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Oahu trek honors 2010 hit-run victim

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    Bicyclists rode along the Pearl Harbor Bike Path on their way to downtown Honolulu on Saturday after a rally at Neal S. Blaisdell Park in Aiea, part of the annual Zachary Manago’s Ride in Paradise. The riders sought to call attention to the need for infrastructure upgrades to make Oahu safer for bicycles.
    Chad Taniguchi, executive director of the Hawaii Bicycling League, led a chant of “open the gate, it’s not too late,” addressing the locked gate near the admiral’s barge boathouse at Pearl Harbor which forces riders to travel on the more hazardous Kamehameha Highway. City Council member Brandon Elefante told Saturday’s cyclists that a letter has been sent to the Navy seeking to reopen the gate.

Zach Manago was an 18-year-old freshman at Hawaii Pacific University, a baseball player and avid bicyclist who was killed by a hit-and-run driver in December 2010 on a circle-island ride around Oahu.

According to the Hawaii Bicycling League, he was riding on the shoulder of Kamehameha Highway near Wheeler Army Airfield with lights when he was struck on the night ride with about 30 friends.

On Saturday, more than 120 cyclists gathered at Neal S. Blaisdell Park in Aiea to hear Manago’s father, Dennis, give thanks for keeping his son’s memory alive with the annual Zachary Manago’s Ride in Paradise.

"It just gives so much hope to what happened to Zach," Manago told the group in a shady part of the park. "His memories don’t go away. He’s there. He’s constantly with all of us."

A 26-year-old Army sergeant was sentenced to a maximum 10-year prison sentence in the bicyclist’s death.

About 140 cyclists participated in some or all of the 68-mile ride Saturday that started where Manago died, then headed through Wahiawa and down to Waialua, around Kaena Point and ended in Kakaako, said Daniel Alexander, the advocacy director for the Hawaii Bicycling League.

"Really, why we’re here today, we’re here because of Zach," Alexander told the group, most of whom appeared to be serious riders in aerodynamic clothing and with skinny-tire road bikes.

The Ride in Paradise was also coupled with a "rally for safer streets" at Neal Blaisdell Park, where a mixed bag of news regarding safer cycling was offered up.

Officials said the gate that was closed and locked after 9/11 near the admiral’s barge boathouse at Pearl Harbor remains locked, creating a stopping point for cyclists who use a bike path on the other side that extends to Waipahu.

Honolulu City Council member Brandon Elefante told the group that "we do have a letter in to the Navy to ask them to re-evaluate and reopen that gate."

Lori McCarney, the CEO of Bikeshare Hawaii, said a network of 200 stations and 2,000 bikes is expected in the first half of 2016 between Diamond Head and Chinatown up to the University of Hawaii at Manoa and Makiki.

Bikeshare allows a bike to be checked out at one station and returned to another.

The Hawaii Bicycling League noted success with the King Street bike lane — which has led to an 81 percent increase in bicycling in a few months’ time on the road — bike lanes on Waialae Avenue and a requirement for new streets or major road repairs to include accommodations for cyclists.­

Matthew Mizumoto, 25, who lives in town and bikes 50 to 100 miles a week, said it can still be "pretty tough" for cyclists.

"Most people, they are OK with it," he said. "They are OK with going around (a cyclist), but once in a while you’ll get those people that are like, ‘Get off the road!’"

Overall, Mizumoto said "it’s getting safer, it’s getting better."

Mizumoto was on track to complete the full 68-mile Zachary Manago’s Ride in Paradise on his thin-tired triathlon bike, which he admitted he had to carry most of the way through Kaena Point’s rugged terrain.

Manago was one of three cyclists killed on Oahu roads in 2010, Alexander said. So far in 2015 there’s been one car-bicyclist fatality.

"We try to spread the (safety) message as much as possible," Alexander said. At each designated stopping point on Saturday’s 68-mile ride, the riders would regroup, "so that fosters a sense of community, and we really try to tell the riders — you are representing the idea of safety on the roads."

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