for all.

Invest in safe places to walk, bike, and roll for transportation and recreation:

  • Protect investments for bike and pedestrian grant funding in the state transportation budget and through the Move Ahead Washington transportation package. We will educate legislators on the importance of Move Ahead funding in their communities, and protect statewide bike education funding.
  • Support Washington State Parks’ capital budget funding request to protect and rehabilitate trail connections throughout our state.
  • Support Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program funding request in the capital budget to improve outdoor recreation opportunities, develop trails, and enhance state parks.

Enact new policies to make our streets safer for people biking, walking, and rolling:

  • Support legislation to improve street safety and infrastructure that safeguards and prioritizes people walking, biking, and rolling.
  • Traffic fatalities and injuries continue to trend in the wrong direction, especially for vulnerable road users. We will advocate for strategies to reduce traffic violence, including:
    • Lower Washington state’s legal blood-alcohol limit for driving to 0.05.
    • Make dangerous intersections safer by outlawing right turns on red in urban areas and locations with high foot and bike traffic.
    • Require driver education as a condition of getting a license, and fund equitable access to training.
    • Decriminalize jaywalking.
    • Raise fees for the deadliest vehicles.

Grow the number and types of people who can bike:

  • Lower barriers to electric bike ownership. E-bikes are an efficient and affordable car-replacement due to their pedal-assist that enables longer rides, makes it easier to climb hills, and provides power to carry groceries or children. E-bikes are bicycles with superhero powers. Seventy-six percent of trips taken by e-bike owners would have been car trips prior to owning an e-bike. By reducing car trips, e-bikes can help Washington state meet its transportation congestion and climate goals.

Build climate resilient communities connected by bike

  • Support legislation that updates the Growth Management Act by including climate resiliency strategies, and which provide everyone with safe, seamless and affordable transportation options. Safe and seamless biking infrastructure reduces motor vehicle miles traveled, and it should be a core goal of county and city comprehensive plans. Increasing the number of people who bike, walk, and roll reduces greenhouse gas emissions, decreases air pollution, improves public health, and boosts the economy.
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Election Results 2022: Bike Champions Head to Olympia!

The full slate of WA Bikes’ endorsed candidates secured seats in the 2023 Legislature in this November’s general election. We’re excited to roll up our sleeves alongside them this coming session to advance policies that make streets safer for all.

The full slate of WA Bikes’ endorsed candidates secured seats in the 2023 state Legislature in this November’s general election. We’re excited to roll up our sleeves alongside them this coming session to advance policies that make streets safer for all.

This November, all across Washington State House and Senate seats were on the ballot. More specifically: half of the Senate’s 49 seats and all 98 House seats were up for election. With numerous incumbents stepping down, 2022 marked a big election year, an opportunity for new leadership to move biking forward, and many new voices on the ballot. 

Four things to know about the election results:

  • All 30 of Washington Bikes’ endorsed candidates won their races, with champions like Senators Marko Liias and Emily Randall headed back to Olympia to continue their important work, and new candidates like Representatives Julia Reed, Sharlett Mena, and Darya Farivar whom we’re excited to work with for the first time to advance our shared agenda.

  • Transportation Committee Leaders understand the needs and importance of active transportation. Chairs Sen. Marko Liias (21st – Everett) and Rep. Jake Fey (27th – Tacoma) retain their leadership roles. These two architects of the Move Ahead Washington package, which included monumental investment in active transportation investment, are important voices in the transportation committee and delivered legislation that reflects the values of improving safety and creating an inclusive, multimodal system. In the Senate Transportation Committee, newly appointed Vice Chairs, Senator-elect Sharon Shewmake (moved over from the House) and Sen. John Lovick are committed champions of transportation and mobility access. The House is yet to announce committee assignments.

  • An increasingly diverse legislature at this critical time: In particular we were excited to connect with and endorse Darya Farivar (46th – North Seattle). Farivar is the youngest state Legislature member and the first woman of Iranian descent elected to the state House in Washington. A breadth of perspectives among our legislature is essential to passing laws that support the needs of all – not just those who’ve been given the most access historically.

