BTOA Expresses Concern Over Rumble Strips

December 17, 2014

[Updated with Ministry's response] The President of the Bermuda Taxi Owners Association [BTOA] has raised concerns about the rumble strips recently placed on East Broadway, saying the strips have caused “meters to malfunction” and “wheels to become misaligned.”

“Those rumble strips are of a grave concern to the industry and they are already destroying our vehicles after only one week of being put there without any pre-notification,” said Derek Young, President of Bermuda Taxi Owners Association.

“Taxi drivers are in and out of Hamilton many times a day on a daily basis. Most other vehicles enter and leave Hamilton once a day for either business or pleasure,” continued Mr. Young.

“However, as Hamilton is the centre of the business industry we [taxis] have to drive along East Broadway, going out of town, many times on a daily basis.

“Those strips have caused our meters to malfunction, wheels to become misaligned and has even caused a driver to get his steering and front end checked,” added Mr Young.

“Something needs to be done. Those strips either need to be removed or shaved to the point where it’s not causing so much stress, wear and tear on our vehicles. We cannot go and keep spending money getting our vehicles repaired each time this happens.

rumble strips east broadway bermuda 2014

“Thought and proper planning should have been done by W&E before these strips were put down. I hope our complaint is taken seriously and something is done in the very near future,” Mr Young concluded.

East Broadway has been a frequent accident spot over the years, with multiple fatal collisions occurring along the stretch, and placing rumble strips in the area has been previously discussed in the House of Assembly.

We asked the Ministry of Public Works for a response last night, and will update as able.

Update 1.18pm: In response the Ministry said, “As a result of a promise made by the Minister of Public Works, the Hon. Patricia Gordon-Pamplin JP, MP, ‘rumble strips’ or ‘sleeper lines’ are the latest road safety measure adopted by the Government to encourage motorists to slow down while exiting Hamilton along East Broadway.

“On this section of the highway near Crow Lane, there have been several road traffic accidents which unfortunately have led to fatalities.

“The Minister promised to take steps to make this road safer for the traveling public. To be effective, rumble strips need to create a reminder for motorists that attention is needed for motorists although they are not as severe as a speed bump. They cause a tactile vibration and audible rumbling transmitted through the wheels into the vehicle interior.

rumble strips east broadway bermuda 2014 2

“The Ministry has placed chevron signs on the bend, an electronic speed display and now a second set of rumble strips in an effort to modify driving habits.

“Temporary signs were placed along the roadside to advise motorists of the new Rumble strips and more permanent signs are being established.”

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Comments (83)

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  1. Sandgrownan says:

    Slow down!

    • sage says:

      Slow or fast they ruin suspensions and steering, stupidest thing I’ve seen since the less bone-jarring versions were installed and removed, all because no one wants to address the proliferation of bars and liquor stores at the other end of east broadway. They need to be removed, end of story. No chevrons on Harbour road or any other corners. Pat should resign.

      • cmbbda says:

        LOL! Pat should resign over some rumble strips installed to make our roads safer?? Get a grip!

      • Tisk says:

        Wouldn’t it be a better idea to discourage people from drunk driving rather than attack legitimate businesses? The idea the their location with respect to East Broadway has an impact on drunk driving is ludicrous.

        • sage says:

          So why is it a frequent accident spot? The purveyors of a drug known to seriously impair driving abilities should have no responsibility when their patrons crash? Having one intoxicant option for socializing and allowing alcohol in the system up to a prescribed level are partly to blame too don’t you think? If you think that there is no correlation between those legal drug dealers and this “problem corner” I suggest

        • Whistling Frog says:

          So far, I’ve see a hubcap, basket, CV- joint boot cove and a nut in the area of those ferocious rumble strips. I hope no one loses a brake line speeding over them. Why not put a speed camera there instead and send the offenders their tickets in the mail…

      • Harry Buttle says:

        What is your car made if? Bamboo and binder twine?

    • JohnBoy says:

      My question is – have any non-locals died in that spot??

