Riding a bike on a sidewalk can negatively impact a person’s personal injury claim and could your chances of recovery.

I enjoy walking around our office neighborhood a lot, and watching the protected bike lane on King Street & Punahou brings a couple thoughts to mind. Personally, I am glad to see the number of bike share users increasing. I also wish the City and County of Honolulu would add more bike lanes. I’ve also hear  from many friends, clients, and neighbors about bike users on the sidewalks.  On the flip side, traffic congestion  explains the desire to ride on the sidewalk. The streets in Honolulu (and in Hawaii) are scary for bike riders!

However, as a personal injury attorney, I am concerned for the general public, and particularly motor vehicle accident (MVA) clients. Why? Because where you ride your bike matters. If you ride your bike on the sidewalk, and are hit by a car, that may impact your ability to seek recovery. Compensation from insurance is often determined by variables.  One important variable is what you chose to do to contribute to the accident. Like the choice of where to ride your bike.

Why Does It Matter Where A Bike Is Ridden?

The State of Hawaii and the City and County of Honolulu put a lot of energy into encouraging alternative transportation. More bikes, buses, and walking are all goals for a livable community.  The City and County even has a dedicated page to a Bicycle program here.

These efforts are made with safety in mind.  Protected bike lanes, enlarged sidewalks, and clear street signs makes streets and sidewalks safer. If you follow the traffic laws, then getting around is predictable for all.  However, when a person walks down the middle of the street, or a rides their bike on the sidewalk, it creates an unsafe situation.  Why?  It makes traversing the area unpredictable. Additionally, it can create animosity between the various roadway users.

Most drivers, or pedestrians, do not expect to see bikes on the sidewalks.  If a bike user rides on the sidewalk and is involved in an accident, they could be deemed more at fault than the other person involved. This could mean a bar to recovery for the bike rider.  Putting it another way – it may be found that it was the bike rider’s choice to ride on the sidewalk, and getting hurt was their fault, and thus, no recovery.

What Does Honolulu Law Say About the Situation?

Following the law and knowing where you can ride your bike is critical to everyone’s safety.

Specifically, City and County provides the following on their FAQ page:

Q: Are bicyclists allowed to ride on the sidewalk?

A: The City and County of Honolulu prohibits bicyclists from riding on sidewalks within business districts or where prohibited. In all other areas, bicycles may be ridden on sidewalks provided the speed is 10 mph or less. The bicyclist must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians, giving an audible signal before overtaking them. ROH 15-18.7 

The State of Hawaii defines business districts as “the territory contiguous to and including a highway when within any six hundred feet along such highway there are buildings in use for business or industrial purposes, including but not limited to hotels, banks, or office buildings, and public buildings which occupy at least three hundred feet of frontage on one side or three hundred feet collectively on both sides of the highway.” HRS 291C-1

The Government Should Continue Their Effort To Better Educate Tourists

You can park your bike on sidewalks, but you cannot ride it in certain areas.

Many people ride bikes on the sidewalks.  My understanding, from transportation specialists, is that in many other countries riding on the sidewalk is the norm.  My business partner, Ryan, recently attended the Honolulu Society of Business Professionals (HSBP) Multimodal Transportation Luncheon.  The attendees and presenters echoed the same in their experiences. Todd Boulanger, the Executive Director of Biki (Honolulu’s bike share service) understands this issue as well. Biki  is working on ways to educate their customers, so they do not hurt themselves by riding on sidewalks when they should not. Perusing Biki’s website, I see they provide information in other Japanese about Biki services.

However, the government can and should continue to better educate the public about where to legally ride their bike. Ideally, this will help prevent accidents, whether riding on sidewalks is due to this cultural difference or not. Further, for educated bike riders that do get into accidents, at least they were following the law, and the path to recovery is more predictable.

Honolulu’s roads will likely become more busy and crowded as additional alternate means of transportation become available. There will be cars, bikers, rider sharers, bus riders, rail users, and pedestrians.

What Else Do You Think Can Be Done: Improving Cyclists’ Safety And Transportation Means

What can Honolulu do to alleviate these problems?  Please email me your thoughts. I am happy to discuss this issue with you. Or if you have ideas, maybe we can approach a legislator to introduce a bill for the legislative process. I think there are opportunities to make Honolulu a safe bike riding city for all.

DISCLAIMER: This post provides general information, but does not constitute legal advice in any respect.  No reader should act or refrain from acting based on information contained in the post without seeking the advice of  an attorney in the relevant jurisdiction.  Hew & Bordenave, LLLP expressly disclaims all liability in respect to any actions taken or not taken based on the contents of this post.

Disclaimer

This website is owned and maintained by Hew & Bordenave, LLP (H&B), a law firm based in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA. This DISCLAIMER page outlines the purpose of this website and makes specific disclaimers. Please read carefully.

