Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Thursday, September 20, 2001

Hawaii Kai is a
hot chick spot

Question: I'm curious about the feral chickens I see every day on the grass strip fronting Kalanianaole Highway and Keahole Street in Hawaii Kai. You would think the feral cats in the same area would kill the chicks, but I notice the population is growing. Recently, I saw two roosters, quite a few hens and at least seven small chicks while stopped at the intersection. What's up and who is responsible for control?

Answer: Unless they're posing an obvious danger to someone, no government agency is responsible for their "control."

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources is responsible for managing wildlife, including threatened and endangered species. But "free-roaming chickens and roosters on city streets are not our responsibility," spokeswoman Deborah Ward said.

Feral chickens apparently "are everywhere," observed Eve Holt, spokeswoman for the Hawaiian Humane Society, which handles animal nuisance complaints. But it's not the society's responsibility to trap feral chickens, she said.

Holt explained that there are laws against dogs running loose (leash law) or for roosters on private property creating an undue racket (animal nuisance law). In such cases the HHS can cite animal owners for violating a specific law, she said.

But there is no law that gives the HHS the responsibility of rounding up wild chickens, she said. Neither does the society have the manpower to do so.

The HHS does have "humane traps" for people who might want to trap such fowl on their property. Sometimes it's possible to find homes for the birds; if not, they are euthanized, Holt said. If you're looking to trap chickens or roosters on public or someone else's property, Holt advised getting approval first.

Dave Smith, DLNR's Oahu wildlife manager, said no permit is required to "control" chickens and roosters, but added, "We encourage humane treatment of animals."

Q: Is it legal to ride a bike on the sidewalk? More than once, I have pulled my car out of the driveway only to have someone on a bike approaching fast from the right side on the sidewalk, going against the traffic. Then they seem offended that I couldn't see them. Of course, they are going much faster than any pedestrian on the sidewalk.

A: City ordinances prohibit riding bikes on sidewalks only in two specific areas: Waikiki (Revised Ordinances of Honolulu, Sec. 15-4.6) and within a business district (Sec. 15-18.7).

But Sec. 15-18.7 also says, "The director of transportation services is authorized to erect official signs on any sidewalk or roadway prohibiting the riding of bicycles thereon by any person, and when such signs are in place no person shall disobey the same." Other than that, people are allowed to ride bikes on sidewalks.

Regarding speed, Sec. 15-18.4 specifies, "No person shall operate a bicycle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions then existing."

When a biker is riding on a sidewalk, he/she is supposed to yield the right of way to any pedestrian and is required to "give an audible signal before overtaking and passing such pedestrian." It doesn't say anything regarding motorists, but it is prudent for drivers and bikers to be cautious near driveways.

Got a question or complaint?
Call 529-4773, fax 529-4750, or write to Kokua Line,
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210,
Honolulu 96813. As many as possible will be answered.
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