Article reposted from Cascade Bicycle Club
The 2022 Move Ahead Washington law expands investment in bike, walk and roll initiatives across the state.
A new Washington State Department of Transportation contract with Cascade will help grow our groundbreaking Let’s Go bicycle education curriculum and Major Taylor Project clubs serving Black and Brown youth into statewide programs for students.
“Teaching our youth across Washington how to safely and confidently ride bikes for transportation and recreation is one of the most important and powerful things we can do to improve the health and wellness of our children."
Washington state is poised to become a national leader in youth bicycling education thanks to a new statewide bike safety education program that will reach students from elementary through high school.
The historic Move Ahead Washington funding package, passed in March 2022, will improve biking and walking infrastructure for students across the state and help them get to school more safely. Move Ahead Washington also creates a new School-Based Bicycle Safety Education Program.
The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) has selected Cascade Bicycle Club to help implement two new bicycling education programs: one for elementary and middle schools, and a second for junior high and high schools.
Inspired by Cascade’s Let’s Go curriculum in Seattle and Edmonds and a previous Safe Routes curriculum funded by WSDOT, these school-based programs would be the largest statewide youth bicycling education initiatives of their kind in the nation. The after-school program for junior high and high school students is similar to Cascade’s Major Taylor Project, which serves and mentors Black and Brown youth and youth from systemically underserved communities--teaching them bike knowledge and leadership skills.
Cascade will work with local bike advocates and educators in communities across the state to implement the school-based bike education curriculums, which will phase in over 16 years and are expected to reach 90 percent of Washington state students by 2039.
The Legislature directed WSDOT to prioritize the school-based programs in communities where equity, safety, and community plans point to the highest needs. Each year the Legislature will receive a report on activities underway, program accomplishments, and the districts Cascade proposes to work with next once funding is approved.
“Teaching our youth across Washington how to safely and confidently ride bikes for transportation and recreation is one of the most important and powerful things we can do to improve the health and wellness of our children and to create a cleaner, greener and more equitable state,” said Lee Lambert, executive director of Cascade Bicycle Club and Washington Bikes.
A Massive Increase in Funding for Bike Infrastructure
In addition to the school-based bike safety education programs, Move Ahead Washington dramatically increases the amount of money for biking and walking infrastructure statewide. In the past, funding constraints meant that many more applications came in for the Pedestrian/Bicyclist and Safe Routes to School grant programs than could receive funding. That left many communities without the safe and connected bike routes they need at a time when more people than ever are biking due to the pandemic bike boom and rising gas prices.
The Legislature has significantly increased funding amounts for those programs and created the new Connecting Communities Pilot Program, both of which will increase the overall number of projects funded and address gaps in active transportation networks created by state routes.
“We applaud legislators and the governor for investing in efforts that will protect our most vulnerable road users, and especially our children as they bike and walk to school,” said Vicky Clarke, policy director for Cascade Bicycle Club and Washington Bikes. “We thank Sen. Marko Liias, Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, and Rep. Jake Fey, Chairman of the House Transportation Committee, for fighting on behalf of the unparalleled bike, walk and roll investments.”
Learn more about Move Ahead Washington and its $1.3 billion in funding for bike, walk, and roll infrastructure and programs.