Transportation vs recreation

I stand corrected. I guess I made a mistake. Not the first time. Won’t be the last. And I thank those of you who so adamantly pointed that out to me. I’m not perfect.

I guess the laws regarding bicycles have changed over the years. However, I will stick my neck out once again saying that when the current laws were enacted, the lawmakers likely assumed that they were dealing with a situation that involved another source of “transportation.”

And at the time, that may have been true. Today, there are many communities where the bicycle is a good alternate source of transportation, for which I think it was originally intended. Even Honolulu shows that bicycles have helped with the traffic situation in town and in Waikiki.

But here on Kauai? I don’t see it at all. Here on our island, bicycling has become primarily a “recreation.” I know there are some that do use their bikes for transportation, like the editor of this newspaper. But I’m guessing that he is only one of a very few that rides his bike to work.

Of the 50 or so bike riders that participated in the Rice Street ride, I wonder how many of them ride their bikes to work. Or is it just a “recreation” thing.

People drive motor vehicles to drive to work and back home; to take their kids to school and to pick them up after school. They use them to go to a doctor’s appointment; or go shopping; they drive to church, and many other reason. They’re not driving for “recreation.” It’s our primary source of transportation and I don’t foresee that changing during my life time or anytime soon.

The main point of my “opinion” printed in the Feb. 15 Garden Island newspaper was to stress the extreme dangers of bicycles sharing the street along side of, and sometimes (too many times here on Kauai) directly in the vehicular lanes.

I may have been in error about the laws pertaining to bicycles, but I was expressing my concern for the safety of cyclists and never mentioned the problems they cause for vehicular traffic. Yet some have rudely and disrespectfully berated me for my opinion mentioning “my attitude”; called me a “fool and fanatic”; a “troll”; all this from anonymous individuals that likely don’t even know me. Wow! Such nice people we have living on Kauai nowadays.

I wonder why “Bikes on Rice” decided to use Rice Street. We all know that Rice Street is a substandard street with substandard lane widths and substandard striping and no designated bicycle lanes.

The taxpayers spent millions of dollars purchasing additional right of way and building nice wide bicycle lanes on Kaumualii Highway, and on Kapule Highway, making it safer for cyclists. Millions of dollars have been spent on the “multi-use” path which was primarily built for bicycles. Why didn’t the group just settle to ride in one of these safer location? One that was specifically built for their safety.

And to the individuals that commented that I should try riding a bicycle . I do own a bicycle. And I do ride from time to time. Just for the exercise.

But I ride on the residential roads in our neighborhood. I don’t even go out onto Kuamoo Road because I don’t want to put myself in danger and more importantly, I don’t want to cause any inconvenience for people driving vehicles along Kuamoo Road.

I feel that their journey is likely more important than my “recreation”. But that’s just me. It’s called “consideration.”

It’s part of “courtesy, consideration and respect.” That’s what “aloha” is all about.

•••

Larry Arruda is a Kapaa resident.

5 Comments
  1. Charlie Chimknee February 28, 2018 2:42 am Reply

    Mahalo Larry, most of us hear you and agree with you.

    It would seem akamai right now to restrict all bicycles from using Kuhio Hwy from north Kealia to the south side of the Wailua Bridge wherever it exits into Lydgate Park; and instead all bikes and wheeled things should be made to use the bike path for both biker safety and highway vehicle use and priority to motor vehicles and traffic movement.

    With this in mind, the continued construction of the bike path(s) should continue circling all the island where possible and of course except the Na Pali.

    This would open the path to more transportation use of the Bike Path vs. Recreation.

    As well, it might improve transportation use if different multi passenger type bicycles were used with both sun and rain protection design.

    Other countries use multi person bicycles on their bike paths and minor neighborhood roads. Why not Kauai with mostly perfect weather on the periphery of the island.

    Mahalo,

    Charles


  2. Lihue bicyclist commuter February 28, 2018 6:17 am Reply

    There were many well-written, well-researched responses to your Feb. 15th opinion letter. Only a few had a disrespectful tone. Let’s focus on the others because many make excellent points you did not bring up here. Many sited that bicycles have the same legal rights as cars. Your point is that despite this legal right, you feel it is too dangerous.

    I commute through Lihue to work on bike, and I was on the Rice Street ride that you are referring to. I also drive a car as well. I often use the new bike routes on the highway you mention to ride to Lydate and am happy my taxes were used for this. I sometimes use the multi-use bike path, but many, not all, pedestrians are inattentive, have dogs darting back and forth on long leashes, or have small children running about. This makes it a great place for walkers, but not a relaxing route to ride my bike for exercise as you suggest.

    I would suggest, driving too fast, being distracted by phones, being ignorant of bicycle laws and behaviors, and finally the attitude of motor vehicle drivers are my biggest safety concerns while riding. Many of these “dangers” are dangers to other cars as well. The difference is the drivers are better protected in cars. The problem is, that drivers become comfortable with this and forget that bicyclists are not as well-protected.

    Cars should remain aware of motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians at all times. Cars should not speed around blind corners assuming there is no bicyclist today, because they haven’t seen one yesterday. For anyone truly concerned for bicyclists safety, let’s get to know some of the Lihue bike community? Let’s focus on the problems of distracted driving, speeding, and driving with a bad attitude. Talking with many police in the past, I am consistently told that motor vehicle accidents are rarely about a lack of skill, and 90% about bad attitude and inattentiveness.

    Larry, I am happy you ride a bicycle for exercise. That does not mean that others should not choose to ride for transportation. When you come to Lihue, please look out for me. I will be on my bicycle, on the right side of the road. I may cross over lanes to the left in preparation for a left turn as the law allows. I will use my hand signals required by law, so I hope you remember them. I will have a helmet and reflectors on my bicycle. I will do everything in my power to stay safe during my ride to work. Please do everything in your power to keep me safe as well. Please don’t use you phone, and don’t be angry with me. If we truly share the road, we can both make it to our destinations safety. Thank you.


  3. James Donohue February 28, 2018 7:00 am Reply

    Have you considered that some of these cyclists might be tourists?


  4. Just Saying February 28, 2018 2:26 pm Reply

    One thing that makes Kauai “Paradise” is that it is still underpopulated enough (oh yes it is!) and rural enough, that everyone can easily adapt to, and give up use of, Rice Street, or any street, for one single day!


  5. A cyclist February 28, 2018 3:16 pm Reply

    The “Bikes on Rice” didn’t actually ride on Rice Street. We rode around neighborhoods and at a slow speed, making sure that motorists saw us and were aware of the presents of bicycles. We did this so people that are not the most confident on riding on streets would gain some confidence and allow motorists to see that cyclists can co-exist with motorists without incident. You can’t un-ring the bell with bicycles on roads, so it’s going to take cooperation on both sides to make it safe everyone. If you want to fully understand the goals of “Bikes on Rice” show up and participant and not speculate.


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