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Monday, July 9, 2012

Group Skewers Transportation Chair for Two-Faced Sabotage of Bicycle Bills

Posted by on Mon, Jul 9, 2012 at 2:46 PM

The Cascade Bicycle Club today posted its annual ratings of Washington State lawmakers on the merits of their pro-bicycle voting records, finding that, generally speaking, urban lawmakers tend to do better than their exurban and rural counterparts. For example, Representatives Judge Clibborn, Joe Fitzgibbon, and Andy Billig (respectively from Bellevue, Seattle, and Spokane) all got 100 percent voting records. At the bottom, folks like Senator Tim Sheldon (D-Only Technically) of Potlatch was given an 11 percent rating and called out as the only member of his party to vote against a bill granting more flexibility when designing bicycle infrastructure. The report card is based on votes for nine bills, from letting cities reduce speed limits to appropriating cash to bicycle projects.

Based on voting records alone, none of the ratings are shockers.

But here's where there's some interesting nuance: Senate Transportation Committee chair Mary Margaret Haugen (D-Camano Island), who earned plaudits by swinging her vote in favor of marriage equality last winter, got a 100 percent rating. However... she still won a broken chain award as an opponent of safe cycling.

"Don’t let Sen. Haugen’s voting record deceive you—her actions demonstrate that she does not support bicycling," her scorecard explains. "As chair of the Senate Transportation committee, Sen. Haugen actively works to block pro-bicycling legislation and funding. She worked to sabotage the passage of SHB 1217, the 'Neighborhood Safe Speeds bill,' and HB 2370, including health in the state transportation system policy goals, while standing as the single largest roadblock to securing local transportation funding options."

I'm glad that the Cascade Bicycle Club didn't let Haugen off the hook. Too often these sorts of voting scorecards look superficially at voting records. But the influence of legislators, particularly powerful committee chairs, is often in shaping legislation or never allowing votes to happen in the first place. So, yeah, Haugen voted correctly, but she used her post to make sure things she opposed would never even reach the senate floor.


Comments (8) RSS

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Will in Seattle 2
The shocking thing is that we property owners subsidize roads to such an extent, when the amount of wear and tear from non-bikes is about 100,000:1 on road surfaces.

Which means our taxes go up every time we build more car-only roads.
Posted by Will in Seattle on July 9, 2012 at 3:05 PM · Report this
Kinison 3

I love that argument, it has one important hole in it. Lets say you have a 4 lane road, two lanes are dedicated for cars (one in each direction) and two for bikes (again, one in each direction). 20 years later, the road needs to be re-paved and while the bike lanes are fine, do you honestly think WSDOT workers will tear up and re-pave just the car lanes? Probably not, they'll have to re-pave the whole thing, in fact cyclists might be upset if you didnt provide just as smooth a ride for them as they would do for cars. If its a bike lane that only bikes use, then I'll buy that argument because you wont need to re-pave it for decades and thats the only way that argument works.

Scooters dont cause anywhere near the damage that a car does, but we expect them to jump through the same registration hoops that cars do. Its only a matter of time before cyclists have to deal with the same annoyances drivers do.
Posted by Kinison on July 9, 2012 at 3:47 PM · Report this
emor 4

You're funny. Your argument admits that bikes don't do any damage to the road, dumbass. If the cars and trucks didn't damage the road, then those bike lanes wouldn't be replaced.

They also redo the sidewalks when upgrading roads. Time to register sneakers?

Posted by emor on July 9, 2012 at 6:24 PM · Report this
Andy_Squirrel 5
@3 Worst argument ever. Let's just throw a huge number out there...say 50% of road users out there are cyclists the roads will last 2x as long and not need replaced as often therefore saving tons of money, freeing up resources for roads that actually need repair instead of just the arteries.
Posted by Andy_Squirrel on July 9, 2012 at 8:45 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 6
Wait. I thought the bike activists wanted to get rid of helmet laws. But now they favor bike safety? Which is it?
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on July 9, 2012 at 9:01 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 7

There, that's your answer, in Tea Party language you can understand, welfare-car-person.
Posted by Will in Seattle on July 9, 2012 at 9:15 PM · Report this
Lew Siffer 8
Every ghost bike I see brings a chuckle and a warm glow.
Posted by Lew Siffer on July 10, 2012 at 8:16 AM · Report this

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