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It's time for Hawaii's people to get on our bikes and ride
Read the full article on Star Advertiser.
Hawaii has some tough problems: traffic congestion, the rail controversy, energy costs, the ravages of obesity and shrinking disposable income. Bicycles could be a broad solution, right under our noses.
Could there be a more ideal place for cycling? The weather is moderate, the trades are friendly and the topography is perfect. How can we do rail, energy or health initiatives when we haven't yet done bikes?
Honolulu has become a freeway of malls. Our kids have grown up swamped in a sea of traffic. They never rode to school or felt the Zen of the bicycle, as so many did before and so many still do elsewhere.
Today's high-tech bikes can give us individual mass transit; reduce parking, transportation costs and dependence on oil; improve our quality of life and tourism; and keep our kids here. What's not to like?
But drivers love their cars. They buy 2-ton, gas-guzzling, gadget-laden SUVs for $50,000 plus. They drive around in tinted bubbles, hardly noticing the world around, often with a single driver sitting in traffic for hours. The economics are atrocious.
So is the congestion. Frustrated by going nowhere, drivers profile cyclists as scofflaws who get in the way. They deny cyclists any rightful place on the road. They don't realize that one good honk or nasty epithet can scare any rider.
They don't know about Kamehameha's Law of the Splintered Paddle, giving everyone a place on the road. They don't know that state law (291C-145 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes) allows cyclists to take a whole lane if required for safety.