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Moped Safety an HPD Priority

Before you start your moped engine and race around Oahu with the wind in your hair, be sure to yield to safety precautions that could tally up the death toll of moped traffic collisions.

Rising numbers
Last year, there were 296 moped collisions on the streets of Honolulu, resulting in two fatalities. The death of a 22-year-old Honolulu man on Oct. 22 marked the third moped fatality in 2008.

While injuries and fatalities from moped collisions is only a fraction of the 32,066 motor vehicle accidents, the Honolulu Police Department has begun two projects targeting modified or excessively loud mopeds. They are doing this in the hopes of removing unsafe mopeds from the streets in order to minimize accidents.

“The moped doesn’t offer any sort of protective cage like the vehicle does so, of course, if you are involved in a collision, the likelihood of injuries is a lot higher,” said solo bike officer Kristopher Kiyabu of the Honolulu Police Department.

New safety measures
Right now, there are 20,000 registered mopeds riding on Honolulu’s streets. These vehicles are not required by law to be insured or have license plates and the driver is not required to obtain a special driving permit.

The Oct. 22 moped accident was a result of head injuries sustained by the operator. HPD can only recommend that riders over 18 wear helmets and protective gear. However some riders find that helmets are not enough.

HPD also tries to protect riders by setting speed regulations on the mopeds and dedicating roads like the H-1 off limits.

“By law, mopeds cannot exceed 35 miles per hour,” Kiyabu said.

However, there are critics who see this law as more of a safety hazard than a safety precaution.

“I think they’re horribly unsafe. I wear a helmet, most of the time, but I barely think a helmet would help if I got into a bad accident,” said Jennifer Rubin, a UHM graduate student who has been ring mopeds for years.

Rubin got into an accident in 2008 while passing the H-1 entrance ramp. Although Rubin credits her moped problems to both moped the rider and car operator, there may be some common factors in many moped accidents.

“Each accident is going to have separate circumstances but common factors we can speak about… they commonly happen at intersections with vehicles making left hand turns in front of mopeds. Also, moped rider inexperience,” Kiyabu said.

To learn more about the new moped laws in Hawaii:
http://www.moped2.org/laws/hawaii.htm

For more information on HPD’s tips on traffic safety visit:
http://www.honolulupd.org/traffic/index.htm

 

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