      Every Bermudian is aware of that corner. So what’s the real problem here???!!!

      • PBanks says:

        1. what does it matter the nationality of who dies in that location?
        2. even so, both Bermudians and non-Bermudians have been involved in serious collisions there. So the powers that be need to address it. Don’t think the newest set of rumble strips are going to affect things, mind you.

        • JohnBoy says:

          I shall rephrase my question – how many tourists have had a collision there?

          Anyone who has been here long enough knows there is a corner there…

      • Purple Koolaid says:

        Yes the area is a hotspot for accidents. And yes Bermudians and non-Bermudians have died on the corner. One could argue that some of the accidents were self induced and / or driver related.

        However, lets not lose sight of why the rumble strips are there in the first place. If that make you feel uncomfortable and make too much noise, you are going TOO FAST! They are designed like thy ones on the side of most highways, to wake you up, startle you and make you pay attention if you drift or drive dangerously.

        If those little bumps are causing your car steering to go out of alignment, well lets just say that your car was very likely in need of it anyway. It might be from all of the illegal right hand turns that cabbies do every day on Front Street around the bird cage.

        Slow down, do 40kph and I will be safe, you won’t feel the rumble strips and your car will be just fine.

  2. jason says:

    isn’t the whole point to slow down over the rumble strips… if you slow down there won’t be a problem

    • shawn says:

      so u want people to stop??

    • amazing grace says:

      I hate those damned things just like speed bumps…every time I haul *** over them, my bike/car gets damaged more and more. Why do we need these hindrances anyway. Ack Ack.

  3. San George says:

    Those strips were put in place to save all the drunks coming out of Hamilton. If they don’t kill themselves on the bend they will just kill themselves further up the road.

  4. Juice says:

    Ive always believed these rumble strips were a horrible idea. They cause undue stress on vehicles that are designed to drive on relatively smooth roads. Think about it, its a well known fact that driving over pothole ridden surfaces is bad for you vehicle, why on earth would they put down these strips that replicate the same conditions? To force you to slow down? Driving over these even at low speeds does damage, and you only slow down for the 20 feet that you need to drive over them. Not very well thought out at all!

    • Huh? says:

      Once I drove over a 10″ deep pothole at 8kph and sustained ZERO damage! Imagine THAT!

  5. Frustrated Motorist says:

    I wholeheartedly agree. These rumble strips are entirely counter productive in almost every installation that the Government has tried them, and as such we have already seen their removal such as in Flatts Village.

    Rumble Strips encourage speed. Anyone who has tried it can confirm that the violence induced on the car is much milder at a normal or elevated speed than at low speed whereby the tires have a chance to fully sink into the gaps between the strips.

    On a long straight of road such as this, with no forewarning whatsoever, they are only achieve two things – loss of traction and unnecessary wear on vehicles.

    Additionally I see that there is a gap between the end of the strips and the curb. This is going to encourage dangerous riding by motorcyclists hugging the curb to avoid them. A thoroughly ridiculous installation.

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      I see the purpose of rumble strips, however, the ones installed are actually far rougher than they need to be, and can be positioned much closer to the corner. More noise can still be achieved with less bounce.
      To counter your point that they encourage speed to reduce the damage to your car, that is actual a myth born from the difference felt by the car than by the driver. It has actually been tested to show that going over those at faster speeds will produce worse wear on the vehicle than at lower speeds. However, the perceived effect from the driver’s point of view is the opposite, and this is directly related to how your cars suspension reacts. At a slow speed the pressure on the suspension is not sufficient enough to cause it to expand an contract as much, so the vehicle will bounce more as the suspension absorbs less of the shock. This makes the ride more uncomfortable for the rider. However, the faster you go, the more force that is exerted on the suspension as it contacts the bumps, the more they are forced to contract, creating the sensation that the ride is smoother. But as there is more force and energy being directed back at the vehicle at the higher speeds, the more wear and tear the vehicle is exposed to. While you may not feel it, this is because your vehicle does. The stiffness of your suspension also bears a relation to this.
      In summary, if you don’t want to wear your car down faster, bring your speed down slower. It just means you will have to bear a bit more bounce to your body.

