Late night bike curfew for youths

Teenaged motorcyclists could be ordered off the roads by 11 p.m. under proposals outlined by a road safety group.

The curfew scheme for people aged 16 to 18 was put forward by the Road Safety Council's executive officer Roxanne Christopher-Petgrave who said the riders could be fined if they are found on the roads after the nighttime deadline and risk having their bikes impounded.

She told members of the Hamilton Rotary yesterday that the idea was part of a new 'Graduated License' training programme being introduced by the Council

  • <B>The Road Safety Council</B>  looks at idea of 11 p.m. 'cut-off' for 16 to 18-year-olds

    The Road Safety Council looks at idea of 11 p.m. 'cut-off' for 16 to 18-year-olds


Teenaged motorcyclists could be ordered off the roads by 11 p.m. under proposals outlined by a road safety group.

The curfew scheme for people aged 16 to 18 was put forward by the Road Safety Council's executive officer Roxanne Christopher-Petgrave who said the riders could be fined if they are found on the roads after the nighttime deadline and risk having their bikes impounded.

She told members of the Hamilton Rotary yesterday that the idea was part of a new 'Graduated License' training programme being introduced by the Council

"Our youth need a more intensive cycle training program and we have the answer 'Graduated License'.

"It is our hope that this programme will be enacted this calendar year and it will impact every child that intends on getting a cycle, and there will also be a modified version for visiting guest workers," she said.

Mrs Christopher-Petgrave added: "The basic scheme will include a ban for any towing for the first two years, we believe that you must be able to first handle your own agility on a cycle before you take on the responsibility of putting someone else's at risk.

"All youth that have an initial license must be off the roads no later than 11.00 p.m. no exceptions. If not, their cycle will be confiscated and the monetary fines will be compounded daily." It is unclear of the specifics of this law or if it will be in effect this year.

Currently, students take part in a 12-hour course, Project Ride, the new programme will be a 25-hour cycle training programme, which will include on-road testing where the students will be put in real life situations.

"This may be unpopular but we are not fearful of making it difficult decisions. The choices had to be taken away as far too many teenagers are making poor choices on our roads, with cycles being the most common vehicle in fatalities," Mrs Christopher-Petgrave said.

During her talk, one Rotary member said that young people were not the majority of people in road fatalities.But Mrs Christopher-Petgrave said it is believed that the seed for dangerous driving was planted between he ages of 16 and 20. "Therefore if safe driving is started with the young we are breeding more responsible riders for the future.

"We are seizing the power back and taking away choice, if you want a license you will complete this course. No question, the decision has now been made for you," said Mrs Christopher-Petgrave.

The issue of drunk driving was also addressed at the speech, which came during road safety week.

"It is still socially acceptable to drink and drive. Rarely is there a person that steps in to remind you about what you are about to do, and the risk you are taking," she said.

This has driven the Council to push for heavy fines and liability for people or bars who serve alcohol to someone that is visibly drunk who then gets on their bike.

"There must be accountability by these establishments that generate $200,000 a week in alcohol sales and all they are concerned about is the bottom line.

"There must be responsibility for the server and the owner if it can be proven that they assisted with the increased intoxication and the said individual then proceeded to get in their vehicle and cause harm to an innocent party.

"In many jurisdictions there is a line of liability that involves all parties in the act from the bottom up

"Mrs Christopher-Petgrave also touched on cycle liveries stating that there must be standard testing procedures for all livery companies.

"With auxiliary cycles being one of the most dangerous modes of transport in the world, we must look at alternate modes of transport to support of visitors whom wish to explore Bermuda on their own. There cannot be a repeat of the Hoopes family tragedy.," she said in reference to the American mother towing her daughter who died after apparently losing control of her bike earlier this year.

Mrs Christopher-Petgrave said the Road Safety Council had given serious consideration to providing alternative four-wheel and three-wheel vehicles to tourists and she said most livery cycle companies were on board with the idea

Mrs Christopher-Petgrave also wanted to remind the public that every road fatality could be prevented and she noted that over the last weekend Police arrested many drunk drivers and one driver who was speeding at 103 kph.

"We must evaluate what is smart risk and stupid risk. Is overtaking a row of cars on a bend smart risk? No, that is stupid risk. Is drinking five rounds of drinks and then driving home smart risk? No that is extremely stupid risk.

"Drinking and driving is a community wide problem and every member of our community has something to offer toward the solution.

"During her tenure with the Road Safety Council, Mrs Christopher-Petgrave has been directly responsible for the creation and implementation of the mandatory Seat Belt Law as well as numerous other road safety initiatives.

She is also an executive board member of Teen Haven and Teen Services, and a mentor at the Co-Ed facility.

Mrs Christopher-Petgrave is also an active executive board member of the North Hamilton Business Association, which aims to re-develop the Court Street areas for residents and business owners.

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