Bicycle commuting in Washington has increased over 75% in the last ten years. More people are choosing to avoid the hassels of traffic congestion by biking to work and even doing their after work shopping and errands by bicycle. They are also working exercise into their transportation time.
Washington State law says that cyclists may, but are not required to, use bike lanes, paths or shoulders. Be aware that although bike paths may not have auto traffic, they may have traffic that is less predictable and more dangerous than streets. Keep alert for pedestrians, skaters, pets and less experienced cyclists. Communicate with these path users as you would with motorists, and announce your intention to pass them (on their left). For tips on safe commuting in the Puget Sound region, go to www.wsdot.wa.gov/bike/Commuting.htm.
Washington State is also one of the best places for bicycle touring in the country. Whether planning a day trip to the coast, a tour in the San Juan Islands, or a longer excursion through the vineyards of the Yakima Valley, Washington has some of the most scenic bike rides and best accommodations in the country. Visit www.wsdot.wa.gov/bike/Planning_Maps.htm for maps, planning tips and accommodations.
Washington state has long been recognized as a leader in rail-trail development. Seattle, the University of Washington and King County collaborated to create the Burke-Gilman Trail after the then Burlington Northern Railroad applied to abandon the line in 1971. The first 12 miles of the trail opened in 1978. Since then, Washington state has developed 740 miles of existing rail trails, including about 268 miles in King County either fully or partly, and many more are under development, according to the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. These trails make wonderful safe cycling trails for those in the Northwest Metroplex area.