HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
TWENTY-NINTH LEGISLATURE, 2017
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
RELATING TO MOTORCYCLES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The legislature finds that with increasing traffic congestion at peak rush hour periods on main roads and highways throughout the State, especially in cities and on freeways, any measures that can alleviate congestion and reduce the risk of injury and loss of life to motorcycle and motor scooter operators and their passengers without increasing hardship, delay, and risk of injury or damage to other users of the roadways is a welcome benefit for all concerned.
The legislature further finds that although the concept of "motorcycle lane splitting", which involves motorcycles and motor scooters passing between two lanes of traffic moving in the same direction, would not be a safe maneuver on many of Hawaii's highways and freeways due to the narrowness of the lanes, the concept of "motorcycle lane filtering" alleviates that risk by requiring that traffic be stopped at the time the motorcycle or motor scooter passes between two same-bound lanes.
The purpose of this Act is to simultaneously achieve three desirable transportation, traffic, and public policy goals through "motorcycle lane filtering".
First, by allowing motorcycles and motor scooters to filter through same-bound lanes of stopped traffic, when safe to do so, on main roads, highways, and freeways, the risk of motor vehicle rear-end collisions with motorcycles and motor scooters can be reduced substantially. This will significantly reduce the loss of life and serious injury to motorcycle and motor scooter operators and their passengers.
Second, motorcycle lane filtering will allow motorcycles and motor scooters to move through stalled and stopped traffic, especially during gridlock on Oahu's freeways, thereby eliminating overheating problems associated with air-cooled motorcycles and motor scooters, which, unlike motor vehicles, have no radiators and, therefore, rely on movement to maintain cooling. Stalled and overheated motorcycles and motor scooters are an inconvenience to their operators and passengers as well as other motorists on the road. On freeways, stalled and overheated motorcycles and motor scooters constitute an additional safety risk to their operators, passengers, and other motorists and safety vehicles. Motorcycle lane filtering eliminates the cause of overheating by allowing motorcycles and motor scooters to move through stopped and gridlocked traffic, thereby eliminating the risk of serious personal injury and property damage.
Third, motorcycle lane filtering allows motorcycles and motor scooters to move through stopped traffic, which allows some modest alleviation of the traffic congestion and is a positive sum gain in relief from the immediate traffic congestion for all other motorists as well.
With the increase in motorcycle and motor scooter use as an alternative form of commuter transportation in Hawaii, these benefits are expected to increase over time.
SECTION 2. Section 291C-41, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
Drive on right side of roadway; exceptions. (a) Upon all roadways of
sufficient width a vehicle shall be driven upon the right half of the roadway,
except as follows:
(1) When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction under the rules governing such movement;
(2) When an obstruction exists making it necessary to drive to the left of the center of the highway; provided any person so doing shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles traveling in the proper direction upon the unobstructed portion of the highway within such distance as to constitute an immediate hazard;
(3) Upon a roadway divided into three marked lanes for traffic under the rules applicable thereon; or
(4) Upon a roadway designated and signposted one-way traffic.
(b) Upon all roadways any vehicle proceeding at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall be driven in the right-hand lane then available for traffic, or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, except when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction or when preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
(c) Upon any roadway having four or more lanes for moving traffic and providing for two-way movement of traffic, no vehicle shall be driven to the left of the center line of the roadway, except when authorized by official traffic-control devices designating certain lanes to the left side of the center of the roadway for use by traffic not otherwise permitted to use such lanes, or except as permitted under subsection (a)(2). This subsection shall not be construed to prohibit the crossing of the center line in making a left turn into or from an alley, private road, or driveway.
(d) Upon any roadway, as determined by the department of transportation, having two or more lanes for moving traffic in the same direction, where traffic is stopped due to a marked or unmarked intersection or congestion, the operator of a motorcycle or motor scooter may proceed cautiously between stopped lanes of traffic in the same direction at a reduced rate of speed of no more than ten miles per hour until either:
(1) One of the lanes is free of traffic whereupon the motorcycle or motor scooter operator shall safely maneuver the vehicle completely into such lane while continuing in the same direction of travel; or
(2) One or both of the stopped lanes of traffic begins to move forward, whereupon the motorcycle or motor scooter operator shall maneuver the vehicle completely into such lane of moving traffic as soon as it is safe to do so;
provided that this subsection shall not apply to a person operating or riding as a passenger on a three-wheeled motorcycle or three-wheeled motor scooter."
