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Posts Tagged ‘reflectives’

Sitka is lucky because our mild climate allows most of us to bike and walk throughout the winter. But cyclists and walkers also need to take care to make sure they can be seen by drivers, especially since there is so little daylight this time of year. In recent weeks the Sitka Police have recorded several car-walker, car-cyclist, and cyclist-walker collisions, and said visibility was an issue in most of them.

Take a look at the photo above. Can you see the cyclist? This cyclist just rode through one of Sitka’s best-lighted intersections (Lincoln Street and Lake Street), but he’s wearing dark clothes and you can’t see him even though he does have a working taillight. By the way, the cyclist is in the right center of the photo, between the car’s taillights and the fire hydrant, near the Moose Lodge parking lot. There also is a walker ready to cross the street in front of Stereo North, who has some reflective bands on his sleeves but could use a bright jacket.

This time of the year provides special problems when it comes to visibility. In addition to fewer daylight hours, there also are problems with window condensation in cars and the lower sun angles sometimes can be in the eyes of drivers.  When it rains or snows, that also can obscure visibility. Even though pedestrians aren’t in the roads as much as cyclists, they still need to be visible to traffic especially at driveways and other crosswalks.

So how do you make yourself more visible, like the cyclist in the second photo (in the orange jacket with reflective tape)?

First, Alaska state laws require cyclists riding outside the daylight hours to have at least one working headlight that can emit a beam of light for at least 500 feet, a working taillight that can be seen from at least 500 feet, and reflectors (see Page 2). To make themselves more visible and to help light their way, many Sitka cyclists will have more than one headlight, taillight and reflector on their bike.

Next, wear white or bright clothes that can be seen at night. Many Sitka cyclists and walkers have started wearing traffic yellow or traffic orange rain jackets, which are designed to be visible at great distances. Some of these jackets have built-in reflective tape. Other people wear reflective vests, similar to what construction workers wear.

Finally, get some reflective tape and wrap it around your bike frame. You can purchase your own reflective items at most outdoors gear stores in Sitka. The Alaska Injury Prevention Center in Anchorage used to provide free reflective tape by clicking this link (they may not have it available now), but the AIPC website has tips about how to Walk Safe and Bike Safe. The link has a chart showing how reflective tape can increase a person’s visibility, even more so than wearing lighter clothes. If you have kids who walk or bike a lot, put the reflective tape all over their clothes, backpacks and lunch pails. You also can find elastic bands with reflective tape, or reflective tape built into jackets, hats and even shoes.

Remember, we are sharing the roads and so we should do what we can to make it easier for drivers to see us. Not only should we Be Safe, Be Seen, but we also need to follow the rules of the road by riding our bikes on the right side of traffic (ride with traffic, and walk on the left facing traffic) and in a predictable manner.

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We had about 30-35 people show up on Saturday, May 6, for the annual Sitka Community Bike Ride, an event that helped kick off National Bike Month festivities in Sitka. It also was a chance to celebrate the 126th anniversary of the first bike seen in Sitka, which arrived in May 1891, on the cruiser Mexico.

The cyclists, who ranged in age from infant to their 70s, met at Totem Square Park, then rode down Lincoln Street through downtown Sitka to the Sitka National Historical Park entrance and back. This family friendly bike ride encouraged safety by having cyclists ride by the rules of the road — riding on the right side of the street with traffic, riding in a predictable manner, and wearing bike helmets and bright clothes/reflective items.

Other National Bike Month events in May include National Bike To School Day on Wednesday, May 10; the Sitka Bike Rodeo on Saturday, May 13; National Bike To Work Week on Monday-Friday, May 15-19; National Bike To Work Day on Friday, May 19; the Julie Hughes Triathlon on Saturday, May 20; and the Sitka Trail Works Cross Trail Bike Ride on Saturday, May 27. You can find out more details by going to the Sitka Cycling website, https://sitkacycling.wordpress.com, and scrolling down to see the event announcements.

A slideshow of scenes from the Sitka Community Bike Ride is posted below.

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Cyclists pose before the Sitka Community Bike Ride on Saturday, May 28, 2016, through downtown Sitka.

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 126th anniversary of the first bike seen in Sitka, which arrived in May 1891, on the cruiser Mexico.

Join us on Saturday, May 6, 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). We will have complimentary bottles of chain lubricant for the first 20 riders. At last year’s Sitka Community Bike Ride we celebrated our upgrade earlier that month to the Silver level in the Bicycle Friendly Community program (we were a Bronze level award winner in 2008 and 2012).