  • More Bike Champions take on leadership roles. Several Senate Bike Champions have new leadership roles. 
    • Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (34th – West Seattle) is now the House Majority Leader. Fitzgibbon was the prime bill sponsor on WA Bikes’ priority legislation in 2020 to enact the Safety Stop (allowing bikes to yield at stop signs when safe, which has been enacted in several other states since).  
    • Sen. T’wina Nobles (34th – incl. Lakewood & Tacoma) is now Senate Majority Caucus Whip. Nobles is a vocal advocate for safe biking and walking infrastructure and has been a key ally as we work to make Washington state a safer place to bike, walk, and roll. 
    • Sen. Emily Randall (26th – Bremerton) is now Deputy Majority Leader. Randall has been an important voice for active transportation connectivity, including lead sponsoring the Vulnerable Road User law passed in 2019. During Move Ahead WA negotiations Randall helped ensure that Kitsap County’s Gorst Bottleneck – the biggest mobility issue in the County – includes dollars to study a long-sought and long-stymied bike/ped connection. 
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Wrong on Red: Policy Changes to Reduce Traffic Violence

  • Washington Bikes announces its legislative and policy agenda for reducing traffic violence and protecting vulnerable road users.
  • Restrict right turns on red, lower the legal blood-alcohol limit, mandate driver education, speed up investments in sidewalks and protected bike lanes, and raise fees for the heaviest and deadliest vehicles.

Washington Bikes and a coalition of bike and pedestrian safety advocates, elected officials, and family members who have lost loved ones to traffic violence held three press conferences Monday (Nov. 21) to demand state and local action and policy changes to address the growing public health crisis of motor vehicles killing people bicycling and walking.

Speaking at the events in Seattle, Everett, and Pierce County, Washington Bikes called on legislators to approve four policy changes:

  • Lower Washington state’s legal blood-alcohol limit to 0.05.
  • Make dangerous intersections safer by outlawing right-on-red turns in areas with high foot and bike traffic.
  • Require driver education as a condition of getting a license.
  • Raise fees for the deadliest vehicles.

Speakers at the press conferences included:

  • Amber Weilert, whose 13-year-old son, Michael, was killed by a motor vehicle in a Pierce County crosswalk in July; 
  • Claudia Mason (pictured above), widow of Robb Mason who was killed by a hit-and-run driver while bicycling in Seattle in July; 

Other speakers included Seattle City Councilor Teresa Mosqueda (pictured below); Everett City Councilors Paula Rhyne and Liz Vogeli, Snohomish County Councilor Megan Dunn, Tacoma City Councilor Kristina Walker, Pierce County Councilor Ryan Mello, and representatives from the Washington State Department of Transportation, as well as advocates including the Snohomish County Transportation Coalition and Tacoma’s Downtown on the Go. 

Executive Director Lee Lambert and Policy Director Vicky Clarke spoke on behalf of Washington Bikes. In addition to policy changes, speakers talked about the emotional trauma of losing loved ones, highlighted data that shows a deadly upward trend of preventable fatalities, and called for greater public awareness and media attention to traffic violence.

The three press conferences came one day following World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims on Sunday, Nov. 20. Following the Seattle press conference, a group of people on bikes pedaled to City Hall, where Seattle Neighborhood Greenways representatives set out 190 pairs of shoes to represent the 190 people who have died in the city in vehicle crashes since 2015, when the city adopted a goal of zero serious injuries and fatalities by 2030. 

