On the very first day of August this year, a 64-year-old male tourist ended up in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit in critical condition with severe head injuries, following a serious road traffic accident in St David’s.
He was riding a livery cycle, with a pillion passenger on board, when he collided with another motorcyclist, travelling in the opposite direction.
Fortunately, the young motorcyclist and the pillion passenger were treated for non-life threatening injuries and released. The livery cycle rider’s condition has been upgraded to stable.
Two years ago, another elderly male tourist, who arrived on a cruise ship in Dockyard, made his way to Oleander Cycles, rented a bike and set out for a summer vacation in Bermuda.
After brief riding instructions – here’s the gas and here’s the brakes – he was on his way.
Sadly, he didn’t even make past Spar Yard and he was DEAD!
What happened? I don’t know! There’s been so many accidents, so many fatalities, so many severe injuries over the years!
What I do know, is yesterday is GONE! The days of a cool ride on livery cycles, especially by riders who don’t drive on the same side of the road as we do, and riders who wobble and weave, looking like frantic sheep are GONE!
In this journalist’s mind it’s way past time for livery cycles to go! Put them down to rest in peace eternally!
So, we called Oleander Cycles and asked for the General Manager, who as it turnss out is Gregory Bluck.
I told him why I was calling, explained that we now have close to 50,000 vehicles on our roads and new Twizys have been here for a while without incident when it comes to serious road traffic accidents.
I asked if Oleander Cycles was more interested in money than saving lives? He told me point blank that he was not interested and hung up!
I said “hello”, looked at the phone then laughed. Who knew I would end up with an even better headline: ‘Head of Oleander Cycles Not Interested in Saving Lives!’ As you can see I chose not to go there!
When I asked Mr Bluck if he had heard of me as a journalist, he replied: “No, I’ve never heard of you Ms Wilson.”
Willing to be YOUR BOSSES have, and even more willing to bet they may not agree with YOU hanging up the phone! Nice touch! Did they TEACH YOU that in General Management Training 101?
We’ll get that story LATER! In the interim, it would appear that Mr Bluck was not revealing the REAL DEAL!
As it turns out, it’s fairly common knowledge, that since the arrival of Twizys, Oleander Cycles has been taking a real look at eradicating livery cycle rentals.
Frankly they should because it’s way past time to take these wobbly tourists OFF two wheels and put them on FOUR! And I say get on with it – you’re late!
Barring that Oleander Cycles needs a BIG SIGN posted up at Dockyard that says: ‘Rent Livery Cycles at Your Own Peril Because We Send You Back Home in Wooden Pine Boxes!”
And no – the Bermuda Tourism Authority won’t tell you that in their advertising campaigns either!
A bit raw – perhaps, but REAL! And no, I’m sure Mr Bluck won’t like it, his superiors probably won’t either, but it’s TRUE! And the TRUTH can be offensive but it’s not a sin. And guess what Mr Black, it’s NOT against the LAW either!
In hindsight, it may have been wise to expand on Oleander’s plans Mr Bluck. But I won’t take you to task, I’m sure you did a good job by hanging up on me to take care of all that!
For the record, ‘Mr Never Heard of Me BET YOU HEARD BY NOW’ – Yes! And no I’m not mad at you because I have the last word. Here’s a clue, no explanation needed I’ve worked under far more arrogant General Managers than YOU!
In any case, here’s the real deal, while Oleander’s swiping credit cards for cash renting killers on two wheels!
According to figures just released by the Department of Transportation, as of the end of July 2018, there were a total of 48,899 vehicles licensed and registered.
Those figures include a total of 3,574 privately owned auxiliary cycles and another 1,384 livery cycles.
While several local residents rent livery cycles throughout the year, we all know countless tourists rent them as well, while vacationing in Bermuda.
When it comes to senior citizens, some returning with fond memories of days gone by, when there were hardly as many vehicles on our roads as there are today, who end up in serious road traffic accidents.
Sadly, the track record show more than a few visiting tourists ended up leaving Bermuda in a pine box, following fatal road traffic accidents involving livery cycles.
That’s not to mention Bermuda’s current reputation as an island full of road rage; or road craze, depending on how you look at it.
And then when you look at the statistics dating back to 1962, it hits you!
The number of road traffic fatalities in Bermuda over the years, up until the end of 2015 alone, 586 people lost their lives in a matter of seconds in a road traffic accident.
Since then, needless to say, there have been more, as the ongoing death toll continues.
To recap, the worst year in that 1962 to 2915 time frame was 1975, when 26 people lost their lives as a result of road traffic collisions.
In 2014, 16 road fatalities, with another two added within the first two weeks of 2015.
Even more sobering, in 2015, the Minister of Transport was the late Shawn Crockwell, who is no longer with us.
At that time, the former One Bermuda Alliance Government was planning a Road Safety Summit. And the discussion was focused on three legislative changes to help improve road safety by:
- implementing roadside sobriety testing
- exploring the use of speed cameras
- and possibly “beefing up various fines”
Fast forward to today following an historic Cup Match Classic soundly won by Somerset Cricket Club. which will go down in the record books for 2018.
Thankfully, there were no road traffic fatalities over the long holiday weekend, but there was an elderly tourist, age 64, who was seriously injured when the motorcycle he was riding, collided with another motorcyclist in St David’s.
And we’ve just come out of a public consultation series of town hall meetings after Bermuda’s Road Safety Plan 2018, was rolled out in June, to reverse the tide against the ongoing carnage, fatalities and injuries sustained on our roads.
Road traffic fatalities since 1962:
- 1962: 16
- 1963: 7
- 1964: 3
- 1965: 7
- 1966: 13
- 1967: 8
- 1968: 21
- 1969: 17
- 1970: 24
- 1971: 13
- 1972: 18
- 1973: 19
- 1974: 12
- 1975: 26
- 1976: 11
- 1977: 8
- 1978: 6
- 1979: 10
- 1980: 8
- 1981: 11
- 1982: 12
- 1983: 17
- 1984: 5
- 1985: 10
- 1986: 7
- 1987: 8
- 1988: 5
- 1989: 15
- 1990: 13
- 1991: 5
- 1992: 6
- 1993: 7
- 1994: 11
- 1995: 7
- 1996: 4
- 1997: 7
- 1998: 17
- 1999: 10
- 2000: 6
- 2001: 11
- 2002: 2
- 2003: 10
- 2004: 7
- 2005: 13
- 2006: 14
- 2007: 11
- 2008: 17
- 2009: 13
- 2010: 13
- 2011: 9
- 2012: 9
- 2013: 9
- 2014: 16
- 2015: 2