Update: Elections May Change Bike Legislation Strategy in Washington State

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Seattle’s Cascade Bicycle Club’s endorsed list of bike-friendly candidates fared well in Tuesday’s election, a preliminary rundown indicates. Despite the fact that most were Democrats in a supposedly Republican sweep, the majority won by healthy margins well above 50 percent.

But some key losses, plus Republican gains and the tenor of the election overall, may put bike advocates in a more defensive position.

“We’ll be in the position of defending good state laws as opposed to advocating new legislation,” said David Hiller, Cascade’s advocacy director and cycling’s key point person in the Olympia legislature. Cascade will still work to persuade the State Legislature to adopt vulnerable-user legislation — which made considerable progress while falling short of approval the past two years — in the new legislative session, Hiller said. But “it’ll be more of an uphill battle,” he admitted.

The state senate, always more of a roadblock, particularly “presents a difficult picture,” Hiller said. “We will really miss Senators Randy Gordon and Eric Oemig.” Other key supporters in the loss column included Reps. Roger Goodman (45th District) and Geoff Simpson (47th). Goodman “was a big fan of vulnerable-user legislation.”

In the meantime, our incomplete (and early) tabulation showed 35 Cascade-endorsed candidates winning and just six coming up short. (Cascade endorsed 50 candidates overall; some returns have not been reported as of this writing.)

Hiller said Cascade is waiting on 10 races still too close to call, with six trending favorably.

Big winners included Joe McDermott for King County Council (68 percent), Rep. Jay Inslee (not on Cascade’s list but a big club booster), at 56 percent, State Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles (82 percent), Rep. Eileen Cody (79 percent) and Representatives Bob Hasegawa, Sam Hunt and Maralyn Chase, among others.

Other supporters cited by Hiller included Senator Adam Kline, an overwhelming victor at 87 percent in the 37th District, and Reps. Joe Fitzgibbon (34th) and Marko Liias (21st).

Additional Cascade-backed candidates who appeared to be turned away included Rep. Tom Campbell (2nd District), Sumner Schoenike (26th District), Jake Fey (27th District) and Senator Chris Marr (6th District).

Further reading: Around the nation, cycling candidates faced varied success.

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