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Senior Biking Oct 2014

The Sitka office of the Southeast Alaska Independent Living, Inc. (SAIL), will host its monthly ride for its new Senior Biking Club for those 60 or older at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 2. Meet at the SAIL office at 514 Lake St., and the ride will start from there.

The Senior Biking Club is modeled after SAIL’s Senior Hiking Club. The biking club costs $10 per person, and cyclists can use their own bikes or reserve one of SAIL’s bikes for the ride. SAIL has two-wheel and three-wheel bikes available, but you need to reserve them by Tuesday, Sept. 30.

To learn more about the Senior Biking Club, senior and adaptive kayaking trips, senior hiking events, and and a variety of other outdoors skills and survival classes, contact SAIL ORCA (Outdoor Recreation and Community Access) program coordinator Bridget Kratz at 747-6859 or email her at bkratz@sailinc.org. The calendar below includes hiking, orienteering, kayaking, and other events for seniors, youth, and the disabled.

• October 2014 calendar of events for SAIL programs

Sec-Foxx-at-Walk-Bike-announcement-FL

After seeing recent increases in the numbers of pedestrian and bicyclist injuries and deaths, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx announced a national pedestrian and bicycle safety initiative during the Pro Walk/Pro Bike/Pro Place Conference held Sept. 8-11 in Pittsburgh, Pa.

“The data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration make it clear: even as automobile travel has never been safer, pedestrian and bicyclist injuries and deaths are on the rise,” Foxx said. “I went to Pittsburgh this week to let folks know that I think this is a problem, and that this Department is putting together the most innovative, forward-leaning, biking-walking safety initiative ever.”

Protected-bike-laneThe Safer People, Safer Streets Initiative will try to improve biking and walking safety by providing better infrastructure. It also will provide research and tools for local governments, transportation planners, and active living advocates, so they can make their communities safer.

The plan includes assessments in every state to determine what needs to be done to make conditions safer for walkers and bicyclists. Once the assessments are done, the next step includes projects such as building protected bike lanes, building better trail networks, and even building basic sidewalks and pedestrian traffic crossings in areas where they aren’t available.

“Americans are walking and biking more and more, not just for kicks, but for sensible transportation,” Foxx said.When President Lyndon Johnson established DOT, he said ‘keeping the traveling public safe from harm’ should be our top priority. So when we talk about ‘the traveling public,’ we must include pedestrians and bicyclists.

If you are walking or bicycling, you should know that your safety is every bit as important —and just as much of a concern to the U.S. Department of Transportation — as the safety of an airplane passenger, a transit rider, or someone in a motor vehicle.

For years, the message pedestrians and bicyclists have been given is, ‘You walk or bike at your own risk; be responsible for your own safety.’

But that’s not good enough. We can’t just tell pedestrians and bicyclists, ‘Be safe,’ without recognizing that in many places there is no safe space for them to be.

After all, we don’t only tell drivers, ‘Just drive under the speed limit.’ We don’t just tell ship captains, ‘Don’t run aground.’ We make sure our highways are well-paved and well-marked, and that our sea lanes are navigable.

We have long recognized that government has a role to play by creating safe infrastructure for travel; it’s time to make sure that includes everyone.”

For the most part, walking and biking advocates welcomed the initiative. But they also feel it needs a solid financial commitment from Congress to work. The following quote is from a press release from the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC).

“Secretary Foxx’s announcement and the U.S. DOT’s new commitment to safety are important first steps, but without a financial commitment from Congress, state and local governments will not have the resources necessary to provide safe facilities for pedestrians and bicyclists. RTC will continue to work with members of Congress to see that state and local governments receive the funding they need to connect networks, provide specific solutions to improve safety and monitor safety performance. The U.S. DOT’s initiative provides us with a newly engaged federal partner. Working together with our local advocates and the U.S. DOT, we can work toward a world where pedestrian and bicyclist injuries are a thing of the past.”

“The 12-page document is short on details but long on potential, with the bonus of a hand outstretched to partners to help flesh it out and implement it,” Martha Roskowski, Vice President for Local Innovation for PeopleForBikes.org, wrote in an analysis of the initiative. “The breadth and scope of new efforts to increase walking and biking and reduce walking and biking fatalities is encouraging.”

Smart Growth America praised the new plan. “This approach is right in line with the work of Smart Growth America’s National Complete Streets Coalition, which helps communities create streets that are safe, comfortable, and convenient for everyone. In May, the Coalition highlighted America’s need for safer streets with the release of Dangerous by Design 2014, a report that spotlights the issue of pedestrian safety as well as the factors that make walking dangerous. The report also identifies tools, policies and practices that can help put an end to the decades-long neglect of pedestrian safety. USDOT’s new campaign builds on a Complete Streets approach and will hopefully make streets safer for everyone who uses them. We applaud Secretary Foxx for making this crucial issue a national priority.”

• Safer People, Safer Streets Iniatiative

Planning Day Flyer 1 - 2014NewSitkaHealthSummitLogoJoin us for the eighth annual Sitka Health Summit planning day, which takes place from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 3, at Harrigan Centennial Hall.

The Sitka Health Summit got its start in 2007 when then-Sitka Community Hospital CEO Moe Chaudry and then-SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Vice President of Hospital Services Frank Sutton decided they needed to bridge the gaps between Sitka’s largest two health services. They launched the Sitka Health Summit, with the help of other supporters in Sitka, as a way to improve community wellness, honor local wellness champions, and more.

One of the highlights of the Sitka Health Summit has been the annual community wellness planning day. During planning day, Sitka residents get together to discuss the health needs of the community and create community wellness projects to address these needs.

