If you are visiting the Big Island, here are a few simple thoughts about local cycling etiquette and protocols:
1. Ride with Aloha. Wear a helmet. Be mindful of safety at all times. (Consider using bright LED lights front and back. Video recording can't hurt either.)
2. If there is a wide shoulder to the right of the white line, that's where we ride. Stay completely out of the traffic lane when you can!
3. If the shoulder is narrow, non-existent or congested, look behind you, signal and — if the lane is clear — carefully move into the traffic lane. Take as much space as you need to avoid being "doored" but be courteous to motorists too. If the shoulder opens up again, go back into it.
4. If you're on a road with no shoulders, you have every right to use as much of the lane as you need but let's be courteous and do our best to impede motorists as little as possible. What goes around comes around.
Yes, you pay taxes too. Yes, "X" percent of drivers can be jerks. Guess what? "X" percent of cyclists can be too. Don't go there.
The Queen Ka'ahumanu Highway
A large percentage of the cycling that takes place on the Big Island involves the Queen Ka'ahumanu Highway, aka The Queen K. And for good reason. The shoulders are usually wide, the scenery is great, and many races utilize this highway. But there are some places where you need to be careful....
• The roughly three mile stretch of the Queen Ka'ahumanu Highway north of the airport intersection is narrow and is crumbling away at the edges in both directions. If you are part of a group, ride extra carefully here. Accidents seem to take place here at a greater rate than elsewhere on the Queen K.
• The Queen K Highway through Kailua Town itself is extremely dangerous from Makala Blvd. to Henry St., especially going south up the hill from Makala Blvd. to Palani Rd. Two near fatalities have taken place in the dangerous designated bicycle lane here. It has been reconfigured, but in the opinion of most cyclists, it has not been improved. Most of us detour around this stretch or ride on the sidewalk.
Below are a few other intersections to be aware of. First and foremost stay safe and obey traffic laws. Follow marked bike lanes when they are available and stop at these lights when red as you would driving a vehicle.
• Northbound Queen K Hwy @ Airport Intersection
• Southbound Queen K Hwy @ Water Treatment / Police Dept. Intersection
• Northbound Queen K Hwy @ Waikoloa Beach Road Intersection
The Big Island has 13 of 15 of the world’s major environmental zones as well as a patchwork quilt of micro climates. It can be sunny and calm in Kona and pouring rain with severe winds in Hawi or Honoka’a. Deciding where to ride if you hope to stay dry and not be blown off your bike can be tricky. Technology can help you make a decision. There are a number of websites for checking ‘real time’ conditions around the Big Island.
Rain: To find where it’s raining and where it’s likely to rain, check out Doppler Radar. One excellent website for checking real time Doppler Radar is KITV.com.
Wind: To find current wind conditions around the Big Island, a good option is the Weather Underground system. Weather Underground sites are on-line weather stations maintained by individuals and institutions. To locate stations on the Big Island go to Weather Underground. You can bookmark the stations of interest. There are weather stations at Upolu Airport in Hawi, Kona Airport, Hilo Airport, and Volcano National Park.
Big Island Weather: NOAA Forecast for Big Island Leeward Side is a 5-day weather forecast as well as current wind readings around the Big Island.