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Thread: Bicycle riders in town

  1. #1
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    Default Bicycle riders in town

    Any of you people ride bicycles in town? I just rebuilt a Miyata bike my friend gave me and I'm afraid to ride it to work. I'm not the type to ride on the sidewalk because I know I'll probably run someone over.
    My question is, how do you get over the fear of riding with all those cars and busses around?
    I use the bike lane when I ride in Kunia, so the cars aren't a big deal there.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Bicycle riders in town

    Quote Originally Posted by mergecross View Post
    My question is, how do you get over the fear of riding with all those cars and busses around?
    Ride fast.

    No kidding. Best defense is to keep up with traffic and ride predictably. That's what I used to do.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Bicycle riders in town

    Quote Originally Posted by mergecross View Post
    My question is, how do you get over the fear of riding with all those cars and busses around?
    That fear is your body & mind telling you that the city needs more bike lanes. I'm not sure the benefits of exercise and reduced carbon footprints are worth the risk.

    Riding on the sidewalks is mostly a misdemeanor, let alone the trauma & hassle of running into someone. Not much better on the roadway, but if you keep up with the traffic then you'll minimize the close calls. My worst fears were the drivers who made unpredictable lane changes & turns (right or left) or even decided to pull over and open their car doors.

    Your best defense is eye contact-- and a loud voice to jolt someone off their cell phone or latte.

    Pearl Harbor's bike trail is a great design and execution, but even that can't save the cyclists from the pedestrians who think the paving is their territory. Apparently "Bike Lane" also means "Pedestrians walk here!".

    I used to commute 2000-3000 miles a year, but decided that I'd had enough when we moved a bit further north and added Kam Hwy's Kipapa Gulch to the ride.
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Bicycle riders in town

    No one could pay me enough to ride a bike in town...or most anywhere else on Oahu for that matter. I hold my breath every time I'm driving and pass a biker for fear that s/he will make an unpredictable move.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Bicycle riders in town

    Safer to walk. A lot of people seem oblivious to those on two wheels, I know first hand.
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Bicycle riders in town

    Then there are joggers who sometimes hog the bike lane along Kalanianaole. There's a perfectly good sidewalk there yet they want to poach what little real estate is set up for cyclists.

    The bike paths are actually multi-use and pedestrians have the right to use them. But most don't understand the concept of staying to the right. Yes, it's not like walking on the road. Pedestrians and cyclists are supposed to stay right.

    Of course you might come across a huge gaggle of track kids taking up the entire right-of-way who don't understand the simple phrase "coming through". Or you'll find a group of runners cooling off after their run, and socializing right in the path when there's an acre of grass OFF the path. Kids fishing off bridges laying their bikes across the right-of-way. I caught one kid stringing fishing line across the path once!

    Overall, cycling can be fun. The problem is that the world has become full of people who simply don't make themselves aware of what's around them. They step onto the path and turn off their brains. In fact, some of these people merge onto the freeway and do the same thing!

    Good news, tho: The bike bath is about to be extended beyond Waipahu.

  7. #7
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    Exclamation Re: Bicycle riders in town

    For quite a few years, up to a couple of years ago, I rode daily.
    Even while owning a car too. But I came to the realization that our roads are a mess and drivers oblivious to bicycles. Those two put together has stopped me from riding. Admittedly my moped isn't much better, but I do appear to be more visible to others on the road. Now, if we had separate bike paths...
    Life is either an adventure... or you're not doing it right!!!

  8. #8

    Default Re: Bicycle riders in town

    I commute by bicycle from Aiea to downtown almost daily and feel quite safe doing so. I suggest you only ride on roads that are fit for bicycle travel. Here is a good map that has bike paths/lanes shown. If you must ride on a road in traffic with no bike lane then you should take the lane and attempt to keep up with traffic. This is not for beginner's though, so, again; you might be better off only riding on roads with bikes lanes or stick to bike paths. Good luck!
    http://www6.hawaii.gov/dot/highways/bike/oahu/index.htm

  9. #9

    Default Re: Bicycle riders in town

    When I lived in Makiki, I used to ride all over the place between Kapiolani Park and Kalihi on Nimitz and got side swiped only once just before pulling into my apartment's driveway. I also used the sidewalks when I had to, if staying on the road in certain areas/situations posed too much of a risk.

    Knowing what I know now, wear a helmet, use high vis apparel and flashing lights and cross yourself before pedaling off. Actually, I've noticed only the few who just don't give a darn about bike riders. Most motorists simply slow down and wait till they have a chance to go around safely. They didn't have bike lanes like they do now, when I was living in town.

