Jackson calls for robust on-road training
Shadow Minister for Health and Seniors Susan Jackson has called on the Government to introduce more robust on-road training for new riders and more stringent road safety measures.
Speaking during a motion to adjourn address in the House of Assembly last Friday, Ms Jackson warned of the upcoming summer season where students will be back on the island and in the mood to celebrate.
“We are about to enter into the height of our season — young people are finishing school and they are excited and partying. I need to know that this government is paying attention and is vigilant.
“Some of my constituents have been lobbying for years for educational programmes with on-road experience and for [new road users] to gain a respect for our roads before they get their licence.
“A large per cent of our accidents are young people on bikes we need to take more responsibility for them.
“It is not just our youth — we should move towards breathalysers and speed cameras that will target all offenders on the road. I need to keep that at the fore front.”
The Project Ride bike training programme was put in place in Bermuda in the 1990s and was made mandatory in 2010 for students with the introduction of legislation for youth riders.
The programme teaches the basics of riding, is confined to a car park and provides no practical on-road training or instruction.
According to figures provided by the Ministry of Transport, annual collisions involving 16 to 20-year-olds has fallen consistently from 514 in 2007 to 161 in 2016.
However, Bermuda's 16-year-olds, new riders to the road, continue to be the most likely to be involved in a crash than any other age group.
A recommendation for an on-road segment to add to Project Ride making it a robust graduated licensing programme in line with best practice jurisdictions including Britain, the US, Canada and Australia is under consideration by the Ministry of Transport.
A private, non-mandatory programme is already in place at B/Moto, which includes on-road instruction with qualified instructors communicating via two way bike helmets.
The academy's owner Antoine Richards is in talks with Deputy Premier and Minister of Transport and Regulatory Affairs Walter Roban about the potential for his programme to complete the mandatory licensing programme.
Approached by Drive for Change following Ms Jackson's address, Mr Roban said: “I have said repeatedly that we are prepared to review the current system of training. We want to advance and review Project Ride. I have met with Mr Richards to hear in detail about this programme — I am in that space.
“We are going to deal with what we do going forward in the context of the wider green paper on transportation and will make decisions on what we do in that area.
“There are no sacred cows in this area because we want to advance road safety, we want to advance all aspects of activity.
“I saw Mr Richards so I could get a clear picture and I am happy I have done that. Any further decisions will be based around the green paper process as a wider review of transportation.”
Mr Roban added that the introduction of roadside sobriety testing was on schedule. “That Bill will be here before Cup Match and it will be passed. That was the goal and we will meet it before we go down in July.”