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Ask the Mayor: Are Bike Riders Allowed to Impede Traffic?

January 15, 2017, 12:08 PM HST (Updated March 6, 2017, 1:58 PM) · 2 Comments
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Maui Now stock photo. Jan 2017.

Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the questions submitted to his staff.

Submit your own questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa at AskTheMayor@mauicounty.gov, 270-7855 or mail them to 200 S. High Street, 9th Floor, Wailuku, HI 96793.

Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column.

Dear Mayor Arakawa:

Q: There is an increase in recreational bike riders on our Maui roads. Oftentimes, you’ll see groups of four or more riding along narrow roads such as Lower Kula Road. They will usually take up the entire lane riding side-by-side.

Are they allowed to impede traffic? If they are so inclined, they may ride single file and wave traffic to pass, but there are too many of them to safely pass on the narrow winding road.

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Shouldn’t they find a safe place to pull off the road to allow traffic to flow?

A: The issue of sharing the road with bicycles can present challenges with larger groups of riders. For that reason, companies offering larger bike tours often have a staff member assisting with directing the group to pull over occasionally to allow traffic to pass.

According to our state law, if riding at less than the normal speed of traffic, bicycles need to ride in single file and are required to ride along the right edge of the roadway except when making a left turn, avoiding hazards, traveling on a one-way street with more than two lanes or if a sign is posted allowing them to use the full lane.

If there’s a bicycle lane, riders need to use the lane if riding at less than the speed of traffic.

Regarding impeding traffic, no one is allowed to impede traffic. I’m not aware of a law that requires a bike to pull off a roadway to let cars pass, but there is law that allows a car to pass left of the center to avoid hazards.

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