    Living out country, I now ride a scooter to work. I wear a helmet, high vis vest and use flashing lights and I have the "luxury" of riding in the bike lanes all the way to my destination. Used to, anyway. They now have somekind of construction work out Whitmore side and they closed off the bike lanes and didn't make any alternate routes for bikers and pedestrians. Yeah, got people who walk from Whitmore to Wahiawa. I'm also planning on upgrading my bike so I can ride to work, but gotta look for an electric assist set up. Got a couple hills I won't be able to pedal up unassisted.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Bicycle riders in town

    I used to ride my bike from Waialae Nui to Kakaako every morning and afternoon. The safest route by far was Diamond Head Road as Waialae Avenue was suicidal with the morning traffic.

    Coming home (Kokohead bound) I would travel along Ala Moana Blvd then onto Kalakaua crossing over Paki then up Monseratt to 18th avenue and down Kilauea into Waialae Nui Valley.

    As traffic worsened so did my near miss incidents by city buses, police cars and errant morning commuters. I gave up bike riding and took the bus for a while, but then it seems even catching the bus meant standing in a fully loaded bus as a full-fare passenger (no student or senior discounts for this gap group middle ager).

    One morning on the way to work I had enough of it and the next day I said, "F*ck the environment" and drove my BMW to work. I paid for luxury, I deserve to drive it too. Until there was a better and safer way to bike from East Honolulu to the urban core, I said saving the earth isn't worth killing myself over it.
    Life is what you make of it...so please read the instructions carefully.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Bicycle riders in town

    Its tough to ride a bike in town. If you don't have the skills to change from road to sidewalk, the speed to keep up with traffic for at least short distances or the ability to hop a curb to get to a safe area then you're going to have a hard time.

    Like many have already mentioned, the bike paths are lacking in town. If you do find them then they can end all of sudden.

    If you ride on the sidewalks then I would recommend a ringing bell. It doesn't always work because some people get confused by the sound. But it can help to get some attention from the sidewalk users.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Bicycle riders in town

    The problem with riding on a sidewalk is that in business districts (such as downtown Honolulu, Waikiki and Kakaako), it's illegal. Riding on sidewalks are only legal on residentially zoned areas. Once I got yelled at from a pedistrian on the corner of Kokohead and Harding while riding my bike on the sidewalk.

    I wasn't even near him as he crossed the intersection behind me when he yelled out that I couldn't ride on the sidewalk. I told him this is a mixed residential-business zone and that I could (I probably lied in the process) but he bought it and I rode off.

    But on Kapiolani BLVD I'll take the ticket over being taken to Queen's hospital in an ambulance after being taken out by a city bus ANYTIME!
    Life is what you make of it...so please read the instructions carefully.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Bicycle riders in town

    Quote Originally Posted by craigwatanabe View Post
    As traffic worsened so did my near miss incidents by city buses, police cars and errant morning commuters. I gave up bike riding and took the bus for a while, but then it seems even catching the bus meant standing in a fully loaded bus as a full-fare passenger (no student or senior discounts for this gap group middle ager).

    One morning on the way to work I had enough of it and the next day I said, "F*ck the environment" and drove my BMW to work. I paid for luxury, I deserve to drive it too. Until there was a better and safer way to bike from East Honolulu to the urban core, I said saving the earth isn't worth killing myself over it.
    That stinks! I didn't realize it was so bad coming from east side. I will consider myself lucky then that I live where I do.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Bicycle riders in town

    Quote Originally Posted by StinkyTheGrump View Post
    That stinks! I didn't realize it was so bad coming from east side. I will consider myself lucky then that I live where I do.
    There are literally no safe routes for bicyclists from the urban core of Honolulu to east Honolulu. Diamond Head road is narrow as it is and in the afternoon you have to share that narrow strip of asphalt with parked cars and joggers. That puts you way out in the traffic lane where motorists cannot swerve around you because of the narrow roads along that route.

    Then there's Monseratt on the other side of Diamond Head. A lot safer than Diamond Head road but still you have to deal with city buses and Keawe thorns.

    Next is cutting thru the really narrow streets of Kapahulu finding your way to Kilauea Avenue. Once on Kilauea near Leahi Hospital, it's the bus thing again.

    If you don't go thru Kilauea it's Harding or Pahoa Avenues that are even narrower (but less congested) but again still having to deal with city buses.

    Then there's Waialae Avenue. Ever tried riding Kokohead bound on Waialae Avenue in front of Sacred Hearts Academy in the afternoon? Death is an almost certainty along that corridor in that area.

    So what's left? you can attempt riding thru Palolo Valley but you still have to navigate thru Waialae Avenue near Sacred Hearts to get there up to the Palolo McDonalds and have to pop out by NAPA and it's back onto Waialae avenue near one of the major bus depots at the corner of Waialae and Kokohead avenues.

