2008-03-04

Road safety: lather, rinse, repeat

Bermuda lost more lives this weekend via the road. It's especially tragic because one of the victims was a high school student. The time for grieving is now, and not playing the game of what should've been done differently, etc. Condolences to the friends and families of these two men.

Anyway the Police and the Road Safety Council appear to be planning another so-called education initiative on road safety in the wake of these incidents. I think that it's money wasted. We've gone through this time and time again. Our response is a weak "everybody please be careful" plea to the public when clearly it doesn't go through. Every weekend there are at least fifteen collisions. And it's treated by everyone as though it's no big deal, like the freaking tides or waning of the moon.

Policy needs to be different. Government needs to stop ignoring this Culture of Recklessness™ and put the proverbial teeth into stopping our out-of-control driving habits from causing more wreckage. Operation Safer Streets seems to be a start, although I've yet to see personally anybody pulled over by the police for running a red light or stop sign or dangerous driving. The time for pleading should be over, it should be time to raise the fines, book people for violating the laws of the road, put cops in places besides East Broadway rush hour (Par-la-ville and Church Street seems like a good start) and send a message that bad driving shouldn't be tolerated by actually revoking people's licences and impounding the vehicles when necessary.

4 comments:

Swetnam said...

My sentiments exactly......Driving is a priviledge, not a right and that priviledge comes with rules and consequences......vehicle impounding is LONG OVERDUE.....it's the only way to send this message home.

Anonymous said...

Why is it that almost everyone who dies on Bermuda's roads does so on two wheels.

Bermuda's road death rate is 3 to 4 times higher than the UK (where the speed limit is 3 times greater - and nobody sticks to that).

Rather than letting everyone have a car and have to take an extra 30 minutes traveling to work, Bermudians would rather see it's young people die.

Four wheels good, two wheels bad - E. A. Blair

Tryangle said...

It's almost always two-wheels because in a collision a person will likely fly off their bike and hit something while someone in a car will have seatbelts (hopefully) and other things to protect them. It's not a fair contest, honestly.

Reason why our fatality rate is way higher than the U.K. is because we're simply more reckless drivers. We do crap like overtake on corners and unlike Britain there's no checks for that. We do crap like run red lights. We could implement cameras to automatically ticket drivers for that, but the powers that be aren't interested. The list goes on.

Regarding your idea of giving everybody a car, you're assuming that people want to drive cars. Some people choose to use a bike. They're cheaper, more gas-efficient, you don't pay for parking in town (yet). Now if you're suggesting a ban on all motorcycles and scooters, that's a different and radical idea that's unlikely to be practical here.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tryangle,

I don't think you're right, that Bermudian's are more reckless drivers. If you ever head over to the UK, you'll notice 18 year old "boy racers" in souped up cars doing over 100 mph down country lanes.

It's just that fewer people ride motorbikes.

In the UK, 'Death rates among motorcyclists were 40 times greater than those among car users in 2002' - (www.statistics.gov.uk/STATBASE/ssdataset.asp?vlnk=7250)

Comparing Bermuda to other countries: In 2004 [the UK] had one of the lowest road death rates in the EU, at 5.6 per 100,000 population. The UK rate was also lower than the rates for other industrialised nations such as Japan (6.96 per 100,000 population), and substantially lower than that of Australia (8.15) and the United States (14.66). (www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=1208)

At 12 deaths per year (and assuming 60,000 population) Bermuda's figure is 20! The figure is not even as high in India, where the Tata corp is trying to product a $2500 car to help families off bikes. (www.driveandstayalive.com/info%20section/statistics/stats-multicountry-percapita-2004.htm)

I'm not saying ban bikes, just allow anyone who wants to, to buy a car. Maybe limit second and third cars to class A. As you've said, once a Bermudian gets a bike, they don't want to go back to pink and blue, and once they get a card they don't want to go back to the bike.

The next time someone dies on a bike on our roads, just ask yourself, would they be dead if they had had an airbag, anti lock breaks or even just a small engine, a seat belt and a crumple zone between them and the wall/truck.

Unfortunately, some people will always die in traffic accidents, but the true rate for a country with a 35kph speed limit should be about 1 or 2 a year.