Ask the Mayor

Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the most-asked questions submitted to his office staff.

Q: I ride my bike all over West Maui and often put in 30 to 45 miles per day. Other than the occasional inattentive driver, the worst safety problem is other bicyclists riding the wrong way in the bike lanes. Many times this forces me to move into the vehicle traffic lane to avoid them, which puts my life on the line. The worst area is between the north end of Front Street and the Kaanapali Resort. The final straw was one of these “wrong-wayers” screaming obscenities at me to get out of his way. Please do something to stop these ill-informed cyclists before someone is injured or killed. Mahalo.

A: I will check with our Maui Police Department Lahaina District about monitoring the area for wrong-way cyclists; however, since MPD cannot be there every time this type of situation occurs, it would be advisable for you to ride slowly and as close to the right side of the bike lane as possible (in compliance with the HRS statute below), and to be prepared to stop if you are approached by a bicyclist proceeding in the wrong direction. This would help to minimize the potential negative interaction of both bicyclists moving toward each other from opposite directions. If you are traveling correctly with the direction of normal traffic and are harassed, having an on-board video camera to record such interaction could assist in the identification and potential prosecution of the harasser by confirming that the harassing bicyclist was traveling against the flow of traffic and in violation of HRS 291C-245. Section “e” of this statute specifies that “No person shall operate or ride a bicycle within a bicycle lane in any direction except that permitted of vehicular traffic traveling on the same side of the highway. Upon all bicycle paths of sufficient width and providing for two-way movement of bicycle traffic, bicycles proceeding in opposite directions shall pass each other to the right.”

Q: Who is ultimately responsible for removing abandoned vehicles from the roadside? It seems like Waiko Road (between the two highways) is a favorite dumping grounds for such vehicles, large appliances and other assorted trash. First the car is left, then someone comes and takes the tires and then it typically is set on fire. It will then sit there for a couple more weeks. There are two abandoned cars that have now been there for a couple of weeks. Just a curious concerned citizen and resident of Waikapu.

A: Removing abandoned vehicles from public roadways is often a joint effort between citizens and the county. The county appreciates the public’s eyes and ears to assist in abandoned vehicle locations and removal. If you see a car you think is abandoned, please call the Maui Police Department’s nonemergency line at 244-6400 and select “0” to file a report. The police then investigate and mark it as abandoned. If it doesn’t move for 24 hours, the report is then sent to the county Abandoned Vehicles & Metals Office. They do their best to complete the tows within 48 hours of receiving a report, but sometimes it does take longer. If you notice a vehicle that has been tagged for a while but has not been removed, you can call either the MPD nonemergency line or the AVM Office at 270-6102 to follow up.

Q. A friend had her car fail inspection because the tires were over 10 years old. There was still a lot of tread on them. The mileage was only 30,000. Is there a law for this, or was she part of a scam?

A. According to the manual for Motor Vehicle inspectors, “a tire with severe sidewall cracking should be failed even without chord exposure, if it is over 10 years of age.” The date of manufacture is important, because it is possible for a tire to “age-out” before it wears out — especially on vehicles that are not used regularly and are exposed to sunlight and ozones. As quoted in the inspection manual, it is recommended by tire manufacturers that all tires (including spare tires) that are more than 10 years old be put out of service. So even if there was more than the required minimum of 2/32-inch tread remaining, if there was severe sidewall cracking the tires would fail inspection because they are over 10 years old and because aging takes place both from the outside inward and from the inside outward. To view the entire inspection manual, visit hidot.hawaii.gov/highways/library/motor-vehicle-safety-office and scroll down to click on “PMVI Manual for Inspectors of Passenger Cars and Light Trucks.”

* Want to Ask the Mayor? Submit your Maui County related questions to Mayor Alan Arakawa by email at askthemayor@mauicounty.gov, by phone at 270-7855 or by mail at 200 S. High St., ninth floor, Wailuku 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column; to request a personal response to a concern, email mayors.office@mauicounty.gov.

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