A clear danger to our communities
As a Member of Parliament, I have a fiduciary responsibility to look out for the best interest of my constituents and the wider public.
With regards to road safety, I have received numerous complaints about excessive speeding on narrow neighbourhood streets — Wellington Lane, Wellington Hill, Mullet Bay Road and Ferry Road in St George’s are important examples — and residents are rightly concerned.
While we are working together with the Minister of Public Works, the Minister of Transport and Regulatory Affairs, and the chairman of the Bermuda Road Safety Council to address these and other areas, it would be remiss of me not to speak to the real problem regarding our roads: The road users themselves.
The real problem on our roads stems from the people using our streets.
One startling statistic I recently learnt was that there are fewer vehicles on the roads today than there were in 1998.
It is easy to think the opposite to be true when you consider the number of serious crashes we are observing and the recent proliferation of incidents featuring overturned vehicles.
Respectfully, for us to witness an improvement in driving etiquette in Bermuda, the collective attitude of the users of our roads must change or be changed.
It is especially not fair to our seniors or to residents with young children, who are living in fear that excessive speeding on their neighbourhood’s lanes and streets may lead to severe injury, death to a loved one — or even to them.
Unfortunately, the efforts over the years by the Bermuda Road Safety Council, Cada and other organisations have been outstripped by a seismic shift in negative social attitudes in Bermuda.
Put simply, Bermuda has undergone a sociological metamorphosis, which is not adequately studied or fully understood, but which has contributed in part to the driving behaviours we witness on our roads.
In addition to the traditional problems associated with poor driving habits on our roads, there is a noticeable overabundance of impatient drivers travelling on our streets.
Take a moment and observe how many times you witness cars overtaking or you having the impulse to overtake on your next journey.
My observation is that cars overtaking has become a national pastime.
Why the urge? Why are we always in a hurry to get somewhere?
Some may counter my claim and ask: “What do present-day social conditions have to do with driving on Bermuda’s roads?”
I submit that there is a definite correlation between the myriad of troubling social conditions and the aggressive, dangerous driving habits in Bermuda.
I know that as a parliamentarian, I am not alone, and that there are many other examples in Bermuda similar to Wellington Hill, Wellington Lane, Mullet Bay and Ferry Road.
But, truth be told, it comes down to causing driving habits to change in Bermuda.
Kim Swan is a government backbencher and the MP for St George’s West (Constituency 2)
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