Common rules for motorcyclists explained
I thought it appropriate to address the recent news stories which have received wide national coverage regarding an incident in New York involving a motorcycle group and a SUV that ended in a horrific tragedy. Because the motorcycle community here is quite signifi-
cant, and local motorists routinely interact with the various clubs and groups riding en masse on our roads and highways, I would like to reach out to the motoring public on Maui.
For sure and without question, the incident in New York never should have happened. Without opining on who was to blame, I’d like to share some information on basic road rules commonly followed by Maui’s motorcycle community when we travel in large groups, why we ride like we do and why Maui motorists do not have to worry about this type of event happening here.
Motorists will commonly encounter groups of riders on any given day of the week, but Sundays are the traditional day for the island’s clubs and groups to ride in formation. Please know that safety is the paramount concern of all responsible organized groups and clubs – not just for the safety of the riders in the group but for all the motorists on the road. And there is a standard protocol that is observed by responsible groups riding in large formation. While there will always be those that do not follow, care or even know of this protocol, experienced and responsible riders do.
First, we like to ride tight. That is to say, a car in the middle of a large formation of riders is very dangerous. As a general rule, we try to confine our group to one lane and do our best not to impede traffic. When on a two-lane road and a group encounters a slow-moving vehicle in the left lane not following “slow traffic keep right” rule of all motorists, the group will go around that vehicle as safely as possible while keeping formation and will not terrorize the driver. Experienced and aware motorists in the vicinity could, and should, recognize this situation and voluntarily yield and let the group pass.
Large organized rides will employ the use of road guards at intersections and cross streets to help facilitate the safe traversing of these locations as a group. While it may inconvenience motorists for a couple of minutes, it is the safety of all that is of paramount importance. Please show some aloha and let them pass.
It is also noteworthy that these large group rides are strictly regimented by the sponsoring club’s road captain, and unacceptable behavior by any rider in the group is dealt with appropriately. In addition, any motorist with complaints is encouraged to contact SBU and can be assured that the complaint will be followed up on.
The people of the motorcycling community on Maui are some of the most generous, patriotic and caring folks on the island. We are your dads, your moms, your uncles and aunties. Drive safe, ride safe and let’s all be aware and share the road.
n Jake Jacobus is the president of Hawaii Street Bikers United – Maui County.