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Commission marks National Bike Month
Simple pleasures of bike riding noted by commissioners
be well barton county logo

 The bicycle is an “economical, healthy, convenient, and environmentally sound form of transportation and an excellent tool for recreation and enjoyment of Barton County’s scenic beauty,” the Barton Count Commission noted Monday morning. To this end, it approved a proclamation marking May as National Bike Month. 

“Throughout the month of May, the residents of Barton County and its visitors can experience the joys of bicycling through educational programs, races, commuting events, charity events, or by simply getting out and going for a ride,” said Barton County Health Educator Janel Rose who also serves on the Be Well Barton County committee. Be Well is a group under the Health Department’s Central Kansas Partnership that promotes cycling and pedestrian activities.

One upcoming local biking event,the Great, Great Bend Summer Bike Caper, has been planned by Be Well, Rose said. She presented the proclamation.

“Both as pedestrians and as bicyclists, Barton County is very concerned about the safety of its citizens,” she said. The county, the cities and the school districts all have taken steps to promote and educate residents.

According to the League of American Cyclists, National Bike Month has been recognized since 1956, and the League has sponsored this celebration of cycling for decades, as a means to advance the movement to build a bicycle-friendly America for everyone.

National Bike to Work Week and Bike to Work Day are often cited as the month’s flagship events, occurring the third week and third Friday of May, respectively. This year, Bike to School Day will be May 9. Bike to Work Week will be May 14-18 and Bike to Work Day will be May 18.

These are simple, inexpensive, ways to observe this important event.

Here are some numbers.

In 2016, the Census Bureau estimated that about 860,000 workers in the U.S. bicycled to work, up from about 730,000 in 2010 and 620,000 in 2006.  Established in 1956, National Bike Month is a chance to showcase the many benefits of bicycling.

“Before we go on, I would like to acknowledge all that has been done by local governments in the support of cycling,” Rose said. The County Commission approved the installation of a bike lane and bike signage on West Barton County Road out to the Great Bend Hike and Bike Trail trail head and it approved a series of signs on rural blacktops cautioning motorists that they must pass a cyclist by at least three feet.

The City of Great Bend, too, had installed signs and bike racks, and painted sharrows. The cities of Hoisington, Ellinwood and Claflin have also made strides.

“Be Well Barton County thanks all those involved and looks forward to a continued partnership,” she said. “We also challenge everyone here to sign up for the bike challenge and discover, or rediscover, for themselves the joys of riding a bike.”

The proclamation reads:

WHEREAS, throughout the month of May, the residents of Barton County and its visitors can experience the joys of bicycling through educational programs, races, commuting events, charity events, or by simply getting out and going for a ride; and 

WHEREAS, Barton County’s road and trail system attracts bicyclists throughout the year, providing for a healthier body for riders and a better economy for all; and 

WHEREAS, creating a bicycling-friendly community has been shown to improve citizens’ health, well-being, and quality of life, growing the economy of Barton County, attracting tourism dollars, improving traffic safety, supporting student learning outcomes, and reducing pollution, congestion, and wear and tear on our streets and roads; and 

WHEREAS, Be Well Barton County, the League of American Bicyclists, schools, parks and recreation departments, police departments, public health districts, hospitals, companies and civic groups will be promoting bicycling during the month of May 2018; and

 WHEREAS, these groups promote bicycle tourism year round and bring visitors to our local restaurants, hotels, retail establishments, and cultural and scenic attractions; and

WHEREAS, these groups create greater public awareness of bicycle operation and safety education in an effort to reduce collisions, injuries, and fatalities and improve health and safety for everyone on the road. 

NOW THEREFORE BE IT PROCLAIMED by the Board of County Commissioners of Barton County, Kansas, that May 2018 is Bike Month in Barton County, and 

FURTHER, that all residents are urged to enjoy their community from a bicycle seat during Bike Month and throughout the year; and

FURTHER; that all citizens are reminded to watch for cyclists on the roads and trail systems.