It’s important to know your legal rights (and duties) when bicycling in Hawaii. It is especially important after a bicycle accident (we call them bicycle “crashes” and explain why here).
This is a general overview of Hawaii’s bicycle laws. To see them in their completion, please visit Hawaii’s Department of Transportation. Feel free to reach out to Bike Law’s National Director Rachael Maney for further information.
Right to the Road
- Bicycles are defined as vehicles and generally have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicle drivers.
- All bicycles with two tandem wheels, twenty (20) inches or more in diameter, are required to be registered and shall be subject to a permanent registration fee of $15 to be paid by the owners to the City Budget and Fiscal Director.
Where to Ride
- Bicyclists are required to ride as near to the right curb or on the shoulder as practicable when traveling slower than the speed of traffic.
- Bicyclists must utilize any usable bicycle lane that has been provided adjacent to a roadway when traveling at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic unless full lane usage is permitted.
- Full lane use is allowed when traveling at the normal speed of traffic, preparing for a turn, overtaking and passing, avoiding hazards or unsafe conditions, traveling in a lane too narrow to share, and avoiding a mandatory turn lane. Bicyclists may ride on the left hand curb when on a one way only roadway with two or more lanes.
- Bicycles are prohibited from being ridden on the sidewalks in a business district but may be ridden on sidewalks otherwise when traveling at a speed of 10 mph or less. Bicyclists must yield to pedestrian’s right-of-way and give an audible signal when passing. Check local ordinances for variations on this rule.
HOW TO RIDE
- Bicyclists are required to ride single file on the roadway but may ride two abreast on bike paths, if the lane is wide enough.
- Bicyclists are required to slow down and come to a complete stop at stop signs and traffic devices signaling red.
- Bicyclists must signal when turning or coming to a stop.
Bicyclists Overtaking Cars
Bicyclists on roadways must exercise due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction.
Cars Overtaking Bicyclists
Motor vehicle drivers are required to safely pass bicyclists with at least three (3) feet clearance.
- Bicyclists under the age of 16 are required to wear a properly fastened helmet.
- At night, a bicycle must be equipped with a front white light visible from 500 feet away, a four inch square rear red reflector visible from 600 feet away, and a four inch square reflective material or lighted lamps on each side of the bicycle visible from 500 feet.
- Every bicycle must have brakes which enable the bicyclist to make a complete stop within 25 feet from a speed of 10 MPH on dry, level, clean pavement.
- Clinging to motor vehicles while bicycling is not permitted.
- A bicycle may not carry more than the number of persons for which it is designed.
- A bicycle must have a permanent, regular seat affixed to the bicycle.
- Bicyclists may not carry a package which prevents using both hands to control and at least one hand on handlebars at all times.
- Bicyclists may not ride a bicycle at a greater speed than reasonable and prudent under the current conditions.
- Bicyclists may not race on the roadways, unless the riders are participating in an approved racing event.
- Bicyclists may not ride a bicycle on a pedestrian overpass or underpass. Riders must dismount from their vehicle before using such structures.
- Bicyclists may not park a bicycle on a street or in a manner that obstructs pedestrian or motor vehicle traffic.
- Bicyclists may not ride contraflow in a bicycle lane or on the roadway.
Vulnerable Road User Law (VRU)
- Bicyclists on streets or public highways are defined as vulnerable users and are covered under Hawaii’s Vulnerable User Law.
- Hawaii protects vulnerable users by providing a statutory basis for tougher prosecution when a vulnerable road user has been substantially injured or killed due to negligence.
Hawaii’s DUI statute does apply to bicyclists as bicycles are defined as vehicles.