Over the years there have been a variety of Sitka Health Summit projects — create a local market for local fish and produce, build a Sitka community greenhouse, become a Bicycle Friendly Community, become a Walk Friendly Community, encourage more kids and families to get outdoors for recreation, support a community health and wellness center (Hames), plant fruit trees around town, get more local fish into school lunches, build a Choose Respect mural, Revitalize Sitka, the Sick-a-Waste compost project, the Sitka Community Food Assessment, and Park Prescriptions. The 2013 Sitka Health Summit projects were Together for a Meth-Free Sitka and Sitka Kitch (a project to create a community rental kitchen and improve Sitka’s emergency food storage capacity). The 2014 Sitka Health Summit will choose two new projects, which will receive $2,000 in seed money to get started.

To register for the Sitka Heath Summit planning day, go to http://www.sitkahealthsummitak.org/ or call 738-0468. A free lunch with locally sourced food will be provided.

 

Senior Biking Sept 2014

The Sitka office of the Southeast Alaska Independent Living, Inc. (SAIL), will launch a new Senior Biking Club for those 60 or older with the first monthly ride set for 10 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 4. Meet at the SAIL office at 514 Lake St., and the ride will start from there.

The Senior Biking Club is modeled after SAIL’s Senior Hiking Club. The biking club costs $10 per person, and cyclists can use their own bikes or reserve one of SAIL’s bikes for the ride. SAIL has two-wheel and three-wheel bikes available, but you need to reserve them by Tuesday, Sept. 2.

To learn more about the Senior Biking Club, senior and adaptive kayaking trips, senior hiking events, and and a variety of other outdoors skills and survival classes, contact SAIL ORCA (Outdoor Recreation and Community Access) program coordinator Bridget Kratz at 747-6859 or email her at bkratz@sailinc.org. The calendar below includes hiking, orienteering, kayaking, and other events for seniors, youth, and the disabled.

• September 2014 calendar of events for SAIL programs

A Sitka student clips the strap on his bike helmet after riding his bike to school during the International Walk (and Bike) to School event in October 2008. Now there is a new and separate National Bike to School Day, this year on Wednesday, May 9. (Daily Sitka Sentinel photo by James Poulson).

A Sitka student clips the strap on his bike helmet after riding his bike to school during the International Walk (and Bike) to School event in October 2008. Now there is a new and separate National Bike to School Day, this year on Wednesday, May 9. (Daily Sitka Sentinel photo by James Poulson).

(Note, the following item was posted on the Sitka Soup website on Aug. 22, 2014)

Description

On most roadways, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as other roadway users, but bicycles can be hard to see. The riders are exposed and easily injured in a collision. Oncoming bicycle traffic is often overlooked and its speed misjudged. Children riding bicycles create special problems for drivers because they are not capable of proper judgment in determining traffic conditions.

PLEASE:

  • When passing a bicyclist proceeding in the same direction, do so slowly and leave at least a distance between you and the bicycle of no less than 3 feet. Maintain this clearance until you have safely passed the bicycle.
  • The most common causes of collisions are drivers turning left in front of an oncoming bicycle or turning right, across the path of the bicycle. When your vehicle is turning left and there is a bicyclist entering the intersection from the opposite direction, you should wait for the bicyclist to pass before making the turn.
  • If your vehicle is turning right and a bicyclist is approaching on the right, let the bicyclist go through the intersection first before making a right turn. Remember to always use your turn signals.
  • Watch for bicycle riders turning in front of you without looking or signaling, especially if the rider is a child.
  • Take extra precautions in school zones and neighborhood areas where children and teenagers might be riding. Watch out for bikes coming out of driveways or from behind parked cars or other obstructions.
  • Check side mirrors for bicyclists before opening the door. Some communities may fine drivers for collisions caused by opening a vehicle door in the path of a bicyclist.

bunna-bike

When Sitka teacher Chris Bryner asks his students to write about what they did this summer, he’ll have his own stories to tell.

This summer, Chris launched a business called Bunna Bike: Brew Coffee, Build Community. Chris, who hasn’t owned a car in two decades, used an Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign in June to raise the start-up funds for his bicycle-based coffee business, which opened in July next to the Sitka Sound Science Center mill building (where the Ludvig’s Bistro Chowder Cart operates during the summer). The business will be open until mid-August, when Chris will close up so he can prepare for the school year at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School.

ChrisBrynerAndShewaAccording to a story aired July 9 on KCAW-Raven Radio, the project actually started four years ago when Chris and his fourth-grade class brewed coffee each week to sell to teachers and staff. The students learned about running a small business through the project, and they donated funds to a charity called Coffee Kids, which works with coffee-growing families in Latin America.

Chris used the money raised from his Indiegogo fundraiser to buy a special cargo bike from Icicle Tricycles and two Forte grinders from Baratza. He gets his free-trade coffee from Steamdot Coffee of Anchorage (his home roaster) and Kuma Coffee of Seattle (his guest roaster), which he sells by the cup or by the bag.

When Chris started Bunna Bike, he dedicated 10 percent of all sales to a charity called World Bicycle Relief, which mobilizes the people of Africa by building them bikes. Chris and his wife, Tiffany, adopted a daughter, Shewa, from Ethiopia in October 2013, and they wanted to contribute something to her home country. Bunna is Amharic for coffee.

 

tourdesitka

Tour de Sitka — Bill Foster, foreground, and other cyclists gather at the SeaMart parking lot prior to the annual Tour de Sitka on Saturday, June 21. The event was first organized by former Sitka school teachers John and Cheryl Hedden, who have since moved, as an excuse to cruise Sitka’s road system by bicycle and afterwards have a hearty breakfast at one of Sitka’s restaurants. (Daily Sitka Sentinel photo by James Poulson, used with permission)

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