Local Connection: Biki Backlash

Most of us knew that the new bike sharing program "Biki" was on its way, but it didn't really sink in how huge this program would be until they started installing huge bike racks from Waikiki to Chinatown.

There have been howls of protests from businesses and residents who suddenly lost parking or drop-off spots to a Biki rack.

There has also been some confusion over the pricing - and whether this is really something locals will use for transportation - or just another way to entertain and get money from tourists.

There's no doubt that the Mayor has good intentions when it comes to turning Honolulu into a bicycle friendly city. And he deserves credit for identifying something as a priority and accepting criticism for making the call. The non-profit that runs the program has been transparent and tried hard to get people ready for what was coming.

But this is also another case where the front-end decision making seems to have underestimated or misjudged the public's response. The risk is that a good idea may draw so many complaints  in the roll out, that it fails and politicians run and hide.

Let's hope that doesn't happen with Biki. But let's also hope that leaders will learn from another troubled roll-out that taking public opinion for granted is always a big mistake.

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