    From Waialae Avenue it's fairly smooth sailing until you reach the end of the line for most bicyclists at the Waialae Avenue offramp where local Kokohead bound traffic meets up with fast moving vehicular traffic coming off the freeway. For a bicyclist that's almost like jumping into a raging river as two lanes of traffic converge into two narrow lanes with those from Kaimuki wanting to get into the right lane to get to Kahala Mall, while those coming off the offramp want to get into the left lane to go home into Waialae Nui Valley or Ainakoa valley. So yo get these two flows of traffic wanting to cross into each other's lanes and throw in a brave (or stupid) bicyclist trying to keep up with this chaos, someone's gonna get creamed in there.

    All that said, Monsarrat is the safest way to get thru to East Honolulu. Monsarrat then 18th Avenue then Kilauea Avenue and the rest is a smooth ride...unless you have to continue onto Kalanianaole Highway. At that point there are bike paths going Kokohead bound but now you have to deal with those bicyclists bent on breaking the sound barrier as they race along that path.
    Life is what you make of it...so please read the instructions carefully.

  15. #15
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    Thumbs down Re: Bicycle riders in town

    I read this in yesterday's Star. Wow. What do you guys think of this?
    Racism worsened bike-pedestrian crash

    Jeff Zimpfer (Letters, March 14) may never have heard of a pedestrian having been hit by a cyclist in Honolulu, but it happened to me last week -- and I was on the sidewalk, as was the cyclist!

    My husband and I were walking in single file on the outer edge of the sidewalk on the left-hand side of Keeaumoku between the Ala Moana Center and Wal-Mart when I glanced up and saw a cyclist racing toward me. There was insufficient time or room for me to move out of her way and a collision resulted. Fortunately, I was not hurt, as I had managed to twist my body to avoid the impact and it was my backpack that came into contact with the bicycle. My husband immediately came to my aid in time to hear the cyclist shout to me that I had seen her and so should have got out of her way! Words were exchanged between the cyclist and my husband as he tried to defend my right to be on the sidewalk; however, when she began to scream, calling us "f---ing haoles" and telling us to "go back to the mainland," we decided it was time to continue on our way -- the sound of her continuing "f---ing haole" scream following our retreating backs.
    This is the first time that we have been involved in an actual collision with a cyclist, but only because on previous occasions we have been able to move out of their way. While in Honolulu, we have so often had to move off the sidewalk to avoid being run down by cyclists that we assumed, cynically perhaps, that they had the right of way.
    Gillian Barnett
    Victoria, B.C.
    Canada

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Bicycle riders in town

    When I go out biking, I often ride on the sidewalk, but sloooowly. There are people and cars coming at you from everywhere, but I feel safer there than on the street. The trick is to go slow, almost jogging speed, so that you can stop fast for an erratic pedestrian, or a car flying out of a parking garage.
    Ugh, that's always the scariest part! I would hate to have a car not see me when its coming out of a parking garage driveway, hit me, and knock me into street traffic! Right when TheBus is coming. Ewwwww, gross!

  17. #17

    Default Re: Bicycle riders in town

    Quote Originally Posted by turtlegirl View Post
    This is the first time that we have been involved in an actual collision with a cyclist, but only because on previous occasions we have been able to move out of their way.
    This is why bikes are banned from sidewalks. As for the rude cyclist, I would shrug it off as someone who might be emotionally unstable. Normal people don't behave recklessly and then blame accidents on someone else.

    Despite years of proclaiming otherwise, the City hasn't taken enough action to make Honolulu a bike-friendly place. Cycling as a viable means of transportation has been talked about for the past 30 years but very little has been done to make it happen. Opportunities to properly stripe roads and highways to accommodate cyclists have been missed repeatedly. And the "lei of parks" concept forwarded by Harris is an idiotic joke to anyone serious about getting somewhere on a bike.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Bicycle riders in town

    Quote Originally Posted by turtlegirl View Post
    .
    This is the first time that we have been involved in an actual collision with a cyclist, but only because on previous occasions we have been able to move out of their way. While in Honolulu, we have so often had to move off the sidewalk to avoid being run down by cyclists that we assumed, cynically perhaps, that they had the right of way.
    Gillian Barnett
    Victoria, B.C.
    Canada

    Bicyclists ALWAYS must yield to pedistrians whether they're on a: Sidewalk, bikepath or the actual roadway.

    Bicyclists must use a sounding device (yelling GET OUTTA DA WAY F*CKIN HAOLE, is not one of the approved methods however), to warn pedistrians that they are approaching them on a side walk.

