OLYMPIA –For the fourth year running, Washington has earned the title of “Most Bicycle Friendly State” from the League of American Bicyclists. Washington is a leader among the states in its efforts to improve conditions for bicycling through its programs, policies and places to ride.
“Washington’s effort to create bicycle-friendly communities ensures that many generations will have transportation options, access to recreation, health benefits and a higher quality of life,” said Gov. Chris Gregoire.
Across Washington the number of people bicycling has increased, shown in the Washington State Department of Transportation’s (WSDOT) annual statewide bicycle and pedestrian count report. In a three-day snapshot taken at 155 locations across the state in fall 2010, volunteers counted nearly 16,000 bicyclists compared to more than 9,600 in 2009.
“Public support is strong for making biking safer and more convenient for children, commuters and recreational users,” Washington Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond said. “WSDOT works closely with regional and local agencies to increase the number of walkers and bikers, while also improving safety to reduce the number of bicycle- and pedestrian- related collisions.”
When compared nationally in bicyclist safety performance, Washington’s bicyclist involved fatality crash rate improved from 1.37 per 1,000,000 people in 2008 to 1.35 in 2009. Crash data collected by WSDOT over 15 years indicates collisions can be reduced by providing dedicated space for bicyclists on or near the roadway.
The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) supports bicycling through a number of efforts including:
· State Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan – guiding investments and policy decisions based on goals for improving connections, increasing coordination and reducing traffic congestion
· Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety grant program – targeting funding to improvement projects in known risk locations
· Safe Routes to School grant program – improving conditions for children who walk or bike to school, and includes safety education for students
· Designing for bicycles – in urban areas, including bicycle and pedestrian facilities in new construction and reconstruction projects
· Washington State Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project – tracking the number of people biking and walking annually to identify opportunities for improvement.
The League of American Bicyclists promotes bicycling for fun, fitness and transportation, and works through advocacy and education for a bicycle‐friendly America.