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.
That was the message Be Well Barton County member and avid cyclist Brandon Steinert left with the County Commission Monday morning. Commissioners adopted a proclamation marking May as National Bike Month.
“We want to get your knees in the breeze,” Steinert said.
Sunday was National Ride A Bike Day. Other dates include Wednesday as Bike to School Day, and Bike to work Week is May 17 to 23 with Friday, May 21, as Bike to Work Day.
“Throughout the month of May, citizens are urged to experience the joys of bicycling and to be vigilant of bicyclists in our community when driving,” he said. “As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, getting outside for exercise is not only good for one’s physical health, but also for one’s mental health as people may be facing added stress and anxiety.”
A lot of benefits
Creating a bicycling-friendly community has been shown to improve citizens’ health, well-being, and quality of life, Steinert said. It can also grow the economy of Barton County, attract tourism dollars, improve traffic safety, support student learning outcomes, and reduce pollution, congestion, and wear and tear on our streets and roads.
“Be Well Barton County, the Barton County Commission, 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 and throughout the remainder of the year,” he said. “These groups are also promoting 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.”
This is near and dear to Steinert. He was seriously injured a year ago after being hit by a car while riding his bike.
Established in 1956 and promoted by the League of American Bicyclists, National Bike Month is a chance to showcase the many benefits of bicycling — and encourage more folks to giving biking a try.
Formed in 2012, Be Well is made up of volunteers from all over Barton County. It is an advisory group dedicated to promoting healthy lifestyles countywide, from bicycling to walking to food access.
Be Well Barton County is part of the Central Kansas Partnership, a health advocacy and risk prevention coalition of parents, professionals and concerned citizens from Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Stafford and Rush counties. In addition, the coalition deals with chronic diseases, drug and alcohol prevention, and teen pregnancy and suicide prevention.
Barton County Commission meeting at a glance
Here is a quick look at what the Barton County Commission did Monday morning:
• Heard a report from Lynn Fleming, executive director of the Great Bend Housing Authority, on the renovation of the High Rise at 1101 Kansas Ave.
• Adopted a proclamation marking May as National Bike Month.
• Approved a grant match for Sunflower Diversified Services to purchase a baler.
Sunflower submitted a grant to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment for the purchase of a reconditioned baler. Included in the $59,763.56 project is the baler, freight, installation and electrical work, said SDS Executive Director Jon Prescott.
He asked that the commission consider contributing a 25% project match of $14,940.89.
The device is used to crush and bale recyclable items, such as cardboard boxes, so they can be transported.
• Named Chad Ehrlich to the Barton County Planning Commission. His term ends in March 2023.
The focus of the Planning Commission is to plan for the proper growth and development of Barton County through the enactment of planning and zoning laws for the protection of the public health, safety and welfare, said Zoning Administrator Judy Goreham.
Although all applicants must reside in Barton County, the majority of members must be from the unincorporated area.
• Heard a COVID-19 update from Health Director Karen Winkelman.