This website is only for general information and marketing purposes of H&B and its services.

This website contains general information about H&B and is provided “as is” and without warranty of any kind, express or implied. Any information contained on this site is not intended to be legal advice, and it should not be considered as advice or relied upon as such. The content of this site should not be used as a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney. Anyone needing legal advice should consider seeking out an attorney in their relevant jurisdiction. Any information presented on this website regarding prior results is not guarantee similar outcomes for anyone or other clients.

If you decide to contact H&B through this website understand that shall not establish an attorney-client relationship. Any information or documents transmitted by you to H&B, without a signed engagement letter between you and H&B, shall not be treated as confidential, secret, or protected in any way. 

In accordance with the Hawaii Rules of Professional Conduct, this website may be considered attorney advertising. The materials contained on this website have been prepared by H&B for informational purposes only, may not reflect current legal developments and do not constitute legal advice.

While H&B makes reasonable efforts to keep the information on this website accurate and current, H&B makes no claims or guarantees of accuracy and is not be responsible for any damage or loss related to the inaccuracy, incompleteness or lack of timeliness of the information.

This website may link to other third-party sites beyond the control of H&B. H&B does not necessarily endorse or approve of the information, products or services contained on third-party linked sites, and your linking to a third-party site and use of any information, products or services on such sites, are solely at your own risk.

June 2021

Privacy Policy

This website is owned and maintained by Hew & Bordenave, LLP (H&B), a law firm based in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA. This page outlines H&B’s PRIVACY POLICY with respect to your interaction with our website and how we handle your personal information if we receive it through your use of our website.

PRIVACY POLICY

This Privacy Policy applies to information collected online from users of this website. In this policy, you can learn what kind of information we collect, when and how we might use that information, how we protect the information, and the choices you have with respect to your personal information.

What personal information is collected through this website and how is it used?

We collect information about users from our web server logs and through cookies, where applicable. We do not share any of the information collected with others, unless we say so in this Privacy Policy, or when we believe in good faith that the law requires it. 

The information collected is anonymous and does not contain identifying information about the visitor, but may include information such as their city or region, how they arrived at our site – through direct search or a referral site, how much time they spent on a page, what pages they visited, etc.

Server Logs: When you visit our website, information about your visit may be stored in web server logs, which are records of the activities on our site. The servers automatically capture and save the information electronically, including analytics on visitors. The information collected in web server logs helps us administer the site, analyze its usage, protect the website and its content from inappropriate use and improve the user experience.

Cookies: Our website may use cookies and similar technologies to store and help track information about you. Cookies are simply small pieces of data that are sent to your browser from a web server and stored on your computer’s hard drive. We use cookies to help remind us who you are and to help you navigate our sites during your visits. The use of cookies is relatively standard. Most internet browsers are initially set up to accept cookies, but you can use your browser to either notify you when you receive a cookie or to disable cookies.

By visiting this website, you consent to the use of cookies and similar technologies in accordance with this Privacy Policy.

Third-party services: We may use services hosted by third parties to assist in providing administering our website and to help us understand the use of our site by our visitors. These services may collect information sent by your browser as part of a web page request, including your IP address or cookies. If these third-party services collect information, they do so anonymously and in the aggregate to provide information helpful to us such as website trends, without identifying individual visitors.

California Do Not Track: Our web services do not alter, change, or respond upon receiving Do Not Track (DNT) requests or signals in browsers. As described in more detail above, we track user activity using web server logs, cookies and similar technologies. Information collected in web server logs helps us analyze website usage and improve the user’s experience.

How is personal information protected?

We take certain appropriate security measures to help protect data collected from our website from accidental loss and from unauthorized access, use or disclosure. However, we cannot guarantee that unauthorized persons will always be unable to defeat our security measures.

Who has access to the information?

We will not sell, rent, or lease any data collected from our website.

If you have any additional questions or concerns about this Privacy Policy, please contact us via the information provided on this website. If our information practices change in a significant way, we will post the policy changes here.

What happens if I Contact You or Submit Information or Documentation through the Website?

We of course appreciate any interest in our firm and its services. However, if you decide to contact H&B through this website and submit any information, such as using our “Contact Us” form, then please understand that action in of itself shall not establish an attorney-client relationship. Any information or documents transmitted by you to H&B,  via the website, such as the “Contact Us” form and if you do not have a signed engagement letter between you and H&B, then that information or documentation shall not be treated as confidential, secret, or protected in any way with respect to the attorney-client relationship. Therefore, do not submit any information or documents in this way other than your contact information and a basic explanation as to why you are contacting H&B (e.g. setting up a no-cost initial consultation).

As to data, contact information, and processing your Contact Us submission we will handle that according to this PRIVACY POLICY. If your submission requires further follow-up, we will contact you based on the contact information you submitted, usually within 2-3 business days.

Effective June 2021