Police Step Up Patrols at Critical Mass

Spencer Reemelan
Spencer Reemelan
Amber Lee
Amber Lee

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- Honolulu police stepped up patrols Friday evening, to help prevent a repeat of last month's critical mass bike ride. Police say there are no reports of major problems.

The event started at the State Capitol. There was no planned route. Cyclists rode wherever those in the front decided to go.

Last month, police clashed with bicyclists. They issued citations, confiscated bikes, and an officer collided with a rider after trying to stop another cyclist who police say was not obeying the road rules.

This time around, police say the ride was more peaceful.

They gather every month to raise awareness, many of them, tired of the close calls and collisions.

"I've been hit by cars," said cyclist Daniel Bogert.

"Someone cut in front of me, cut my wheels and I went flying over my handlebars," recalls bicyclist Spencer Reemelan.

"I must have hit a gravel patch, bounced three times on my head and my face," said Amber Lee, a bicyclist.

Honolulu's critical mass ride has grown the past few months. Participants say it signals their increasing frustrations, saying Hawaii roads are not bicycle-friendly.

"We have two different people yelling at us at all times. We have pedestrians yelling at us to get off the sidewalk because we put them in danger by hitting them and if we're on the roads like we're supposed to be we get honked at, we get almost run off the roads," said bicyclist Charlene Moe.

But police say getting a handle on road rage between drivers and bikers is a two-way street.

"There's bicyclists who don't necessarily follow the rules that they're supposed to do that cause incidences to occur and likewise there's motorists who don't respect the rights of the bicyclists," said Major Clayton Saito with the Honolulu Police Department.

And bicyclists agree that something needs to be done to ease the friction on both sides.

"We're not out to get in the way of the motorists or cause any problems, we just want a safer place to ride our bikes," said Bogert.

Cyclists with critical mass say their intent is not to be confrontational, but to establish respect on the roads.

Critical Mass started in San Francisco in 1993 to promote the rights of bicyclists. The monthly event has since spread to many major cities.