Hawaii motorcycle and scooter deaths more than doubled this year
The number of traffic-related deaths in Hawaii continues to rise, with around 66 in the first nine months of this year, five more than the same time last year.
Despite an ongoing pandemic, traffic has pretty much returned, and with it, a higher number of traffic-related deaths that has exceeded last year’s figures for at least six months now, according to preliminary statistics from the Hawaii Department of Transportation.
Of the 66 deaths that occurred from January 1 to Wednesday, 26 involved motorcycles, mopeds and scooters; 21 occupants of motor vehicles involved; 16 pedestrians concerned; two cyclists involved and an ATV operator, according to the DOT. The total is six more than expected in the first eight months of 2021.
The death toll from motorcycles and scooters is more than double what it was at the same time last year – 26 compared to 11.
Ed Sniffen, HDOT’s deputy director for freeways, previously told the Star-Advertiser that motorcycle-related deaths typically increase when gas prices rise, in Hawaii and nationwide. In addition, he said more people are on the road compared to 2020 and more people are speeding up.
Earlier this week, a 36-year-old motorcyclist died in a collision with a Ford pickup truck making a turn on North Kihei Road in Maui. The man, who Maui police identified as Myles Basquez from Kihei, was driving at high speed when he collided and was thrown onto the pavement.
Police said he was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash and died at the scene. The motorcycle fatality was Maui County’s 12th so far this year.
September was a deadly month for traffic-related deaths on Oahu, which has recorded most, or 35, of the total so far.
During the first week of September, a 20-year-old motorcyclist also crashed in Kapolei and was pronounced dead at the scene. He also wore a helmet.
Then, on September 24, a 79-year-old woman driving alone in a Honda sedan swerved off the Kalanianaole Expressway in Waimanalo and struck a metal pole. She was taken to hospital in critical condition and later died from her injuries.
In between, there have been numerous collisions involving cyclists and cars, mopeds and cars, pedestrians and cars, including one where a driver accidentally ran over a man lying on a road in Makiki, resulting in resulted in serious injury.
In mid-September, two pedestrians were struck by cars within minutes of each other in two separate incidents that same morning in Kaimuki. Emergency medical services were treated in serious but stable condition.
Additionally, one ATV operator-related fatality has occurred on the island of Hawaii, the first in several years. The DOT last recorded an ATV-related death in 2017.
After Oahu, Hawaii County recorded the second highest number of traffic-related deaths, with 18, followed by 12 in Maui County. Kauai County has recorded only one death involving a motorcyclist so far this year.
Hawaii traffic related deaths from January 1 to Monday:
>> State (66 in total): 21 occupants of motor vehicles, 16 pedestrians, 26 drivers of motorcycles, mopeds and scooters, 2 cyclists, 1 ATV operator
>> City and County of Honolulu (35 in total): 7 motor vehicle occupants, 11 pedestrians, 15 motorcycle / scooter riders, 2 cyclists
>> Hawaii County (18 total): 10 motor vehicle occupants, 1 pedestrian, 6 motorcycle / scooter riders, 1 ATV rider
>> Maui County (12 total): 4 motor vehicle occupants, 4 pedestrians, 4 motorcycle / scooter riders
>> County of Kauai (1 in total): 1 motorcycle driver