2022’s Biggest State Policy Wins
By: Ashley Seaward, Deputy Director of State + Local Policy
After a year’s worth of policy tracking and engagement, we’ve identified six state-level policy gains worth celebrating.
Every year, PeopleForBikes closely monitors hundreds of state legislative and regulatory issues in order to keep track of the national bicycling landscape. Tracking also allows our team to stay nimble and rally support around issues related to import topics, including infrastructure, recreation, and electric bicycles. After combing through the data, we’ve identified six of the biggest wins in state policy for 2022.
1. New Laws Move the Needle for Infrastructure Funding and Planning
Bills in California, Colorado, and Washington were approved to either fund or improve planning that will benefit bicycle infrastructure and riders throughout each state.
- In California, Governor Gavin Newsom allocated $1.1 billion in new funding for local bike and pedestrian projects, approved a bill to streamline environmentally beneficial transportation projects (such as bike- and bus-only lanes), and approved an effort to develop new building standards for short-term and long-term bicycle parking in multifamily residential buildings, hotels, and motels. CalBike was instrumental in helping pass these critical initiatives.
- In Colorado, Governor Polis signed the Powerline Trails bill into law. This new law will help communities across the state learn more about their options for partnering with utility providers to create new walking, hiking, and biking trails underneath power lines. Thanks to Bicycle Colorado for their leadership on this important issue and setting an example for other states to follow.
- In Washington, the legislature approved the largest funding package for bicycling in state history, totalling $1.3 billion in spending for bike, walk, and roll initiatives. Details of the funding package, which was passed in large part due to the work of Washington Bikes, can be found here.
2. 18 States Now Have Offices of Outdoor Recreation
This year, Massachusetts became the 18th state to create an Office of Outdoor Recreation. The new office will be housed in the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and will help enhance outdoor recreational opportunities and the associated economic, environmental, and quality-of-life benefits. State Offices of Outdoor Recreation (ORECs) serve as central champions for the outdoor recreation economy and its associated benefits within a state. Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR) and local advocates were integral to getting this office off the ground.
3. 12 State Land Management Agencies Allow Class 1 Electric Bicycles
PeopleForBikes supports the use of Class 1 electric mountain bikes on non-motorized natural surface trails in places where traditional mountain bikes are allowed (including single-track trails). As of this year, there are 12 state land management agencies with electric bicycle policies that allow for at least the use of Class 1 electric bicycles wherever a traditional bicycle is allowed on non-motorized, natural surface trails within a jurisdiction.
PeopleForBikes has engaged with land managers across the country to expand access for Class 1 electric mountain bikes, including in Colorado, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, and Washington. To learn more about each of these agencies, click here.
4. Three News States Have Three-Class Electric Bicycle Definition Laws
Three new states — Kansas, Massachusetts, and Delaware — signed PeopleForBikes’ three-class model legislation into law this year, adding to a total of 39 states across the country. Each state has subtle differences in its laws, but fundamentally, these bills define electric bicycles using the three-class system; Regulate electric bicycles like bicycles (meaning the same rules of the road apply to both electric bicycles and human-powered bicycles, and exempt electric bicycles from the registration, licensing, or insurance requirements that apply to motor vehicles.
5. Six States Offer Electric Bicycle Incentive Programs
This year, six states either passed or renewed funding for electric bicycle purchase incentive programs. These states include Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Click here to learn more about each of these programs.
This amount of statewide electric bicycle incentive programs has never been seen before and the rate of adoption is not expected to decline in 2023. To learn more about what makes for a successful incentive program, check out our handy one-pager here.
6. New Law Clears the Way for Second-Hand Bike Sales
In Colorado, the Pawnbroker Bill creates clarity between Pawnbrokers and Secondhand dealers in Colorado law. This bill will have a huge and positive impact on local bike resellers by allowing them to operate as a bicycle retailer and not a pawnbroker. Thanks to Bicycle Colorado for their leadership to support second-hand bike dealers in Colorado.
PeopleForBikes works diligently to track bills at all levels of government that improve bike riding and support bike businesses nationwide. Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest policy information and to take action when a pro-bike policy is proposed in your area.
This year’s legislative and regulatory wins would have not been possible without the hard work of local advocates on the ground. We encourage you to support bike riding in your community by getting involved with your local bike advocacy group.