Is Oahu Bike Friendly? (+Tips for Your Trip)

A bike path along the shore of Oahu with a storm approaching

Oahu used to be a no-go for many bikers for various reasons, such as the lack of dedicated cycling lanes and road safety. Oahu still has a long way to go, but government officials strive to make it as bike-friendly as San Francisco or Copenhagen. An ambitious goal, but the capital city has progressed immensely in recent years: 

  • The island has:
    • 59 miles of bike lanes
    • 46 miles of bike paths
    • 40 miles of bike routes
    • 2 miles of protected bike lanes
    • Several bike-friendly mountain trails
  • City buses are fitted with bike racks that passengers can use freely
  • Guided biking tours and bike rentals are available

Thanks to these recent changes, Oahu can now be considered bike-friendly.

Is Honolulu bike friendly?

In the last two decades, Honolulu has struggled to create a bike-friendly environment due to a lack of initiative from lawmakers and funding issues. It has fallen behind other large cities. 

This has changed in recent years, and the city was even awarded a Bronze ranking by the American League of Cyclists for its bike-friendliness. The city has various protected bike facilities that separate cyclists from motor vehicle drivers.

There are plans to improve the bicycling facilities of Honolulu. Here you can find more information about Honolulu’s bicycle initiative.

Most bike-friendly destinations on Oahu

The area around Honolulu is particularly bike friendly, as it has plenty of dedicated cycling lanes. Besides this, cyclists also frequent the following attractions and neighborhoods for fun day trips on decent road conditions.

  • Manoa Falls (a 150-foot waterfall)
  • Ala Wai Canal
  • The entire Diamond Head Crater (+ the Black Point Pool)
  • Waikiki
  • Aloha Aina Patriotism
  • The top of Tantalus
  • Hanauma Bay (with a brief snorkeling detour)
  • Iolani Palace
  • Round Top Forest
  • Aloha Memorial Park (has a dedicated bike path)
  • Wa’ahila Ridge

Biking in a group on Oahu for more safety and fun

There are a handful of cycling clubs that embark on group rides regularly. Some of these rides serve as training for triathlons, while others are more leisurely. Riding as a group is more fun and also a lot safer since groups are more visible than solitary cyclists.

When is the time to bike in Oahu?

Late spring to early summer (April to June) is the ideal time to explore Oahu on a bike due to the following reasons:

  • The weather is warm, and precipitation is low
  • Off-road trails won’t be too muddy
  • The temperature is between 65 and 90 °F.
  • It is off-season. So there will only be a few dangerously distracted tourists driving around the Island in their rental cars.

Are there decent trails on Oahu?

Yes! There is a good variety of off-road nature trails that permit bikes. If you’re renting a bike, make sure it’s a mountain bike and let the company know that you plan on going off-road. Here is an overview of the top-rated mountain bike trails on Oahu.

Can you bike around Oahu?

Circumnavigating Oahu Island is possible, but it is not exactly safe. While it may sound like a fun adventure, there are several hazards:

  • You are at the mercy of drivers overtaking you on narrow, winding roads. Many of these drivers are tourists who are distracted by the stunning views.
  • Some stretches of roads are rough, and the risk of injury is high
  • Some areas, especially the southern beaches, have a homeless problem, so getting your bike stolen while camping is a big risk
  • Speaking about camping. If you plan to camp on a beach or in the parks, have a set budget for potential fines. 

If you decide to go for it regardless, you should expect this journey to take at least a week, and you will likely need a mountain bike to conquer Kaena Point. Don’t forget to visit the heart-shaped rock while you’re there!

Useful info and resources for cycling Oahu

  • Check out the government’s official Oahu Bike Guide to get familiar with the laws and regulations in Hawaii. 
  • This map is incredibly helpful for planning a bike trip around the Honolulu area.
  • Here is the most detailed bike map covering the entire island.
  • There are also several guided bike tours available. Some are more athletic, while others are more relaxed, combining cycling with culinary adventures.

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