      • shaken says:

        Incorrect. Going slower puts forces through vehicle in the form of severe rattling throughout car. Higher speeds the forces are limited to unsprung components. There is a reason why elsewhere their use is recommended for over 50mph

  6. unrrest says:

    Slow down it wont be an issue

    • sage says:

      They’re worse at lower speeds, if you go fast enough you feel them less.

      • Build a Better Bermuda says:

        But then your vehicle absorbs more wear and tear

  7. PBanks says:

    These new ones are indeed far more disturbing than the ones further along the road, no matter what vehicle you’re driving.

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      I agree, they could have achieved a similar effect with a less jarring strategy.

  8. wwatcher says:

    I’m gravely concerned about the BTA’s ridiculously over priced fares, terrible service and general rudness of some of your drivers, but I don’t see that changing any time soon. This corner is a death trap and any and all methods that can be put in place to try and modify driver behaviour should be welcomed.

    • Keepin' it Real!...4Real! says:

      that corner is not a death trap…intoxication is

      • Bermy says:

        No the corner is. It’s off camber pushing vehicles out towards the curb, the effect is even worse on a bike.

        • Huh? says:

          At over 60kph it’s possible to believe that effect Bermy.

        • sage says:

          I have never had an issue in over 30 years on a bike, could ride round that “corner” with no hands despite the camber being slightly off.

        • Keepin' it Real!...4Real! says:

          well how many times have you killed yourself on that death trap of a corner..?

  9. Please... says:

    When you are driving, slow down when you reach the bumps. This will prevent you from complaining…

  10. Harry Buttle says:

    Slow down and they won’t be so “disturbing”. If you were going 35kph or less, it’s no worse than some of the existing roads out there. Anyone who has driven over Scaur hill more than once understands what “bad” road is.

    Don’t you think that car manufacturers test bumps like this? There are places in other countries with roads far worse that what we have here. It’s a simple case of calming traffic and after the last couple accidents I’ve seen, we need to be driving a bit more sanely.

    Here’s a tempest and here’s your teacup. Enjoy.

    • PBanks says:

      Wrong – slow down and it’s worse especially for bike riders.

      No doubt traffic needs to be calmed and people need to drive in a saner fashion, but the solution isn’t to jack up the road to the point where your teeth are rattling and your vehicle is taking licks.

    • mj says:

      manufactured cars are modified for Bermuda and they are not tested on our roads, obviously, we ship in the cars… the rumble out of the jungle is chaotic, silly and money wasted! drunkards need not drive while intoxicated! alcohol causes sooo much stress why don’t we ban it! IF WE HAVE TO MAKE ANOTHER CHANGE TO ACCOMODATE ALCOHOL!!!!I will scream bloody mary!!!!!alcohol causes most accidents and yet we keep trying to accomodate it????

      • Herb says:

        MJ, just where do you get your information with regards to alcohol causing most accidents.

        The official police statistics state that 4.5% of accidents are related to alcohol.

        Majority of accidents are from SPEEDING AND RECKLESS DRIVING ATTITUDES.

        1800 plus accidents last year and 84 were caused by DUI

        Please get your facts straight before typing.

  11. Betty Rech says:

    they need to go because they do ruin the car & bikes. I would not want to ride a bike over them I would be scared they would throw me off. They are dangerous. If anything a speed bump is better then those stupid strips.

  12. Jus' Sayin' says:

    Rumble strips are used in other jurisdictions on the sides of roads to ensure that drivers who may doze on the highway wake up when they veer close to the curb or median. Rumble strips are not intended to be a part of the road. There are similar issues with the use of speed bumps. There are much better traffic calming methods, such as a sudden decrease in the width of the road which are far more effective. Of course the best defense is to properly train and educate drivers in the first place, but that is another discussion altogether.