Deadlier Roads Statistics

  • Motor vehicles have killed at least 17 people walking and bicycling so far this year in Seattle, with a spike in hit-and-run deaths and injuries.
  • 190 people have died on Seattle streets since the city announced its Vision Zero commitment.
  • Statewide there were 159 fatal crashes involving people walking or bicycling in 2021, the highest number in a decade, according to preliminary data. 
  • Pierce County saw the worst increase of any Washington community in traffic violence from 2020 to 2021, with more than 98 people dying. 22 pedestrians died in Pierce County in 2021.
  • There have been 40 fatal crashes within Snohomish County this year as of Nov. 3, marking an upward trend since 2013. Seven fatal crashes including five fatal crashes involving pedestrians occurred on the SR99 corridor–the most in a decade. 
  • Washington state traffic deaths in 2021 were the highest they’ve been in two decades. In 2022 the state is on pace for the highest number of traffic deaths in 30 years. Deaths are rising fastest for people walking and biking. Between 2020 and 2021 we saw a more than 30 percent increase in deaths of people biking and walking, with a larger increase in fatalities of Black, American Indian and Alaska Native individuals.
Ghost Bike at 4th and Holgate
Ghost bike across the street from the SODO press conference location.

Factors Driving Increased Fatalities

Washington Bikes has identified multiple factors causing the epidemic of traffic violence:

  • Worsening driver behavior including an increase in speeding, distracted and impaired driving, hit-and-run incidents, road rage, and a breakdown in the norms of safe driving.
  • Poorly designed roadways that lack safe infrastructure for people biking and walking, and which prioritize the fast-movement of motor vehicles.
  • A proliferation of larger and deadlier vehicles that are more likely to kill people biking and walking.

Washington Bikes Policy Proposals

Washington Bikes will work with legislators and local elected officials to push the following policy proposals:

  • Point-Zero-Five Saves Lives: Lower the legal blood-alcohol limit for driving to 0.05 percent.
    • Roughly half of crashes involve drunk or impaired drivers, and that number is rising. Utah implemented this change and saw an immediate reduction in impaired driving. More than 100 countries have a 0.05 limit, or lower.
  • Wrong on Red. Eliminate right turns on red in areas with high foot traffic and alongside bike lanes.
    • Intersections are the most dangerous places for people walking and biking. More than 80 percent of crashes in Seattle occur at intersections, and more than one in five crashes statewide. 
  • Educate Young Drivers: Require driver education as a condition of getting a license.
    • A third of fatal and serious injury crashes involve drivers under the age of 25. Washington residents are allowed to skip driver education if they get a license after the age of 18, and fewer than half of young drivers have received driver education in our state.  
  • Heavier is Deadlier: Increase fees for larger, deadlier vehicles to pay for safety education campaigns. 

Quotes from Speakers:

  • Claudia Mason, pictured above with attorney Bob Anderton holding a photo of Robb: “Since Robb was killed my life has been devastated.”
  • Seattle City Councilor Teresa Mosqueda: “We are trying to encourage more people to be able to get to the places they need to go using a bicycle and alternative modes of transportation. And we need to make that choice safe. Because right now for so many people who don’t have the option of owning a vehicle or reliable transit, we are forcing them onto unsafe streets. We are forcing them into situations where they are risking their lives everyday.”
  • Vicky Clarke: “This is a statewide problem, and that is why in 2023 we are calling on the state Legislature to enact the policy changes that we know will alleviate the leading causes of crashes.”
A group of riders pedaled from the news conference at the deadly intersection of 4th and Holgate in SODO to City Hall.
Seattle Deputy Mayor Greg Wong (above right in red jacket) spoke at the press conference and joined the ride to City Hall.
The 190 pairs of empty shoes, including some with flowers, provided a powerful visual reminder of the traffic violence in Seattle–and across the state and nation.
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WA Bikes 2022 General Election Endorsements

