Deadly Bike Route

At the end of October, a man on a bike was killed in a hit-and-run accident on Kuhio highway, across from the Wailua golf course. In the newspaper article about it, they say they found a mangled bicycle propped up against the guardrail and the man’s body in the ditch on the other side. Another article says the police have apparently identified a suspect but haven’t made any arrest yet (it also mentions a different location, but I think it is the same incident).

Like in much of America, bicycles are an afterthought on Kaua’i. If the shoulder is wide enough, it is designated as a bike route. When the shoulder gets narrower, such as on Kaumualii highway before the road to Poipu, there is a sign saying “End Bike Route” in the middle of nowhere. In the case of this fatality, he was on a bike route, but in a location really too narrow to be designated as such. Here is the area and the sign:

The southbound shoulder of Kuhio highway squeezed between a pickup truck whizzing by and an unbroken guardrail, yet proclaimed Bike Route by the sign

In this photo near where the man was reportedly killed, you can see the ditch on the right side, and the guardrail between the roadway and the ditch. The shoulder itself is only about two feet wide, and the pickup truck in the photo is near the double yellow line, giving the photographer or biker another two feet of space. Needless to say, not all drivers are as courteous, and large trucks can’t be.

To give credit to the road maintenance crews, the weeds used to grow from under the guardrail and onto the shoulder, making it ever more narrow and dangerous. But even before this incident they either cut them or sprayed herbicide to get rid of them. I actually first considered taking this picture when there were vines growing out of the top of the sign (if you look carefully, you can see where they were cut).

I’m creating the new category Transit to deal with bicycles, cars, buses, roads and bridges on Kauai.

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1 Comment   »

  1. Mark says:

    We’re lucky over here. The bike routes are wider and more plentiful, even if the motorists aren’t always as courteous. Glad I don’t have to ride through any spots like that on the way to work.

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