Letters | 4-1-14


More aloha means safer roads for all

It is very constructive that our community has used this forum to discuss some of the issues that have frustrated both vehicle drivers and bicyclists.

Our inadequate roadways too often force us to be in close proximity to each other given the ever-increasing volume of motor vehicles, bicyclists, skateboarders, runners, walkers, in-line skaters and more. It helps to see the usage of our roadway from someone else’s point of view since we all are entitled to use the roadway.

I drive a car and ride a bicycle. I often hear motorists complain about arrogant bike riders who ride 5 feet into the traffic lane and impede vehicular traffic on narrow roadways such as Alii Drive. Why do we do that? The answer is, for safety when passing cars parked on the narrow shoulder.

Bike riders cannot see if anyone is inside a parked car because of window glare, darkened windows and high seat headrests. A person inside the vehicle could suddenly open their vehicle’s door. You would be surprised how many people, both drivers and passengers, never look to see if anyone is coming up behind them before opening their door. To a bicyclist the impact of hitting a vehicle door is about the same as hitting a wall. The impact could result in a life-threatening injury.

A basic bike and mo-ped safety rule is to keep 5 feet from parked vehicles when passing, as some open vehicle doors extend that far. For bikers, don’t cut off an approaching vehicle on the roadway that is about to overtake you. Look before you weave into the traffic lane, and exit the traffic lane as soon as it is safe to do so. I try to always wave a “thank you” to the driver that allows me to slow them from their legal 30 mile per hour speed.

We should all work on our aloha. That way, “share the road” isn’t only a law but a good way to get a return wave and a smile. Our roadways were not solely intended for recreational users, neither are they mainland freeways.

Showing aloha to all users will make our roadways safer and more pleasant.

Taky Tzimeas

Kailua-Kona