Biki Bikes: Rolling billboards?
On the eve of the launch of the city's Biki bike share program, crews are busy installing the bicycles around town.
HONOLULU - Crews were busy putting about bikes in place in time for Wednesday's roll out.
The whole system is to go live in the morning and there are high hopes that it will succeed in getting people to hit the road in something else besides a car.
The Biki Bikes look nice, shiny and new.
But wait, are those ads?
These bikes also come with advertising, on the front by the handlebars and by the tires.
But Bike Share Hawaii's CEO said that's not advertising.
She said because five companies donated money totaling a million bucks, they get their logo placed on the bike for all to see.
But she wouldn't call them ads.
"It's the donors’ logo. No ads. No catchy, ‘buy this, two for one.’ We are trying to give them an opportunity to support a healthy environmentally friendly transportation option," said Lori McCarney who has been spearheading the Biki Bike launch.
But the Outdoor Circle disagrees and is bracing for a 1,000 rolling billboards on the streets as the bikes go live on Wednesday.
But another controversy about the placement of the bikes in Kapiolani Park has forced the city to put the installation of bike stations in the park itself, on hold.
The park watchdog group is questioning whether the station locations violate trust rules by granting exclusive use of park land.
The city’s parks department sees it differently.
It said the arrangement isn’t a long term lease.
It has given the non-profit group a right of entry for a transportation use and believes it’s an appropriate use of the park.
“The purpose of bike share is for transportation and it increases access to the park and it’s a beneficial mode of transportation like the bus,” said Parks Director Michelle Nekota.
The City Council wears another hat as trustees of the park trust.
The Kapiolani Park Preservation Society offered a solution to what they see is an inherent conflict of interest.
The council must weigh park funding and maintenance with keeping the park free and open to the public.
The watchdog says it prefers not to have to take an adversarial position, suggesting the council members remove themselves as trustees.
"It's just a waste of everyone's time and money. We would vastly prefer instead of hitting you guys with legal challenges, to work constructively together," said Donna Ching of the Kapiolani Park Preservation Society.
The council is to hold a special meeting to take up the Biki Bike issue and may file a petition with the court to ask for guidance.