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Posts Tagged ‘League of American Bicyclists’

Alaska was listed in 36th place when the League of American Bicyclists (LAB) released its 2017 Bicycle Friendly State rankings in mid-October.

The Bicycle Friendly State ranking provides a ranking for all 50 states based on four public data sources and a Bicycle Friendly State survey that is answered by each state’s Department of Transportation and/or a statewide bicycle advocacy organization. Each state is ranked in five categories — infrastructure and funding, education and encouragement, legislation and enforcement, policies and programs, and evaluation and planning.

The 2017 rank of 36th is within the normal range for Alaska, which typically ranks in the 30-40 range in this annual survey of bike advocates. In the last ranking in 2015 (there was no ranking in 2016), Alaska ranked 41st. Alaska’s top ranking was 29th in 2011 and its worst ranking was 47th in 2009. There have been several changes to the ranking system over the years, which caused some large rises and falls in the rankings.

The 2017 Bicycle Friendly State ranking includes a ranking of each state, but crucially also includes a report card summarizing the data analyzed for each state and giving comparisons and feedback meant to help states, citizens, and advocates better understand where each state can improve.

According to Alaska’s scorecard, “Alaska is a unique state, large and largely rural. Alaska typically has higher per capita transportation spending and their data on biking and walking reflects this as well, easily being the highest per capita spending figure in the United States, despite Alaska spending a smaller percentage of federal funds on biking and walking than average. Each category reflects that Alaska does not have much supportive policy infrastructure to ensure the safety and mobility of people who bike. This may reflect the uniqueness of Alaska, which may make it more difficult to adapt successful policies and practices from more urban or more compact states. However, the state would benefit from a plan for promoting the safety and mobility of people who bike in Alaska in a way that is geared towards the unique characteristics of Alaska and takes advantage of the tourism potential and already relatively high percentage of the population that bikes to work. The experiences of states like Vermont (#14) and Maine (#17) may be instructive.”

In the five categories, Alaska ranked 37th in infrastructure and funding and in evaluation and planning, 45th in policies and programs, 47th in education and encouragement, and 50th (last) in legislation and policies. Alaska was able to move up in the overall rankings because it ranked first in spending ($9.71 per capita in Federal Highway Authority spending on biking and walking), sixth in ridership (1.0 percent statewide commute to work by bike, 5.42 percent in Sitka), and 12th in safety (3.9 fatalities per 10,000 bike commuters).

The Bicycle Friendly State rankings are part of the Bicycle Friendly America program (click Alaska on map to see list of awards) from the League of American Bicyclists. Alaska has three official Bicycle Friendly Communities (Sitka at the Silver level, Anchorage at Silver, and Juneau at Bronze, plus Fairbanks is honorable mention). There are 10 Bicycle Friendly Businesses in Alaska ranking from Bronze to Gold level (nine are in Anchorage and the Bronze-level SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium-Sitka Campus is the only one outside Anchorage). The University of Alaska Fairbanks (Silver) is Alaska’s only Bicycle Friendly University.

• 2017 Bicycle Friendly State scorecard for Alaska

•Guide to the 2017 Bicycle Friendly State report card

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The Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition will meet from noon to 1 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 1, at the North Sister Crepes and Juice Company (located on Seward Street next to Subway). Please note this is a change of date since first announced.

The monthly meeting is open to everyone interested in making Sitka an even better town for cyclists of all ages. Topics include planning for the Kidical Mass family friendly bike ride on Sept. 16 and an update on the two hospital fitness/walk and bike challenges in August.

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

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The Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition will meet from noon to 1 p.m. on Friday, July 21, at the North Sister Crepes and Juice Company (located on Seward Street next to Subway). Please note this is a change of location from where we usually meet.

The monthly meeting is open to everyone interested in making Sitka an even better town for cyclists of all ages. Topics include planning for the commuter bike portion of a summer fitness challenge that starts in August.

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

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The Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition will meet from noon to 1 p.m. on Friday, June 16, at the North Sister Crepes and Juice Company (located on Seward Street next to Subway). Please note this is a change of location from where we usually meet.

The monthly meeting is open to everyone interested in making Sitka an even better town for cyclists of all ages. Topics include planning for the commuter bike portion of a summer fitness challenge.

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

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Eric Haseltine fixes the brakes on Jeremiah Ward’s bicycle Saturday, May 13, during the annual Sitka Bike Rodeo, hosted by the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Sitka and Sitka Rotary Club. Scores of children turned out to learn about bike safety and have their bicycles tuned up. May is national bike month, and this week is bike to work week. Cyclists commuting to work this week are invited to register at Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop for a prize. (Daily Sitka Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

The Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition will meet from noon to 1 p.m. on Friday, May 19, at the North Sister Crepes and Juice Company (located on Seward Street next to Subway). Please note this is a change of location from where we usually meet. Also, this is National Bike To Work Day, so ride your bike.

The monthly meeting is open to everyone interested in making Sitka an even better town for cyclists of all ages. Topics include a review of our series of events for National Bike Month in May (as well as National Bike To Work Week/Day and National Bike To School Day events), including a community bike ride through downtown on May 6, the Sitka Bike Rodeo on May 13, the Julie Hughes Triathlon on May 20, and a guided bike ride May 27 on the Sitka Cross Trail. We also will discuss the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities‘ plan to upgrade the bike and pedestrian infrastructure on Sawmill Creek Road from the roundabout to Jeff Davis Street.

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

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An article about cycling in Sitka was posted today (May 5) on the League of American Bicyclists‘ “News From The League” blog, and was linked on the gateway page of the bike league’s website. The article was same one that served as the cover story of the Winter 2017 edition of Bicycle Friendly America magazine.

“I thought it was a great story to help wrap up the first week of May,” League of American Bicyclists Communications Manager Steve Taylor wrote in an email. May is National Bike Month, and Sitka has a variety of cycling events scheduled for the month.

The article and photos about Sitka’s quest to become a Bicycle Friendly Community were provided by Charles Bingham, who also coordinates this website. The article quotes several local bike riders, including former mayor Mim McConnell, current mayor Matt Hunter, Matthew Turner, Doug Osborne and Bill Foster.

Sitka became Alaska’s first Bicycle Friendly Community in 2008, earning a Bronze Level designation. Sitka repeated as a Bronze Level community in 2012, and in 2016 upgrade to the Silver Level. Here is a link to our latest BFC report card. Since Sitka became a Bicycle Friendly Community, Anchorage (Silver), Juneau (Bronze) and Fairbanks (Honorable Mention) also have applied for the program.

In 2011, the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Sitka Campus earned a Bronze Level designation in the Bicycle Friendly Business program, and repeated at the Bronze Level in 2016. There currently are 11 businesses in Alaska with Bicycle Friendly Business designations, with SEARHC Sitka Campus the only one outside Anchorage.

 

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As the temperatures warm up, two events this week will highlight kids’ cycling and safety in Sitka —the fourth annual National Bike to School Day on Wednesday, May 10, and the Sitka Bike Rodeo on Saturday, May 13. 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 13, 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 4140, Alaska 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. Now there is a new and separate National Bike to School Day, this year on Wednesday, May 10. (Daily Sitka Sentinel photo by James Poulson).

On Wednesday, May 10, schools all over the country will encourage students to hope on their bikes for the fourth 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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