The following testimony was presented Feb. 16, 2023, by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii to the Senate Committee on Judiciary.
February 16, 2023
Conference Room 016 and Via Videoconference
To: Senate Committee on Judiciary
Senator Karl Rhoads, Chair
Senator Mike Gabbard, Vice Chair
From: Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
Ted Kefalas, Director of Strategic Campaigns
RE: SB926 — RELATING TO PEDESTRIANS
Dear Chair and Committee Members:
The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii would like to offer its comments on SB926, which would allow pedestrians to cross the street after exercising reasonable care that there is no danger of collision.
In other words, this bill trusts people to cross the street — something that most of us have been permitted to do since a relatively young age.
There is a certain irony in the need to pass a bill that recognizes the ability of pedestrians to cross the street safely. Many people might assume that such legislation is unnecessary or assume that it is the product of an overly rigid “nanny state.”
Unfortunately, the enforcement of statutes relating to pedestrians is indeed rigid, and the statutes themselves are — as noted in the language of this bill — “needlessly restrictive.”
Any Hawaii resident can regale you with a story of the absurdity of Hawaii’s pedestrian laws, including the expensive citation they or a friend received for being in the crosswalk a few seconds too soon or too late.
The current system contributes to an adversarial relationship between law enforcement and the public. Moreover, as the bill points out, it will also encourage more people to walk while making the streets friendlier to pedestrians.
We commend the committee for considering this bill and encourage them to recognize the “right to walk.” Hawaii residents can be trusted to cross the street safely.
Thank you for the opportunity to submit our comments.
Director of Strategic Campaigns
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii