3-foot buffer zones for bicyclists could be a reality

HONOLULU (KHON2) - Move over cars.

Our streets become more bicycle-friendly.

But sharing the road can be dangerous, and that's why some are pushing for change.

They're thinking about creating a three-foot buffer zone between cars and bicyclists, but that idea comes with challenges.

Some argue that there are drivers who don't know the amount of distance they need to safely pass a bicyclist.

It's actually one of the biggest hazards to bicyclists.  So lawmakers want to make some clear ground rules. 

The Hawaii Bicycling League tells us in the last four years, Hawaii had 12 cyclist fatalities.  Of that, five of them involved the cyclist getting hit from behind.

"The thing is overtaking a cyclist is one of the key danger points for someone out there that's bicycling," Daniel Alexander of the Hawaii Bicycling League said.  

So some want it written in the current law, that drivers need to give cyclists at least three feet of safe passing distance.
"Our lanes are normally 10 to 11 feet so about a third of the lane," Alexander said.  

Driving Instructor Lenard Wong tells us he supports the measure, but there could be challenges for drivers.

"What if you're driving down the street and you have a solid double yellow line and the bicyclist is out further than they are supposed to be?  Do you drive over the double yellow line in violation of passing the double yellow line?" Wong said.  "That would be the challenge you would have to slow down wait for the bicyclist to move out of the way so you can pass them by three feet."

Wong says both drivers and cyclists need to have a shared responsibility.

"They (bicyclists) have to be not in the way of other vehicles they have to share the road like a motorists," Wong said.  "Drivers be aware, you have to share the road with bicyclists that's nationwide so just be patient okay, be patient."

There will be a public hearing on the measure on Wednesday, March 14 at 1:15 p.m. at the State Capital.

Click here to read the proposal.

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