    • Not Correct says:

      Rumble strips are used in other parts of the world and do transvers the lane of travel. They are used as an impending indication of either a change in condition or caution for a dangerous section in a road ahead. They are not just used on the side of the roads as you have indicated.

  13. mike says:

    Rumble strips were not created to be used as speed bumps. There were created to wake up sleeping/or inattentive drivers who vehicle drifted off of the outer lanes of highways. Whoever that they would be used to slow down drivers in Bermuda… good luck.

  14. bump bump bump says:

    I went over them at 40k on my bike today. The strips actually threw me of balance.

    • Steph says:

      Good thing the speed limit is 35k

    • Are you kidding me! says:

      You must not be that good of rider if they threw you off balance!

      Perhaps you shouldn’t be riding a bike.

    • Purple Koolaid says:

      If you were riding at 40kpm but didn’t see a large number of bright yellow strips in the road on a corner approach, and think “hmm I should slow down” then perhaps you have a bigger problem. What do you mean “threw you off balance”. Did you have an accident? Did you slide on your seat? hat exactly do you mean?

      Try again tomorrow, this time “really” do 40kph and report back! I did 40 kph over them with my son on the back and had no problem.

  15. Mare says:

    Why not turn the lights on?
    Since December 2013, only half the bulbs on the light posts were lit up at night – before and after the hurricanes. I understand it’s up to Works and Engineering (not Belco) to turn them back on.

  16. Triangle Drifter says:

    Can’t say that I have seen rumble strips like this one anywhere else. Seen many where strips are cut INTO the surface.

    Drive over them faster. Much smoother. They are a danger to bikers, possibly inducing a front wheel skid if braking over them. But hey, this is Bermuda. Everything has to be done different here.

  17. Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

    I’ve been wondering if it was my imagination about that set of strips being worse than others. I’m glad it’s not just me.

    And for the record, I very rarely top 40k, much to the annoyance of other drivers.

  18. Fedup says:

    U no what all u people that saying oh go slower this n that you all going be the first ones to complain about the traffic what happens when it rains more accidents put a bloody well speed bump like u do every where else like come on you had them down once and they were removed so u think by moving them back it’s going make it any better

  19. JP says:

    Speed over them! You won’t feel a thing! I do it everyday! LOL!

  20. shaken says:

    It is a very valid issue and very surprising the powers that be in W&E still continue to use these rumble strips in a very inappropriate manner. Some of these strips are set in corners which on a scooter in the rain is very dangerous!

    The actual effect of the current rumble strips dissuades drivers and riders from traveling the correct speed of 20 – 28 mph. To avoid damage to especially small wheeled scooters the driver has to either slow down to less than 5mph or else increase their speed to over 35mph!

    Rumble strips are not designed for speeds of less than 50mph, basically their use is to create an audible hum to alert the driver of an upcoming situation.

    FHWA guidelines are: “Rumble strips should not normally be used in urban or suburban areas or along roadways where prevailing speeds are less than 80 km/h (50 mph).”

    Government should seek to rectify this issue as soon as possible.

  21. Onion says:

    Cars are designed to take a huge amount of abuse – go look at the testing they do at the automaker’s proving grounds.

    These are really dangerous on a bike because they get slippery and are sure to cause more accidents than they prevent. The ones on Langdon Hill are especially dangerous and it’s only a matter of time before someone goes down and is killed there by an oncoming car or truck.

    • CRAZY RIDER says:

      but they dont sell you the car after they beat the hell out of it they only do that to ensure the safety or quality of the car isnt ruined if by CHANCE the driver hits a bump at driving speed

  22. LOL says:

    They are even WORSE if you go slower! PLEASE TAKE THEM OFF! I’ve already had to take my bike AND car into the shop for these. PEOPLE JUST SPEED UP AFTER THEM ANYWAYS – IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE!!!

  23. Seriola says:

    We used to call these “speed up bumps” when we were in school in England years ago. The faster you went……..the less you noticed them.

  24. Sammy says:

    Great for business – if you are a dentist!

