Students react to proposed bill requiring moped riders under 25 to wear helmets


Theresa Cameron wears her helmet every time she rides her motorcycle

By James Meaney, Staff Writer

Sen. Josh Green, a Democrat who previously worked in an ER on the Big Island is no stranger to harsh reality of moped accidents. Sen. Green recently proposed a bill that would require moped riders under the age of 25 to wear helmets.

“I have seen much heartbreak when young people are injured or killed because they had no helmet,” Green said in an email. “I personally have driven a moped. It is a disastrous mistake not to wear a helmet when riding one.”

Green seems like the ideal senator to bring forward this latest moped safety proposal. He has seen the casualties and faced the reality himself when driving his very own moped. Age is still a factor here however, and it is a concern that 25+ year olds will legally be “less safe.” Sen. Green agrees that everyone should be required to wear a helmet, but young drivers’ cavalier approach to driving sees traditionally sees under 25’s in more accidents.

“Younger people tend to feel more invincible and historically have been underinsured or under protected,” he said in an email. “Younger people in general ride mopeds. Everyone should wear a helmet.”

Some moped riders don’t think it should be up to the government to make a decision regarding their own safety.

Trevor Freeman recently purchased moped and works at the same state legislative office as Green. “I have seen that Sen. Green is a sincere individual who cares about public safety,” former Chaminade student Freeman said. “In theory I think the law is a good idea. More helmets on the road means safer conditions for drivers, but I do not really think it is the place of the government to make this law.”

Lukas Pousset is a Chaminade University Senior and has been riding his moped for two years. He also opposes the proposed bill.

“I would not like the law because I want to choose myself if I want to wear a helmet or not,” Pousset said. “Some small mopeds are pretty much as fast as some bicycles. Should cyclists legally be required to wear a helmet? I don’t think so.”

Opinions are split, however: CUH Junior Theresa Cameron was unfortunate enough to be in a moped accident herself and ended up spending the night in Queens Hospital and having to pay in excess of $5,000 in medical bills. She supports the proposed bill and thinks the public should be more aware of the reality and very real possibility of a moped crash.

“I was hit by a car while riding my motorcycle and hit my head.” Cameron said of her accident in August of last year. “EMT arrived and because I had a bump on my head and sent me to hospital because they thought I could have internal bleeding. If I was wearing my helmet the bump would have been prevented and I could have saved thousands of dollars in medical bills.”

Cameron started wearing a helmet after her crash and is now concerned for the safety of others since learning the consequences of a moped accident.

”It is concerning though that whenever I drive other people they don’t want to wear my extra helmet,” she said. “Something needs to be done about the situation. Requiring all moped drivers and passengers to wear a helmet would help.”

Sen. Green and others alike are pushing for restrictions to increase moped safety. The state is also pushing a bill requiring moped drivers to have insurance. In recent years legislators have pressed for annual moped safety checks and moped safety courses, both of which have not passed. We are likely to see more proposed bills like this one in the near future.