If you build bike lanes will bicycles come? It seems so.
Here in Honolulu, the South Street bike lane will be completed this month. It’ll be the latest in the city’s expansion to become more bicycle-friendly.
KHON2 found that there is an uptick in the business of bicycles.
People in the bicycling industry said the more bike lanes there are, the more bicyclists there will be and vice versa.
Two-and-a-half percent of the population rides bikes to commute. It’s not a lot compared to other places, but the Hawaii Bicycling League said Hawaii actually ranks 10th in the nation when it comes to bicycling in the city.
“There has been a tremendous upsurge of people biking since the City put in the King Street protective bike lane,” said Executive Director of the Hawaii Bicycling League Chad Taniguchi.
Taniguchi said about a thousand people a day use the King Street bike lane. In fact, the league said it’s seen double the amount of people use it now than they did when it opened in 2014.
“When you build a good facility, people will use it to bike,” said Taniguchi.
Don Shipman, owner of Bike-A-Delic Bike Rentals in Waikiki, said he wouldn’t have opened up shop if it weren’t for the city’s master bike plan.
“I wanted to get in front of what I know will be a substantial increase in cycling amongst visitors to get around Honolulu on a bike,” said Shipman.
Shipman said his customers doubled when the City added bike lanes on McCully.
“Before for someone to get to Downtown, it was not possible to go from Waikiki to Downtown on a complete bike network,” Shipman explained.
The first bike sharing program in Hawaii called “Biki” is also set to launch this Summer.
Is Honolulu’s current bike infrastructure is ready?
“It’s perfect for a launch in bike share; what we’ve seen in other cities is more people on bikes want more bike infrastructure, so it becomes a very virteous cycle that more people that ride bikes the more they support the idea of more bike infrastructure,” said CEO of Bikeshare Hawaii Lori McCarney.
The main difference between bike sharing compared to renting a bike is distance.
“Biki you use for a short trip like a taxi and a rental car you use for a longer period of time and you keep it like a bike rental.” said McCarney.
Some in the bike business said the reasons why people are switching from cars to bikes are because the added bike lanes make people feel safe.
There’s also the rising cost of gas and parking fees. And lastly, many are fed up getting stuck in traffic.