JUNEAU — The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities released a statement this week congratulating the community of Sitka, for successfully renewing its Bicycle Friendly Community recognition. The national award was announced May 14 by the League of American Bicyclists as part of its National Bike Month activities.
According to the state agency, nearly 5 percent of Sitka adults bike to work, well above the national average of 0.5 percent.
There are 214 Bicycle Friendly Communities in 47 states and Alaska ranks sixth in the nation in the proportion of adults who bike to work with approximately 3,300 Alaskans bicycling to work every day, the release stated.
In 2008, Sitka was the first community in Alaska to gain Bicycle Friendly Community recognition. Anchorage followed in 2009 and Juneau in 2011. Each community received the Bronze level award. Communities must reapply every four years for the honor. This is Sitka’s first renewal and was able to maintain its bronze level recognition.
Governor Sean Parnell proclaimed May to be Bike Month in Alaska; the week of May 14-18 to be Bike Week, and May 18 as Bike to Work Day. May 9 was Bike to School Day.
As in other states, bicyclists are recognized in state law as legitimate users of Alaska’s roadways. Bicyclists are required to follow the “rules of the road” by riding on the right-hand side of the road, signaling turns, and stopping at stop signs and stop signals.
The release stated that motorists can do their part, too, by allowing a safe distance between their vehicle and cyclists when passing, by not cutting off cyclists when making a turn, and being particularly careful when transitioning through an intersection. Almost half of all vehicle-cyclist collisions occur at intersections.
Learn more about the Bicycle Friendly Community program and view the full list of communities at www.bikeleague.org/bfa.