Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Jay Inslee visited Columbia City today, kicking off the walking tour with a stop at Bike Works. The neighborhood tour comes as the candidate kicks into full campaign mode (and, as Eli Sanders at the Stranger writes, the governor hopeful needs to make an impression even in the democratic stronghold of Seattle, where people are more familiar with Republican Candidate Rob McKenna’s name than Jay Inslee’s).
Inslee quickly asserted himself as a cyclist among the group of 20 or so neighborhood leaders and Bike Works folks. He mentioned that he owns some super nice bikes (leading to the obvious suggestion that he donate one to the shop). He asked what needs to happen to increase cycling. Some people mentioned bike lanes and neighborhood greenways. Then the discussion turned to bicycle education, both for people who drive and bike. As Bike Works Executive Director Deb Salls pointed out, the need for education was one of the big takeaways from the city’s Road Safety Summit.
Inslee asked if there were any proposals to include cycling education in either school programs (maybe part of what is left of the physical education programs) or as part of the state’s driving test and education. It’s an idea that has been tossed around, but there are currently no serious legislative proposals for such an endeavor.
Inslee is also very aware of the backlash against Mayor Mike McGinn’s supposed bicycle focus, and he asked what lessons can be learned to avoid a repeat in the future.
So ask you all: What would you like to see from a gubernatorial candidate trying to encourage more cycling (and walking!) in the state? And what are some good ways to promote such ideas to a statewide electorate?