OLYMPIA – On Thursday, April 2, Gov. Jay Inslee signed bipartisan legislation (House Bill 2587) to designate and promote the use of scenic bikeways across Washington. The program is modeled after a successful program in Oregon which generates $12 million in revenue from 90,000 scenic bikeways program users each year.
“Washington State is filled with some of the most beautiful and engaging landscapes anywhere in the world. A scenic bikeways program will encourage cyclists to visit and enjoy what our state has to offer and will support local business along the way,” said prime sponsor Rep. Alex Ramel, D-Bellingham.
The legislation has broad support, passing 96-1 in the House and 46-2 in the Senate. The bill was also supported by groups like Recreation Northwest and Washington Bikes.
“Bikes mean business,” said Alex Alston, State Policy Director for Washington Bikes. “In addition to boosting our state’s bottom line through industry, tourism, and more, biking brings major benefits for our mental and physical health. By designating state scenic bikeways throughout the state, we’ll ensure that every Washingtonian has the opportunity to access the beauty of our state by bike, and that local economies will prosper due to increased visibility and investment.”
Most Washingtonians are spending more time inside under the statewide Stay Home, Stay Healthy order. Outdoor cycling can have positive outcomes for physical and behavioral health but for now, Washingtonians should avoid cycling if they or a household member is ill. Currently, it is recommended to only take solo rides, maintain six feet of space between other riders and pedestrians, and not use shared bicycles or equipment.
“Once Washington’s health emergency has passed and our economy begins to come back, the scenic bikeways program will become an opportunity for tourism and recreation,” said Ramel.
The new law will take effect on June 10, 2020.