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Pedal power: Washington named nation's 'Most Bicycle-Friendly State,' for seventh consecutive year
No one at the Lopez Chamber of Commerce was surprised that Washington was named America's "Most Bicycle-Friendly State" for the seventh year in a row by the League of American Bicyclists, especially after sponsoring what proved to be yet another boffo Tour de Lopez on Saturday, April 26.
Akin to annual boat parades opening the summer boating season, the Lopez bike ride opens biking season in the San Juans. The non-competitive Tour around three different courses on Lopez is also a yearly introduction to Washington's participation in the 58th annual National Bike Month.
Organized for the 11th straight year by Becky Smith, the annual ride welcomed more than 800 riders who contributed more than $11,000 to defray the costs of operating Lopez Village Park.
"What a great summer season kick-off," Smith said. "Everybody had a great time and we're all looking forward to the 12th Annual Tour next year."
After another successful island ride introduced Washington Bike Month so appropriately, the Lopez Chamber's Lia Noreen said, "We think Lopez and the San Juan Islands are a big reason the state's been honored seven years in a row, and we're happy it came just a few days after our successful event."
Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed the May Bike Month proclamation and lauded the benefits of biking and the bike-friendly award.
“As a bike rider I get to see firsthand all that Washington has done to make bicycling part of a sustainable transportation system,” Inslee said. “Bicycling helps make healthy communities, healthy people and a rich quality of life. There’s always more to do, but being named the most bike-friendly state shows we are moving on the right path.”
The League of American Bicyclists annually ranks all 50 states on how “bikeable” they are. The League evaluates each state’s cycling in several categories: legislation and enforcement; policies and programs; infrastructure and funding; education and encouragement; and evaluation and planning.
“Being an avid bicyclist, I’ve had an opportunity to explore Washington’s urban and rural roadways this past year,” Washington Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson said. “We’ll continue to work with our local partners to identify and fund bicycle needs in their areas, especially on highways that also function as main streets in our communities.”
For more about the League of American Bicyclists, go to bikeleague.org.