• Dirty dogs
• It’s simple
• Let’s ban the ‘fraidy’ cats
• Motorists change attitudes
While I’m sure all of us can empathize with both sides of the debate about dogs being allowed on the bike path it seems there are a few other things to consider (“Quality of life issue,” Letters, May 19).
If all dog owners kept their animals on leashes and carried bags for cleaning up their dog feces the argument would fall firmly on the side of allowing dogs on the path. Unfortunately, Kaua‘i is the worst place I’ve ever seen at complying with these laws.
Have you been to any beach lately? Count the number of unleashed dogs and observe just how many owners are carrying bags to clean up after their little family members as they routinely defecate on our beaches. There are clearly more dog owners with dogs off leash and running at will than there are following the law. I’ve seen dog owners walk over and cover the poop with sand in a futile attempt to look responsible, only to have children digging for sand castles get a handful a short time later. I’ve had a dog poop a “diarrhea combination” less than three feet from where my daughters were playing in the sand (no owner in sight, probably out surfing). I’ve seen a dog bite a 6-year-old child as he was running to the water because he ran too close to the master’s chair. It’s common to visit Baby Beach, Kealia Beach, or Tunnels and have an unpleasant dog encounter. The real question to ponder is: “Does a majority of the tax-paying public believe dog owners will do the same thing to the bike path they’re currently doing to our beaches?”
If the answer is probably, then the argument falls firmly on the side of “No dogs allowed.”
I’m sure everyone would agree that dodging, stepping in, cleaning our children’s shoes from, or smelling dog feces on the bike path would not be acceptable. So here’s a novel idea: Let’s give dog walkers a chance to prove themselves. Those of you who are using leashes and carrying clean-up bags on our beaches chastise those who aren’t.
When those miscreant individuals heed your call and prove by their actions they have respect for the law and can be responsible for the mess and health hazard they’re already creating in the majority of our recreational areas, the path should be made available. Most of us would love to see responsible owners with well behaved, clean dogs on leashes frolicking on the bike path and introducing themselves to passing strangers in the spirit of love and affection. But having an animal on a public bike path or recreational area is a privilege, not a right. It has to be earned. As of now our wonderful dog community has failed miserably to earn that privilege. Until then, Becky Rhoades is correct and this is a quality of life issue; but it falls directly in favor of “No dogs allowed.”
But then, it’s only the law isn’t it?
A significant number of it’s-all-about-me dog owners are currently demonstrating that society’s laws are made to be broken and are ruining it for everyone else … aren’t they?
I just got back from Phoenix with its 60-plus miles of bicycle/pedestrian paths where leashed dogs are welcome and clean-up bag dispensers are available at regular intervals. The paths were clean, the dogs, their owners and other pedestrians happily shared the paths. So why can’t Kaua‘i allow responsible dog owners to walk their dogs on leashes on the new coastal path and clean up after them and cite the ones who don’t?
Let’s ban the ‘fraidy’ cats
I don’t know when the transition occurred, but at some point, the “fraidy cats” started calling the shots for us. This country became great because men with courage and imagination made it great. Now the imagination of far too many is turned toward worst case scenarios and fear. They imagine their island being destroyed by a single daily boat trip, or being ravaged by dogs (on leashes no less) on a coastal path, or GMOs devouring our food. Any act of boldness is soon paralyzed by fear of litigation. It’s time to get a grip.
I moved here from California many years ago. In that state, you have 30-plus million people looking out for your safety and protecting you from yourself. That first year, I drove past a spot in Koke‘e where you and your car could visit the Waimea River in a matter of seconds. Like a Californian I thought: “Someone has to do something about this.” By the next year, when I drove by, I thought “Going over this edge would have to be deliberate; I’m safe; but, what about the suicidal?” By the third year, when I drove by, I celebrated the fact that the site was unchanged. That celebration and perspective continues.
We can’ t rejoice in our “rural lifestyle” and then do something like ban convertibles from the Tree Tunnel because a falling branch could put your eye out. Now don’t be disingenuous and suggest I’m writing against ocean safety or using armed force against crazed druggies. Those things are real. I’m writing about the things that are imagined and the fraidy cats that imagine them. I’m writing that we should end the uncommon nonsense behind banning boats, banning dogs and banning science.
I don’t care for the trend in abbreviated language; but, I’m still suggesting this texting acronym: FDR. It will be short for: “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.”
Motorists change attitudes
Kaua‘i needs change in motorists attitudes towards cyclists and the island environment.
I am a guest on your island for one month and have been bicycling regularly. I sadly report that this is the worst environment for cycling that I have ever experienced. I have been harassed by many motorists with verbal threats, profanity and unsafe driving practices. The roads are littered with trash and broken bottles that make utilizing the bike lanes almost impractical. The Garden Island? I think not.
You have the perfect climate to encourage cycling for transportation, recreation and shopping but in one month I saw only 23 road cyclists. In my hometown I would see that many in one hour. This is a really sad situation that Kauaians should address. And to the driver of the black Chevy sedan license KYW 5—, who stopped in front of me to harass me, I did not report you to the police but probably should have. And to the two Matson container truck drivers who showed extra consideration, I say “Thank you.”