Hawaii residents and visitors enjoy a climate ideal for bicycling. Many
steps have been taken to increase safety on Hawaii roads, but because
cyclists are at a colossal disadvantage in a motor vehicle collision,
it is always important for cyclists to do everything in their power to
ensure their own safety while riding Hawaii's roadways.
A 2005 National Household Travel Survey concluded that cyclists are up
to 11.5 times more likely to die in a motor vehicle collision per mile
travelled than motorists. This is a sobering statistic, certainly, and
one that stresses the importance of bicycle safety.
The foremost precaution a cyclist can take before heading out on the road
is to make sure they and their cycle are properly outfitted with appropriate
safety gear. Above all, a rated safety helmet is the most important piece
of safety gear a cyclist can use. A reflective vest and light colored
clothing are also important in letting motorists know that you are there.
A common statement by motorists involved in collisions with cyclists is
"I never even saw them."
But safety gear should not be limited to the cyclists themselves. Bicycles
on Hawaii’s roads should be sure their bicycle has proper reflectors
on both wheels, below the seat facing backwards, and on the handlebars
facing forward. Cyclists who ride at night should mount a headlamp on
the handlebars as well, to increase their own visibility and their visibility
to motorists and pedestrians.
Proper bicycle maintenance is equally important to improving safety. Cyclists
should be sure that their brakes work properly, and that the seat, wheels,
and handlebars are secure.
Obeying traffic laws also greatly reduces the risk of injury on a motor
vehicle collision (and costly traffic citations). Using proper, established
hand signals for turns and avoiding erratic and unpredictable behavior
like darting in and out of traffic or riding against traffic are key to
reducing the risk of serious injury or death.
Because motorists are often themselves unpredictable, it is vitally important
to be alert and aware of their surroundings. Because it is important to
be able to hear the traffic around you, such as approaching sirens or
shrieking tires, bicycle safety organizations advise against riding with
The State DOT offers many helpful bicycle safety tips at: