Bike ride to raise safety awareness
After work today, motorists on major roads between Iwilei and Moiliili will see a single-file procession of bicyclists sporting black or red armbands.
The third annual international Ride of Silence to show respect for those killed while biking is expected to last less than an hour, and cyclists will not exceed speeds of 12 mph. Most riders will wear black armbands, but some will sport red ones to signify they were involved in a cycling accident.
"We are not looking to disrupt traffic, but raise awareness of bicyclists on the road," said Kristi Schulenberg, director of the Hawaii Bicycling League. "We want motorists to see us, recognize us and know that we can share the road with them."
Beginning at 5 p.m., cyclists will head out on an 8-to-10 mile loop starting at Kakaako Waterfront Park. They will travel west along Ala Moana Boulevard, then east on Dillingham Boulevard and King Street. They will go south on Kapahulu Avenue and then head west on Ala Wai and Kapiolani boulevards.
The Ride of Silence is happening in more than 200 U.S. locations and six other countries during bike safety month.
"We saw a great need for this event since Hawaii isn't the safest place to ride," Schulenberg said.
State Department of Health epidemiologist Dan Galanis said statistics show Hawaii had the nation's fifth-highest bicyclist fatality rate over a four-year period ending in 2003.
In 2003, the state Department of Transportation tallied 337 bicycling accidents statewide.
The most recent island cycling fatality occurred March 10 when a city bus heading east near East Hind Drive struck a 75-year-old bicyclist crossing Kalanianaole Highway.
Veteran rider and Eki Cyclery manager Jay Kim, who plans to participate in the Ride of Silence, said the highway is popular among cyclists.
"What's scary is that I know two very experienced riders who were doing everything right (riding in the bike lane and wearing a helmet) and they were still killed by speeding motorists on Kalanianaole," said Kim. "If it could happen to them, then it could happen to anybody."
However, Kim acknowledged that not all cycling accidents are the motorist's fault.
"Cyclists need to be educated as well," Kim said. "There are some that don't obey the law and take all of the necessary safety precautions."