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Archive for the ‘Safety’ Category

TWICE AS SAFE: Darby Osborne wears two helmets before a Sitka Community Bike Ride event several years ago.

Thursday, June 1, was the 13th 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 in Sitka. 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 13 years ago when he worked with the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC). “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 only and should be replaced after a wreck. The helmet may still look OK, but bike 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, https://helmets.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 ShopAC/Lakeside GroceryTrue ValueSea Mart, and even the White E thrift shop.

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The Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition will meet from noon to 1 p.m. on Friday, June 1, at the North Sister Juice and Crepe Company (located on Seward Street next to Subway).

The monthly meeting is open to everyone interested in making Sitka an even better town for cyclists of all ages. Topics include a review and evaluation of recent events for National Bike Month in May, scheduling monthly bike rides through the summer, planning the annual Kidical Mass family friendly event in September, a discussion about what we can do to make Sitka more bicycle friendly, and other topics.

For more information, call Doug Osborne at 747-0373.

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A small group of cyclists joined together with local clergy and church-goers for a Blessing of the Bikes followed by Sitka’s first Worldwide Ride of Silence on Wednesday, May 16, at the Crescent Harbor Shelter.

This was the 16th annual Worldwide Ride of Silence, which last year featured rides in 390 cities in all 50 states and 22 countries. The Worldwide Ride of Silence honors those bicyclists who have been killed or seriously injured by cars. It also is a way to remind drivers that cyclists legally have a right to share the roads, and to promote bike safety.

In Sitka, only five cyclists showed up for the event — Doug Osborne, Holly Marban, Bill Foster, Nate Stearman (pastor of Sitka Seventh-Day Adventist Church) and Charles Bingham (who also took pictures while riding) — which was preceded by a Blessing of the Bikes from Rev. Julie Platson (Rector of St. Peter’s By The Sea Episcopal Church) and Fr. Andy Sensenig, OMI (Priest at St. Gregory’s Catholic Church). There also was a small choir of women from St. Peter’s.

This was one of several cycling events in Sitka for National Bike Month (May) and National Bike To Work Week (May 14-18). The Ride of Silence always takes place at 7 p.m. local time on the third Wednesday in May. Upcoming events include National Bike To Work Day on Friday, May 18; the Julie Hughes Triathlon on Saturday, May 19; and the annual Sitka Community Bike Ride on Saturday, May 26.

A slideshow of scenes from the Blessing of the Bikes and Sitka’s event in the Worldwide Ride of Silence is posted below.

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SMART FIT – Jene Keith, age 7, has his new helmet adjusted by Holly Marban of the Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition during the annual Sitka Bike Rodeo hosted on Saturday (May 12, 2018) by the Rotary Club of Sitka at the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Sitka hangar. Participants learned about bike safety and they were able to get a free bike tune-up and have their bicycles registered with the Sitka Police Department. The event also included a bike swap, a bike obstacle course and snacks. (Daily Sitka Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

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The Sitka Community Bike Ride is the perfect way to celebrate the spring and National Bike Month in May. It also is a chance to celebrate the 127th anniversary of the first bike seen in Sitka, which arrived in May 28, 1891, on the cruiser Mexico.

Join us on Saturday, May 26, at Totem Square (near the Petro Marine dock, where the Mexico likely docked) as we host a short kid-friendly bike parade through downtown starting at 11 a.m. (get there early for quick bike tune-up and door prize drawing). Riders are encouraged to bring classic and unusual bikes, if you have them.

We hope to have a bike stand and mechanic on hand to assist cyclists from 10:30 a.m. at Totem Square. People will be able to check chains, brakes, tire pressure and other minor maintenance needs, but won’t be able to do major repairs. We also hope someone will be available to help check bike helmet fits.

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 26 and to please slow down and give them a safe space to ride. Thanks.

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. We had a smaller crew at our community bike rides the last couple of years, but it’s still lots of fun.

For more information, contact the Doug Osborne at dosborne@sitkahospital.org.

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Monday through Friday, May 14-18, is National Bike To Work Week this year, and the schedule of Sitka events is fuller than normal for the week.

As usual, people who bicycle to work each day can stop by Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop and fill out an entry ticket for the contest to win a gift certificate from the store (the winning ticket is drawn at the Julie Hughes Triathlon on Saturday, May 19). But this year there are other events each day of the week to help keep people riding their bikes.

On Monday, cyclists can start of the week with a free morning cup of coffee or tea (eight ounces or 12 ounces) from the Backdoor Café between 6:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Riders must show a helmet to qualify.

On Tuesday, the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) hosts one of its Doc Talks at 6 p.m. at the Sitka Public Library. The Doc Talks speaker will by physical therapist Gio Villanueva, who will discuss “Exercise as Medicine.”