2022 General Election Endorsements

State Senate District 21:  Marko Liias

State Senate District 26:  Emily Randall

State Senate District 27:  Yasmin Trudeau

State Senate District 30:  Claire Wilson

State Senate District 34:  Joe Nguyen

State Senate District 37:  Rebecca Saldaña

State Senate District 42: Sharon Shewmake

State Senate District 44: John Lovick

House District 1:  Shelley Kloba

House District 3: Marcus Riccelli

House District 5:  Bill Ramos

House District 11: David Hackney

House District 22: Beth Doglio

House District 27:  Jake Fey

House District 29: Sharlett Mena

House District 30:  Jamila Taylor

House District 30: Kristine Reeves

House District 34:  Joe Fitzgibbon

House District 34: Emily Alvarado

House District 36:  Liz Berry

House District 36:  Julia Reed

House District 37: Chipalo Street

House District 38: Mary Fosse    

House District 40:  Alex Ramel

House District 41:  My-Linh Thai

House District 46:  Darya Farivar

House District 47:  Deb Entenman

House District 47:  Chris Stearns

House District 48:  Vandana Slatter

House District 49:  Sharon Wylie

Endorsed Ballot Measures

Vote YES on King County Prop 1: Conservation Futures. More information
Vote YES on City of Lake Stevens Prop 1: Transportation Benefit District. More information
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Complete Streets are Coming to Washington

  • A new law that went into effect July 1 requires Washington state highway planners to implement “Complete Streets” designs on projects over $500,000.
  • Learn more about this huge shift in how we design state highway projects to make Washington safer for biking and active transportation during the Washington Bike, Walk, Roll Summit.

They’re known pejoratively as “stroads,” poorly designed city roads that favor high-speed traffic over bikeability, walkability, and safety.

Washington state, and communities across the United States, are filled with stroads due to outdated transportation policies that prioritize motor vehicle traffic over active transportation.

But a huge change is coming that makes Washington state a national leader in the movement to transform unsafe stroads into Complete Streets that enhance safety.

A new state law that went into effect on July 1 requires state transportation projects costing more than $500,000 to incorporate Complete Streets principles into their design. The goal is to improve safety, mobility, and accessibility for all road users.

Learn more about this paradigm-shifting law on Sept. 28 during the three-day virtual Washington Bike, Walk, Roll Summit, which takes place this year from Wednesday to Friday, Sept. 28-30, and resumes on Monday Oct. 3. Register for the free Summit here.

On Sept. 28, officials from the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) will explain the impacts of this new law during their presentation, “Complete Streets Requirements for State Transportation Projects.” City planners, transportation consultants, biking and walking advocates, academics, and all concerned citizens are invited to attend the free session, which will be presented by WSDOT staff members Celeste Gilman and Kenneth Loen.

State Transportation Secretary Roger Millar will give a welcome address on Monday, Oct. 4, followed by a workshop with state and federal transportation officials titled “Show us the Money,” which will offer advice on how communities can tap state and federal dollars.

What’s a Complete Street?

Complete Streets are the antidote to dangerous, ugly, and expensive “stroads” and incomplete streets.

“Incomplete streets are the result of a process that fails to consider the needs of all people,” according to Smart Growth America and the National Complete Streets Coalition. “The end product is a street that spans a spectrum from uncomfortable to downright deadly for those not using a car.”

Think of Aurora Avenue in Seattle, State Route 7 in Pierce County, and the Gorst bottleneck between Bremerton and Port Orchard in Kitsap County–or the many state highways that bisect communities.

The Complete Streets requirement was included in the Move Ahead Washington transportation funding package approved by the Washington State Legislature in early 2022. With a “historic and unprecedented” $1.3 billion in spending for protected bike lanes, multi-use trails, Safe Routes to Schools, biking and walking infrastructure, and a new statewide school-based bicycle safety education program, Move Ahead Washington makes Washington state a leader in the effort to make bicycling safer, easier, and more popular.

The Complete Streets requirement is among the most impactful measures in the Move Ahead Washington package. It directs WSDOT to “improve the safety, mobility and accessibility of state highways” through the incorporation of Complete Streets principles into projects costing more than $500,000.

“This directive will accelerate and enhance WSDOT’s efforts to become more multimodal. And it puts Washington at the forefront of the Complete Streets movement,” says Vicky Clarke, policy director for Washington Bikes and Cascade Bicycle Club. “We look forward to working with WSDOT and active transportation advocates across the state as the projects influenced by this new policy are built.”

This requirement applies to state highways–also known as State Routes that have an SR designation in their name–which pass through population centers. Learn more on the WSDOT Complete Streets landing page.

