Premier: Road Safety Will Be A Priority In 2015

January 2, 2015

[Updated] The Premier and Minister of National Security Michael Dunkley today expressed his sincerest condolences to the families of the two men killed in road traffic collisions in the past few days, adding that addressing “dangerous road practices” will be a “priority of the government in 2015 and beyond.”‎

The New Year’s Eve holiday was marred with the deaths of two men; 19-year-old Stephen Edwards died following a motorcycle collision, while a two-vehicle collision claimed the life of 62-year-old Timothy Wright. Mr Edwards’ death marked the 15th road fatality of 2014, while Mr. Wright’s death marked the 1st of 2015.

The Premier said, “Our thoughts and prayers are with these families who have spent this season of joy mourning for their loved ones. As we comfort them, I would urge all motorists to exercise care, courtesy and extra caution on the roads.”

Reflecting on 2014′s toll of serious accidents and road fatalities, the Premier added, “Our roads can be made safe and with the Bermuda Police Service and the Ministry of Tourism Development and Transport, the government is determined to meet the challenge of speeding, driving under the influence and careless driving with strong enforcement, increased education and an effort that reverses a pattern of road use that too often has tragic consequences.

“There are initiatives that will be implemented in this new year to address these issues. A key element of any strategy will be an emphasis on personal responsibility. Motorists must make good choices as the start of any progress in road safety and the focus of the education component must place personal responsibility at its core.”

Premier Dunkley concluded, “The seriousness of this situation is underscored by the fact that if 15 members of our community had succumbed to other circumstances, like disease or gun violence, we would term it a crisis. It is past time for us to address dangerous road practices and this will be a priority of the government in 2015 and beyond.”‎

Update 12.54pm: Minister of Tourism Development and Transport Shawn Crockwell today extended his condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Stephen Edwards and Mr. Timothy Wright.

The Minister said, “The end of 2014 and the beginning of 2015 have been grim reminders that we are losing far too many people in bike collisions on this tiny island. No-one wants to end a year or start one by losing a loved one, this is tragic. My sincere condolences go out to the family and friends of both of these men as I too am deeply saddened by their loss.”

“As the Minister responsible for Transport, I must emphasize that one of this government’s priorities is to continue to find ways to encourage safer behaviour and to discourage poor choices so that we can reduce death and injury on our roads. To support this objective we will introduce laws this year to improve road safety,” continued Minister Crockwell.

“This Government remains committed to making our roads safer but legislation can only get us so far. Our community has to be involved and we must all be responsible when driving. Take extra precautions on our roads, follow the rules of the road, always exercise care and caution and never drive after drinking alcohol.

“These are the messages that we really need to continue to be aware of and I can’t stress enough that we all have to be serious about making a stronger commitment to road safety in 2015.”

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Category: Accidents and fires, All, News, Politics

Comments (24)

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  1. Micro says:

    Improved lighting, professionally laid asphalt ( W&E is not capable of correctly paving road ways), and enforcing the laws regarding vegetation and structures/vehicles encroaching upon public roadways, should be high priority items on that list of things to make the roads safer. Add harsher penalties for DUI and reckless driving, like permanent driving bans, stiffer fines, and significant community service, along with more effective enforcement by police.

    Has Dunkley taken a drive on South Road? Good god, they shoulda left it how it was. The upper level engineers should all be made to redo the whole stretch and pay for it out of their own pockets.

    • vesper lynn says:

      Get real. Harsher penalties simply do not work. All you will end up with is young people disqualified for years and others in jail because the fines cannot be paid. Haven’t you been paying attention. We have been down this path before.

  2. Sky Pilot says:

    an Enforcement of Indicator/Turning Signals should be made!

  3. Davie Kerr says:

    The national speed limit is (or was when I last checked) 35kph. While I personally think that 45kph would be more appropriate, with the Police booking at over 50kph as I believe is now the practice, I think the simple message has to be “SLOW DOWN!”

  4. Triangle Drifter says:

    When was the last time somebody was booked for due care? It is easy to sit in the bushes with a radar gun. How about the stuff that really causes crashes like dangerous driving, inattention, due care, brake lights not working, failure to use signals, failure to stop, even give way at intersections?

    Yeah, yeah, yeah. Road safety a priority. Heard it all before. A few weeks of booking blitz then back to as usual. Meanwhile the carnage will continue.

    We ride & drive vehicles which are really not suitable for the roads that we have & the speeds we are expected to stay at. Why is it necessary to have anything larger than a C or D vehicle? Most of us could get by with something no bigger than a golfcart.

