For most college students, wheels are hard to come by, unless of course they’re attached to a skateboard or bicycle. That’s why so many at the University of Hawaii at Manoa opt for mopeds.
“It's very convenient because you don't have to walk around, you get to classes way faster,” said Xenia Suworowa, a moped rider and senior at UH.
However, parking on the sidewalk just outside of your classroom may no longer be an option for students, unless they can afford a $35 ticket. Last week, Honolulu Police officers began issuing warnings to moped drivers who parked on sidewalks along Dole Street and University Avenue. The initiative began after police received complaints from pedestrians about crowded walkways.
“I believe on our first couple of days of warning, we put over a hundred warnings out, that's how many were in violation,” said Officer Celine Aiu, a member of the District 7 Community Policing Team.
But Tuesday morning, warnings turned into citations, as police officers fanned out along Dole Street and tagged a handful of mopeds parked on sidewalks. UH Manoa Freshman Mukunda Rivet caught a break, walking out to his scooter just before an officer was about to give him a ticket.
“I'm just glad they were able to be clear on what I should and shouldn't do,” Rivet told KITV4. “It was a pleasant surprise.”
Moped riders who continue to park on sidewalks at UH face a potential double whammy. If a moped is blocking the path of pedestrians, a separate citation can be issued.
“That's a different violation, and that's a little bit more than your moped one,” said Aiu. “It's $55 for that one.”
Avoiding up to $90 in fines is relatively easy for most students at UH. A moped parking pass for the semester costs $30, or $90 for the entire year. Aiu said moped riders, not just those at UH, must use designated parking if it exists nearby.
“With a moped, you got to park either in a marked stall, or if they have a designated area, park in that designated area,” she said. “You can't park on the sidewalks.”
Meanwhile, Honolulu police also want moped drivers everywhere to obey the rules of the road. That means no drivers under the age of 15, not traveling faster than 35 mph and staying as far right as possible.
“One of the laws requires that if there's a bike lane provided, they have to use it,” said Aiu.
There’s also a law that says moped drivers cannot operate the two-wheeler with a passenger. That means no tandem riding, a popular maneuver at the UH campus.
“I hate it because there's enough space to have two people on one moped, especially if you're a girl,” said said Suworowa.
“It's just because they don't know (the laws), so we wanted to get it out there,” said Aiu. “We're kind of tired of hearing about moped crashes and so forth, because they'll always lose.”