In an effort to increase safety along U.S. Highway 2 near Stevens Pass, the Washington State Department of Transportation and Washington State Patrol have designated six miles of highway a legally enforceable no-hitchhiking zone.
Skiers and snowboarders have been traversing outside the ski area boundaries, making their own route down to U.S. 2 then hitching rides back to the Stevens Pass summit. If caught it will now cost them dearly.
From Tunnel Creek on the west side of Stevens Pass to Yodelin on the east side, both hitchhikers and those who stop to offer them rides now risk $124 citations.
When drivers stop for hitchhikers, they often block other vehicles and cause other drivers to engage in risky evasive maneuvers.
When a would-be hitchhiker doesn’t find a ride, their trek along the shoulder back to the summit can be dangerous, too. Walls of compact snow along U.S. 2 can reduce the shoulder to only a narrow strip, providing pedestrians no escape from an errant vehicle. Snow removal operations and darkness compound that risk.
WSDOT has installed additional signs on U.S. 2, and additional messaging is posted in the ski area to help increase awareness of the risk of hitchhiking and the newly expanded no-hitchhiking zone. WSP is emphasizing enforcement, particularly early in the season.