To Your Health: How does Hawaii stack up when it comes to green-friendly commutes?

Sometimes, it’s just good to know where you stand.

So today, just in time for Earth Day, we bring you some new statistics from the Alliance for Biking & Walking, which released a large study this week aimed at surveying the landscape of commuter biking and walking across the country.

The report ranked Hawaii sixth in the nation for the percentage of commuters who get to work by bike or by foot.

About 1 percent of Hawaii commuters bike to work, the study said. (We wish that number was higher, but we’ll be happy with it for now.) Meanwhile, about 5 percent of commuters walk.

Oregon had the highest rate of commuters who biked to work, at 2.3 percent, followed by Montana at 1.4 percent. Nearly 8 percent of commuters in Alaska walk to work, the highest rate in the nation, followed by New York at 6.4 percent.

Bike 9Not surprisingly, the percentage of people who biked and walked to work was higher in cities.

Oahu’s urban core ranked 13th in the nation among large cities for the percentage of commuters who bike to work. The study estimated about 1.6 percent of Honolulu commuters bike.

Meanwhile, nearly 1 in 10 Honolulu residents walk to work. That’s the fifth-highest rate in the nation.

Boston had the highest percentage of walking commuters, with 15 percent, followed by Washington, D.C., at 12 percent.

Nationwide, just 2.8 percent of commuters walk to work and .6 percent bike. Across 52 large cities, 5 percent of urban dwellers walked and 1 percent rode a bike.

These figures, of course, could be a lot higher. But let’s celebrate our positive placement, and do more to up the numbers.

Do you bike or walk to work? If not, what would get you to consider it?

One comment

  • Interesting info, surprised me in many ways!

    Are there really enough suicidal people around that they’ll ride bikes on Hawaii roads and city streets? I shudder whenever I see cyclists trying to use Honolulu’s “bike” lanes. They’re almost always in poor condition, too narrow (in my opinion), too close to traffic, too frequently blocked by parked vehicles or roadwork.

    I also shudder when I see so many cyclists who don’t follow traffic laws. I blame it on the fact that most of us start riding bikes when we’re kids. Since when did kids just automatically and completely follow rules!? Hard to overcome long-established habits.

    I feel like screaming every time I see a local cyclist riding along at night, wearing dark clothes, no light on their bike and maybe one reflector on the rear. I know many people in Hawaii think they’re really stylin’ dark colors, but I’d rather not see their stylishness disfigured with blood after a driver hits them because the cyclist suddenly decided to cut across four lanes of traffic in the middle of a dark block at night.

    I live 1.3 miles from my office and often walk to and from work. Walking is much safer than cycling – there are many more sidewalks around the islands than bike lanes. When I lived in town and we were carless, I regularly walked to work – even as far as walking from Makiki to the middle of Waikiki (I figured out that I could walk there faster than I could get there riding the bus!).

    If you walk at night, PLEASE wear something reflective! Many of Hawaii’s pedestrian deaths happen at night, when the pedestrian tries to cross a street. I know, you’re usually on the sidewalk. But the instant you enter a crosswalk, you don’t want to be practicing ninja stealth! (And if you jaywalk at night – for shame!)

    Did you ever stop to think that if our employment wasn’t heavily centralized in town and Waikiki – people wouldn’t have to commute 22 miles one way to work? That would encourage a lot more people to walk and cycle to work!

    Anyway, thanks for the info. After walking the Great Aloha Run one year, I sometimes try to imagine a future where highways have been turned into bike and pedestrian ways, lined with greenbelt community gardens producing local food while sequestering carbon. I’ve seen concept designs for such. Maybe someday Hawaii, which has probably the best climate in the United States for such a thing, will have this.


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