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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, January 2, 2006

Moped, pedestrian deaths rose in '05

By Rod Ohira
Advertiser Staff Writer

2005 HAWAI'I TRAFFIC DEATHS

Automobile: 74

Pedestrian: 33

Motorcycle: 18

Moped: 8

Bicycle: 5

Total: 138

Source: County police departments

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While pedestrian deaths on O'ahu's roadways continued to rise at an alarming rate, moped fatalities accounted for the most significant spike in 2005.

Eight moped drivers were among O'ahu's 78 traffic fatalities for the past year. By comparison, there was only one moped-driver fatality in 2004 and none in 2003 on O'ahu. The Neighbor Islands have not had a moped fatality in the past three years.

O'ahu's 28 pedestrian deaths in 2005 matched its number of people killed in auto crashes. Five Neighbor Island pedestrian deaths three on the Big Island and one each on Maui and Kaua'i brought the state total to 33.

Over the past five years, Hawai'i's pedestrian death rate was seventh-highest in the nation, with an annual average of 2.1 deaths per every 100,000 residents. In 2004, pedestrians accounted for 31 of 142 traffic deaths in Hawai'i.

To better inform drivers about the state's new crosswalk law, the state Transportation Department plans to air more public service ads and will expand its Walk-Wise Hawai'i program to include more presentations to motorists about pedestrian safety.

The crosswalk law, which went into effect in May, requires drivers to stop rather than yield whenever a pedestrian is in a crosswalk on the driver's side of the road or approaching it, and could result in fines and fees up to $97 for drivers who fail to stop. In September, Honolulu police launched an aggressive ticketing campaign to help make the public more aware of the new law.

The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute, reported that 70,000 pedestrians are injured annually and that 4,641 pedestrians were killed in the United States in 2004. Most pedestrian injuries took place at intersections, the report said.

O'ahu accounted for more than half of the state's 138 traffic fatalities in 2005. The breakdown includes 28 deaths in vehicle collisions or crashes, 28 pedestrians, 12 motorcyclists, eight moped drivers and two bicyclists.

The Big Island followed with 36 deaths 32 involving motorists, three pedestrians and a bicyclist. Maui County reported 15 deaths, including one on Lana'i, and Kaua'i nine fatalities. Seven motorists, six motorcyclists, a pedestrian and a bicyclist were killed on Maui while seven motorists, a pedestrian and a bicyclist died on Kaua'i.

The Big Island and Maui had 41 and 21 traffic fatalities, respectively, in 2004 while Kaua'i had nine for a second consecutive year.

Reach Rod Ohira at rohira@honoluluadvertiser.com.