Consideration is the key to safer roads
The new chairman of the Bermuda Road Safety Council [Dennis Lister III] wants to understandably stamp his mark and continues to push for an island-wide speed detection system.
I think we can agree that multiple initiatives are required to reduce the amount of vehicle accidents, and over the past few months there have been some fantastic public discussions for tackling road safety, including the admission that a 35km/h island-wide speed limit is outdated and that we cannot rely solely on the Bermuda Police Service to be present on our roads at all times of day.
Regarding drinking and driving, it’s refreshing to see less credence given to the Cada-inspired mission of holding alcohol-serving institutions accountable for their patrons, and more deliberation to structured but indiscriminate sobriety testing.
Additionally, I suggest that consideration should be given to create an Uber-like platform for private drivers to chauffeur inebriated passengers home during hours with low taxi availability.
It has been somewhat surprising to see the omission of other topics with regards to road safety. The ability to import and retail certain vehicle models, particularly motorcycles able to achieve excessive speeds, is a shortcoming of successive governments and the transport ministry.
Couple these vehicles with an ingrained local bike culture and you end up with a local motorcycle retailer advertising a model by stating it “Makes staying up Boaz Island feel like you stay Rangers”.
Assuming this culture is not disappearing soon, the future banning of vehicle models and speed modification parts is the only perceived solution worthy of pursuing. Many private cars are oversized and some are imported under the guise of a company vehicle. Not only are most of these cars excessive in size, the drivers of them often seem to exert additional eye strain to ensure they remain left of the centre road line.
In 2014, I predicted that speed detection cameras would be seriously pursued in a PechaKucha presentation I made at the Blue Waters Anglers Club. The ten-minute presentation is available on YouTube under “Pecha Kucha Speed Limit Lottery”.
The premise of what I was proposing was taken from an idea by Kevin Richardson of San Francisco to gamify road behaviour. Instead of automatic speed cameras that issued a ticket for excessive speeds, could we create a system of incentives for drivers who abided the speed limit during peak speeding hours?
What if you signed up to a programme that potentially registered you every month to win a paid annual TCD licensing fee and/or other prizes if you were caught abiding by the rules?
This out-of-the-box suggestion assumed a bigger picture: what needs to change is our culture of consideration.
No amount of cameras, police presence, public education campaigns or sobriety testing will solve the problem at the most basic level: how can we gain more consideration for the safety of others and ourselves?
Once we are motivated to put down our mobile phone while driving or ease our acceleration because we want to, we won’t have to worry about the times in which we have to.
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