Legislation & Statewide Issues
The Bicycle Alliance of Washington advocates for a bicycle-friendly state, works to increase funding for bicycle infrastructure and pass legislation to improve access and safety, coordinates with state agencies on implementation of laws and regulations, provides tools for local advocates to improve their communities, educates people of all ages to increase transportation safety, and seeks to make bicycling accessible to everyone.
Legislation. The Bicycle Alliance works year-round for more funding, better policies, and new laws that grow bicycling and create safer and more complete streets statewide. Over the past 25 years the Bicycle Alliance has led efforts for the passage of the majority of bike-friendly legislation enacted into law. We accomplish this by:
- Lobbying in Olympia. The Bicycle Alliance has a statewide policy director and works with a professional lobbyist in Olympia to forward our legislative priorities. Staff and lobbyist serve as our eyes and ears, but members are our voice.
- Involving You. You can help advocate for safer streets and greater bicycling accessibility by signing up on our email list, providing input to the Bicycle Alliance’s Legislative and Statewide Issues Committee, and becoming a member of the Bicycle Alliance of Washington so we can truly say we work for you.
Statewide Issues.The Bicycle Alliance works to reach out to our members and board members, to clubs and organizations, and to local governments, bicycle boards, and elected officials across the state. The Legislative and Statewide Issues Committee works year-round to identify, research, and prioritize key issues for cycling that need to be addressed at the state level. We connect you to the latest issues and topics, help build capacity for better bicycle infrastructure, and seek to hear from you about legislative needs.
What We’re Working On and Watching in the 2013 Legislative Session
The regular legislative session has concluded and a special session is scheduled for May 13 – see our updates on what has happened so-far [last update: April 29]. More in-depth coverage issue by issue can be found on our blog.
Led by the Bicycle Alliance
HB 1045/SB 5066: The Neighborhood Safe Streets Bill would allow cities to lower the speed limit on non-arterials to 20mph without having to pay for an engineering study. This bill, previously introduced by the Bicycle Alliance, passed the House unanimously in 2011 and again in 2012. Voted a “do pass” recommendation by House Transportation Committee Jan. 24, 2013, and by Senate Transportation Committee Feb. 6, 2013. HB 1045 was pulled in the House Rules Committee on Feb. 13. On Feb. 18 rules were suspended and it was placed on third reading. It passed the House 86-10. HB 1045 was referred to the Senate Transportation Committee where it was heard on March 14. On March 20 the Senate Transportation Committee recommended a “do-pass.” On April 2, HB 1045 was pulled from the Senate Rules Committee and was placed on second reading for a Senate vote.
On April 17, as the final policy passed at 4:59pm, it passed the Senate 45-2 and is now on its way to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Neighborhood Safe Streets view are now available.
SB 5564/ HB 1743: The Safe Passing Bill would clarify safe passing practices on rural roads to increase distance given to pedestrians and bicyclists. The Bicycle Alliance is leading efforts on this bill and has identified sponsors. Hearing in Senate Transportation Committee Tuesday, Feb. 12. As of Feb. 18, both bills have been held for the session. The Bicycle Alliance plans to work with stakeholders to refine the legislation moving forward.
Supported by the Bicycle Alliance
HB 1233: This bill to include health in the state transportation system policy goals would highlight the value of walking and biking and the importance of investing in projects to support healthy, active transportation. Hearing in House Transportation Committee Tuesday, Feb. 12. Passed to Rules Committee after a “do pass” recommendation by House Transportation Committee. The bill was pulled from Rules to the House floor, but did not get a vote before the policy cut off on March 13. It will now be placed in the Rules Committee for the remainder of the 2013 legislative session.
SB 5506: This bill on funding for Safe Routes to School would protect the funding levels reached in the past couple of years from both state and federal sources. Hearing in Senate Transportation Committee Wed., Feb. 13. Missed cutoff. We are now working to maintain federal funding levels suggested in SB 5506 within the House and Senate transportation budgets.
SB 5141: Introduced by the Washington Road Riders Association (motorcycle advocates), this bill allows motorcycles to stop and proceed through traffic control signals, if the signal loop detectors don’t detect the motorcycle. We’ll be exploring potential amendments with the Washington Road Riders Association to address the needs of bicycles. Voted a “do pass” recommendation by Senate Transportation Committee Feb. 6, 2013. It passed out of the Senate 47-1 on February 22 and received “do pass” recommendation from the House Transportation hearing on March 28. It has been pulled by the House Rules Committee and awaits a floor vote.
