The number of traffic-related fatalities in Hawaii continues to rise, with 76 in roughly the first 10 months of this year, 10 more than the same time last year, according to preliminary statistics from the Hawaii Department of Transportation.
Those involving motorcycles, mopeds and scooters continue to grow, with more than double the number — 29 compared to 12 — at the same time last year. The majority have occurred on Oahu, but all four major counties have recorded at least one so far this year.
On Wednesday morning, a 44-year-old Puna man died after a solo crash on his Harley Davidson Motorcycle on Daniel K. Inouye Highway on Hawaii island. Police said he appeared to have struck a curb after trying to negotiate a curve, and found him in a pasture off of the highway. He was not wearing a helmet.
Of the 76 fatalities from Jan. 1 to Wednesday, 29 involved motorcycles and scooters; 24 involved motor vehicle occupants; 18 involved pedestrians; four involved bicyclists, and one involved an ATV operator, according to DOT. The total is also 10 more than counted through the first nine months of 2021.
Ed Sniffen, deputy director for highways, told the Star-Advertiser in an earlier interview that the number of fatalities involving motorcycles, scooters, and mopeds historically have risen when gas prices increase as part of a national and statewide trend. Many turn to motorcycles and scooters as transportation alternatives, but may not be properly licensed, trained, or equipped with the proper safety gear.
DOT defines scooters as motorcycles with no more than five horsepower.
October was also a deadly month for pedestrians, and Walk Wise Hawaii reminds pedestrians and drivers to watch out for one another during trick-or-treating this Halloween weekend.
On Oct. 19, Honolulu police reported a pickup truck struck 68-year-old man as he was crossing Farrington Highway against a “do not walk” sign in a marked crosswalk in Kapolei. He was taken to a hospital in critical condition, and later died.
Just three days prior, a Nissan 370Z struck a man believed to be in his 30s as he was walking on the right shoulder of Nimitz Highway near Kahauiki Village. Police said the driver of the Nissan lost control of his car for unknown reasons, and the pedestrian was pronounced dead at the scene.
The majority of traffic-related fatalities occurred on Oahu, with 39, followed by Hawaii County with 22, followed by 14 on Maui County. Kauai County has recorded only one fatality involving a motorcyclist so far this year.
Hawaii County’s traffic-related fatalities nearly doubled, at 22, compared to 13 at the same time last year, with most incidents involving motor vehicles.
The Honolulu Police Department, meanwhile, urges motorists to drive responsibly this holiday season, and said it will be setting up impaired driver checkpoints at unannounced times and locations from Monday to Dec. 31.
TRAFFIC RELATED FATALITIES
Traffic-related deaths in Hawaii from Jan. 1 to Wednesday:
>> State (76 total): 24 motor vehicles, 18 pedestrians, 29 motorcycles and scooters, four bicyclists, 1 ATV operator.
>> City and County of Honolulu (39) total: 8 motor vehicles, 13 pedestrians, 15 motorcycles and scooters, 3 bicyclists.
>> Hawaii County (22 total): 11 motor vehicles’ 1 pedestrian, 9 motorcycles and scooters, 1 ATV operator.
>> Maui County (14 total): 5 motor vehicles, 4 pedestrians, 4 motorcycles and scooters, 1 bicyclist.
>> Kauai County (1 total): 1 motorcycle operator