by Susan Yamane

Nothing gets a community talking like the discussion of bike lanes.  With the re-election of Mayor Kirk Caldwell, the bike lanes will continue and the debate will rage on.

Ridership has increased on the King Street Protected bike lane and it has proven itself to be efficient more than an eyesore. The Beretania bike lane is complete and McCully and Waimanalo are proceeding.  The population in Hawaii will continue to grow, alternative modes of transportation need to be looked at or there will be other problems in the future.  Bicycle lanes benefit you, even if you don’t ride a bike.

plandesign_facilitydesign_bicycle_bikelane1Here’s why:

  1. Bike lanes create structure and safety to the road everyone uses.
  1. Kauai County received a $13 million federal grant to work on transportation infrastructure which includes bicycle lanes. Kauai ranks the highest in the county for bicycle injuries.
  1. In 2013 there were only 2 bicycle fatalities in Hawaii.

4. In a national ranking Hawaii ranks 20 in being one of the deadliest states to ride in.

  1. Love them or hate them bikes are here to stay. With the cost of living rising, people are opting for more economical ways to commute to work.
  1. Healthier citizens! The more people you have using something other than cars means healthier people.  That can have a positive impact on your healthcare system.  Doctors will spend less time on treating conditions such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, etc.
  1. Bike lanes will encourage people to give bikes a try because there is a SAFE place for them to be on the road and they have a place on the road.
  1. The more people that choose riding a bike as their mode of transportation are actually doing a HUGE favor to the environment rather than those who ride vehicles.
  1. If your town is pro-bike lanes then it means your roads are most likely safer because bikes are not competing with cars for road space this could have a POSITIVE impact on your auto insurance rates think about it.
  1. LESS CARS on the road mean LESS ROAD REPAIRS.  LESS POTHOLES and less annoying traffic delays because of them.
  1. The more cyclists know that there are bike lanes in your town the more likely they are to plan their routes there and visit the shops in your area (Hint: they love coffee and places to eat).
  1. Slowing cars down makes it safer for everyone.  Distracted driving due to cell phones is dangerous.  Bike lanes force motorists to be alert.  That can save lives.

Susan Yamane lives in Honolulu and enjoys riding her bicycle.

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