SECTION 3. Section 291C-43, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
Overtaking a vehicle on the left. The following rules shall govern the
overtaking and passing of vehicles proceeding in the same direction, subject to
those limitations, exceptions, and special rules hereinafter stated:
(1) The driver of a vehicle overtaking another
vehicle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left thereof at a
safe distance and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until
safely clear of the overtaken vehicle[
(2) Except when overtaking and passing on the right
is permitted, the driver of an overtaken vehicle shall give way to the right in
favor of the overtaking vehicle on audible signal and shall not increase the
speed of the driver's vehicle until completely passed by the overtaking
(3) The operator of a motorcycle or motor scooter may overtake and pass a stopped vehicle under traffic conditions specified in section 291C-41(d)."
SECTION 4. Section 291C-44, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (a) to read as follows:
"(a) The driver of a vehicle may overtake and pass upon the right of another vehicle only under the following conditions:
(1) When the vehicle overtaken is making or about to make a left turn;
(2) Upon a street or highway with unobstructed pavement not occupied by parked vehicles of sufficient width for and with lanes marked for two or more lines of moving vehicles in each direction;
(3) Upon a one-way street, or upon any roadway on
which traffic is restricted to one direction of movement, where the roadway is
free from obstructions and of sufficient width for two or more lines of moving
(4) Upon any roadway having two or more lanes for moving traffic in the same direction, the operator of a motorcycle or motor scooter may overtake and pass a stopped vehicle under traffic conditions specified in section 291C-41(d)."
SECTION 5. Section 291C-49, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
§291C-49[ ]] Driving
on roadways laned for traffic. Whenever any roadway has been divided into
two or more clearly marked lanes for traffic the following rules in addition to
all others consistent herewith shall apply.
(1) A vehicle shall be driven as nearly as practicable entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from the lane until the driver has first ascertained that such movement can be made with safety.
(2) Upon a roadway which is divided into three lanes and provides for two-way movement of traffic, a vehicle shall not be driven in the center lane except when overtaking and passing another vehicle traveling in the same direction when the center lane is clear of traffic within a safe distance, or in preparation for making a left turn or where the center lane is at the time allocated exclusively to traffic moving in the same direction that the vehicle is proceeding and such allocation is designated by official traffic-control devices.
(3) Official traffic-control devices may be erected directing specified traffic to use a designated lane or designating those lanes to be used by traffic moving in a particular direction regardless of the center of the roadway and drivers of vehicles shall obey the directions of every such sign.
(4) Official traffic-control devices may be installed prohibiting the changing of lanes on sections of roadway and drivers of vehicles shall obey the directions of every such device.
(5) Nothing in this section shall be construed as prohibiting the operator of a motorcycle or motor scooter from overtaking and passing a stopped vehicle under traffic conditions specified in section 291C‑41(d)."
SECTION 6. Section 291C-81, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
"§291C-81 Required position and method of turning at intersections. The driver of a vehicle intending to turn at an intersection shall do so as follows:
(1) Right turns. Both the approach for a right turn and a right turn shall be made as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.
(2) Left turns. The driver of a vehicle intending to turn left at any intersection shall approach the intersection in the extreme left-hand lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the direction of travel of such vehicle, and, after entering the intersection, the left turn shall be made so as to leave the intersection in a lane lawfully available to traffic moving in such direction upon the roadway being entered. Whenever practicable the left turn shall be made in that portion of the intersection to the left of the center of the intersection.
(3) The director of transportation and the counties in their respective jurisdictions may cause official traffic-control devices to be placed within or adjacent to intersections and thereby require and direct that a different course from that specified in this section be traveled by vehicles turning at an intersection, and when such devices are so placed no driver of a vehicle shall turn a vehicle at an intersection other than as directed and required by such devices.