“It’s really exciting work we are getting to do here,” says Gilman, strategic policy administrator in WSDOT’s Active Transportation Division. Gilman stresses that there will be no one-size-fits-all approach, but rather that each project will differ and include direct input from communities in terms of the infrastructure they desire.

“The solutions will look different in each location. We are going to look at the context of the place and identify gaps in our walking and bicycling facilities and fill them in,” Gilman says.

A National Movement to Reduce Traffic Violence

The new state requirement comes as the Complete Streets movement gains momentum nationally. Earlier this year, the Federal Highway Administration delivered the report, “Moving to a Complete Streets Design Model,” to Congress.

The Complete Streets movement also comes amidst a rise in traffic deaths both in Washington and nationally that highlights the need for better road and highway design.

Vermont is the only other state with a Complete Streets mandate.

Register for the free virtual Washington Bike, Walk, Roll Summit to participate in this session, and check out the full Summit agenda, which will include 14 sessions with a theme of Building Just and Resilient Communities.

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Big Progress Coming on the Olympic Discovery and Great American Trails

  • Washington’s Olympic Discovery Trail is a key segment in the 3,700-mile Great American Rail-Trail.
  • Plans are underway to complete the “Western Gateway” to the Great American, and fill gaps on the Olympic Peninsula.
  • A new study shows the economic benefits of completing these long-distance bike trails.

A “huge milestone” is coming for Washington state’s Olympic Discovery Trail and the 3,700-mile Great American Rail-Trail that spans the nation.

In just a few years, people will be able to bike on a new trail from the timber town of Forks, Wash., to the oceanfront tribal community of La Push. The trail connection will provide an economic boost to the region and state by connecting the Olympic Discovery and Great American trails to the Pacific via a new “Western Gateway.”

Construction on the 11-mile segment of paved, multi-use trail from Forks to La Push should be completed within the next three years, says Jeff Bohman, president of the Peninsula Trails Coalition. Building this westernmost segment of the Great American and Olympic Discovery trails will offer people on bikes a car-free, epic start or finish to a bike ride across the Olympic Peninsula–or across the nation.

“Completing the Western Gateway will be a huge milestone that connects the Great American Rail-Trail to the Pacific Ocean,” Bohman says.

That’s good news for the state’s economy. Long-distance bike trails not only provide healthy recreational opportunities and adventure. They are a major economic engine. 

A recent study says the 3,700-mile Great American Rail-Trail, which is more than halfway built, will generate about $25 million in spending and 1.6 million trips within Washington state when completed.

“The return on investment is huge,” says Kevin Belanger of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a nonprofit that is leading the effort to create the Great American Rail-Trail. “People on bikes buy food and water and supplies and lodgings, and there are many towns that need economic development that would benefit.”

People from around the world, as well as the 50 million Americans who live within 50 miles of the Great American, will come to bike, walk, ride horses, and explore America’s diverse landscapes when the trail is completed, Belanger says.

The Great American crosses 12 states and will be the nation’s first cross-country biking and walking trail when completed. It is more than halfway completed, with about 88 gaps to be filled, including some in Washington state.

A Bike Trail Across Washington

Washington state’s longest segments of the Great American include the 289-mile Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail, which travels from the Idaho border to the Puget Sound region, as well as the Olympic Discovery Trail

About 92 miles of the Olympic Discovery Trail are completed along a route that will eventually be 135 miles long, Bohman says. “Trail segments are being added almost every year.” 

Progress is also continuing on the Palouse to Cascades. In central Washington, the state opened the Beverly Bridge, a key trail link over the Columbia River. The 3,000-foot bridge, which opened in April to people biking, walking, and riding horses, unites the eastern and western halves of the Palouse to Cascades, the longest rail trail in the nation. 

Washington Bikes was instrumental in securing state funding to complete the Beverly Bridge. Washington Bikes advocates in Olympia for full funding of the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program because it pays for trail projects.

