The Moped Mode Of Transportation

Nice helmets, guys, but two on a moped is illegal in Hawaii. BOB JONES PHOTO

Nice helmets, guys, but two on a moped is illegal in Hawaii. BOB JONES PHOTO

It would seem logical for more people in Hawaii to ride a moped. Maybe more so than a bike because of better speed, uphill power and ability to generally move right along with cars in urban traffic.

But oddly, we’re mostly a tourist-moped society aside from college students.

There’s the fear of being run over — although I felt that more when I rode a bike.

I’m a 78-year-old moped rider, comfortable with that, loving the ease of parking and dodging traffic jams, no insurance and 60 miles to a gallon.

Of course, for my many column-hunting trips, all freeway travel and when it rains, I use our car.

People may be confused about moped rules of the road and registration, and our police don’t seem to enforce their own law, which says you cannot ride two on a moped. I see twosomes almost every day.

The stuff that’s posted on the Internet also confuses people, even our own Honolulu Police Department’s postings. For instance, HPD’s site says:

Mopeds require an annual safety inspection. Not true. Probably should be though.

Moped operators must drive in bicycle lanes when provided unless signs are posted to prohibit the use of mopeds on a bicycle lane.

Don’t know how that got in there, but cops will bust you for riding in bike lanes.

Persons operating amoped on the road shall drive in single file and may not drive on a sidewalk or any area intended for the exclusive use of pedestrians.

Or on a bike-pedestrian paved path.

A hot-for-an-easy-ticket cop nailed me for a 10-second detour there on Kapahulu — $97.

Helmets are not required in Hawaii, but I think you’re nuts to be without one.

Hawaii does not require moped insurance, contrary to what you’ll find on some websites.

We require a driver’s license, a registration sticker and an engine that will not exceed 30 miles per hour (ha ha!).

These two-wheel vehicles aren’t the safest means of travel. Your chance of getting killed while operating any type of “scooter” is 35 times higher than driving a car, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

You have to be alert and watch car and truck drivers who might not see you when they change lanes. I drive with my moped “brights” on.

Moped riders who have their ear buds in are idiots. You need to be audibly aware as well as visually. Your brain doesn’t need distractions.

Mopeds are cheap and cost virtually nothing for maintenance.

Maybe a checkup every 5,000 miles — unless you’ve bought one of those $795 models with cut-rate Chinese parts and bearings. I recommend higher-end models, high seats so traffic can see you and fat tires so you don’t somersault at one of our famous potholes.

More mopeds would mean less traffic congestion while getting you there almost as fast as a car.