BIKI Bikes: Safety and signs among launch concerns
Honolulu’s bike share program was five years in the making. It's reality now. The next step is shaking out the bugs.
HONOLULU - Honolulu’s bike share program was five years in the making. It's reality now. The next step is shaking out the bugs.
The Biki "bugs" could include locations, and maybe pricing according to the mayor. At least that’s been some of the early criticism.
Among those test driving the Biki bikes are those who work downtown, like lawmakers and state workers who pound the pavement and now, maybe don't need to.
"I wouldn’t mind making a run to the Supreme Court dropping it off and coming back.” So, it works for you?, we asked. “Yeah, less wear on my work shoes," said Judiciary worker Annie Halstein.
Halstein's co- worker and Biki bike buddy said they had a lot of fun but, they also had a close call with a car .
"When we are out here without a bike lane, it’s a little bit, a little bit scary," said Biki bike rider Dana Nakasato.
Honolulu's mayor is asking for everyone's Kokua in these early days of Biki on the road and sidewalks.
"I actually think being a little more careful, drive a little slower. Think if any of us impacted a pedestrian in an accident, we would feel terrible. Let’s be safer. I think at the end of the day people will be able to get used to this," said Mayor Kirk Caldwell.
As the public works through the shakedown period some have begun also questioning the need for signage on the bikes. Honolulu has the strictest signage laws in the nation and the Outdoor Circle likens it to mini-moving billboards it could do without.
"We would just say, it's not necessary and we feel it goes against the spirit of the signage laws that prohibit outdoor advertising," said the Outdoor Circle’s Executive Director Winston Welch.
Welch applauds the donors for their support of getting people to get healthy and enjoy the outdoors, but wonders if recognition could have taken another form.
"What we not for is this visual blight, or visual pollution which is being displayed on this bike," said Welch.
In some cities the advertising is on the bike stations, but that wouldn’t fly with Honolulu’s anti-billboard laws. Biki Bikes said while it’s within the law that allows some advertising on moving vehicles, it did not structure the program that way. It had sought sponsorships initially, but then opted for a different model.
"Then the organizations who had come up front when they really didn’t really know what we were frankly, and gave us significant amounts of money and we said, let's recognize them," said of Bike Share Hawaii CEO Lori McCarney.
McCarney said Bike Share Hawaii will be looking for other donors with hopes it can one day expand the program to the University of Hawaii and neighborhoods like Kalihi and Kaimuki. She also hopes to tap federal funds to help minimize the impact on local taxpayers--all part of Biki Bike Share now, and beyond.