Are Biki bikes safer for riders?
Big numbers for Biki rides, but are all the bikes adding to the number of bicycle accidents on Oahu? Island News takes a look to see how the numbers add up.
Big numbers for Biki, but are all the bikes adding to the number of bicycle accidents on Oahu?
Biki bikes can be spotted all around Honolulu
"Biki launched in the end of June 2017, so we've been in operation for a year and a half and we just hit the million ride mark in august," said Justine Espiritu, the Grants and Programs Manager for Bike share Hawaii.
It is hard to miss the brightly colored bikes. That visibility may be one of the reasons the company says it hasn't had any major bicycle accidents.
"When folks are in an accident, we ask them to call us immediately. We haven't had too many of those call. Just a couple of folk say they have been in a collision. We haven't had any calls of major accidents, so its been pretty good," said Espiritu.
State accident data backs up the Biki claim. Showing the rates have not significantly changed after Biki rolled out onto the roads, even with the addition of the million rides.
It may help that Biki bikes have lights on the front and the back, lights on all the time.
"It is a really good idea that they have that. It would be nice if regular road bikes had that, because not everybody has a headlight or a back light, said Oahu resident Sharon Milburn.
"And a light that stays on when you are at a traffic light, that makes a big difference," added her husband Sid.
Lights on the front of bikes are required by law, but only reflectors are needed on the back.
"You definitely should have lights at night, upfront and in the rear and have reflectors as well. They are really essential for you being seen. drivers can't stop for you, yield to you unless they see you," said Hawaii Bicycling League Co-Director Daniel Alexander
If drivers see more bicyclists, in part because of the additional Biki rides, it may benefit everyone on two wheels.
"The more people are out there, the more awareness there is. The more drivers are attentive and looking for bicyclists when they go to make a right hand turn and making sure when they cross over that bike lane that there is not a bicyclist on their side," added Alexander.
Accident numbers along King Street have gone down since 2016, as more riders use the bike route and more drivers know they are there. But King Street, Ala Moana Boulevard and Kalakaua Avenue remain streets where the most bicycle accidents take place.
To help riders become more cognizant of ways to be safe, Hawaii Bicycling League offers free bike basics classes, which allow participants to use Biki bikes for free.