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Archive for January, 2016

WinterBikeToWorkDayFlier2016

Sitka cyclists are hardy souls, and many of us ride our bikes all year round, not just in the summer. Now Sitka cyclists can ride and win prizes by participating in International Winter Bike To Work Day on Friday, Feb. 12. This year also is the inaugural International Winter Bike To School Day on Feb. 12, so watch out for younger cyclists.

Cyclists in the 2012 Sitka Winter Cycling Celebration ride on Harbor Drive underneath the O'Connell Bridge.

Cyclists in the 2012 Sitka Winter Cycling Celebration ride on Harbor Drive underneath the O’Connell Bridge.

This is the fourth year of International Winter Bike To Work Day, which started when several communities in Canada challenged each other to see which one could have the highest number of bike commuters. In 2014 the event expanded outside Canada, and Sitka and Anchorage hosted events along with several other communities around the world’s polar regions. Sitka ended up having the second-highest number of participants per capita, trailing only Oulu, Finland, in 2014. We also were the smallest community to have at least 20 participants. In 2015, there were even more winter cyclists participating around the world, and Zagreb, Croatia, became the first community to have more than 1,000 cyclists participate.

Our celebration of winter cycling in Sitka will be simple. First, go to the International Winter Bike To Work Day website, http://winterbiketoworkday.org/, and commit to riding to work on Friday, Feb. 12 (people who work at home can use a bike ride for errands or sport as their bike commute for the day). Then, on Friday, Feb. 12, during your bike commute, stop by the Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop (329 Harbor Dr.) between 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. to enter your name and phone number in a contest to win prizes.

For students, go to the International Bike To School Day website, https://bikewalkroll.org/Campaigns/view/winter-bike-to-school-day, and commit to riding to school on Friday, Feb. 12. All of Sitka’s public schools should be listed on the site (including the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus). Teachers can do a quick, 30-second survey about how students got to school between Jan. 26 and Feb. 12 to help their school’s Bike-Walk-Roll Score.

We encourage all cyclists to be safe in their rides. They should wear helmets, wear bright reflective clothes, and have working solid white headlights in front and blinking red taillights in back. They also should follow all rules of the road, such as riding on the right side of the road (not on the sidewalk) and stopping at all stop lights/stop signs.

We are still gathering door prizes, and businesses or people wanting to donate door prizes to the event can contact Charles Bingham at 623-7660 or charleswbingham3@gmail.com for more information. We are looking for items such as gloves, reflective safety vests, water bottles, helmets, etc., although some businesses donated gift cards, bike books, or non-biking and non-winter items last year.

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HPRPetersonIntersectionLookingSouth

HPRPetersonIntersectionLookingNorthThe Sitka Girl Scout Troop 4140 recently launched an intersection safety survey for the Halibut Point Road-Peterson Street intersection near McDonald’s.

This particular intersection is on one of Sitka’s busiest roads (Halibut Point Road, aka HPR), and Peterson Street is on a hill that leads to three different schools (Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School, Sitka High School, and The SEER School). In January 2015, it also was the site of a pickup truck-bicycle collision that resulted in then-15-year-old Cody Bergman being medevacked to Seattle with serious injuries.

In March 2015, the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT) posted safety flags for the intersection (and another intersection in front of Blatchley Middle School), but many residents in Sitka want to see more, such as a stop light, lower speed limits, or better pedestrian-crossing markers.

“We are hoping to get some feedback from Sitkans so we can give DOT a push to review the safety of that intersection,” the troop wrote in an email (which didn’t identify the writer). “Obviously budgets are tight, but safety should be a priority.”

The safety survey asks people if they have any stories or experiences they want to contribute. Comments can be left in boxes at the Highliner Coffee Shop or Backdoor Cafe, emailed to hpr.troop4140@gmail.com, or submitted on the troop’s website. The comments will be compiled and forwarded to the Alaska DOT for review.

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SCH Phone Free Poster - DRAFT

Sitka motorists are invited to enter a prize drawing from Jan. 4 to Feb. 12, in appreciation for their commitment to just drive and not simultaneously text or use a phone. To be eligible, local residents can pick up pledge sheets and enter at Sitka High School, Hames Center, Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop, Sitka Community Hospital and Old Harbor Books.

Sitkans younger than age 16 are allowed to enter as long as they commit to bike phone-free now and drive phone-free if and when end up operating a car when they get older.

Prizes include:

  • First Prize — A one-year membership to the Hames Center compliments of Sitka Community Hospital
  • Second Prize — A $300 gift certificate to the local business of your choice compliments of the Sitka Police Department
  • Third Prize — A pair of Kenda Klondike studded bicycle tires compliments of the Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop
  • Fourth Prize — A paperback book a month for six months compliments of Old Harbor books
  • Fifth Prize — A floral arrangement compliments of Sitka Flowers and the Chocolate Moose
  • Sixth Prize — A month-long pass compliments of the Hames Center.

If you have any questions about distracted driving or the contest, please call Sitka Community Hospital’s Director of Health Promotion Doug Osborne at 747-0373.

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