Training for new motorcycle riders to be beefed up
Training programmes for learner motorbike riders are to be revamped in an effort to cut the number of accidents on the roads.
But Lawrence Scott, the Minister of Transport, warned that “a cultural change” in attitudes to road safety was needed — and that would not happen overnight.
Mr Scott said that legislation was drawn up to upgrade the Project Ride learning programme in schools.
He added that education was key to instilling good driving habits in the young.
Mr Scott said: “Education is being done through the Project Ride curriculum. We’re looking to make changes there.
“One shortcoming of Project Ride, which we are addressing, is that the first time somebody goes on the road is after they get their licence.
“We are now looking to make changes to the legislation that will get students on the road earlier — prior to them getting their licence.
“It’s going into the schools and teaching road safety and the like, and that is where the foundation of the culture is.”
Mr Scott added that it was also planned to tackle the menace of drink driving.
He said: “The statistics show that the majority of road fatalities have either alcohol or and/or speed attached.
There were 17 deaths on the island’s roads last year, one of the highest levels in more than a decade.
But Mr Scott denied that the Road Safety Council (RSC) had failed in its mandate to make the roads safer.
He said: “That would be an unfair characterisation. What’s happening now is this — the RSC, in conjunction with the Bermuda Police Service, is working on making our streets safe again.
“Part of that is a cultural shift, and you don’t make that shift over the course of one year or two years.
“It wasn’t too long ago when we had an all-time low in road traffic fatalities. One death on our roads is one death too many, but you have to look at what is really causing this and it goes to the cultural dynamic, which is education — which is being addressed, but it’s not going to be a quick fix.”
Mr Scott added: “The other statistic is that it is males aged 30 to 40 years old that are the majority of road fatalities. What we’re doing now is creating a culture that will last for generations.”
Mr Scott said that a police campaign to get tough on motorists who broke the rules of the road was having an effect.
He added: “When you start setting up consequences of poor decision making such as driving while impaired, that’s where the pre-announcement of roadside sobriety comes into play.”
Mr Scott said that roadside breath test checkpoints had deterred people from drinking and driving.
He added: “There was nobody who went through a checkpoint that was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
“Therefore that is now showing a positive trend and a positive movement in the right direction. When people know that there are consequences they make the right decision.”