    • vesper lynn says:

      TD I agree in part. Many people on the roads are simply poor drivers and that will not change. Drivers’ education may help but you can’t fix stupid.

      The size of the car is not relevant. People will die in golf carts.

  5. We can not legislate or regulate human stupidity,and it is a crying shame that some people will not respect the laws of the land, but I will not just let it rest there because the Government does have a part in the safety of our roads through the department of Public Works. I have not ridden a motorbike in years and for the last several months I built up enough nerve to start riding one, and to my surprise I really found Bermuda roads to be in a pitiful state, it is one thing to drive a car or a four wheeled vehicle and notice the unbalance pavement on our roads and a few holes along the way, but when you are on a motorcycle you feel every pot hole there is and the slightest imbalance in the pavement swerves the wheel of the bike if you do not have a good grip on the handle bars.

    The roads in this country are pathetic and sorry to say but we don’t seem to have the quality of paving as we enjoyed years ago, but all in all the owness is on the person handling which ever motor vehicle they are on or in, lastly going out of town on East Broadway who ever’s bright idea it was to put the ribbit yellow line speed bumps down need their head examine, we have them down to try and help people slow down but it don’t do a darn thing but mess with the shocks on every vehicle that has to pass through there daily,because the bikers are flying faster across it because they don’t like the feel of it,no amount of legislation or regulation will change human stupidity.

    • ImJustSayin says:

      The problem is Duane the Dudley Do Rights would say to that is ‘take your time, pay attention and nothing will happen to you’ that’s all they can say. I would like to know how many accidents were really the result of bad road surface or,the bad road surface was part of the cause of the accident.

  6. vesper lynn says:

    Duane you are right but the now bankrupt country cannot afford nice roads. Stay on 4 wheels and avoid Hamilton if you can.

  7. vesper lynn says:

    Truth be told, The Premier cannot make the roads any safer anymore than the PLP could control government spending. It’s just not in the DNA. People will continue to drink, speed, fall asleep and get busted up. Some will die. It’s they way it is.

  8. CommonSensenBda says:

    Here is an unfortunate FACT that the Premier can not adequately articulate….Bermudian men, and women are DYING on our roads because of two inescapable reasons, SPEEDING & DISOBEYING RULES OF THE ROAD.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Don’t have the numbers handy but are women killing themselves on the roads like men? Every so often a woman is killed on the road because of a man but you don’t see the stupidity on the road by women like you do from men.

  9. MB-Wake up Government says:

    Triangle Drifter and Micro get it!
    We lost way too many of Bermy MEN to
    crashes. Who knows what they could have done and
    contributed to our island had their lives not been cut
    short. Many of these crashes late at night,
    single vehicle, alcohol suspected. But it’s what we do
    here. We all get in our vehicles after a few because we
    know we can get away with it. With bikes, it is
    Russian roulette,some live to move on to cars
    one day where we are more protected,
    some don’t.

    Making our roads safer does not mean dumb lazy speed traps on
    Kindley or anywhere else – they do nothing.

    It means police actually doing the jobs they are
    paid to do and stopping people for careless driving
    and as cops don’t seem to know what that actually is
    any more: not stopping at stop signs, parking in the road,
    overtaking dangerously – rampant now, popping
    wheelies – rampant too why do the cops never see this ?? and
    DRUNK DRIVING. As long as we fail to have zero tolerance for
    drunk driving we are killing our young men. We wasted
    time on banning mobiles but cant fix this
    HUGE problem in Bermuda.
    PS: Vesper lynn – what a poor attitude you have.

  10. ImJustSayin says:

    Some people may not understand what Im about to write. One of the causes of speeding on motorcycles on the road’s is the helmet law. Everyone has a different degree of risk. When some riders strap on that helmet they feel they can just fly down the road. Unfortunatly helmets are a necessary evil. Some folks take more risks just because they have a helmet on. I don’t believe there’s anything any Government can do.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      I am old enough to remember riding without a helmet. Did some dumb things while riding without a helmet too. I was lucky. Never had a crash. Kicked up when helmets became law. Grumbled about seatbelts too.

      Maybe with age you get a little wiser. Maybe it is because the body does not self repair like it used to. Either way I still ride. I don’t feel any safer with a helmet. My riding style does not change because of a helmet. I think nothing of having to put that helmet on though I have never needed it to work for me.

      I still grumble abit about seatbelts here though I wear them without question when driving overseas. I have not seen a body yet from a crash but I have seen some horrific vehicle results of crashes.

      As a poster has already said “You can’t fix stupid”. The idiots will do what idiots do. The tragedy is when the idiot takes out an innocent road user with him.

