Washington State, the Best State for Biking

The Evergreen State has won the coveted No. 1 ranking from the League of American Bicyclists seven years in a row. That’s because Washington invests in cycling infrastructure, and it has a comprehensive set of state laws to protect cyclists on the road.

Tejay van Garderen, Washington resident and Team BMC member in action during the first stage of an individual time trial, of the Criterium du Dauphine, on June 8, 2014, in Lyon, France. (Kristof Van Accom/Getty Images)

Washington has “a really good bicycling advocacy community,” said Darren Flusche, the league’s policy director. “They have established federal, state and local funding sources. They have a really extensive rails-to-trails network.”

Washington applies about 3.2 percent of its federal transportation dollars to cyclists and pedestrians, according to the Alliance for Biking & Walking . That’s well above the 2.1 percent national average. Washington is one of just five states to meet all seven safety criteria the alliance measured, from Share the Road campaigns to bicycle enforcement training for new police officers. Neither cycling group included the District in its rankings, largely because it’s so urban that it would dominate all the categories.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) and Lynn Peterson, secretary of the state’s Department of Transportation, make a point of including cycling in state transportation planning, Flusche said.

“Anytime an executive, whether it’s a governor or the head of a department of transportation, prioritizes bicycling and provides that leadership, that reverberates down the ranks,” Flusche said. “It’s a question of: Are there good places to ride, and do people feel safe and respected on the road?”

Edited from a July 3rd opinion article by REID WILSON, published in the Washington Post

So why don’t we have better road cycling options throughout the scenic areas of the Columbia River Gorge. Our otherwise incredibly pleasant and scenic local roads are intimidating and relatively unsafe for cyclists, with far too many long stretches of narrow shoulder with adjacent high-speed traffic and heavy truck traffic. – Editor

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