2008-12-30

Another evening on the roads

Last week, I watched a TV interview on ZBM with the Premier, who pretty much said that despite 15 deaths on the roads, he thought that not much extra needed to be done in the realm of local road safety. I thought it was the equivalent of the "Stay the course" attitude of one Dubya Bush. Anyway.

Since then, we have had two more fatalities on the roads, a few more serious injuries and of course some additional vehicular damage. Tonight's ZBM news had several speeches from MPs, Police representatives and Road Safety Council personnel, and perhaps somebody there has finally realized what has been going on for years; that people are simply not listening to the pleas for safety and no amount of begging is going to sway their behaviour.

Later in the evening, I was on my bike and as usual, witnessed several things that ordinarily wouldn't be considered safe, but is pretty much part of Bermuda's road culture:
  • first I was behind a large Dodge 4x4 vehicle, with a nice HB licence plate. Took up the width of the lane, and we have to thank Government for allowing people to bend the law for vehicles to exist here that aren't really suitable for our roads.
  • near Paget stop lights, a bike headed in the other direction, flaunting green lights on its rims. The proliferation of coloured lights on vehicles is crazy. The law is pretty clear on acceptible lights for vehicles, but it's been ignored by many.
  • Later, was behind a small truck carrying mattresses. Mattresses weren't tied down for one. Also, to accomodate the mattresses, the tailgate was down. Said tailgate covered the licence plate, as well as any rear lights (if they were on, at least). Standard play.
  • Eventually I reached Raynor's Shell gas station (my favourite gas station in Bermuda, by the way). As I refueled, the attendant was telling me about the collision today and that it was a set of brothers that crashed. My sympathies to the family.
  • Later, a car flew past us near the Evans Bay junction. Since this was a bendy part of the road, clearly there'd be little chance of Police traffic monitoring in the area. Meh.
  • One annoyance that exists is the propensity of drivers here to drive along the middle of the road whenever possible instead of sticking to their lane. If that's what they teach at TCD then something's wrong with the country. Anyway, experienced this while on Scott's Hill Road, a public road that passes by two schools.
  • Same situation on Beacon Hill road by a truck. When you're riding and you see a truck headed directly for you, it's not a fun experience.
  • The law concerning bicycles at night is that a front light is needed and a rear reflector also. Came across one without either. Not the safest course of action when on a public road by said cyclist.
Just another evening on Bermuda's roads, and that doesn't include the ride home from work when some fool on a bike overtook me while on the bend at Flatts. Yes, the near-hairpin turn. Bet that rider never gave one crap about the collisions this year, or is inclined to change his driving style anytime soon.

Will the Premier finally change his stand on the current attitudes to road safety by the powers that be and Bermuda in general?

4 comments:

Ben said...

It is hard to understand how people can see all of these horrific accidents occurring and being reported and yet take none of it in. People have no imagination.

Regarding your particular point about the Evans Bay junction, years ago the police would frequently have a speed trap there, standing by the wall at the substation. I've no idea why they don't do more of that these days.

A zero tolerance crackdown on existing laws is what's needed.

philwells said...

"Will the Premier finally change his stand on the current attitudes to road safety by the powers that be and Bermuda in general?"

No. A week from now this death will be forgotten, just like all the rest.

From today's Royal Gazette:

"With concerns again raised yesterday over how to tackle the crisis, Police and campaigners pledged that new plans – including recommendations for speed cameras and random sobriety checks – will be announced within weeks."

Translation: expect frak all to change. The Government has been dilly-dallying over speed cameras for years now. In March 2005, then-Public Safety Minister Randy Horton announced that $100k had been set aside for their installation. But that figure (for the 2005/6 financial year) ended up being revised down to $7k, and in the 2006/7 financial year there was no money in the budget for them (http://www.limeyinbermuda.com/latest_news/2006/02/giving_up_on_sp.html). In July 2006, Ewart Brown asked Randy Horton to expedite their installation (http://www.limeyinbermuda.com/latest_news/2006/07/give_speed_came.html), but again, nothing happened (so much for Ewart Brown's supposed ability ton get things done). This latest death will change nothing.

Tryangle said...

Based on the news reports, I'm sadly inclined to agree. I am tired of people piping up saying that "we have now reached a crisis of epic proportions", or something like that.

No. The crisis existed years ago and Government sat on its collective behind. Why? Is it about money? The money should have existed back then when the speed camera idea was first floated. Legal stuff needed sorting out? That could have been done.

As someone who rides a bike daily, I know that I am at risk and all I can do is pay attention to the road and what's in front of, behind or next to me. I cannot control the actions of the lunatic that may be driving towards me. I have no faith in the willingness of Bermuda residents to drive carefully, and haven't for some time now. The powers that be need to step up now. Not within weeks. Today.

Ben said...

Stationary speed cameras will not work in Bermuda. It's too small and once they're set up people will get wise to them.

Mobile speed traps are the only way forward.

That and educating the public. But where do you start on that one?

Perhaps show graphic photos of fatal crashes to people that are stopped for speeding...

Safe New Year to all