      • Onion Seed says:

        I gripe about the people who insist on dark visors when wearing a helmet at all was our “thing” . Also believe we are better car drivers after riding bikes with sand and oil in the road. Making the roads wider for wide trucks etc. has reduced the skill required for slwer speed winding road control in ALL conditions. JMHO.

  11. ImJustSayin says:

    Following my earlier post. The seatbelt law also has an effect on a persons risk behaviour.

  12. lifetime says:

    People just need to slow the heck down. They need something drastic to happen. They need something more tangible, more emotive. Examples include posting pics of dead people laying in a coffin at the bars/newspaper/online. pics of people with major injuries(quadriplegics, paraplegics). How about guys who have been paralyzed going around to the schools and speaking to the children about their experience and how their accident has changed their lives.
    We have got to do something different in this country! Stiffer fines and suspensions of licenses/demerits have not worked all these years!

    • Varied says:

      A few years ago they had simulated crash sites across the island. It generated a lot of buzz, although I don’t know if the road collision stats changed during the timeframe that this campaign was active (or immediately afterwards).

      Oddly enough, it hasn’t been revisited since.

      As for public speaking, should have been part of the national campaign. Not just in schools, but broadcast on the local TV and radio stations, on the web, as newspaper supplements. I think the Dejon Simons documentary is available somewhere, it needs to be rebroadcast.

  13. Ride says:

    I think a suite of speed-cameras would do wonders to reduce collisions.

    Perhaps all you would need is 30 to 40 speed-cameras with these along South, Middle, North, and Harrington Sound roads. You could make use of regular patrol officers to ensure every camera was checked each day (download data – if they don’t wireless send photos, replace/check battery, check for vandalism, and so on).

    Tell the public they are up and set to trigger at 45kmh. Full disclosure that action is being taken on the carnage.

    It would make sense to bring in some replacement parts and cameras at start-up so they could be continuously kept alive.


  14. Guess Who says:

    Sorry to say, those who want to be careful, already be careful. You sell a person a motorbike that does a speed up to 100k, They do the 100k or try. You can talk until you are blue in the face. If they were responsible before they are able to ride the bike, they will be responsible after. Oh, and yes I know what it is like to lose a family members. How is Uncle, first cousin, second cousin and third cousin. Four generations since 1950′s. Only the latter one was not due to someone else. Only one of them reached the age of 30. Yes it is sad.

  15. ImJustSayin says:

    Being a camera fanatic with camera’s all over his company’s premises. I guess he figures putting camera’s up all over the place on the roads will solve the problem. Give me a break!

  16. tom says:

    Say what you want about speed… it’s a cause… but the biggest one is alcohol. .. I would like to see all the blood tests of all single vehicle accedents past 11.00 pm…
    if I was a policeman… opps I was… stop every car and bike past 6.30 on a Friday night. .. some will pass a breath test… most will not…

  17. Bermewjan says:

    We have a major problem with messaging when it comes to road safety in Bermuda.

    It starts with a lack of depth of knowledge required to pass our driving tests. I wonder how many Bermudians know that when there is a yellow box in the road (like the one on Church Street in fornt of the bus stop), they should not enter in unless they can safely exit it without stopping? This is just one example.

    However, the real messaging problem comes with our outdated speed limit.

    Officially our speed limit is 22 mph or 35.2 kph. Yet absolutley no one drives at that speed. The generally accepted speed limit (i.e. the speed you can travel at without being ticketed) is around 50 kph, depending on whether the traffic cop is having an off day or if their senior officer has told them they need to increase their ticketing revenue.

    The problem is that we are telling our drivers that it is okay to break the speed limit, but just not by too much. This messaging translates to “it’s okay to break the rules of the road, but just not by too much”. So a nip here, a nip there, creating a third lane (or even a fourth lane on East Broadway) is okay, just don’t do it too much. This mindset extends to drinking and driving – it’s okay, just don’t do it too much.

    But what’s too much? If traffic cops are not around those boundaries get stretched. Our drivers are like like little children who have not had their boundaries and expectations appropriately set. This means our traffic laws eventually only become observed when the law is around. This is why we have a “Wild West” approach on our roads.

    Our government needs to set clear and firm boundaries and expectations. The speed limit of 45/50kph or whatever is socially and safely acceptable is enshrined in law and is not wavered from. Our laws become firm. If you overstep them you get punished. Pure and simple. Adults are just big kids. If they do not have a solid grasp on the boundaries, they will push them.

    Let’s make our roads safe. Let’s set firm expectations and boundaries that make it easier for our drivers to understand the rules and much easier for our Police force and judiciary to administer them.