Several factors make Hawaii an ideal place for moped riders. Hawaii has
some of the highest gasoline prices in the U.S., so mopeds offer a highly
economical transportation alternative. Year-round mild weather is also
ideal for moped riders. Because Hawaii has very few interstate highways,
most of Hawaii's roadways are accessible to mopeds. Mopeds are also
an economical alternative for tourists, many of whom opt for a moped rental
over renting a more expensive automobile. And with the high cost of parking
in Honolulu in particular, mopeds are becoming increasingly attractive.
As moped sales have increased in recent years, so have the amount of injuries
and fatalities reported.
However, the things which make mopeds a popular transportation alternative
also make them far more dangerous than a conventional automobile. The
fuel economy mopeds afford comes primarily from their diminutive size,
which makes them vulnerable in a collision. Indeed, a moped and its rider
will sustain far more damage in a collision with an automobile than the
A man in his 40's was seriously injured on February 21, while riding
on Moanalua Freeway. As recently as January 26, 2013, a teenage moped
rider was killed in a collision with an automobile. A bill currently in
the Hawaii senate requires riders under the age of 18 to wear a helmet
to prevent traumatic brain injuries. Queen's Medical Center reports
that less than 40% of riders admitted were wearing a helmet at the time
of the collision
Some of the enjoyment of riding a moped comes from their "open-air"
orientation. But that exposure means that the rider has virtually no protection
in a collision other than what they are wearing. Even in a minor collision
or fall, the rider is certain to come into contact with the road surface.
Many state highways are accessible to mopeds, which means that moped riders
can ride at top speed over long distances. The chance of an accident at
higher speeds is therefore increased, and the damage to the moped and
the rider is increased.
Because of the increased risk of injury while riding a moped, riders should
be careful to take every safety precaution. Certainly, the most important
safety measure a moped rider can take is to wear a properly rated safety
helmet. Riders should be aware of all laws and safety measures involved.
- Only those aged 15 and over are permitted to ride a moped.
- Only one rider per moped is permitted.
- Riders should wear protective clothing, including closed-toe shoes, long
pants, and long sleeves.
- Riders should ALWAYS wear a helmet, and obey all traffic laws.