Political candidate signwaving creates unnecessary distraction on busy roadways

Natalie Iwasa
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Natalie Iwasa

BY NATALIE IWASA – Sign waving.

It’s a tradition in Hawaii that goes back decades and has already started up again.


We know political candidates do it because “it works,” or so the thought goes.

Over the past few years, I’ve watched as people lined the streets, sometimes two and three abreast on narrow sidewalks or crammed onto shoulders blocking access to pedestrians and bicyclists.

“Here I am!”  “Look at me!”  “Over here!”

Some people have expressed concern and even disdain for the practice:

  • “Busy interchanges can be clogged with office-seekers . . .” 1
  • “The sign wavers are right on the curb, the signs are out into the traffic and they are waving frantically.” 2
  • “. . . she has been waving signs for candidates for 25 years — a quarter century baking in the sun, inhaling traffic fumes . . .” 2

One candidate acknowledged in 2010:  “While sign-waving for another candidate one day, he made eye contact with a driver who, moments later, plowed his black pickup into the rear of a small car.” 1

We have enough distractions on the roadway without creating more.  Paying attention should be the number-one priority for motorists.

I therefore will not ask family and friends to get up at the crack of dawn or take time off work to stand along the roadway trying to distract drivers.  I encourage others to do the same.

1 In Hawaii, the Most Powerful Waves Can Be Found at the Side of the Road, The Wall Street Journal, April 23, 2010.

2 Sign waving seems crazy but it also seems to work, Honolulu Star Advertiser, August 29, 2010.


Natalie Iwasa is a CPA, resident of Hawaii Kai and candidate for Honolulu City Council





  1. Thank you! We have enough traffic problems and slow-downs without the added distraction.

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