SB 5263: Introduced by the Washington Road Riders Association, this bill clarifies how motorcycles can pass bicycles and pedestrians, making it legal for them to pass in the lane. Amended to specify that when motorcycles pass they must provide a 3 foot passing distance, similar to the language used in our Safe Passing Bill. Amended bill voted a “do pass” recommendation by Senate Transportation Committee Feb. 6, 2013. The bill passed out of the Senate 48-0 and received “do pass” recommendation from the House Transportation hearing on March 28. It is currently in the House Rules Committee.
Budget and Revenue
We are continuing to work with our partners at the Transportation for Washington Campaign to grow Safe Routes to Schools funding for bike/pedestrian infrastructure improvements and to fund the Complete Streets Grant Program.
The House and Senate have both released their proposed transportation budgets (HB 1864 and SB 5024, respectively). In both bills, we worked to ensure that federal funding and last year’s additive fee bill was restored to fund Safe Routes to School to approximately $17 million in the 2013-15 biennium. We also asked for starting investments in the Complete Streets Grant Program. We worked to maintain investments for the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety and Mobility Program at the approximate levels as they are proposed in both budgets. On the last day of the regular session, SB 5024 was passed. It retained federal funding for Safe Routes to School and provided additional state revenue for Safe Routes to School.
Currently, we are watching transportation revenue legislation introduced by members of the House Transportation Committee, including HB 1954. Write your legislator now about growing revenue for biking or call 1-800-562-6000 and ask your legislators to support increased funding for bike/pedestrian safety, Complete Streets, and Safe Routes to School.
Additionally, we continue to work with our partners at the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition (WWRC) to ensure that investments are made in the state capital budget to ensure that important trail projects are built through the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program. WWRC maintains an up-to-date listing of critical trail projects that could receive funding, depending on the level of investments the legislature and governor makes in the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program.
Monitoring by the Bicycle Alliance
While we appreciate the intent and efforts SB 5753, it has some elements that could impact of our work to provide young drivers bicycle and pedestrian awareness instruction. This program has been in place since 2008 when we helped pass legislation to include bicycle pedestrian awareness instructional materials in OSPI traffic school curriculum. The Bicycle Alliance of Washington provides the instructional DVDs at no cost to traffic schools or OSPI. The Department of Licensing also uses these materials. We agree with the intent of SB 5753 to improve flexibility for schools, however we would request that Sec. 17 (2) (3) and (4) struck from the bill. Sec. 17(4) is the most important. Received a do pass by Early Learning & K-12 Education on Feb. 22. Senator Hobbs introduced an amendment on the Senate floor that removed the language repealing the requirement that OSPI must include information in traffic safety courses on driving safely among bicyclists and pedestrians. With that amendment, the bill passed out of the Senate 45-4. We thank Senator Hobbs for this amendment removing this repealer language.
Increasing Bicycle Infrastructure
We are monitoring proposals for new revenue to fund transportation projects and will advocate for inclusion of bicycle projects on any list of items to be funded with this source, should anything be enacted. Write your legislator now about growing revenue for biking.
In support of that effort we are compiling the statewide list of bicycle projects and invite nominations. A project can be a specific missing link or a design approach that would improve networks wherever it is applied. This list will become a resource on our site and we will monitor and report progress toward the goal of a truly statewide system of connected bike access.
We continue to advocate for the funding of trail projects, such as the Spokane River Centennial Trail Extension, Ferry County Rail Trail, Spruce Railroad Trail/Tunnel Restoration, and the Point Defiance Peninsula and Missing Link. The Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition tracks trail projects such as these that may receive funding through the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP) budget. Their site provides specifics on individual project requests and a form to contact your legislators in support of those projects.
Speaking Up: How to Contact Your Legislators
For information and examples on contacting legislators about bills, see this Bicycle Alliance of Washington blog post. It includes information on how to use the legislative district finder to identify your legislators and an example of the kind of message you can send in support of a bill.
Don’t stop after the legislative session ends! Just a few of the actions you can take to keep support for bicycling visible year round so it’s top of mind when they come back to Olympia:
- Send your legislator a thank-you note at the end of session for his/her votes in support of bike projects.
- Invite your legislators on a bike ride to showcase infrastructure needs (and bring along a reporter or write a blog post for us with some photos).
- Write a letter to the editor of your local paper in support of a local project or bike master plan update. (Ask your friends to comment online to add their voice to yours. Ignore any trolls who may disagree with you–feeding them by responding just encourages them and they represent only a small minority.)
- Attend public meetings–your local Bicycle Advisory Board if you have one, city council, county commissioners, board of your metropolitan planning organization or regional transportation planning organization, school board, Planning Commission–and ask them to adopt policies that support expansion of access to bicycling.
- Share information about these meetings and bike events with your friends on your social media accounts; creating a Facebook event can be very effective for turning people out at project open-house events that are often lightly attended.