Biking in Olympia
Are you considering riding your bike in Olympia? Here are some resources to get you started:
- Our Urban Cycling Guide answers some common questions and has some practical, straightforward tips on riding in traffic and navigating intersections.
- Planning a low-stress route can be key to making biking fun and pleasant. Use the Thurston County Bike Map to help you find your way around on two wheels.
- Curious about roundabouts? Our Roundabout Flyer has the lowdown for all modes of travel.
- Want more? The Washington State Bicycle Commute Guide has detailed information about the ins and outs of bicycle commuting.
We are planning a network of separated bike lanes, Bike Corridors, and trails as part of a Transportation Master Plan. You can learn more about the Transportation Master Plan here, and about Bike Corridors here.
Use the Thurston County Bike Map to plan a low-stress route with less motor vehicle interaction. Instead of using streets you would normally drive on, look for alternative routes. You'll get to know your City so much better!
Bicyclists put themselves, pedestrians, and motorists at risk when they ride at night without lights. Bicycle lights help make cyclists visible to others and help them see the road or trail ahead. Many people do not realize it is illegal to ride a bicycle after dark without a light. State law requires that during the hours of darkness every bicycle must have a white front light visible for 500 feet, along with a red reflector visible for 600 feet. Red blinking taillights are recommended in addition to the reflector. RCW 46.61.780
A helmet that does not fit will not function properly. There are a few different types of helmets, but with all of them, a good fit is essential.
Helmet fitting instructions
When to replace your helmet
Position the Helmet: The helmet should rest on your head so that only two fingers width can fit between your eyebrows and your helmet.
Adjust Side Straps: Helmet adjustment straps should look just like a "Y" shape, with the adjustor clasp sitting right below your ear.
Tighten Straps: The chin strap should fit snugly enough so you can only fit two fingers between the strap and your chin.
Check Your Fit: To test if your helmet fits properly, unclasp the straps and tilt your head forward. If the helmet doesn't move, you're set!
FREE bike helmets
Most helmets need to be replaced after any impact. Sometimes damage is not visible after an impact, but the helmet needs to be replaced anyway. It is generally recommended that a helmet be replaced every 4 to 5 years, even if it has remained impact free. Sunlight, heat, and rain can all deteriorate the materials in your helmet over time, reducing its integrity.
City of Olympia offers free bike helmets.
To get a helmet and proper fitting, please visit the Customer Care Counter at City Hall, 601 4th Avenue East.
If you have any questions, please contact Michelle Swanson at 360.753.8575.
Olympia is home to three major trails: the Karen Fraser Woodland Trail, the Chehalis-Western Trail, and the I-5 Trail.
Karen Fraser Woodland Trail
This paved pedestrian and bicycle trail begins at Eastside Street and Wheeler Avenue and connects to the Chehalis-Western Trail and the City of Lacey. Learn more.
This 22-mile former rail trail has been converted into a multi-use walking and biking trail. It runs from Woodard Bay Road to the Yelm-Tenino Trail with several trailheads along the way. Visit Thurston County's Chehalis-Western Trail page for more information and a trail map.
Request Trail Maintenance
If you see a trail in need of maintenance, such as sweeping, pot hole patching or vegetation trimming, refer to the contact information below:
Karen Fraser Woodland Trail (Eastside to Lacey City Limits)
City of Olympia, 360.753.8151
I-5 Bike Trail (Jefferson to Sleater-Kinney)
Garbage, Pavement, Signs: City of Olympia, 360.753.8151
Fencing, Landscaping: Washington State Transportation, 253.983.7550
Thurston County Parks, 360.786.5595
The Olympia Police Department offers free bicycle registration for Olympia residents. This provides documentation on your bike, in the event it is ever lost or stolen. You can register online or take your bicycle to the Olympia Police Department, 601 4th Avenue E, M-F, 8am-5pm.
Racks on Demand
Do you know a Downtown business that needs a bike rack? Are you a Downtown business owner who doesn't have a parking lot or other place for a bike rack? Contact John Lindsay at email@example.com or 360.753.8287 to find out about our Racks on Demand Program.
Contact Michelle Swanson, AICP, Associate Planner, 360.753.8575 or firstname.lastname@example.org