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World Rugby Classic tackles road safety

Tackling drink-driving: the World Rugby Classic is one of the biggest social occasions of the year (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Road safety is to come off the bench for this year’s World Rugby Classic — one of the biggest social events on the year.

Roadside breath test checkpoints will be set up during the event and organisers have arranged for a free shuttle service between Hamilton and the National Stadium in Devonshire from Monday to Wednesday,

Ronan Kane, event director for the classic, said: “The driving reason behind this initiative this year really is as a result of the World Rugby Classic wanting to lead by example and promote safe and responsible behaviour of everyone attending the event and Bermuda on a wider scale.

“By encouraging the public to take our free shuttle to the ground it removes the dilemma later on in the evening of whether or not to take the car or bike home.

“Unfortunately, Bermuda has a disturbing rate of accidents resulting from drink driving and like everyone in Bermuda this is something that we want to see reduced and hopefully eliminated. We are a small community and when an accident occurs it hits home for everyone.”

Taxis will also be lined up along Frog Lane at night throughout the weeklong event, which kicked off yesterday.

The HomeSafeBermuda car delivery service, where a driver takes people home in their own car, will also be in operation.

Road safety messages will be displayed on the 14-foot screen at the event during breaks.

A Piece of the Rock road safety campaign, partners of The Royal Gazette’s Drive for Change, will feature a short trailer for its documentary charting the carnage on our roads.

Rachel Bailey, chief executive of iHope Global Advertising, the adverts subcontractor for the stadium, said: “It is important to think about road safety at any event with alcohol.

“The Rugby Classic is one of the most heavily attended drinking events — the rugby is a bonus. Last year there were in excess of 6,000 people there.”

The free shuttle service, provided by Titan Express, will leave the Flagpole on Front Street at 5.30pm, 6pm and 6.30pm.

David Frost, president of the Bermuda Taxi Operators Association, said: “We always do a lot of private work at the World Rugby Classic and we have a good rapport with the organisers.

“There will be lots of taxis along Frog Lane but if people can pre-book it will make it easier.”

Manish Thareja, producer for A Piece of the Rock, said the drive was worth the effort.

He added: “While filming with emergency medical technicians, I experienced first hand the high incidence of road crashes during rugby week.”

For the schedule and ticket information, visit worldrugby.bm.