For some on Maui, bike tours are a ‘nuisance on the roads.’ They want new regulations

A popular Maui activity is watching the sunrise at Haleakala, followed by a breathtaking bike ride down the slopes.
Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 6:45 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 25, 2021 at 7:44 PM HST
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KULA (HawaiiNewsNow) - Some residents on Maui are fed up with big bicycle tour groups, saying they are a hazard and a headache on the roads.

“They’ve been a nuisance on the roads and a source of a lot of complaints now for several decades,” said Kula Community Association Board member Dick Mayer during a virtual meeting last Wednesday.

The Kula Community Association wants more regulations on the bike tour companies. They want to regulate the hours of the tours, size of the groups, even set an age requirement.

“Coming down a mountain from 8,000 feet is an exhausting experience and there may be a need to limit people both at the young end and at the older end,” Mayer said.

They even suggested an all-out ban.

Maui Cyclery owner Donnie Arnoult doesn’t agree with an outright ban but likes the idea of regulated hours.

“People rent bikes from me, they go for rides, and I try to tell them stay out of that busy time zone between 7 and 8:30 a.m. That’s when moms and dads are bringing kids to school, people are going to work. Definitely a busier time on the roads,” Arnoult said.

Matthew Domenichini owns Maui Bombers. He also likes the idea of specific hours and smaller groups.

“When I hear things of a total ban on the whole industry, that’s overkill, that’s excessive. They’re other companies like mine that does smaller tours,” Domenichini said. “You can’t punish the whole industry just because of a couple.”

Lewis Upfold, Vice President and Chief Operations Officer of Haleakala Bike Company, said in a statement the draft ordinance was written “without an understanding of our operations.”

“We have addressed many of them within our own procedures and protocols, and welcome anyone that has questions regarding what we do to ask us, or better yet take one of our trips to see exactly how we address safety and traffic concerns.” Upfold said.

Phil Feliciano, Director of Operations of Bike Maui, said more pullouts would solve this problem.

“The idea of pull-outs gets floated every time there are safety concerns regarding the downhill tours. Pull-outs would solve many safety concerns for both the guided tours as well as the unguided riders,” Feliciano said.

Councilman Mike Molina’s staff said he intends to schedule this topic for a virtual public hearing on November 16th and encourages community input.

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