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Bike Summit August 2015

Are you looking for an opportunity to gain valuable knowledge on bike safety for riders of all ages in a fun, hands-on environment? This is not your usual sit-down, take notes kind of training. Instead, it is a mixture of seminar presentations and actual bike riding to learn, and be able to teach, riding skills.

The Alaska Bike ‘n’ Walk Safely Program is sponsoring a 2 1/2-day cycling safety educational and training program on Aug. 13-15 in Anchorage. Travel, hotel and per diem scholarships are available for the attendees who live outside a 50-mile radius of Anchorage, as well as bike rentals for those arriving via air.

“Our goal is to promote bicycle safety for riders of all ages through the use of education, hands-on practice, increased awareness of helmet use, and after the training, dissemination of the information in the attendee’s city of residence,” Alaska Bike ‘n’ Walk Safely Program Manager Reneé Rudd said. “We are looking for people interested in this training from all walks of life, and from communities throughout Alaska.”

The program will be facilitated by cycling safety instructors who are League of American Bicyclists-certified instructors. Attendees will be instructed on how to properly fit a bike helmet, learn traffic-, urban- and trail-riding skills, how to ride in groups, bike safety teaching skills, lesson plans/drills information and be advised of state laws.

This training will assist the attendee in developing a local community event. Examples of events are bike rodeos, bike-to-school events and cycling exercise groups.

Each attendee will be provided a “toolkit” of items that can be used for their community event. Items may include reflective zipper pulls, coloring-comic books, posters, paper punches, decorative scissors and additional bike safety items. In addition to the toolkit, technical assistance will be available, as well as helmets upon request.

If interested in this training, please respond to Reneé Rudd  (754-3421) at renee.rudd@alaska.gov or Jo Fisher (269-3489) at jo.fisher@alaska.gov. Please include your full name, community, employer, email address, phone number and a very brief description of job duties.

Up to 15 scholarships are available for attendees residing outside a 50-mile radius of Anchorage, and a total of 30 registrants will be accepted. Don’t delay, this is a first-come, first-served training opportunity for you and your organization. As of July 19, there still were a couple of travel scholarships available, so let’s get someone from Sitka to this training.

This event is sponsored by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Division of Public Health Injury Prevention Program and the Alaska Highway Safety Office.

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Sitka Community Hospital and Sitka Community Schools are partnering to bring the first-ever bike camp for students going into grades 3-6.

The hands-on camp will take place from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Monday-Thursday, Aug. 3-6, at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School.

Instructors Doug Osborne and Bill Giant, will work with students on the basics of safe and effective cycling in Sitka. Group rides will happen every day. Campers need a bicycle and helmet. (Sitka General Code requires helmets for all bike riders age 18 or younger.)

For more information or to register, please contact Twila Keaveny at Sitka Community Schools at 747-8670.

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SitkaNationalHistoricalParkSignHave you noticed little brown boxes on some of Sitka National Historical Park’s trailside signs?

The park recently installed four traffic counters along the park’s scenic trails. The trail counters are not cameras, they simply provide park managers with an accurate count of the number of people who recreate on the park’s trails. This information is used for annual reporting requirements, budgeting purposes, and maintenance requests.

The original counters were installed in 2014 without protection cases, but were damaged by vandals and the weather.  The counters and their batteries are now encased in brown boxes to protect them from the elements, specifically rain.

Also, a reminder to all cyclists that people are to walk their bicycles through the park trails, not ride them. This is for safety reasons, as there are many elders and children hiking on the trails who may not hear the bikes coming up behind them. In addition, the restriction on biking helps prevent erosion and other damage to the trails. And a reminder that metal detectors are prohibited in all national parks, including Sitka National Historical Park.

Since 2011, there have been no fees collected at the Sitka National Historical Park Visitor Center, which includes the cultural center where Native carving is demonstrated. The only fees are at the Russian Bishop’s House, which uses this fee schedule.

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DarbyOsborneDoubleHelmetMonday, June 1, is the 10th anniversary of Sitka’s youth bicycle ordinance, and it’s a good time to remind parents that their children younger than age 18 are required to wear helmets when biking, skateboarding, inline skating, riding a scooter, or using any other similar vehicle. If a child is caught riding without a helmet often enough, the parents will start receiving fines.

“The ground is very hard and unyielding so wearing a helmet that is level, snug and strapped is very important,” said Sitka Community Hospital Director of Health Promotion Doug Osborne, who lobbied for the ordinance 10 years ago. “I know people who might not be here today if it wasn’t for their trusty helmet. Helmets save lives!”

According to the Center for Head Injury Services, 85 percent of all head injuries in bicycle wrecks can be prevented by wearing helmets, and about 75 percent of bicyclists who die after being in a wreck die from head injuries. The lifetime cost of a severe head injury can exceed $4 million. Considering most helmets cost between $10-$50, that’s a cheap investment for injury prevention.

Sitka was one of the first Alaska communities to adopt a youth helmet ordinance, and Sitka’s ordinance has been used as a statewide model by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. Here’s the text of Sitka’s youth helmet ordinance.

 

11.70.010 Helmet requirements for young persons riding certain vehicles. (Revised 4/15)

A. It shall be unlawful for any person under eighteen years of age to operate or ride upon in-line skates, skateboards, scooters, coasters, toy motorized vehicles, gasoline or electric motor-driven cycles or scooters, bicycles, tricycles, unicycles, or any similar vehicles on any public property or private property that is open for public use within the city and borough of Sitka, including highways, streets, roads, bikeways or trails, or rights-of-way, unless that person wears a certified protective helmet that is properly fitted and that is properly fastened. This requirement also applies to any minor who rides in a restraining seat, trailer, backpack or similar child-restraining device used by someone who operates in-line or roller skates, skateboards, scooters, coasters, toy motor vehicles, gasoline or electric motor-driven cycles or scooters, bicycles, tricycles, or any similar vehicles. A parent or guardian having control or custody of a minor whose conduct violates this section shall be liable for the fine imposed by this section.

