Letters for Sunday, January 20, 2019

Think before you speak

Prettier, more articulate, but still Hawaii’s own Sarah Palin.

I, too, was raised in a conservative, Christian household that subscribed to the same “values” as Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. They shared the same views on the LGBTQ community (and also thought that MLK was a “rabble-rouser stirring up the blacks”). The difference is that I could do my own critical thinking at an earlier age — like 12. Just saying.

Gayla McCarthy, Waimea

Bicylists face dangerous situations on the road

I have been a mountain and road bicyclist on Kauai for nearly 25 years. Most everyone knows that the sides of the roadways are, for the most part, overgrown with grass, shrubs and, in certain areas, noxious, invasive “cat’s claw.”

The state and county cannot keep up with the maintenance to keep Kauai’s roads clean and safe for those who commute and exercise along them. Add to this the traffic congestion, along with a disregard for pedestrians’ and bicyclists’ “right of way,” and you create an extremely dangerous condition. It can also involve litigation, which will cost government and individuals large sums of money.

Most people show aloha to us, but it only takes one vehicle to kill a bicyclist or pedestrian. I personally have been hit by a Kauai Bus (yes, I filed a KPD report, and complaint at DOT, with no effect), and several close calls by individuals who challenged my right to access Kauai’s roads.

I contacted KPD again this week, and they verified bicyclist ( and pedestrian) rights on Kauai’s roadways, so long as the individual bike rider has the proper lights, license, goes with the flow, and stays to the right edge of the road.

The bike path is a limited good, safe place to bike and walk (and that is even getting very busy with tourists walking and riding rental bikes). I use it whenever I can. We need to expand our bike path.

Motorists need to be reminded/educated about bicyclist and pedestrian rights of way on our roadways.

Mahalo to those who already do so.

Sherwood Conant, Kapaa

10 Comments
  1. james January 20, 2019 7:33 am Reply

    Just curious although I agree with your letter: you said “with the proper lights, license…….”. What type of license do you need to ride a bike here?


  2. Bluedream January 20, 2019 7:52 am Reply

    I think Gayla McCarthy has trouble with women who run for office that are of American Samoan descent. I was only a small child when I could see past the color of ones skin. Just sayin’.


  3. Charlie Chimknee January 20, 2019 8:10 am Reply

    Aloha Kakou, Aloha Sherwood,

    May it be pointed out that there are a few things that FLY IN THE FACE OF REASON when it comes to riding a bike or walking on the side of the 2 HIGHWAYS on Kauai.

    The Kuhio Highway (east and north) and the Kaumualii Highway (south and west), are both designated as HIGHWAYS, they are not titled or named as “Roads” or “Way”, or “Street” or any other name for a vehicle’s or bicycle or pedestrian use.

    There Is a reason for this, Highways are predominantly used for “higher” if not “taller” or greater purposes…at least in most places. Taller, as in cars and trucks compared to bikes or pedestrians. And thus you hear the sayings “2 lane” Highway, even up to 3 lanes (Kuhio), and 4, 6, 8, 10, and even 12 lanes, e.g., in Los Angeles, where they are called Freeways, and like Kauai Highways are hardly such during molasses paced “Rush Hours”.

    As can be clearly seen, a bike and rider, or a pedestrian, on our 2 highways, traveling at slow cycling and walking speeds where all vehicles are “racing” past them, except in the molasses rush hours, are at the mercy of their own motion safety coupled with the speeding velocity of the motor vehicles including the Big Rig trucks and big busses, whose air draft alone can push you aside or knock you down or suck you in under their tires. Or perhaps you stumble while walking, or hit a small rock or swerve to avoid one, and fall or turn into the vehicle lane.

    Proof that at least 50% of the drivers using the Kuhio Hwy. think it unsafe to rely on the inside lane (coned or not) wherein the safety barrier is only the cones or a thin painted double line in the road, is that about 50% of the people drive in the outer lane of the 2 lane side of the road.

    Yet you Sherwood, and 50% of the vehicle drivers and 100% of you other bicycle and pedestrian highway users believe that you with no protection vs. speeding vehicles is safe just because you have the right and choice to use the side of the roads. What value do you place on life? To some of us you are like civilians walking tall and falsely proud through a war zone during an active “fire fight”…bullets a flying by…just like the cars and trucks passing you a few feet away. Don’t you feel just a little bit foolish if not downright stupide doing that? Especially when vehicles may need to swerve into you by choice of avoiding an oncoming head on collision or error or DUI…?

    Of course you have the right to ride or walk the side of the highway, you also have the right to live or die and/or gamble with your life.

    In less than 3 weeks of 2019 Kauai has had 2 traffic fatalities and 1 in critical condition and who all were in heavy metal protected vehicles. What are the odds of survival of a bicyclist or a pedestrian vs motor vehicles? I’v actually had a bicyclist fall into my lane near Nukolii forcing me to choose to drive over him in my truck or swerving into the oncoming lane, thank God for all of us no vehicle was oncoming at that moment as I would have been forced to choose to squash the bicyclist into smithereens, and probably take his life and be burdened with grief and perhaps guilt over the slaughter of another human, even not at my own fault.