  25. Suggestion says:

    I’d actually love to see traffic lights there so that people leaving from Cockscrew Hill, and from the crossover junction from the other side of Eastbroadway, can join the road safely. Coming from the other side of Eastbroadway is SO SO DANGEROUS!! You cannot see anything coming from town, and everyone drives through so fast…I am shocked that there has not been a major accident at that junction.

  26. shawn says:

    in wet weather these r insane for a bike they are slipery. its sposed to b little bumps not paint,they sell specific material for this stop improvising. the rattle damage cause by the regular roads is enough now these things everywhere. want a hobby? fix potholes. and actually REMOVE old ashphalt b 4 repaving. that section beside the garden b 4 collectors hill,u know that horrible work(id b ashamed if i did that), ya fix it! loose gravel all over. and lets try to stop using the jail-rock ,its tearing up tires. im being hi-jacked for a tire that only lasts a year on a vehicle i only ride to and from work. i get hi-jacked by tcd-at least i should have PERFECT roads….we used to.

  27. Tough Love says:

    Why didn’t they just make the crossing raised on both sides? The one just after the gas station, where I’ve been scared for those trying to cross at night.

    That would slow down traffic and be safer for the pedestrians crossing. Is that too hard to do?

    I wonder who’s paid to think for the ministry sometimes.

  28. MB says:

    Well the cabbies should have no prob slowing down as they drive at like an annoying 10mph at the best of times !

  29. MAC says:

    It is messing up vehicles plan and simple, if you go fast or slow. After awhile it is putting strain on your vehicle.

  30. LOL says:


    • Cisco says:

      You can say slow down if you like, you can practically walk the car over those strips, I still agree that they have to do some harm to your car..

      • Purple Koolaid says:

        Is your care made of glass? Get real. The car companies test their shocks and handling at much higher speeds, on rumble strips, in snow, rain, and all sorts of conditions! Geeesh, some people complain about everything.

        • Jus' Wonderin' says:

          That’s not my point….they’re more of an annoyance than safety measure. What do they protect or help with?

  31. Jokers says:

    The roads in general will put strain on your vehicle, people need to stop acting like we have a flat raceway. Our roads are bumpy in every parish and yes your car will need maintenance just like everything else that requires a driver. Some people live on rail way trail dirt roads…..thats just life. Leave it to us to worry more about our cars than a persons life being saved. Priorities ?????

    • PBanks says:

      Nobody’s discounting the safety elements, but as Frustrated Motorist says earlier, this particular set of rumble strips is more likely to encourage drivers to speed over them vs slowing down.

      Just like the electronic smiley face display, it’s a waste of money that does little to improve road safety along that road.

    • Runner says:

      Tell me about it. How about the absolutely atrocious condition of South Shore road in Devonshire by Devonshire Bay. W&E attempted to put down new asphalt but the majority has eroded already and left horribly unsafe road conditions. How long do we have to wait for them to fix this? Someone will have a terrible accident with all the new man-made grooves on this stretch of road. Drive it every day to and from and have almost skidded out many times already. and not to mention the dust storm that results from the deterioration.

  32. GTA says:

    Rubble strips are to alert inattentive drivers, they will not damage your car or bike if you are driving at appropriate speeds. I have driven over them on bike and car with no issues. “Those strips have caused our meters to malfunction, wheels to become misaligned and has even caused a driver to get his steering and front end checked” seems like you are blaming poor maintenance of your vehicles on this, or your are simply annoyed by the fact they cause some noise and a bumpy ride for 5 seconds out of your day. If you think your vehicle was damaged due to this please make a claim with your insurance company or take the issue to court with something to back up your baseless claims.

    • shaken says:

      GTA, as you mentioned they will not damage if driven at appropriate speeds. You do know the appropriate speed is over 50mph!? At 20mph these ones are for sure causing damage.

