The League of American Bicyclists on Thursday announced the Sitka campus of the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium, or SEARHC, has been awarded a bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Business Award.
SEARHC is the only Alaska organization among 111 businesses nationwide to earn an award during the Fall 2011 cycle. SEARHC joins six other businesses from Anchorage that earned Bicycle Friendly Business awards over the past two years — the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (gold), Southcentral Foundation (silver), Providence Alaska Medical Center (bronze), Green Star Inc. (bronze), REI Anchorage (bronze) and Alaska Pacific University (honorable mention). Since the BFB program started two years ago, 344 organizations in 40 states have been honored for making their businesses more bike friendly for employees and customers. These organizations come from a wide range of industries, such as health care, manufacturing and government.
The Bicycle Friendly Business program provides a free roadmap for businesses wanting to make their organizations more friendly to bikes. Businesses have to complete a lengthy application that includes information about the number of bike commuters, facilities available for them (such as racks, showers and lockers), education programs and ways the business connects with the local bicycle community. The SEARHC Sitka campus took an active role in Sitka’s 2008 application to become the first Bicycle Friendly Community in Alaska. SEARHC also promotes healthy and safe cycling to its employees and the community through its health promotion, injury prevention and employee wellness programs.
The Bike Users Group at SEARHC on Sept. 13 launched a new Bicycle Ambassadors program that will help mentor novice bike riders and provide role models for other cyclists.
“As a health organization, it is important that we walk, or in this case bike, the talk,” SEARHC President and CEO Roald Helgesen said. “This award is a good way to demonstrate how small lifestyle changes can lead to better health, and it recognizes the work our employees who are role-modeling these healthy lifestyle changes.”
Winners of the Bicycle Friendly Business award are allowed to use the designation for the next two years. To learn more about the BFB program, go to www.bikeleague.org/businesses.