    But you highway bike riders and walkers must also consider the inhalation you make with every breath while going along the highway. You see every passing car is “exhaling” exhaust fumes filled with Carbon Monoxide, a deadly gas that literally causes “auto” (self) asphyxiation (just like being strangled) due to the Carbon Monoxide molecule attaching to a Red Blood Cell (RBC) in our lungs where only Oxygen should attach. For some reason the Carbon Monoxide remains attached for the rest of the life of a RBC, the life of a RBC is approximately 120 days, and build up of Carbon Monoxide on RBC’s in the bloods deprives the body and its organs of Oxygen and that causes accelerated degeneration to your organs and an earlier death than nature intended. The same is true for cigarettes, the nicotine in tobacco causes blood vessel shrinkage or vasoconstriction, wherein less Oxygen gets to your organs and same accelerated organ degeneration occurs with every nicotine inhale you take and you die early, not only of just lung disease, but also other organ failure due to oxygen starvation.

    Further many gasoline fuels are LEADED, we can assume that because some gas is advertised as UNLEADED, and heavy metal LEAD is in the exhaust you breathe, WHEN YOU are around vehicles especially long lines of moving VEHICLES on the highway or even some busy roads on Kauai

    The exhaust coming from highway vehicles contains Lead, like heavy metal Mercury in fish, heavy metal in the human body is not capable of being excreted from ourselves and so we accumulate it in our bodies over time until it causes us severe health problems too many to mention, death is one of them.

    It is foolish to walk or ride along the highways on Kauai or anywhere, take the wonderful fresh oxygen filled air, and incredible views of the Bike Path in Kapa’a and hopefully the path will be on all of Kauai one day.

    You’ll have to make your choice as to use of any road or street as to safety as to injury or death or vehicle exhaust poisoning…better to err on the side of conservative…meaning don’t take a chance. In Honolulu, even at very slow speeds compared to the highways, people are killed several times per year. Be sure to wear a helmet wherever you choose to bike.

    Mahalo for reading this…

    Charles


  4. Charlie Chimknee January 20, 2019 8:25 am Reply

    Aloha again Sherwood , what a coincidence , well sad, but a Pedestrian was found on H-2 near Mililani in critical condition. Paramedics transported the man to a trauma facility in critical condition this morning after responding to a call about a pedestrian on the H-2 freeway. This was today. Please protect yourself in all ways and always.

    Mahalo,

    Charles


  5. kauaiboy January 20, 2019 8:41 am Reply

    So true, Gayla McCarthy.

    I was raised by a pair of bigoted parents, who hated, in succession, blacks (n…rs), Italians (guineas), Jews (k..es), Mexicans (wetbacks), even the Irish (micks). My old man, who fought in WWII, was pretty much an Archie Bunker from the barrier-breaking TV show “All in the Family”, while my mom was a spitting image of Archie’s wife Edith.

    I was about 12 or 13 when i began to question their beliefs. By the time I went off to college, I was fully anti-establishment and had learned to judge people by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin, their financial situation, or even what foods they preferred.

    I have two siblings, one of whom evolved similarly to myself and one who still acts like my old man.

    Sorry to say, both my dad, now deceased, and my clueless brother were, and are, deplorable and, in my opinion, incorrigible.

    You do have to wonder about politicians who change their channels when the winds blow the wrong way for their advancing politically, long after they should have known better.

    Thanks for reminding us of the current state of affairs.


  6. manongindashadow0711 January 20, 2019 9:05 am Reply

    “Cyclist should ride at the edge of the road.” What is edge of the road? Is it where the white solid line separate the vehicle driving lane and the shoulder or the edge closest to the vegetation of the roadway.
    Also, while cyclist are on the shoulder of the roadway are they allowed to ride side by side on the shoulder? I think, “not!” Our shoulders of the roadway isn’t wide enough and to mention the overgrowth entering the shoulder. Several times I’ve seen cyclist riding side by side on the shoulder. Which is dangerous for the oncoming vehicle (heading in in the same direction as the cyclist). Because with the new law, vehicles have to move over towards the center of the highway to leave enough space between the cyclist and the vehicle’s passenger mirror.

    On another thought, “is cyclist riding up to Kokee along with cars, trucks, and semis safe on Kokee’s blinding curves?


  7. Steven McMacken January 20, 2019 9:05 am Reply

    Wow. Two intelligent letters on the same day. Must be a full moon!


  8. John Zwiebel January 20, 2019 9:39 am Reply

    I used to ride my mountain bike all over Santa Cruz. The roads around Kalaheo are a death trap. I haven’t ridden since moving to Kauai.


  9. billyjoebob January 21, 2019 11:44 am Reply

    Mr. Zweibel, Santa Cruz? Don’t you know that the government did experiments with airborne LSD. This would explain a lot.


  10. Michael January 29, 2019 4:37 pm Reply

    I too am one of the few crazy people who attempt to ride a bike to work; Kapaa – Lihue, 22 miles round trip, and so it’s really nice to see this letter. I too have complained about the overgrowth of grass making the already dangerous stretch on Kuhio Hwy passing the prison even more dangerous. In addition to safety for those crazy enough to use the bike lane, I do think in the long run it would help traffic if the county would spend the funds to widen the lane at least in this section which I understand is the most dangerous on the island.


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