Question: Regarding those blue bikes for rent around town, do they wipe them down to disinfect or sanitize between each customer? At least the handlebars and seat?
Answer: Those are Biki bikes, part of a network available to the public for trips that are too far to walk but too short to drive or ride the bus, as well as for recreation. No, Biki can’t guarantee that every bike is cleaned between every ride, but it has increased cleaning systemwide. It also urges customers to practice good hygiene.
Here’s the full response from Todd Boulanger, executive director of Bikeshare Hawaii, the nonprofit that manages Biki:
“Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Biki has followed recommendations of local and federal health officials, and has shifted operating procedures to make sanitation the top priority. We have implemented new COVID-19 signage at all stations, and enhanced cleaning procedures to focus on disinfecting bikes and kiosks. Crew members routinely visit stations to sanitize all high-touch areas, as well as bring bikes into the workshop to sterilize with a power wash solution. Biki crew members are required to wear gloves when handling bikes at Biki Stops, in the Biki van and in our warehouse.
“While our equipment is disinfected regularly, with nearly 1,300 bikes we cannot guarantee that each bike is cleaned between each ride. This is why we highly recommend to our customers that they wash their hands with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before and after riding. Similar to how you would wash or sanitize your hands after using gas pumps, public door handles, bank kiosks, bus stanchions, and other commonly shared surfaces, we recommend doing the same after each Biki ride as it is the best way to prevent the spread of germs. With Hawaii recently seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases, Biki allows riders to travel quickly and safely to their destinations while following social distancing rules.”
According to its website, gobiki.org, Biki has continued operating throughout the pandemic as an essential business providing 24/7 transportation service. Biki has about 1,300 bikes at about 130 self-service docking stations in Honolulu.
Ridership trends have changed, with fewer riders commuting for short trips downtown, as businesses, government agencies and other institutions shifted to telework or temporarily closed. The lack of tourists, meanwhile, has affected use in Waikiki.
Although there are fewer riders overall, rides taken tend to be longer than in the past, the website said, as customers apparently use Biki for recreation and exercise. Its busiest day since before the pandemic was during a recent event that closed Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki to cars, and opened it to pedestrians and bicyclists.
Biki seeks feedback from riders as it continues to adapt. Active members are invited to take a short survey at 808ne.ws/bikisurvey.
Q: Regarding the interest on the 2019 tax refund, is that supposed to come with the refund? We didn’t get any.
A: No, the IRS says the interest payment may come separately.
Also, it’s official: the Internal Revenue Service isn’t postponing the federal income tax filing and payment deadline past July 15. People who can’t file by then may request an automatic filing extension to Oct. 15, but that would apply only to filing the tax return, not to paying taxes due.
A huge thank-you to Samuel, a security guard at Kuakini hospital, and to a daughter and her mother, who assisted me when I could not lift my husband off the ground at the Kuakini parking lot. Samuel and the daughter helped me get my husband off the ground and into his wheelchair. And her mom, who uses a cane, was a great support. My husband is a stroke victim and paralyzed on the left. — Grateful wife and caregiver
Write to Kokua Line at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.