By Chris Takahashi | Staff Writer
With the passing of a new state law – Act 200 – the cost of ownership for a moped in Hawai‘i just became higher than in years past. The law, which went into effect on Jan. 1, 2017, stipulates that moped owners must pass a safety inspection, pay an annual registration fee, and attach a new license plate to the rear of the vehicle. The one-time registration fee of the past, which was $15, has now been replaced by a higher fee of $27 ($27.50 from 2018 onward) that will be required annually. These new regulations were distributed as a reminder to moped owners in a press release from Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s office on Jan. 10, 2017.
The new law will affect many students on the island in more ways than just the new, annual registration fee. Moped owners must pass a vehicle safety inspection from an authorized mechanic. Because some moped owners ride “modified bikes,” the odds of passing a safety inspection with these mopeds may be difficult.
Jason, an employee at Glenn’s Cycle Supply on Wai‘alae Avenue in Kaimukī, expressed his sentiments toward riders with modified bikes. He suggested that these moped owners will know fully well that their bikes will fail the safety inspection and may delay such registration as long as possible. It remains to be seen how the state and Honolulu Police Department (HPD) will crack down on moped owners that evade the new registration.
Jason did say that many of the moped owners he knows are generally adhering to the new law and going through the new registration process in stride. He felt that although the law may be a minor inconvenience, moped ownership will probably not decline.
UH Mānoa biology student and moped rider, Joe Edsman, first heard about the new law for moped registration through many of his friends. In his opinion, the new law has been “poorly executed” from a communication standpoint. He is still waiting for the official notice from the state for him to register his moped (per the new law, moped owners are given a 45-day notice).
As it has been understood by Edsman, and communicated in Caldwell’s recent press release, moped owners can expect to receive the 45-day notice in the month of their original purchase. If someone bought a moped in July 2012, for instance, he or she could expect to receive the official notice from the state in July of this year. In that regard, Edsman views 2017 as a “leeway” year for riders to complete the new registration requirements.
For moped owners curious about the new law and registration requirements, the full text of Act 200 can be found at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2016/bills/GM1302_.PDF