Hawaii Motorcycle Laws, Explained

Dec 17, 2023


Ride with confidence in paradise and see the beauty of all that Hawaii has to offer on two wheels in the fresh air. This short guide will discuss the most up-to-date Hawaii motorcycle laws, from driving to gear. Regardless of your starting point, you’re guaranteed to ride your motorcycle safely in Hawaii. Remember- following Hawaii’s motorcycle laws is critical for maintaining a safe and enjoyable motorcycle experience in this state, especially with the influx of tourism. Understanding the specific regulations is essential. 

Hawaii Moped/Motorcycle License Laws

For more information on what you need to ride a motorcycle in Hawaii, including more in-depth information on Hawaii’s permit and license requirements, check out our blog, “What Do I Need to Ride a Motorcycle in Hawaii?

  • In Hawaii, you must be at least 16 years of age to operate a motorcycle
  • International riders must be at least 18 with a motorcycle license. 
  • An international driving permit is suggested to avoid potential barriers. 
  • Most rental companies require riders to be 21 and up. 
  • To drive a moped (under 50cc), you only need to have, at the very least, a standard driver’s license. 

Picture of an Ice Bear Rocket moped parked on a Hawaii beach


All operators of motorcycles in Hawaii must maintain, at the very least, personal liability coverage when operating your bike.

Hawaii’s Motorcycle Helmet Laws

  • Motorcycle, motor scooter, and moped operators under 18 (16-17) must wear a Department of Transportation (DOT)- approved helmet with a chin strap. 
  • Motorcycle riders over the age of 18 are not required by law to wear a helmet in the state of Hawaii

***Although Hawaii law may not require adult riders to wear a helmet, it is always encouraged to wear appropriate safety gear when operating a motorcycle. This is especially important when driving in an unfamiliar area or around areas with tourism, which may make many people unfamiliar with the roads. When worn correctly, helmets can prevent the likelihood of a fatality by 42% and head injury by 69%.***

Hawaii’s Motorcycle Passenger Laws

  • Children under 7 are not permitted to ride as passengers on motorcycles.
  • Mopeds are not permitted to have passengers. 
  • Passengers under 18 are required by law to wear a DOT-approved helmet with a chin strap. 

Motorcycle Driving Laws in Hawaii

Is lane-splitting or lane-sharing legal in Hawaii?

No, lane splitting in Hawaii is illegal under HRS 291C-153(c). All motorcycles are entitled to use the entire lane and may not weave between cars, lanes, or traffic. However, Hawaii does allow for shoulder surfing, which is an alternative to the two.

Can motorcyclists ride next to each other in a single lane in Hawaii?

Hawaii law states that two motorcycles can ride next to each other in a single lane, but not more than two. This still maintains the integrity of lane divisions and respects the rules of other vehicles. 

Do I need gear to ride on highways in Hawaii?

Under Hawaii’s law, no person can operate or ride a motorcycle or motor scooter without the necessary safety gear:

  • Safety glasses, goggles, or face shield (if your motorcycle does not have a windscreen or windshield)
  • No person can rent a motorcycle in the state of Hawaii unless the person wears a safety helmet. 
  • A helmet with a chin strap is legally required for anyone under 18.
  • A safety helmet is not required for any person operating or riding a motorcycle or motor scooter IF that motorcycle is…

Motorcycle Permit Holders 

Under Hawaii’s state law, motorcycle permit holders (Class 2) are…

  • Not allowed to ride with any passengers
  • Not permitted to ride at night/hours of darkness
  • If your permit expires, you must wait 3 months before reapplying.

What happens if you get pulled over in Hawaii without a motorcycle license?

You can face jail time and a pretty hefty fine! 

What’s the state speed limit in Hawaii?

The state speed limit for highways in Hawaii is 60 MPH, which is generally lower than many other states in the USA. Most of the roads in Hawaii are only 25-45 MPH. This is because of the potentially variable landscape of the roads, with unexpected twists and turns. You can get a speeding ticket with a fine over the posted speed limit on any road. Still, excessive speeding is illegal and characterized by going 30 MPH over the speed limit or above 80 MPH. This is punishable by law in jail, hefty fines, or even losing your license. 

Motorcycle Vehicle Maintenance & Requirements in Hawaii

The government sets minimum safety and vehicle standards to ensure that motorcycles and motor scooters are roadworthy. Hawaii requires that all motorcycles have:

  • Permanent seat
  • Horn
  • Working brakes
  • Brake light
  • Headlight
  • Taillight 
  • Muffler 
  • Mirror 

All of these requirements must be appropriately placed and functional. You must have at least one mirror that is positioned to show the driver a view of the road at least 200 feet behind you. Windscreens/shields are not required by law but are illegal if they inhibit your view of the road. 

Renting a motorcycle in Hawaii? If you’re renting a motorcycle in Hawaii, make sure you inspect your vehicle before driving off. Ask the owner or rental company if you need to know anything about the bike and how it operates. Ensure that the standard qualities of a functioning motorcycle are present and in working order. If you, at any point, begin to think that your motorcycle is not safe to ride, do not ride it. Find a safe spot to pull over and park, and contact your rental company, owner, or, in the case of Riders Share, make sure to call Roadside Assistance. 

Motorcycle Rental in Honolulu, Hawaii

Riders Share is a peer-to-peer motorcycle rental platform with hubs in Honolulu, Oahu, and across Hawaii’s other islands. With hundreds of unique motorcycle rentals from $25/day, you can find your ideal ride for your next trip to the Aloha state. All owners listing their bikes for rent on Riders Share must maintain their motorcycles to the manufacturer and state standards expected of them. Looking for gear? Many of our owners have gear for rent or may even offer it complimentary so you can stay safe on the road. If you have any questions or concerns about riding a motorcycle in Hawaii, contact us or the bike owner you rent from today.