‘Driving Standards In Bermuda Are Deplorable’

December 28, 2016 | 45 Comments

Whenever EMT Darius Richardson gets a call out and hears over the radio the words ‘road traffic collision, black male’, he thinks to himself: “I hope that is not my son.”

Mr Richardson has been an EMT for ten years and describes driving in Bermuda as “deplorable”, he’s given up riding bikes and sometimes suffers from sleepless nights after particularly bad incidents.

He’s seen people taking pictures of dead bodies just minutes after they have died and still relives one bad incident every time he drives past the spot where it happened.

Figures from the Bermuda Hospitals Board show that up to the end of November this year, 1,434 people had attended the emergency department for treatment following a road collision.

Thirty-two people had to be admitted to the intensive care unit and in the last ten years, there have been 127 fatal collisions on Bermuda’s roads.

Mr Richardson said: “A gentleman had hit a car head on, he had been drinking and driving and he died instantly. We were not two minutes away. When we got to the scene he was not bleeding but he was dead.

“I knew the people in the car, that was traumatising but other people were taking a lot of pictures and not even two minutes had gone by. That was about two years ago and if I drive by the spot I still think about it.

“At home, after serious cases I might not sleep for 24 hours, playing it over and over, thinking about whether I gave it my all and thinking about the family. It would not be a restless awake, it would be reflection.”

He added: “The driving standards in Bermuda are deplorable, people are not courteous of other drivers, everyone is in a hurry to get somewhere and they are not thinking of the other person.

“The third lane – I used to do that but I refuse to get on a bike anymore because of the injuries that I see.

“My oldest son has a bike and I worry about that and my youngest son is about to go 16 and it’s a concern. Whenever I hear ‘RTC, black male’ it goes into my mind a little bit that I hope it is not my son.”

Erica Rance Mill, chairperson of the Bermuda Road Safety Council said it was important to remember that the effects of road collisions was not limited to the victims and their families.

“We expect the EMTs to turn up when there is an accident and to deal with it professionally and to give us the best care possible.

“We don’t stop to think that they have a private life which could be affected by the things they deal with daily.”

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Comments (45)

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  1. VJ says:

    Mr. Richardson, you are speaking the truth. As a mother, my heart is in my throat every time my daughter leaves on her bike. Although she is a cautious rider, I do worry about the other road users.

    So many times young men go flying by, overtaking me on blind corners and nipping back in if a vehicle is coming. Sometimes I have literally screamed because these guys nip back in with inches to spare. The way some people ride I swear down they’re suicidal.

    • Toodle-oo says:

      Bike riders , even the small , easily identifiable group of the totally out of control ones , don’t want to hit anyone .
      Since the late 90′s I’ve lost count of the number of people who have sadly given up the convenience and economy of their bikes due to road traffic problems and complete lawlessness.

      It’s people with steering wheels in their hands , not other bikers , that force them into this decision . Its other cars and trucks that are the real threat . That’s why they chose to arm themselves with another 4 wheeled vehicle .

      I can well relate to your concerns for your daughter’s safety because I’m terrified for mine every time I head out on my bike and I don’t have to worry about my child’s life.

  2. Terry says:

    Thank Darius for taking stand, being honest and caring.

    Have a blessed New Year.

  3. Jus' Askin' says:

    The Roads in Bermuda are Deplorable :-(

    • Lone Wolf says:

      Agreed. And the really slow drivers are just as much to blame. The legal speed limit is just plain stupid. Horses pulling buggies can move faster than 35 kph.

      The people who choose to drive at 35 – 40 kph are frustrating everyone else and causing others to drive more recklessly than they ordinarily would. Causing others to overtake where they normally would not and then drive faster than they would like to make up for lost time.

      This is almost 2017. No-one has time for 35 kph. It’s ridiculous.

      Raise it to a comfortable 50 kph and enforce it.

      That excuse of ‘raising the limit will cause people to go faster’ is stupid as well. People are already driving faster. One can only go so fast before they have to slow down again and they are already doing it.

    • Too True says:

      Agree… but they are no-where as bad as allot of other places (Bahamas for example).

      People in Bermuda blame the road conditions for accidents, when it is nothing but poor driving.

  4. Triangle Drifter says:

    To catch the lunatics on the road always have a witness with you.

    There is nothing like a dash cam to be the unblinking eye for you. It records the time, the where & the speed you were doing also.

    The dash cam does not forget.

  5. Mixitup says:

    And then there are those that drive 30-35kph.. sorry but I need at least 48 to feel like I’m not walking… maybe we should raise the speed limit to 40kph, I think you would see less aggressive passing which should trim the accidents caused in that area.

  6. San George says:

    Presented by Bermuda’s for profit insurers.

    The statistics are 3% losses on 55,000 vehicles on the road – the Bermuda government/police own statistics. If its so bad, why can 3rd party risk insurance be acquired for $125.00 for bikes and $200 for a car? Just wondering.

  7. Jr Smith says:

    drunk driving

  8. legalgal says:

    I do wonder whether playing video games affects driving. And a shame we can’t insist on bike drivers having a certain level of car driving experience first to mature them, and make them be a pedestrian too!

    I will never let my child drive a bike here. Nor would I. Doesn’t matter how careful you are, always some other nutter or inattentive driver and bikers are too vulnerable. I have “saved” at least 20 lives by just taking evasive action. Thank you to the EMT folk. Must be a tough job.

    • Toodle-oo says:

      *And a shame we can’t insist on bike drivers having a certain level of car driving experience first to mature them *

      This is total nonsense . Are you trying to imply that ALL car drivers here have some level of maturity that bike riders don’t and never will have ?

      Where do you think all these nut jobs with a steering wheels in their hands come from ? A large percentage were out of control bikers first so driving a car obviously didn’t change them in any way .

      Besides , I’d bet that the reason you never will let your child drive a bike here is because you’re more afraid of them being picked off by a car or truck .

  9. Truth Teller says:

    A majority of accidents are males because they are impatient and impulsive. They should raise the ages for males to ride and drive until they learn how to make sensible decisions. They are always overtaking and flying down the road. If it were up to me I would ban bikes altogether, especially those loud ones!! Time for change.

    • Terry says:

      Cool.
      Truth is……………………21 is long enough.
      Now 45?……………………

      Happy Stone Crusher………..

    • WHAT? says:

      Shut up fool.

      • Truth Teller says:

        Truth hurts but someone has to say it! Check the stats and get back to me. When is the last time a woman has died on our roads due to a bike accident? Don’t worry I’ll wait…

    • PBanks says:

      Grown adults are driving and riding recklessly as well – raising the age to get a licence won’t do a thing for our driving culture.

      • Truth Teller says:

        Raise the age to 25 for men to drive and ride and watch the accidents be cut by 90% and fatalities by 99%.

        • PBanks says:

          Of the fatalities this year (and heck, 2015), how many involved a driver under 25 vs over 25, do we have those stats at hand, to support the hypothesis put forward? Yes, that wouldn’t necessarily paint a complete picture but it’s going to be far harder to get similar stats on non-fatal traffic collisions/collisions involving major injury.

          • Truth Teller says:

            The older you wait the more you will appreciate the privilege it is to have your license. Studies also indicate the brain still develops up until the age of 25 and since men take longer to mature as well as being the majority of fatalities this law should be for them only. I would have to check the stats for ages but I know for sure that males are the majority of accident victims.

  10. Islander says:

    My son had a very bad accident about 11 yrs ago, the driver at the time did not know where he was going. Thank the Lord that my son is doing very well as he had major injuries. I implore all persons reading this to encourage our motorists, including the bus drivers as my daughter had in incident which could have cost her and my grandchildren their lives – carelessly overtaking, our truck drivers too. And thank you Mr. Richardson and may the Lord give you sweet sleep from tonight on.

  11. Iggrunce says:

    How many accidents occurred in Bermuda due to ’3rd lane’ driving though? I never see those in the news but I do see a large percentage of ‘late night’ accidents which leads me to believe it is not the driving, it’s the drinking and driving that is the problem.

