HONOLULU (KHON2) — Go on red? Motorcycles, bikes and mopeds may have different rules in the near future.
There is a bill advancing through Hawaiʻi’s Legislature that would allow certain vehicles to make their way through red lights.
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For mopeds, motorcyclists and bicyclists, it’s not uncommon to be waiting at a red light for minutes on end.
“I was stuck at a light, and there were no cars around me. So, I would have to drift myself into a crosswalk just for me to press the button for it to change,” said Justin Vinoia, an Oahu resident.
The Hawaii Department of Transportation said the long waits are due to certain types of vehicles being unable to trigger traffic signals.
“If you don’t have enough metal, sometimes you won’t be detected because the loops work on electromagnetic fields which is broken by metal,” said Bryan Kimura, Hawaii Department of Transportation Engineering Program Manager.
Now, a bill moving through the Legislature is looking to help motorcycle, bike and moped riders. The proposal would allow them to go through red lights but only during certain hours from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.
“The intent was knowing that those are the less traveled hours,” said Rep. Darius Kila, (D) House Committee on Transportation Vice Chair. “Motorcycles are able to follow cars to trigger the green lights, right; but when it’s just themselves traversing the roads at night, you might not have a car for almost five minutes.”
However, the Honolulu Police Department opposes the bill. They stated that if this were to become law, then it would increase the chances of accidents due to drivers not expecting motorcyclists, bicyclists or mopeds to be going through an intersection against a red signal.
“There’s got to be a better way than telling them just go ahead and run the red light,” said Ret. Lt. William Hankins, Former Maui Police Department Traffic Commander. “By telling them to run the red light, we’ve given them a green light to get killed.”
“To me, it doesn’t seem like a very common-sense approach,” said Chief Ben Moszkowicz, Police Chief of the Hawaii Police Department. “I would hope that there’s some sort of engineering countermeasure that we could use to alleviate the concern rather than create a separate subsection of the law to allow motorcycles, bikes and mopeds to not stop at red lights.”
Some lawmakers had questions about engineering alternatives instead.
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“Video detectors seem to be able to detect it a little better but even that sometimes during certain kinds of weather may not be able to detect people or even when it’s really dark,” Kimura said.
The bill was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for further consideration.