(4) Subject to official traffic-control devices being placed within or adjacent to intersections and thereby requiring and directing that a different course from that specified in this section be traveled by vehicles turning at an intersection as provided under paragraph (3), where the operator of a motorcycle or motor scooter is overtaking and passing between stopped vehicles in the manner and for the reasons described in section 291C-41(d), the operator shall always give the right-of-way to either left turning or right turning vehicles at intersections in compliance with paragraphs (1) and (2), and such operator shall maneuver the motorcycle or motor scooter completely into a lane of travel before attempting, signaling the intention, and making either a left turn or right turn in full compliance with the applicable provisions of this section."
SECTION 7. Section 291C-84, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
"§291C-84 Turning movements and required signals. (a) No person shall turn a vehicle at an intersection unless the vehicle is in proper position upon the roadway as required in section 291C-81, or turn a vehicle to enter a private road or driveway, or otherwise turn a vehicle from a direct course or move right or left upon a roadway unless and until such movement can be made with reasonable safety. No person shall so turn any vehicle without giving an appropriate signal in the manner hereinafter provided.
(b) A signal of intention to turn right or left when required shall be given continuously during not less than the last one hundred feet traveled by the vehicle before turning; provided that for a bicycle or moped, such signal shall be given continuously during not less than the last one hundred feet traveled by the bicycle or moped before turning, and shall be given when the bicycle or moped is stopped waiting to turn; and further provided that a signal by hand and arm need not be given continuously by the driver of a bicycle or moped if the hand is needed in the braking, control, or operation of the bicycle or moped.
(c) No person shall stop or suddenly decrease the speed of a vehicle without first giving an appropriate signal in the manner provided herein to the driver of any vehicle immediately to the rear when there is opportunity to give such signal.
(d) The signals provided for in section 291C-85(b) shall be used to indicate an intention to turn, change lanes, or start from a parked position and shall not be flashed on one side only on a parked or disabled vehicle, or flashed as a courtesy or "do pass" signal to operators of other vehicles approaching from the rear.
(e) Where the operator of a motorcycle or motor scooter is overtaking and passing a stopped vehicle in the manner and for the reasons described in section 291C-41(d), the operator shall employ the signals provided for in section 291C-85(b) to indicate the operator's intention to stop or to maneuver the motorcycle or motor scooter from its line of travel between the lanes of traffic into either the left lane or the right lane of travel."
SECTION 8. Section 291C-125, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
"§291C-125 Opening and closing vehicle doors. (a) No person shall open the door of a motor vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so, and can be done without interfering with, or causing immediate hazard to the movement of other traffic, nor shall any person leave a door open on the side of a vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.
(b) No person shall open a door of a motor vehicle or extend or allow any object to protrude out of or from a motor vehicle, or otherwise direct the course and line of travel of a motor vehicle, such that it interferes with or obstructs the movement of a motorcycle or motor scooter or endangers the lives and safety of the operator or passenger of a motorcycle or motor scooter who is lawfully engaged in overtaking and passing a stopped vehicle under traffic conditions specified in section 291C-41(d)."
SECTION 9. Section 291C-153, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
Operating motorcycles on roadways laned for traffic. (a) All motorcycles
are entitled to full use of a lane and no motor vehicle shall be driven in such
a manner as to deprive any motorcycle of the full use of a lane. This
subsection shall not apply to motorcycles operated two abreast in a single
(b) The operator of a motorcycle shall not
overtake and pass in the same lane occupied by the vehicle being overtaken[
except when lawfully engaged in overtaking and passing a stopped vehicle under
traffic conditions specified in section 291C-41(d).
(c) No person shall operate a motorcycle
between lanes of traffic or between adjacent lines or rows of vehicles[
except when lawfully engaged in overtaking and passing a stopped vehicle under
traffic conditions specified in section 291C‑41(d).
(d) Motorcycles shall not be operated more than two abreast in a single lane.
(e) Subsections (b) and (c) shall not apply to police officers in the performance of their official duties."
SECTION 10. This Act does not affect rights and duties that matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were begun before its effective date.
SECTION 11. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 12. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2050.
Transportation; Motorcycle Lane Filtering
Allows motorcycle and motor scooter lane filtering on roadways as determined by the Department of Transportation. Effective 7/1/2050. (SD1)
The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.