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Governor Parnell Proclaims May Bike Month

(JUNEAU, Alaska) - Governor Sean Parnell signed an official proclamation April 26 designating May as Bike Month, May 16-20 as Bike Week and May 20 as Bike to Work and School Day.

"Gas prices in Alaska are over $4 per gallon and we think we are going to see a surge in bicycle commuters," said Marc Luiken, Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Commissioner.  Alaska ranks sixth in the nation in the proportion of adults who bike to work with approximately 3,000 people bicycling to work every day. Every year the number of bicyclists on Alaska roads rises sharply in May as Alaska joins the nation to celebrate National Bike to Work Day and to kick off the summer bicycling season. 

Yearly, the national nonprofit League of American Bicyclists declares May as National Bike Month and helps organize Bike to Work Week and Bike to Work Day. City and borough mayors statewide have proclaimed Bike to Work Day in their communities.

The Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) joins with organizers of Bike to Work events throughout the state to encourage both bicyclists and motorists to be extra careful on Alaska roads not just during Bike to Work Day, but always.

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 side of the road, signaling turns, and stopping at stop signs and stop signals. Additionally, bicyclists should ride on the shoulder if one is available and in good condition.

Motorists can do their part too, by allowing a safe distance between their vehicle and the bicycle when passing and by not cutting off bicycles when making a turn. Four in 10 crashes between bicycles and motor vehicles in Alaska occur when motorists are turning right.

"As bicyclists take to the roads, I urge people know the rules and to ride safely.  Both motorists and riders need to be careful and aware of their surroundings," said Luiken.

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