On this Sunday, we find primarily recreational bike riders in downtown Honolulu – but even on a workday, fewer than 5% of commuters use a bicycle to get to work. It’s a statistic Mayor Kirk Caldwell would like to change by creating a bike-only lane on King Street from downtown to University Avenue.
“It’s the first one in an urban core setting on this island for sure. And so it means is, where the cars are parked right now, we’ll move them out and what it means is that in between the sidewalk and where the cars are parked, will be where the bikes will ride,” Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said.
This will offer challenges to bicyclists and drivers.
“Of course, the drivers when they turn left from King street to go mauka have to watch for the cyclists and cyclists as they’re going straight or making turns have to watch out for the cars,” bicyclist from the Hawaii Bicycling League Chad Taniguchi said.
“And it’s safer. And you know, some crazy drivers nowadays,” bicyclist Richard Leano said.
“Some drivers they kind of like don’t know how to drive and they can be a little impatient when they like turn and stuff. And we’re just like regular bikers and we’re just like trying to go our way,” bicyclist Ansen Defrancia said.
In case there’s any doubt these young men don’t know what they’re talking about – - they’re students at Campbell High School and rode into town from EWA BEACH! The downtown bike lane plan would probably have more of an impact on those who live and work downtown.
“I think most people, if you asked them at the end of the week would they want to drive more or would they have preferred to bike a little more – I think most people would say they’d prefer to bike,” Taniguchi said.
Taniguchi and others say, in a place where the sun shines nearly year round, Honolulu would do well to encourage people to get on their bikes and ride.
“This is what they do in Europe, this is what they do in Asia – so we’re going the model. I believe, if you build it, they will ride,” Caldwell said.