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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, June 14, 2007

No car-sale signs on city land

By Robbie Dingeman
Advertiser Columnist

Q. How come a private citizen gets a citation for displaying a for-sale sign in his vehicle while vehicles with business logos don't? This law is a double standard and must be abolished. Isn't it a violation of my constitutional rights?

A. Honolulu police said a city ordinance specifically bans parking a car for sale in a public area in this county.

"If the car is parked on public property, it would basically be allowing commercial use of a public property," said Lt. Mark Boyce. "You should not be using public property to sell anything."

But someone can place a sign advertising a business on a vehicle, Boyce said, because "that's not trying to sell the car."

What about driving around with a for-sale sign in your car? Boyce said you can still get a ticket while driving city streets. In addition, you could get tagged for a safety violation if the officer determines that the sign obstructs the driver's vision.

You can park your car with such a sign in your driveway, on other private property or even in a state park, Boyce said, because it's a city ordinance that specifically prohibits a for-sale sign on a vehicle on public property.

In 15 years with HPD, Boyce said, he has cited cars for this, usually in response to complaints. For example, when he worked on the North Shore, people would complain that the grassy area at Shark's Cove was turning into a little used-car lot.

Without a complaint or a safety hazard, Boyce said, it's not usually a high priority for police.

Q. I wonder if you can settle a small dispute I have had with a friend concerning the 2005 crosswalk law. The law requires a driver to stop when a person is in a crosswalk on the driver's side of the road. My contention is that a person is not in the crosswalk until he or she steps off the curb. ... My friend, however, claims that a person is in the crosswalk when he stands on the curb at such a crossing, so each driver should come to a complete stop then. Who is right?

A. Honolulu police Lt. Jerry Wojcik said you are right.

The law does not apply if the person is on the sidewalk getting ready to cross, he said. The law states, "The driver of a vehicle shall stop and yield the right of way, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk." The law also states, "No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield." So the pedestrian's right of way doesn't begin until he or she is on the street, in the crosswalk. Wojcik said the vehicle has the right of way if the pedestrian is on the sidewalk.