HALEAKALA, Hawaii — New regulations on commercial bicycle tour operations on Maui, including mandatory permitting and restrictions on the use of Haleakala Crater Road, are set to take effect on Wednesday.
Ordinance 5439, championed by former Maui County Council member Mike Molina, requires commercial bicycle tours to obtain a permit to operate on county and state property, including Haleakala Highway, Baldwin Avenue and Olinda Road.
The new regulations also limit both guided and unguided commercial tours to the area between Mile Marker 3.0 and Mile Marker 9.5 on Haleakala Crater Road between sunrise and sundown. Tours are not allowed on any other area of Haleakala Crater Road, Haleakala Highway or Kekaulike Avenue.
Tour travel on Baldwin Avenue is limited to 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tours are not permitted to operate on the road on Wednesdays, King Kamehameha Day, Prince Kuhio Day and La Hoihoi Ea.
Commercial bike tour groups are limited to 10 riders, excluding employee guides, who must now ride at the front of the groups.
Penalties for operators who violate the new laws include fines of up to $1,000 and up to a year in jail for repeat offenders.
“Proper enforcement of regulations is necessary for the health and safety of our community,” said Council member Yuki-Lei Sugimura. “Our community members are voicing their concerns on how Maui County plans to follow through on the limitations set by this ordinance.”
The new rules come after years of increasing public concern over safety, traffic and litigation.
Another new requirement speaks directly to resident complaints about how bike tour operations and their clients have sometimes behaved. Permit holders must now sign a “Bike Pono Pledge,” which states, “I will bike pono, with awareness of my surroundings, attention to my bike speed, and utmost safety for myself and the cars that share the roads.”
Sugimura said residents had expressed concern over a lack of public awareness about the new rules, and some downhill bike tour operators continue to advertise a 26-mile tour from the top of Haleakala to Paia or Haiku, which will not be legal starting Wednesday.
Michael Tsai covers local and state politics for Spectrum News Hawaii.