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 6 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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SitkaCommunityBikeRideFlier

Sitka Mayor Mim McConnell, right front, prepares to lead cyclists in the 2015 Sitka Community Bike Ride

Sitka Mayor Mim McConnell, right front, prepares to lead cyclists in the 2015 Sitka Community Bike Ride

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 125th anniversary of the first bike seen in Sitka, which arrived on May 28, 1891, on the cruiser Mexico.

Join us on Saturday, May 28, 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 for contest judging for oldest bike, most unique bike, most visible bike, etc.). Hopefully, we’ll also have an update on our recent renewal application for Bicycle Friendly Community (we were a bronze level award winner in 2008 and 2012).

Our bike maintenance specialists will be available to assist cyclists from 10 a.m. at Totem Square. They 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 will have someone available to help check bike helmet fits.

GroupPhotoAfterCommunityRide

Riders after the 2015 Sitka Community Bike Ride

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. Last year we had a smaller crew at our community bike ride, but it still was lots of fun.

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

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

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BeSeenBeSafeBrightPoster

NewSitkaCommunityHospitalLogoGetting around Sitka on foot or on bike is good for your health, and it’s good for the environment too. However it’s important that these activities be done safely.

Pedestrians — including people who travel by foot, wheelchair, stroller, or similar means — and cyclists are among the most vulnerable users of the road. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the next 24 hours, on average, 445 people in the United States will be treated in an emergency department for traffic-related pedestrian injuries. In 2012 alone, 76,000 walkers were injured in the United States.

Now that we’re into the darker season with more inclement weather, this is why the Sitka Community Hospital is launching its “Be Bright At Night” biking and walking safety campaign.

Sitka can be dark especially in winter and many of the bicycle and pedestrian fatalities happen in low visibility. Drivers can only stop or swerve for the people they see so having lights, reflectors and high visibility coats provides a great protective factor. Thanks for funds from Wells Fargo Bank and the State of Alaska Injury Prevention Program, the Sitka Community Hospital Health Promotion Program will be raffling off high visibility coats at various locations throughout Sitka.

People usually refer to injuries from collisions with cars as “accidents,” however they are preventable. The baseline data showed just 3 percent of walkers and bicyclists in Sitka were visible to motorists in dark conditions from about 150 feet. The hospital is committed to bringing that number up, especially in light of the fact that Sitka’s walk and bike commuting rates are significantly higher than the national average.

Having a coat that covers your whole upper body and can be seen from all sides is one way to be visible and safe as you walk the family dog, bike home from work or go for a walk anywhere near cars.

For more information the “Be Bright At Night” campaign, contact Sitka Community Hospital’s Director of Health Promotion Doug Osborne at 747-0373.

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Sitka's Bill Giant, foreground, completes a bike-handling drill recently as instructor Shane McRhodes of Eugene, Ore., watches in the background. (Photo by Doug Osborne)

Sitka’s Bill Giant, foreground, completes a bike-handling drill recently as instructor Shane MacRhodes, who is the Safe Routes To School program manager in Eugene, Ore., stands in the background. (Photo by Doug Osborne)

Two Sitka bicycle advocates — Doug Osborne and Bill Giant — recently completed a 2 1/2-day Alaska Bike ‘n’ Walk Safely training program in Anchorage.

The program was taught by instructors with the League Certified Instructor (LCI) credential from the League of America Bicyclists. Completing the training, which included such classes as Traffic Skills 101, means Doug and Bill are better qualified to teach bike safety classes in Sitka.

They recently hosted a summer bike camp for students in grades 3-6, and plan to offer classes through Sitka Community Hospital and Sitka Community Schools this year.

 

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Graduates of the first-ever “Bike Camp” gather at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School after completing a slowest-bike race. Campers going into grades 3-6 learned the basics of cycling safely in Sitka. The inaugural bike camp was a partnership between Sitka Community Hospital and Sitka Community Schools. (Photos courtesy of Wendy Fowler)

Graduates of the first-ever “Bike Camp” gather at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School after completing a slowest-bike race. Campers going into grades 3-6 learned the basics of cycling safely in Sitka. The inaugural bike camp was a partnership between Sitka Community Hospital and Sitka Community Schools. (Photos courtesy of Wendy Fowler)

Sitka Community Hospital and Sitka Community Schools recently hosted the first-ever bike camp for students going into grades 3-6. The hands-on camp took place on Monday-Thursday, Aug. 3-6, at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School.

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

During the camp, the 13 participants had their bikes and helmets inspected for safety, learned about basic bike maintenance, and then learned basic bike safety skills. They also had group rides to the Moller Field track, Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop, and along Cross Trail. Osborne said response to the camp was positive, and he hopes there will be two week-long camps next summer.

A slideshow of photos (courtesy of Wendy Fowler) is posted below.

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