    • Terry says:

      And being in a hurry to go no where.

      Think about it. 20 miles long.
      No one drive from Great Head to Malabar for a beer every 2 hours.

      Think before you slash me.

      Shalom.

  12. Paradise Reclaimed says:

    Virtual total lack of police presence on the roads – part of the downfall of community policing in the age of the War on Drugs. Years ago, a young person would be pulled over for a taillight out, warned and followed up if seen again. Today, no rational person expects to see a traffic cop on their journey, so, if they’re in a hurry, they just go for it. Virtually no fear of traffic enforcement makes the crazy driver even more so.

    Would it be that difficult to have just one rolling road-block unit, ready to move around unpredictably and enforce the traffic laws daily/nightly? Even if it were only a few days and/or nights a week, we would know that enforcement is out there, and could be around the next bend at any time. It would slow everyone down and get a lot of problem vehicles and bad drivers off the road, or at least penalized per the law.

    Support community policing, its return can’t come soon enough!

    • JAYBIRD says:

      Absolutely spot on! The quality of traffic policing itself is what is deplorable. You can’t teach intelligence or even common sense to morons. The only way to modify the behavior on the roads is through aggressive enforcement and increased penalties. There is virtually no police presence on our roads which is tantamount to giving license to the lunatics to drive even more insanely.
      The government needs to redirect funding away from the bloated and under performing civil service and into law enforcement to ensure high quality leadership, training, increased police numbers and technology in order to combat this scourge on our roads.

  13. Truth is killin' me... says:

    Drunks have death wishes when they drink and drive. No consideration for other sensible road users. Issues going on in their heads. They will kill and be killed. Truth.

  14. Triangle Drifter says:

    There are so many things wrong on Bermuda roads. The lunatic riders & drivers being just one of them.

    Roads are in terrible shape from a long period of neglect. Try doing Trimingham Hill Rd. starting at the rediculous rumble strips on Tessies Highway. The bumps on the roundabout will have you going straight into the sidewalk then the wall if you are not careful. Poorly laid out roundabout to start with. From there it is up the hill & zig zag your way to the south roundabout trying to pick a smooth line through the patches ontop of patches in the road.

    What is the problem? It is not like we have heavy fast moving traffic or freezing roads destroying the surface.

    • sage says:

      Speakig of surfaces, has anyone driven on the abominable road paving up in Somerset? That mess takes the cake for the worst possible road “repairs” ever, it’s like driving through a river bed, nice highway for the Americas Cup.

      • Jus' Wonderin' says:

        Gave millions of dollars to the Green Family, how about someone fixes the road outside of Bacardi/HP/BF+M???

        ITS F****** TERRIBLE!!!!

    • bee says:

      shoddy workmanship

  15. mmm says:

    A 3 month campaign by motorised uniformed police officers, a blitz if you wanna call it that, a crack-down, should begin to reduce the high number of injuries. One can also consider what time of day or night that collisions are particularly high as well as locations–eastern parishes, western parishes and central parishes. The police department has had to trim its budget over the past few years, that needs to sorted out. If any progress is to be made, and more officers on the street, that budget needs to be good.

  16. Whistling Frog says:

    All of what is said above is good but, what about the drivers and riders that slam brakes to let one vehicle out of a gate or side lane. People not using their turn signals. The conditions of the roads and overgrown foliage is another story.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      If you find yourself about to hit the back of another vehicle, you are TAILGATING. Your problem. One that you share with so many drivers who have never heard of the 2 second rule.

      No crashes for me in 40 years. It really is not that hard. I am really fed up with paying high insurance because of all the people who can’t drive though.

      People who have say 10 or 15 years offence & crash free should only have to pay a 10% insurance premium. Really sock it to the people who can’t drive more than 5 years without crashing into something.

