Throne Speech sets out tougher approach for learner bike riders
Learner motorcycle riders will have the opportunity to gain on-road training before taking a driving test as part of legal amendments announced in the Throne Speech.
As part of Bermuda’s Project Ride, learners are taught to ride their bikes in off-road spaces including the car park at the Transport Control Department in Pembroke.
Tom Oppenheim, the Deputy Governor, said in the Throne Speech: “Safe driving habits must be ingrained in motorists at the earliest opportunity.
“Project Ride has provided instruction to thousands of young people but lacks an on-road training component which, owing to current road traffic conditions, must be remedied.
“Therefore, amendments will be made to the Auxiliary Bicycles Act 1954 to create a learner’s permit and to provide for on-road instructions and examinations for those seeking a bike licence.”
The Royal Gazette’s road safety campaign Drive for Change, along with its campaign partner a Piece of the Rock, had called for Project Ride to include an on-road component as well as advancing it as a graduated licensing programme.
Such a programme includes various grade levels and requires riders to retake tests for certain levels if they have breached traffic laws.
In 2018, Walter Roban, the then transport minister, said: “I am aware of the recommendations and, just so it is clear, Project Ride itself is a graduated licensing programme. We are committed to further advancing that.
“Project Ride started under the former Progressive Labour Party government so we now need to review it and advance it further.”
Dexter Smith, the Editor of The Royal Gazette, said: “As part of our Drive For Change campaign, in conjunction with partner A Piece of the Rock, we advocated for a significant upgrade to ensure our young people graduated on to the roads with the right habits.
“This is an overdue step in the right direction and, if effective, can put a dent into our soaring annual road crash statistics and fatalities.”
A private company called B/Moto, which is now defunct, had offered on-road training to learner motorcyclists. Its owner, Antoine Richards, a professional competitive motorcyclist, submitted a proposal to the Government to implement a graduated licensing programme which he had customised for Bermuda.
However, the Government did not implement it.
Britain's Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, which backed the B/Moto programme, said Bermuda's road-safety training standards were where the UK's were 30 years ago.
The society added that the B/Moto training course is the closest thing to Britain's GLP on-road portion available in Bermuda.