For at least two decades or more your Association has taken countless actions to encourage our county and state governments to develop a community where it is reasonable to walk and/or ride a bicycle, and not always and only use motor vehicles as the sole method of transportation. For bicyclists,with a rare exception of the County’s Kihei Greenway project extending just a few blocks along Liloa in North Kïhei, and HDOT bike path along the Mokulele hwy from the north limit of Kihei into Kahului, we are left with segmented strips along the shoulder of a few roads marked “bike lane”, which is somewhat akin to buyer beware, as you have no safety. While few parents will allow their children to venture on bicycles, and most recreational cyclists occasionally do so with extreme caution, the hardy highly skilled road bicyclists do venture out, relying on their ability to avoid wayward cars and trucks. But even the most talented have no defense when a driver is distracted or incapacitated.
Such was the disastrous situation for Wailea resident Karl Hagen, who lost his life riding in such a bike lane along the Pi’ilani Hwy in So Kihei, nearly a year ago. It was reported in the Maui News early this year that a northbound pick up truck drifted into the bicycle lane and struck Hagen. The truck driver has been charged with negligent homicide and driving under influence of drugs..
As reported in Maui Now, http://mauinow.com/2015/03/19/maui-bicycling-league-encourages-support-at-pretrial-hearing/ the newly formed Maui Bicycle League is urging the bicycle community to attend the pretrial hearing on April 1 at 8:00 AM at the courthouse as a show of support for Hagen’s ohana, as well as defenseless bicyclists and pedestrians.
In addition as KCA stated at last year’s Council Budget and Finance Committee FY 2015 budget hearing in Kihei,on 4/15/14, if government would provide a safe alternative for bicycle riders beyond the shoulder of the road, they would not be at the mercy of impaired or distracted drivers. If we had the Kihei greenway in place along the North South Collector road corridor, Hagen would have had an alternative route to cycle that afternoon.