From Seattle to the Pacific

From the western terminus of the Palouse to Cascades trail in Cedar Falls, a variety of trails in King County enable people on bikes to pedal into Seattle. Connecting to the Olympic Discovery Trail and the Pacific is the next big challenge.

The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy says it has identified a route across the Kitsap Peninsula from the Bainbridge Island town of Winslow, which is reachable by ferry from Seattle, to Hood Canal Bridge. Work on this route across the Kitsap Peninsula–named the Sound to Olympics Trail–is underway. Currently, however, people bicycling must largely travel across the Kitsap Peninsula on roads.

Trail planners are now “route scouting and exploring connections” to get from the Hood Canal Bridge to the Port Townsend area and the Olympic Discovery Trail, Bohman says. The Peninsula Trails Coalition has identified four potential trail routes, he says.

Progress on the Olympic Discovery Trail

Most recently, “a truly signature piece” of the Olympic Discovery Trail opened along Lake Crescent following five years of work, Bohman says. A collaboration between Clallam County and Olympic National Park, the multi-million-dollar Spruce Railroad Trail project included opening two abandoned railroad tunnels.

The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe is now working to complete a section of trail paralleling U.S. Highway 101 near Sequim Bay. “It has been a singletrack but the tribe is upgrading it to a paved trail with gravel shoulders,” Bohman says.

A big priority for the Peninsula Trails Coalition is closing trail gaps between Port Townsend and Sequim. From Port Townsend, people can now pedal to the Four Corners area on the Larry Scott Trail. But from here, bikes must travel on a dangerous stretch of SR20 to continue westward. Bohman urges people to avoid this stretch of highway. 

To eliminate these trail gaps, the Peninsula Trails Coalition joined Jefferson County to complete a study that has identified an 11-mile trail route from Four Corners to Discovery Bay. The county adopted the study and hopes to fill this gap in three phases, starting with a three-mile segment that will connect Four Corners to Anderson Lake State Park, Bohman says, with construction to be completed in two to three years.  

From Anderson Lake State Park, trail planners want to build another trail segment along a water line corridor. The third segment of trail between Four Corners and Discovery Bay “still needs more homework,”  Bohman says. 

“Further west in Jefferson County, we are looking at an abandoned segment of the old State Highway 9 that was discontinued when Highway 101 opened between Discovery Bay and Sequim Bay,” Bohman says. 

Building trails takes time. Funding must be obtained, routes must be studied, and agreements must be reached with property owners, government entities, and tribes. “It’s the hardest trail sections that get left for last,” Bohman says. 

Trails Require Partnerships

The Peninsula Trails Coalition was founded 34 years ago with a mission to build and maintain the Olympic Discovery Trail. It has helped complete 90 miles so far and hopes to have 110 miles in four to five years, Bohman says.

The Peninsula Trails Coalition works with 14 separate jurisdictions–from tribal, county, state, and local governments, to federal agencies including the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Park Service. 

“Our pledge to communities and the 14 jurisdictions we pass through is: ‘We will maintain and take care of the trail if you build it.’ We donate thousands of hours of volunteer work to take the load of maintenance off the shoulders of communities,” Bohman says.

Cascade and Washington Bikes are proud to be a part of the large coalition of people committed to building safe places to bike, walk, and roll across our state

“Cascade and Washington Bikes salute the hard work of the Peninsula Trails Coalition to make Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula one of the premier bicycling destinations in the nation,” says Lee Lambert, Cascade and WA Bikes’ executive director. “Long-distance bike trails not only boost our economy, they improve the quality of life for all Washington residents.”

Watch the videoThe Olympic Discovery Trail: Connecting Opportunity on the Olympic Peninsula

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2022 Bike-Friendly State Rankings Put WA at #3

Washington has been No. 1 in the League of American Bicyclists state-by-state comparison since its inception more than a decade ago. In its 2022 ranking, which is based on 2021 data and a new scoring methodology, the League puts Washington behind Massachusetts and Oregon at No. 3. While the ranking has some merit in terms of highlighting where Washington can do better, the 2022 scorecard has been announced shortly after the Legislature approved and Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law the largest funding package for bike infrastructure and education in state history. So we encourage everyone to take this ranking with a grain of salt. Here are seven things to know about Washington’s Bike Friendly work, and our take on the League’s scores.

