Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Cause for celebration and commitment: Washington still leads as #1 Bike Friendly State

By Barb Chamberlain

Washington state is again ranked as No. 1 “Most Bicycle Friendly State in America” – the only state in the nation to be consistently named by the League of American Bicyclists as a leader for the past decade. It’s great news but it comes with a note of caution. While Washington has addressed important policy actions, the number of people killed on our roads while bicycling has more than doubled since 2014.

This echoes a national trend where the rate of traffic fatalities for vehicle drivers and their passengers is trending down, but drivers strike and seriously injure or kill an increasing number of people walking or rolling. In the past year alone, serious injuries to people walking increased 12 percent and serious injuries to people bicycling increased 32 percent in Washington.
Cyclists enjoy the Tommy Thompson Trail in Anacortes.

That’s somber news and it means we have more work to do. We’re working with our partners in traffic safety at every jurisdictional level to address questions of roadway design, operations and maintenance, especially on higher-speed roads, such as state highways where 27 percent of serious injury and fatal crashes occur.

In the Bicycle Friendly State Report Card (pdf 1.4 mb), the League credited Washington for enacting a Safe Passing Law in the 2019 session and beginning our update to the state plan. Our State Active Transportation Plan is especially critical for developing a 21st-century transportation system. We hope you’ll visit our online open house, review how we’re evaluating state routes to help us identify future needs, and take our questionnaire that asks about your transportation habits, challenges and priorities. We have an online information session on the plan coming up Wednesday, Dec. 11, that you can register for to participate from your kitchen table or desktop via webinar.
Infrastructure like the SR 520 bike/pedestrian path have helped Washington consistently rank
as the top bicycling state in the country.

Everyone uses active transportation at some point in their trip. You might walk or roll all the way to your destination. You may get to the nearest transit stop, ferry landing or rail station. You might drive downtown, park, and get out to walk around for shopping and entertainment. At some point in each of these journeys you are a vulnerable road user.

Your opinion on how state, regional, tribal and local governments can improve your comfort, safety and mobility matters. While you take a moment to celebrate our #1 Bicycle Friendly State status, take 10 minutes to answer our questionnaire and help shape the future of active transportation in Washington state.