Five people were injured at the annual Haleiwa Metric Century ride Sunday afternoon after witnesses say two men started assaulting bicyclists participating in the event.
Chad Taniguchi, executive director of the Hawaii Bicycling League, was riding in an escort van when he noticed a driver confronting the bicyclists, who were riding along Kamehameha Hwy. near Haleiwa.
“They could have passed easily, there was no problem doing that,” Taniguchi said. “For some reason, the driver went in front of the cyclist, parked the car and proceeded to push and punch the guy.”
Taniguchi says two men began attacking three bicyclists, and then ran over one of the bicycles. When he pulled over to help, he was attacked and suffered a broken foot. Another staff member was also injured.
Taniguchi says he believes the two men had been previously drinking.
Taniguchi stresses this was an isolated incident in a bike ride that has been held for years. He estimates about 900 riders took part in Sunday’s ride.
“We probably had thousands of drivers passing,” he said. “From our perspective, it’s a public road… and we all have to learn to use it together.
“I think there is growing awareness on the part of the public that bicyclists have the right to use the roads,” Taniguchi added. “We’re counting on our government to make the roads safer, counting on the police to enforce the law and counting on our fellow citizens to recognize that everyone has the right to use the roads, whether they drive a car, truck, bus, or choose to walk, bike or ride a motorcycle. These are choices we should be allowed to make and whatever choice we make, we should all be safe doing it.”
Police arrested both men on suspicion of third-degree assault. One of the men was released on $1,000 bail, the other was released without charges.