  17. mmm says:

    A gradual tightening up is what is needed, the authorities know it, the Road Safety Council knows it, the Police Department knows it, insurance companies know it. Anyone and everyone who operates a motor vehicle surely can see that there has been a gradual decline …the decline is such that it is pretty hard to reverse it merely by punitive action. I recall several years ago an effort was made to curb noisy bikes, it was enjoying a measure of success, then there were complaints of an over-zealous police service, that brought to an end the initiative. The police service cannot be everywhere, whether it be criminal or motoring offences, and in reality, police may catch 3 in ten offenders, if even that. I now arrive at work at least 45 minutes earlier than starting time to avoid the rush hour traffic, and accompanying hazards. I would rather catch the bus, if it was moving in my area a bit earlier. One time ago, they had to have traffic court twice a day. The police are not going to chase a high speeder several miles, its dangerous for everyone. We thank them for their work.

  18. Thank you says:

    Thank you for your service. Thank you for caring and taking the time to tell your story. It needed to be heard. I think that project ride could be strengthened. Learning to ride in a car park is a start, but real road experience is needed. Maybe it is suppose to be part of the programme, but neither of my children left the parking lot. Learning to navigate the roads, corners, blind corners and roundabouts during rush hours and in the dark needs to be included in the training. Once again, thank you.

  19. mmm says:

    There needs to be stronger and more consistent enforcement, it is very clear. We don,t need 2 or 3 road fatalities in one week, to then raise the alarm — certain responses occur based on activity or statements.

  20. rodney smith says:

    Bermudians love to drink . We are raised in a culture that pays great respect to alcohol . In fact, alcohol has become sacrosanct in Bermuda. It is protected by law,the public , and by our social norms.Over the last ten years, we have had 32-35 gun murders ,compared to nearly 125 road deaths . CADA has stated that 75% of all road deaths in Bermuda are alcohol or drug related . This is compared to just 33% in the U.S.A. We say ,”It’s not the alcohol, it’s the bad driving habits of people . ” No! It’s the alcohol , and Bermuda must admit it first, if we are ever to get a handle on this problem . That’s if we want to fix it. If not, we will be talking about the same thing , ten years from now, ” BERMUDIANS LOVE TO DRINK.”

  21. Triangle Drifter says:

    Police traffic enforcement of all of what might be considered by some to be little stuff would go a long way to changing attitudes on the road. There are a host of offences that can be classified as due care or dangerous driving that are regularly ignored by police.

    The tailgating, the failure to stop at stop signs, the stopping beyond stop line at lights, the overtaking at dangerous places, the yapping on phones. It goes on & on.

    And the police wonder why there is such mayhem on the roads. They are not doing their job.

    • PBanks says:

      Truth. By allowing the so-called ‘petty things’ to go ignored, it’s empowered drivers to up the ante on dangerous driving.

      • Jus' Wonderin' says:

        Don’t forget the man do it themselves too…on the phones, overtaking, speeding without their sirens/lights on (um almost been hit bad once, missed by inches) I could go on…

  22. Q says:

    When drivers can’t even stay on their side of the road,and don’t care if they do, something needs to change.

  23. JUNK YARD DOG says:

    You and I know what it is like out there on our roads, they win you loose.

    You and I can complain all we like because nothing is going to happen, there is a cold war going onout there our roads playing the blame game gets us no where ,it is what it is, Mad Max and the kamikaze drivers are exercising their right to demonstrate with speeding and reckless driving .

    The police have their hands tied simply because there is not enough space at Westgate when they don’t have the money to pay their fines, not enough space to park confiscate vehicles also not enough beds at K.E.M.H. and not enough space in our cemeteries.

    Fines ,confiscating licenses and speed camera is not going to work either, punishment is futile, police speed chasing is dangerous.

    It is all because, simply,there exists a group of no care individuals who have the mind set that they can live outside the law and they know exactly what they are doing.

    However, all that is not the real problem, may be is our inability to address the real situation and deal with it, throwing money at it is point less because there is a very long list of growing dissatisfaction and starting at the top with anger, may be because they think that they are hard done by. or it is for me to know and you to find out.

    Pure and simple it is all about survival!

    We are all hard done by!

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