  1. Washington is improving. Perhaps most useful in the rankings is to look at how a single state is performing year on year. The last rankings were pre-pandemic (2019). Since then, Washington has improved on many scored areas, including statewide active transportation plans, environmental justice, and multimodal transportation revenue. WA receives an “A” score in three of the five scored areas:
  • Adopted WSDOT Active Transportation Plan–a framework for ensuring there is an active transportation network across Washington state.
  • Passed the Healthy Environment for All (HEAL) Act, which defines ‘environmental justice’ in state law, and outlines how agencies should consider community needs and environmental justice (EJ) in their work. This requires that WSDOT use an equity framework in all project and funding programs to ensure that communities most impacted by transportation projects are prioritized.
  • Passed the Climate Commitment Act (CCA) which created the first-ever large revenue source dedicated to funding multimodal transportation projects.

2. 2022 Legislative wins aren’t considered. The Bike Friendly State scores are based on 2021 data, meaning massive investments in active transportation won in the 2022 legislative session weren’t factored in. Washington got a “C” grade for Infrastructure and Funding even though our Legislature approved the largest funding package for bicycling in state history in the form of Move Ahead Washington in March. Here are three huge legislative wins that were not considered:

  • $1.1 billion in active transportation funding going directly towards better biking, walking, and rolling infrastructure across the state.
  • $216 million going towards statewide youth bike education, giving kids the skills to bike for fun and transportation.
  • Requires WSDOT to build  Complete Streets  when advancing any project over $500,000 (which is the vast majority of WSDOT projects).

Those legislative wins will trickle down into results on the ground, which will improve safety and ridership–the core metrics for a bikeable community.

3. The new scorecard includes less emphasis on proactive bike legislation–a strength in Washington, and one of the keys for safer bicycling. The League’s new methodology means Washington got fewer points for implementing important laws such as the Safe Passing law, the Safety Stop, Distracted Driving measures, and a Vulnerable Road User law. These important laws didn’t raise our score this year despite their importance. 

4. Emphasis on inaccurate federal data. The folks in D.C. who crunch federal biking data state very clearly that this data should not be used for state-by-state comparisons (i.e. scorecards), but unfortunately, with no other consistent cross-state data source, this is the data the League relied upon. It’s unclear if the federal mode-share data is an accurate reflection of Washington state bike ridership.

5. Much to celebrate, but so much more to do. Much of the influence over safe, accessible, comfortable, and convenient biking in a given state comes down to state and local planners and the elected leaders they report to. The state Legislature will look different in 2023: every member of the Washington state House of Representatives will be on the ballot this November. With a slew of representatives and senators stepping down, there will be some seat shuffling, and more than a typical number of open seats up for grabs. Washington Bikes is looking forward to the 2022 Election with gusto. Our state needs more elected bike champions who see the connections between biking, transportation, climate, and health.

6. Does a ranking even matter? At the end of the day, it’s people’s experience on bikes in communities across Washington (and the entire US) that are the real litmus test for “bike friendliness”. Do you feel comfortable putting your kid into a bike seat and pedaling them to the store with you? Do you have to white-knuckle through portions of most of your rides? These are the questions that get to the heart of whether a state is bike friendly. A country-wide evaluation based on high-level, and sometimes inaccurate, data won’t answer these questions. All in all, take this new methodology and ranking with a bit of skepticism.

7. Oregon and Massachusetts: Let’s talk! For all its shortcomings, the rankings show which states are innovating and having success improving safety for people on bikes–and thus where Washington, too, can learn and grow. We’re excited to have some competition in this ranking, despite its faults. We want to know what policies and practices we can put to work that are leading to success in other states. We are eager to collaborate with and share knowledge with Massachusetts and Oregon to identify policies and practices that make bicycling safer and more equitable for everyone.

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