On Wednesday, Sitka joins the Worldwide Ride of Silence with a short, quiet ride through downtown Sitka. Cyclists are asked to meet at 6:30 p.m. at the Crescent Harbor Shelter for ride instructions and a brief Blessing of the Bikes with Rev. Julie Platson before we start riding at 7 p.m. The Worldwide Ride of Silence is a series of rides that take place in communities all over the world at 7 p.m. on the third Wednesday in May to honor those cyclists who have been killed or injured while riding. Bike helmets are required for this event.

On Thursday, cyclists will be able to use pedal-power to make their own smoothies at North Sister Juice & Crepe Co. from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., and they’ll get a 20-percent discount on lunch. Again, cyclists need to show their helmets to get the discount.

Friday, May 18, is National Bike To Work Day, and there will be a celebration of cyclists at the Sitka Health Summit‘s monthly Wooch.een luncheon at noon at the Sitka Community Hospital downstairs classroom. Some businesses in town are hosting special events for employees who ride to work on Friday (for example, SEARHC employees who show their helmets and ID badges can get a free lunch at the Island Skillet in Mount Edgecumbe Hospital).

Don’t forget there is a variety of other events during May, which is National Bike Month, so click this link to see a full schedule of events in Sitka. Other National Bike Month events include a Cross Trail guided bike ride, National Bike To School Day, the Sitka Bike Rodeo, and the Sitka Community Bike Ride.

• 2018 National Bike Month list of Sitka events (PDF flier to print and post)

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As the temperatures warm up, two events this month will highlight kids’ cycling and safety in Sitka —the seventh annual National Bike to School Day on Wednesday, May 9, and the Sitka Bike Rodeo on Saturday, May 12. These two events and others will help kick off National Bike Month (May) in Sitka.

The Sitka Bike Rodeo is an annual event sponsored by the Sitka Rotary Club and U.S. Coast Guard-Air Station Sitka. This year’s bike rodeo takes place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 12, at the Coast Guard hangar. The target audience for this event is children age 12 and younger. Kids need to bring their bike, a helmet and a parent to this event, which will happen rain or shine. New this year is a bike swap, where people can sell or giveaway outgrown kids’ bikes.

“It’s a good chance for kids to make sure they and their bikes are ready to hit the roads and sidewalks for the busy spring and summer biking months,” event organizer Shannon Haugland said. “They can get their tires and brakes checked, make sure their helmets fit properly, and put some fresh reflective gear on their bikes and clothing. The favorite event is the obstacle course, where kids learn the rules of the road while testing their bike control skills.”

Other event sponsors include Sitka Community Hospital, the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC)Girls Scouts of Alaska Troop 4140Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, and the Sitka Police Department. For more info about the Sitka Bike Rodeo, call Shannon Haugland at 738-0602 or Doug Osborne at 747-0373.

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 6. (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. Since 2012, there has been a new and separate National Bike to School Day, this year on Wednesday, May 9. (Daily Sitka Sentinel photo by James Poulson).

On Wednesday, May 9, schools all over the country will encourage students to hope on their bikes for the seventh annual National Bike to School Day. Some schools will offer special events and prizes during the day. Schools in Sitka have signed up to host events, and many other Alaska communities are hosting bike rides to school. It’s not too late to organize one for your school. To encourage safety, parents are encouraged to ride their own bikes with their kids as they head to school.

Since it’s spring and the kids are starting to ride their bikes more often, here are a few bike safety rules for the kids:

  • Wear a properly fitting bike helmet (click here to learn how to fit a helmet). Not only is it a good way to protect yourself from head injuries, Sitka has a youth helmet ordinance that requires all children age 18 or younger to wear helmets when they ride bikes, trikes, skateboards, scooters and similar vehicles.
  • Right on the right side of the road, with traffic not against it. Older kids (age 11 and older) and adults should avoid riding their bikes on the sidewalks, especially downtown where there are lots of walkers (a bike can seriously injure elders who doesn’t hear the bike rider coming up behind them).
  • Wear bright clothes and make sure you have a working solid white headlight and flashing red taillight on your bike, especially if you ride when it’s dark. Wear a reflective vest or arm bands/leg bands, and put reflective tape on your clothes and/or bike frame so it’s easier for drivers to see you on the bike.
  • Know the rules of the road, and follow them. Stop at all stop signs and stop lights. Ride in a safe, predictable manner so cars know where you’re going. Use hand signals for all turns. Yield to traffic when appropriate.
  • Check your bike before riding it, especially the ABCs — Air (tires have the right amount of air), Brakes (the brakes work and will stop your tire so it skids on the pavement) and Chain (make sure the chain is the right tension and there are no damaged links, oil if necessary).
  • For more bike safety rules for kids, click here.

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