The League of American Bicyclists awarded Washington the title of “Most Bicycle Friendly State” for its efforts to improve conditions for bicycling through programs, policies and places to ride.
In its press release, the League of American Bicyclists said that Washington leads the nation in creating new bicycle infrastructure and using federal funds for bicycle and pedestrian projects thanks to support from the highest levels of government. It’s true; in 2010, for instance,we passed a law banning texting while driving. The following year we passed another bill specifically designed to protect vulnerable road users. In the 2011-13 Transportation Budget, our state invested $21.6 million for the Safe Routes to School and bicycle-pedestrian safety programs. And this session, HB 1700, sponsored by Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon and signed into law on March 23, updates the standards local communities use for designing bicycle and pedestrian facilities.
With this kind of support it makes sense to ride bikes as much as possible. If you’re not a cyclist, maybe this will encourage you to hop on a bike:
You can burn anywhere from 500 to 1000+ calories if you pedal away for an hour, and think of all the places you could go to in an hour! Clearly, biking is one of the best ways to stay in shape AND it is an effective means of transportation. That’s two scoops of raisins right there!
- It’s cheap because you don’t need gas.
- Lower energy use helps our environment.
- Less traffic reduces congestion.
- Fewer cars means safer streets.
- It’s FUN!
And if you’re curious about the gazillion cycling health benefits to your heart and lungs and muscles and bones and brain, check out this list.
So get your helmet and join the growing number of people bicycling across our state. The Washington State Department of Transportation conducted a statewide bicycle and pedestrian count over three days at 155 locations in the fall of 2010 in which nearly 16,000 bicyclists were counted. That’s a huge increase over the 9,600 counted in 2009.
With more and more people bicycling on a regular basis, it’s no wonder folks are saying we have an incredible culture of health in Washington. And you still have one more week to participate in "Bike to Work" for the month of May.
For more info on the 2012 Bicycle Friendly States Rankings, go here.
Washington’s Bicycle Friendly States report card is here.