The Hawaii Legislator is at the midpoint in the 2019 session. Any bill that is still alive has cleared all its committee hearings and is on to votes before the full House or Senate March 1 and 5 (this step is largely procedural), and then the bill is on to the other chamber.
So far it’s been a busy legislative session. Some of the key items HBL is working on are Vision Zero, red light enforcement cameras, electric bikes, electric foot scooters, and protecting the Civic Center Path. Read on for full details. And most importantly, please get involved! Make sure you’re on our Advocacy Team email list to get the latest.
And a giant mahalo to everyone that submitting testimony and stood up to support bicycling and safe streets!
Vision Zero is a bold statement that we can and must put safety first. Beyond a statement, Vision Zero must be a policy and program with specific actions to achieve the bold vision. There are two Vision Zero bills still moving that would adopt Vision Zero – HB757 and SB565. Check out this (dated) advocacy alert for more details.
Red Light Enforcement Cameras
As part of our Safe Streets for All advocacy we are pushing for red light enforcement cameras that will make our intersections (the most dangerous parts of our streets) considerably safer for everyone. SB663 would allow the counties to implement red light enforcement cameras and is still moving. Check out this (dated) advocacy alert for more details.
Currently electric bicycles are in a legal limbo in Hawaii. Technically they can’t be registered (though it seems to be happening). HB812 and SB1078 would both adopt the federal definition of the low-speed electric bicycle (max 20mph and 750 watts) into Hawaii law.
Electric Foot Scooters
You remember the brief flash in May 2018 where the company Lime launched electric foot scooters around Honolulu and then they were quickly swept up as the City determined that they were illegal vehicles (falling into the class of mopeds but without appropriate safety features to be a legal moped)??? Lime is back and pushing to make electric foot scooters legal in state law. One of the bills, originally sought to simply add electric foot scooters to the definition of bicycles and we were successful in pushing back that 1. they aren’t bicycles!, and 2. they should be regulated separately. We’re continuing to be involved in the conversation and have supported the DOT in their request that the state legislation be “enabling legislation” whereby the counties would need to first adopt an ordinance on where and how the scooters can operate before being allowed. HB754 and SB665 are the two electric foot scooter bills moving.
Protecting (and improving!) the Civic Center Path
Ban bikes from riding on the Civic Center Path that runs between Iolani Palace and the Capitol??? In spite of the fact that this is a crucial part of our bikeway network serving countless bicyclists, that is exactly what HB857 in its original form would have done. This bill brought up more advocates to testify than any other bill – for one hearing alone 94 written testimony and 22 in person testimony! Fortunately, our voices were heard and the bill went from terrible to great – the current draft deletes the ban and instead provides funding to create a separate bicycle path between Punchbowl St and Richards St. Check out this (updated) advocacy alert for more details.
Other Bills on Importance
There are a number of other bills we’re tracking and testifying on. SB1287 would add the Lei of Parks to the Hawaii State Plan and fund a staff to work on implementing it. HB1487 would create a pilot project for create a linear park with a multi-use that provides shoreline protection in Honolulu’s urban core. SB739 would require employers that provide subsidized parking to offer employees the cash instead, so that they can choose the best commute option. HB756 would have the DOT adopt new rules for setting speed limits that prioritize safety. Note this is only bills that are still alive.