  33. Sunshine says:

    The strips are ridiculous. I for one will not subject my car to them. I need my car to last as long as it can. those strips are damaging to cars. I will go out of town using middle road and come down cork screw hill. The few more minutes it takes to do this will surely benefit my car. And going over them at a faster speed is much better. I would not slow down for them. It is downright awful driving over them at a slow speed.

  34. Coffee says:

    Whatever happened to the speed detection devices . We see the signs throughout Bermuda , but no enforcement ..

  35. PC says:

    If something happens directly in front of you as you are travelling over the strips your stopping distance will increase drastically, considering your tires are not in constant contact with the road. It’s common sense. Placing them at a crosswalk is also dangerous for the same reason. They decrease safety tremendously. If one on a motorcycle hit’s them at an angle (not straight on) it could be very dangerous, especially for a tourist on a moped who isn’t very good even on smooth roads. Plus the wear and tear it’s placing on a vehicles suspension, which in time will wear out faster then usual and increases a cars stopping distances. They should be removed, they actually do the opposite of why they were installed. And for the individual who mentioned they wake up a person who’s falling asleep. If you are falling asleep you shouldn’t be on the road. I’ve drove over them at 20, 30, 40, 50km. It’s better driving over them at faster speed, how is that supposed to decrease your speed?

  36. Shell says:

    Compared to all the other roads I drive on each day East Broadway with the rumble strips is a lot smoother. Bermudas road have always been bumpy. I always slow down when necessary. If these rumble strips are causing a problem for taxis I can’t imagine what the other roads are doing to their vehicles. I have been in taxis where my life flashes before me because they drive like bats out of hell. 2 weeks ago my son and I were holding hands in the back of a taxi because we were so nervous. Slow down. There is nowhere on this island that I need to race to and endanger my life or someone else’s.

  37. Tom says:

    Reading Dereck Youngs statement that the rumble strips are causing mis-alignment of front ends, meter malfunctions are is another ploy to get the Gov to repair worn out vehicles and bad wiring on meters. Ask any reputable mechanic about rumble strips causing mis-alignment and they will laugh.

  38. Watcher55 says:

    This is just another stupid idea by the “engineers” that are employed and paid by us, they have no clue what so ever on any type of rural or any other kind of design, they need some constructive work to do, nowhere else would the type of lazy and half baked work would be tolerated, how can they justify the dozens of chevron signs they installed on the gentle bend at the end of the road by the roundabout!

    Hopefully priitisation will help thin out these “job for lifers” who are not productive in the least with “management” who are their equals.

  39. Alvin Williams says:

    The only driving element that will not complain is the drive home in the rush hour traffic; where most time the traffic is at a crawl; however the longer you take to go over the rumble strips; the more irritated you are likely to become. Hate to suggest it but could the placement of speed cameras have the desired effect; slow down the traffic or pay the price?

  40. Sparky says:

    These “Go Fast Strips” are great over 60Kph. Under 50Kph they are a death trap. I have engaged them at both speeds and @ >65Kph they are no problem. Try it and see !

  41. Mark Wheddon says:

    They are there to wake up people who are nodding off just b4 that corner, which has claimed several lives due too that fact. My brother died in a car crash when the driver nodded off, not in that location but due to the driver falling asleep while driving. What I would give for those to have been in place in the location of his accident. It is a small inconvenience to pay to help save someone’s life. Just think, it could be your life that is saved. Remember, you dont need to be the driver in order to killed in a road traffic accident by someone else falling asleep at the wheel.

    Merry Christmas to All, and slow down with your driving and complaining

  42. Cafe Au Lait says:

    In wet weather these smooth rumble bumps are very very dangerous. I have slipped on them. Putting these things there makes the road MORE dangerous than doing nothing. The people who decided to lay these down need their heads looking at.

  43. Justice For All says:

    So agree with the BTOA!!! They are placed in the most silly of places like Langton Hill on the corner coming off the hill. No matter how slow you go the wheels on my car slide and its worse when the roads are wet!!! Now is that safe???

  44. Unhappy driver says:

    I have hated these strips from day one, get rid of them. Never liked driving over them, fast or slow