    Bicyclists are only allowed on sidewalks in Residentially-zoned areas, and are prohibited in Commercially-zoned areas.

    Both Bicyclists and motorists must give at least 3-feet of passing distance between themselves.

    I take that to assume then that a bicyclist who is maneuvering past cars stuck in traffic cannot use the shoulder or the curb areas of the roadway to pass the line of cars if the pathway is less than three feet wide.

    Bicyclists must ride on the right side of two way traffic but may ride on the left side on any one-way roadway.

    Bikepaths are not raceways and if you should see a bicyclist or bicyclists racing along a bike path, call the police, better yet...well maybe not that's illegal.
    Life is what you make of it...so please read the instructions carefully.

  19. #19
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    Question Re: Bicycle riders in town

    Hey, does anyone know of good biking in Kailua? My sweetie and I have our hearts set on this great studio 5 blocks from the beach, and we love biking! We even dismantled our bicycles and shipped them here. Is it cool to bike to the beach there? Will someone steal my bike if I lock it to a tree? Or keep it in my backyard? Are there any bike paths? Is it residential enough to legally ride on the sidewalks? ARE there any sidewalks?
    You guys are the BEST for insight and info, and any comments on this would be really appreciated!

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Bicycle riders in town

    Whew! Yea it was tough riding around Honolulu.I got hit twice by motorists,but it didn't stop me.I rode like a warrior,very aggressively,and vocally,using plenty of hand signals. I pissed off a lot of drivers who didn't know how to share the streets.I demanded respect and I think other riders should do the same.Cyclists:STAND UP FOR YOUR RIGHTS!!

    However,I was very courteous to pedestrians.
    Last edited by aoimizu; March 19th, 2008 at 08:43 PM.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Bicycle riders in town

    Quote Originally Posted by aoimizu View Post
    Whew! Yea it was tough riding around Honolulu.I got hit twice by motorists,but it didn't stop me.I rode like a warrior,very aggressively,and vocally,using plenty of hand signals. I pissed off a lot of drivers who didn't know how to share the streets.I demanded respect and I think other riders should do the same.Cyclists:STAND UP FOR YOUR RIGHTS!!

    However,I was very courteous to pedestrians.
    Wow, I haven't been hit by motorists yet (knocks on wood) but there was that one time when a big pavement/rock hauling truck driver tried to kill me on Nimitz. On the .5 mile section where there is no bike lane the guy was right on my okole as I was riding and then he layed on his horn for like 10 seconds so I flipped the SOB off...bad idea. He then proceeds to slowly pass me and when his trailer is next to me he starts moving the front of his truck towards the curb with his trailer following. At this point I can see him looking in his side mirror right at me as he's literally about to run me over. It gets to the point where I have only a few inches of room left and I had to try to jump the curb. I only got my front wheel over and that slowed me down and he passed me. That's when I decided that when I'm on that section I will take the lane so someone has to use the other lane if they are passing. It is way too narrow to fit a bicycle and a car safely on that section of Nimitz.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Bicycle riders in town

    If a trucker ever does a stupid stunt like that take his license down (not the trailer license) as any CDL driver knows they can lose that license. That CDL is their bread and butter and losing it typically means losing their job. And we all know losing a job in Hawaii is a bad thing, especially if it's a high paying union job.
    Life is what you make of it...so please read the instructions carefully.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Bicycle riders in town

    Quote Originally Posted by craigwatanabe View Post
    If a trucker ever does a stupid stunt like that take his license down (not the trailer license) as any CDL driver knows they can lose that license. That CDL is their bread and butter and losing it typically means losing their job. And we all know losing a job in Hawaii is a bad thing, especially if it's a high paying union job.
    Craig, who to call to report the license number? The cops will give their usual song and dance about not witnessing the event with their own eyes and say they can't do anything about it. As usual, someone has to get hurt to get them to pursue the matter.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Bicycle riders in town

    Quote Originally Posted by Da Rolling Eye View Post
    Craig, who to call to report the license number? The cops will give their usual song and dance about not witnessing the event with their own eyes and say they can't do anything about it. As usual, someone has to get hurt to get them to pursue the matter.
    If not then call the company that owns that truck and report that driver.
    Life is what you make of it...so please read the instructions carefully.

  25. #25
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    Exclamation Re: Bicycle riders in town

    Many years ago, while travelling through Waikiki on Kalakaua Ave., I almost got squished by a City Bus so then went up on the sidewalk and scootered my bike (sitting on it but just pushing on the ground - not pedaling and going the speed of pedestrians). I got a ticket from a police officer, can't remember how much.

    Bummer man!
    Life is either an adventure... or you're not doing it right!!!

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