Life on a Scooter, the Hawai’i Version

Good things happen more than once. Or at least that’s how I would like them to occur in my lifetime. A couple weeks ago my boyfriend brought back a great thing into our lives, and as a result, I’m ecstatic to be able to partially relive my Bali days again. I’m talking about riding a scooter!

To be clear, the scooters in Hawai’i are very different than the ones I had in Bali, and the differences are plenty. The one in Bali was 125 cc and technically requires a motorcycle license to ride on public streets; the one in Honolulu is 50 cc and needs no license. The latter is also more commonly referred to as mopeds by locals in Oahu. While helmets are recommended for safety, most people I see riding a moped in Honolulu lack one. While in Bali scooters are treasured and treated with care because they are important possessions for a person or a family, in Honolulu the majority look trashed and beat up—if they aren’t, there is a high probability it will get stolen.

But the most important part is still the same: the joy of riding. There’s just something so wonderful about open air, motion, and control. I would highly recommend riding a moped up Tantalus/Round Top Drive, where there is a famous lookout of Honolulu against the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean and Diamond Head crater and the road takes you through a rainforest jungle. Riding through it on a moped is one of my favorite things to do in life. However, it is said to be haunted so I would think twice about riding there at night!


The best thing about mopeds in Hawai’i is that pretty much anyone can experience it. There are endless moped rentals in Waikiki, which equip each person a moped, a chain and lock, a map, and a helmet (optional, but I’d wear it). Rentals is actually how I first experienced riding mopeds in the island, and I was sold. I think you would be too, but be sure to exercise a certain degree of caution while riding!


Photo of Tantalus/Round Top Drive by Mason Architects

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