B. No parent or guardian of any minor shall allow the minor to violate this chapter.

C. A certified protective helmet is a helmet containing a manufacturer certification that meets the standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) or the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

D. For the first violation of this section, the individual cited will be given the opportunity to correct the citation by providing proof to the Sitka police department that a helmet was purchased or acquired otherwise for the minor. If such evidence is presented, the city and borough or court shall dismiss such citation. The fine for a violation of this section following a citation that has been dismissed based on the previous two sentences or sustained shall be twenty-five dollars. The fine for a violation that follows a violation that has resulted in a twenty-five dollar fine shall be fifty dollars. (Ord. 15-11 § 4 (part), 2015; Ord. 05-11 § 4, 2005.)

YoungboyRidesA reminder about bicycle helmets is they are designed for one major impact and should be replaced after a wreck. The helmet may still look OK, but helmets are designed similar to a car fender where it crumbles to absorb the impact of the blow (so your head doesn’t crumble). You also need to make sure the helmet you use is correct for your activity (for example, a BMX helmet is different than a standard bike helmet). Click this link, http://www.bhsi.org/fit.htm, to learn how to properly fit a bicycle helmet.

“Helmets are a more fashionable than a sidewalk haircut,” Sitka cyclist Bill Giant said. “I’ll happily wear a helmet every day I don’t crash, because the one day I do crash I’ll be delighted I was wearing it. I’ve heard gravel scraping along my bike helmet during a bike crash, and I remember smiling and thinking ‘This helmet is saving my life.’ I lost some beautiful skin from my shoulder, but my face and hair are still impeccable. Some people find helmets uncomfortable. Everyone finds traumatic brain injuries uncomfortable. Wear a helmet.”

Bicycle helmets can be purchased from several locations in town, including Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop, AC/Lakeside Grocery, True Value, Sea Mart, and even the White E thrift shop.

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MayorMimMcConnellLeadsGroupOutOfParkAbout 50-75 Sitka residents participated in the Sitka Community Bike Ride and Cookout held Saturday, May 23, as part of Sitka’s National Bike Month festivities and was co-hosted by the Sitka Conservation Society and the Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition.

The festivities started with free bike mechanic checks, then reflective safety vests were distributed and Mayor Mim McConnell led cyclists on a short bike parade from the Crescent Harbor Shelter to Sitka National Historical Park and back (due to police staffing issues, our route was changed from the original plan to ride through downtown on Lincoln Street).

After giving out some prizes for the best decorated bikes, the cyclists then headed out to Halibut Point Recreation Area State Park for a cookout of rockfish, hot dogs and veggie burgers. Scenes from the Sitka Community Bike Ride and Cookout are in the slideshow below.

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may 22 bike to school day poster

Sitka will host its own Sitka Bike To School Day on Friday, May 22, as part of a busy National Bike Month schedule of events.

This event was a late addition to the event calendar, and it was added because Sitka School District Live Well Physical Activity and Nutrition program coordinator Lauren Havens and Sitka Community Hospital director of health promotion Doug Osborne wanted to have a chance to visit classes at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary and Blatchley Middle School to teach the kids about bike safety. Havens and Osborne were still visiting classes when National Bike To School Day happened on May 6, so they decided to host a special Bike To School Day for Sitka students.

During their classroom presentations, Havens and Osborne gave the students a bike safety quiz and they also gave them a special password for student discounts this month at Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop. Students who ride their bikes to school on Friday, May 22, will be entered into a drawing for prizes at both Keet Gooshi Heen and Blatchley.

Students riding to school are reminded that there is a youth helmet ordinance in Sitka for cyclists, scooter riders, skateboarders, etc., age 18 and younger and helmets are required equipment. Parents are invited to join their students on the bike ride to school, and drivers are encouraged to watch for children on bikes in the roads. Please make sure your child is wearing bright clothes (preferably with reflective tape) so they are easier for drivers to see.

 

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Sitka Community Bike Ride and Cookout is the perfect way to celebrate the spring and National Bike Month in May.

Join us on Saturday, May 23, outside of Harrigan Centennial Hall as we host a short kid-friendly bike parade through downtown starting at 3 p.m. (get there early for quick bike tune-up and for contest judging for the best decorated bikes). After our parade through downtown and some contest awards at Harrigan Centennial Hall, we’ll bike out to Halibut Point Recreation Area starting at 3:45 p.m. for a cookout about 4:30 p.m.

Our bike maintenance specialists will be available to assist cyclists from 1:30-3 p.m. outside Harrigan Centennial Hall. They will be able to check chains, brakes, tire pressure and other minor maintenance needs.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt the cookout we will have hamburgers, hot dogs, fish, and other items to grill, but feel free to bring other food to share in case we have a big crowd. We held a community bike ride a few years ago that had about 300-350 cyclists, so let’s see if we can top that crowd.

Since we will be on busy city streets for this event, we encourage everybody to wear helmets and bright clothing for safety reasons. All cyclists should ride on the right side of the road (with traffic) and ride in a predictable manner. We ask drivers to be aware there will be a lot of cyclists out on May 23 and to please slow down and give them a safe space to ride. Thanks.

For more information, contact the Sitka Conservation Society at 747-7509

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