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?
9 responses to “Jay Inslee visits Bike Works, discusses the benefits of bicycle education”
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It’s an activity that you can do as a family. That could be a big one in the East.
I grew up riding the interurban in South King with my parents on a weekly basis. It was fantastic. It was fun. It was a nice way to bond with my parents as well. Eventually, I rode alone, and then even more eventually I rode my bike to my first job (in Auburn!!). Riding in a family situation is also a great way to gain education. Parents brush up on their auto-empathy and kids learn the ropes. (Then, the generation that practiced big family cycling will already be acclimated to sharing the road with all road users.)
Also, gas prices. As gas prices rise, cycling is more viable. it’s fun. It’s healthy. It has the *potential* to be stress free. Also, Portland built out it’s hundreds of miles of bicycle infrastructure for what…1% of the state transportation budget? That something too. Building bike infrastructure is cheap. It improves traffiv flow for those that want to drive still. On top of that, with most new road configurations come road maintenance as well!
Those are my two talking points.
I guess it’s nice to get the light but politicians are politicians. It’s really not going to mean anything. Right? RIGHT??
That photo is priceless! It says it all in the clash of two social economic groups, the guy with the hat & beard, and Jan with his blue blazer, khakis and shirt without a tie, because he’s “gone casual.”
My suggestion is that Jay say nothing about bicycles until he gets in office. The bicycle crowd is unlikely to vote for McKenna in any case and there is no need to get the nut jobs riled up over bicycles and Inslee.
I’d say he should be honest about any pro-bicycle policies he intends to put into effect. It’s damaging to any cause if politicians are seen to perceive it as toxic. I’m a little worried about McGinn seeming to soft-pedal (so to speak) the bike stuff recently, such as when he set a goal of increasing bike ridership downtown by a minute amount. I’d love McGinn to be opposed for reelection by an out-and-out anti-bike candidate who promises reverse all road diets and turn bike lanes to gravel–and then have McGinn win.
But getting back to Inslee, of course, he should be smart and contextualize any pro-bicycle policies as part of a larger plan to improve infrastructure for all modes of transportation (including cars and container ships, buses and pedestrians, trains, trucks and tricycles) to increase economic vitality, make communities more livable, improve health, protect the environment, and blah blah blah, etc. It’s hard to be opposed to that.
“I’d say he should be honest” That’s why you are not “electable”.. Voters want honesty until someone actually tells it to them, then they prefer lies.
Saying one thing and doing another does not enhance electability–it gets you labeled as an untrustworthy flip-flopper who will say anything to get elected. Look at Romney or more locally recall how McGinn was attacked over opposing/not opposing/opposing the waterfront tunnel. Honesty and consistency earns respect.
“Safety”, “Options”, “Efficiency” those are the messages. To a depressingly large segment of the population bikes are a toxic signifier (of what I’m not exactly clear, but probably something like wussification or the inevitable end of cheap oil about which we must remain in denial or our economy will [further] implode!)
Only if pushed should Inslee discuss cycling as practical and healthy and low impact… but unless pushed, I see no need to bring it up at all.
[…] has been an opponent of Eastside light rail. Meanwhile, Inslee visited Bike Works earlier this year and seemed interested in how to increase bicycle education in the state. I doubt […]