The House Transportation Committee unanimously passed a measure Wednesday to require annual inspections and registration for mopeds.

Currently, mopeds must be registered at the county level. But only the counties of Hawaii and Maui currently conduct annual moped inspections, according to Hawaii’s Department of Transportation.

HB 1753 would prohibit the use of mopeds on public roadways that are not in good working condition, while “extending certain police powers dealing with vehicle registration to include mopeds” and requiring all mopeds to have a certificate of inspection.

Moped on Diamond Head Road
Moped on Diamond Head Road. Nick Grube/Honolulu Civil Beat

Police officers would be able to issue a citation if they believe a moped is unsafe or unequipped as required. The owner would be required to receive a new certificate of inspection within five days of receiving the citation.

Police also would be able to remove a moped’s inspection sticker if they consider the moped “a menace to the public” or determine that an altered moped cannot be restored to comply with regulations or be restored to a safe condition.

“A higher fine is justified because they are intentionally breaking the law by modifying their motor and muffler.” — Tim Streitz, McCully-Moiliili Neighborhood board member

The registration of the moped would then be immediately suspended, requiring its owner to surrender the moped’s certification of inspection and license plates. The owner or operator of a moped without a certificate of inspection could be fined up to $100.

Tim Streitz, the head of a moped study group and member of the McCully-Moiliili Neighborhood Board,  said in a written testimony that he supports HB 1753; but he asked for an amendment to “require license plates on mopeds and higher fines for modifying moped motors and/or mufflers.”

Streitz says that moped noise has been an ongoing issue throughout Oahu and that a higher fine would make moped riders rethink modifying their moped.

“A higher fine is justified because they are intentionally breaking the law by modifying their motor and muffler, which results in higher than allowed speeds and excessive noise,” said Streitz in an email. “This is an abuse of the moped vehicle category.”

Current Hawaii law defines a moped as a two or three-wheeled vehicle that can go no more than 30 mph on a straight level surface and must have an automatic transmission. Department of Transportation regulations bar mopeds from going above 35 mph.

The measure still must be reviewed by the committees on Consumer Protection and Commerce and Judiciary.

About the Author