Fatal moped crash shuts down Kalanianaole Highway for several hours

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A tourist is dead after crashing his rental moped into a motorcycle on Sunday.

The crash happened just after noon Sunday on a semi-blind curve along Kalanianaole Highway.

“The moped, a rented moped and tourist was riding down Kalani Highway towards Hawaii Kai crossed the center line and crashed head on to a motorcycle,” Honolulu Police Department Lt. Bobby Towne said.

The moped driver, a 36-year-old man, died on impact.

The motorcyclist, who emergency medical officials describe as a man in his mid 40s, was taken to the hospital in extremely critical condition. Police believe he lives on Oahu, stationed at a military base.

His female passenger in her early 40s was taken to the hospital in serious condition.

Witnesses described to police what they saw unfold right in front of them.

“It’s pretty rare as far as the investigations, I’ve handled as far as a motorcycle and a moped,” Lt. Towne said.

Moped and motorcycle traffic fatalities are on the rise nationwide including Hawaii.

Preliminary numbers that were just released by the governor’s highway safety administration show fatalities for moped and motorcycle riders are up 9 percent between 2011 and 2012.

Speed is the No. 1 factor involved in these fatalities and something police believe was a factor in Sunday’s crash.

“Speed in the sense that it’s faster than the moped can handle but not necessarily than the posted speed limit and alcohol is not a factor, but we will look into that. We are doing blood draw,” Lt. Towne said.

Honolulu Police say one of the riders was wearing a helmet, but it remains unclear at this time who was wearing one.

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