Wells throws weight behind road safety campaign
Football star Nahki Wells has signed up for The Royal Gazette's Drive for Change campaign.
The Queens Park Rangers and Bermuda striker said his goal is to help to cut down on the grim toll of death and injury on the island's roads, especially among the young and sportspersons.
Wells added: “I am 100 per cent behind the campaign. I know that I have a big following behind me, so why not try to use that platform and use my voice?.
“It's important that we do everything we can to keep the roads safe and put in preventive measures; they are only going to help us.”
Wells said death and injury on the roads had hit close to home for him; friend Tumaini Steede, a Devonshire Cougars midfielder, was killed in a motorcycle crash in 2012, aged just 22.
Wells's brother, Rico, had his promising football career cut short after he smashed a kneecap in a crash.
Wells, who dedicated a season to Mr Steede when he played at Bradford City, said: “He was a good sportsman, one of the best in my generation coming up.
“That is probably how most will remember him, but as a friend he was a good guy; he never really got caught up with any bad intentions,” he said. “He was a family person and a people person.
“For someone to lose their life in that manner at that age — for us as his friends, it was very difficult.
“He still had a long life ahead of him and had ambitions to try to play football for a living as a professional. His life was cut short.
“That was a difficult time in particular for his family, friends and everyone who knew him. It took a toll on this island.”
Wells said other people, including his brother, had suffered life-changing injuries that affected their academic and sporting prospects.
He added: “People have broken their legs, kneecaps or suffered anterior cruciate ligament injury.
“How quickly a small accident can end your dreams and hopes. But it's not always in the professional range. It can be through school, you could have scholarships to go overseas in any sport, not just in football.
“It could have a huge effect on your academic progress and it affects you going forward in other aspects.”
Wells said that, despite many of his friends taking risks on the road as he grew up, he was always careful.
He added: “I was one of the sensible ones of my group growing up.
“I had a few scrapes and bruises, which are inevitable for anyone who rides bikes, but I knew how quickly something could end what I wanted out of life.”
Wells said: “I have lost people who are close to me.
“I know plenty of people who have been hugely affected by bike accidents, drunk-driving, hit-and-runs, you name it.”
The Drive for Change campaign and its partner, road safety group A Piece of the Rock, argued for the introduction of roadside breath test checkpoints, now in regular use across the island. Other campaign objectives are the introduction of speed cameras and proper training for new motorbike riders.
Wells said it was a “no-brainer” to back the campaign and encouraged others to do the same.
He added: “I don't want generations to come by and our kids and nephews and brothers to be having these same problems.
“I know it is frustrating to see police on the road and I know it is frustrating to be getting tickets, but those things are all put in place to try to save our lives and help everyone on the island to be safe.”
Wells said: “We are never going to be able to stop accidents, we are never going to be able to stop road fatalities, but I think putting proper measures in place and taking this as seriously as any other thing that we do is important.”
He added: “The roadside testing, more police on the roads, more training for young riders, being able to lose your licence quicker — those measures are put in place to help.
“I can only see one result, which is more discipline, which will cut the number of bad accidents and fatalities.
“It is only going to help our loved ones and our family, and help to make Bermuda as safe as possible.”