Biking Laws 101

Bikeshare Hawaii will bring many new bicyclists to the roads of Hawaii. That’s because bikeshare isn’t designed just for current bikers (although we love them), but rather for most everyone else, including people who don’t have a bike and who also maybe haven’t been on a bike in years. 
With that in mind, we thought we’d start priming all of you soon-to-be bikeshare users with some information on bike riding laws. And to our current cyclist friends, here’s a little refresher.
Riding on Bikeways and Roadways

When riding on Hawaii’s bikeways and roadways, the following three guidelines apply:

  1. Ride with traffic: While riding against the flow of traffic may seem to be the safest, it is more dangerous and in fact illegal. Riding with the flow of traffic helps to keep bicyclists and motorists safe and is the best way to share the road.
  2. Use bicycle infrastructure (bike lanes, paths, etc.) when available: On some of Hawaii’s roadways, there are official signs or pavement markings indicating a bicycle lane where a solid white line separates a bicycle lane from a motor vehicle lane for traffic moving in the same direction. In these instances, it is highly recommended that bicyclists use the bicycle lanes, especially when traveling slower than the speed of traffic.
  3. Ride on the right side of the road: Hawaii law requires bicyclists to ride close to the right hand curb or on the shoulder of the roadway as practicable where bike lanes are not present. When possible, bicyclists should try to stay at least three feet away from parked vehicles. This will help when drivers pull out in front of you or open a door directly in your path.

There are allowed exceptions to this rule where bicyclists can ride in the center of the lane or “take the lane” with other motor vehicles and use the full lane for their safety when moving at the same speed of traffic:

  1. when making a left turn at an intersection, private road or driveway;
  2. when avoiding hazards such as debris, opening car doors;
  3. when the traffic lane is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side-by-side;
  4. when passing another bicycle or vehicle; or
  5. when one-way streets have more than one lane of traffic, bicyclists are permitted to ride on the extreme left curb or edge.

It is a Hawaii state rule that bicyclists must ride single file when on the roadways. When riding on bicycle lanes and paths, it is permissible to ride two abreast when the lane or path is wide enough and when there is no rule or ordinance specifically prohibiting it.
Bicyclists are prohibited from riding on freeways, and should avoid sidewalks as well. In fact, state law prohibits bicycles on sidewalks in business districts (such as Downtown Honolulu and Waikiki) at all times. Sidewalks actually are a major danger zone for bicycling collisions making them dangerous for bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists. In areas where it is legal to ride on sidewalks (like residential areas), bicyclists must yield to pedestrians, give an audible signal when passing, and ride at a speed of no more than 10 mph. All of Bikeshare Hawaii’s bikes will be equipped with a bell to alert pedestrians and others of your presence.
People riding bikes have the same rules, rights and responsibilities as people driving motor vehicles. Ride your bicycle as you would drive a car – ride with traffic, not against it, stop at red lights and stop signs, yield to pedestrians, use lights at night, signal to let your intentions be known, and be alert and aware at all times!

Be Visible

It is the law that when riding half an hour after sunset until half an hour before sunrise, bicyclists must use headlights and reflectors. Bikes must be equipped with at least a front white light and rear red reflector, and you’re highly encouraged to have a rear red light as well. Wearing light, bright colors and adding reflective gear to your clothing and bike is another good idea.
We want to help you be seen and satisfy all requirements for evening and night riding, so Bikeshare Hawaii bikes will be equipped with bright lights on the front and back that turn on when you start pedaling and stay on for about two minutes when you stop. You’ll also see reflective areas on tires, wheels and on the basket and pedals.   
Honolulu has many great conditions for biking. 365 days of bikeable weather (well, maybe a few days are just too hot). Generally flat terrain in the urban core. Lots of places to bike for dining, shopping or exploring. And soon, a bikeshare service that will give you very convenient and affordable access to a bike. So keep boning up on biking laws (and laws for drivers and pedestrians too) so you’ll be ready to hop on Bikeshare Hawaii! Links to some great resources are right here.

Sources: Sharing the Road: A Guide to Safe Bicycling in Hawaii, City and County of Honolulu Department of Transportation and Hawaii Bicycling League.

Patagonia Haleiwa Supports
Bikeshare Hawaii and Bike to Work Week

On Sunday, May 15, Patagonia's Haleiwa store hosted Bikeshare Hawaii as part of their promotion of Bike to Work Week. (Visit Bikeshare Hawaii on Facebook for a gallery of photos.) We were able to talk to a lot of folks about bikeshare (which we love to do). It was great to see how many people have experienced bikeshare in other cities and even better to feel their enthusiasm for Bikeshare Hawaii’s launch. Patagonia made a very nice donation to us and will make a bonus donation of $1 for each mile their staff biked to work during Bike to Work Week. Please thank and support Patagonia for their generosity!