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Navigating the Bicycling Boom on Maui During the Pandemic

Courtesy: Maui Bicycling League.

Maui Bicycling League emphasized the rise of first-time bikers on Maui and the importance of sharing the road with cyclists as it grows in popularity during the pandemic.

Like many communities across the globe, Maui has experienced a bicycling boom since the start of the pandemic, according to the Maui Bicycling League.

The group reports that this growth in popularity “is to be expected, considering cycling enables riders to spend time outdoors and get exercise, all while still following the recommended social-distancing guidelines.”  

According to PeopleforBikes, 10% of adults rode a bike for the first time in one or more years, 87% of whom plan to stick with bicycling beyond the pandemic. As the bicycling boom continues to grow on Maui, Maui Bicycling League offered a few reminders to help keep the community safe. 

The group reports that biking infrastructure on Maui is still a work in progress. “While Maui does not have the same facilities as cycling hot spots in Europe and some US cities, there are still several beautiful paths and greenways designated for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as a handful of bikeway projects currently in the works,” according to the Maui Bicycling League.

Bicyclists are expected to follow all signs and signals and yield to pedestrians when riding on shared pathways. The group asks the public to refrain from riding on private property such as golf courses, Kāʻanapali Beach Walk, Wailea Beach Path, and any paths that are marked as prohibited from cycling.

When separate bikeway facilities are not available, cyclists may ride on public roads using marked bike lanes and wide shoulders. When sharing the road with motorized vehicles, riders are expected to follow all Hawaiʻi State Laws and demonstrate proper cycling etiquette. 

Cycling Safety Tips:

  • Ride single file in the same direction as traffic and to the right of the lane
  • Use hand signals when making turns and stopping
  • Be visible, ride predictably and consistently. Wear bright colors and equip your bike with adequate lighting. 
  • Helmets are strongly recommended for all bicyclists, and required by law for riders under the age of 16.
  • Stay alert. Avoid using earbuds, talking on the phone, etc. 

Message to Drivers:

Motorists should always drive with regard for the safety of others. To be cautious, drivers should expect bicycles on all roadways. When encountering a person riding a bicycle, slow your speed, pass only if the oncoming lane is clear, and leave a minimum distance of 3 feet when passing. Exercise extreme caution when turning blind corners, making right turns, and driving in reverse. Be patient, be kind and share the road. And most importantly, pay attention, for distracted driving can have serious consequences. 

Moving forward:

“Whether you are a driver, a walker or a cyclist, it is extremely important to follow the rules of the road and treat one another with respect. The majority of collisions and injuries can be avoided if both motorists and cyclists obey traffic laws and watch out for each other,” according to the Maui Bicycling League.

As cycling continues to grow in our community and tourists begin returning to our island, the Maui Bicycling League says now is the time to advocate for better infrastructure. 

“Let’s come together and celebrate this extraordinary bicycling boom as an opportunity to increase community health, reduce our carbon footprints and burn off that COVID-19 stress and anxiety,” said Saman Dias, Maui Bicycling League Chair, “residents, businesses, and public officials must all work together to improve the safety and mobility of our streets.” 

Original source: https://mauinow.com/2021/02/17/navigating-the-bicycling-boom-on-maui-during-the-pandemic/

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