Cyclovia Is Coming To Hawaii

Photo courtesy of Dwight Iwasa

Hawaii has some of the best weather in the world year-round, yet we struggle with improving our infrastructure to the point that it would motivate more people to bicycle to their destinations.

The Leeward Bike Path, scheduled for completion in 2003, still has not been started. The Oahu Master Bike Plan, which was released in draft form in July 2009, needs to go through city council for final approval. And at the state level, Hawaii is tied for second to last in the United States for the amount of federal Safe Routes to School funding obligated through June 30, 2012, and is dead last in the amount of awards announced.

On the other side of the world, in a little country that occasionally has snow, the bicycle commute rate is about 50 percent in town and about 33 percent from the suburbs. That country is the home of Copenhagen, where a bike superhighway 14 miles long recently opened. Transportation leaders in that country hope to increase the bicycle commute rate from suburbs to town to 50 percent.

In another country thousands of miles southeast of Hawaii, approximately 75 miles of roadways are closed to motorized traffic each week. Over a million people participate in Bogota, Columbia’s, weekly ciclovias. (Ciclavias translates into English as “bike paths,” and are often referred to as “car-free days” or “open streets” on the Mainland.) In addition to providing bicyclists and pedestrians usage of the roads free of motorized traffic, these events include a variety of physical activities such as aerobics classes, dancing and yoga. The benefits of these events go well beyond improving health and include positive impacts on the environment, the economy and society in general.

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