City responds to critics as new bike-sharing program gears up for launch

Oahu’s new bicycle-sharing program is getting ready to launch.

You should be able to start renting bikes on June 28.

Bicycle stations, or Biki stops, have started to pop up around town, and will be available for rent between Diamond Head and Chinatown.

“You can only ride it in our service area, and our prices are designed for short trips of one to two miles,” said Lori McCarney, Bikeshare Hawaii CEO.

But we’ve learned that Biki has already hit some road blocks. Not everyone’s loving the idea, or at least where the Biki stops are being placed.

One Biki stop is in front of Chase Hawaii Rentals, which also rents bicycles.

“They just installed a big kiosk here,” Brent Chase told KHON2.”Earlier this morning, we had a little bit of a standoff, because we really were objecting to having this thing installed right in front of our location.”

He’s worried it’ll take away customers from his business.

“Like every day, we have at least 50 customers a day renting our bicycles going to Diamond Head,” Chase said.

But the city calls it a win-win situation for those businesses.

“As it relates to bike sales and rentals, other cities have done studies — New York, Chicago — that have shown that bike share actually improves and helps those shops, because it brings people to their shops that otherwise wouldn’t have been coming there.”

“We’re like a fast food restaurant with one hamburger, and they’re like a full-service restaurant with a lot of things,” McCarney said.

“I totally disagree. I don’t see how them renting bike share across from me is going to be good for me,” said Larry Valle, Big Kahuna Motorcycle Tours and Rentals.

Others are worried about the potential impact to traffic and hazard for bicycle renters.

“My main concern is the way they’re setting it up,” said Waikiki resident Nolan Tallett. “First of all, the bikes are going to be out on the street and sticking out on the street, so as people pull out the bikes, they’ll be in the middle of the street.”

The city says it checked on the proposed sites and made sure they’re safe and won’t interfere with traffic.

“For the most part, most of the stations have gone in without anybody having any issues or any concerns,” McCarney said.

McCarney adds that changes will be made if needed.

“All the bike stations will be out by next Thursday. At that point, after we start operation, then we’re going to be able to assess the situation at each of these bike stations and see if we need to make adjustments,” she said.

Bicycle rentals start at $3.50 for a single half-hour ride. There are also price plans, like a $15/month pass for unlimited half-hour rides.

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