The benefits of rental cars for tourists vacationing in Bermuda “may be a gift with mixed benefits”.

In a statement released to Bermuda Real last night, Stuart Hayward of BEST, after “a deeper look” at the proposal said: “If we reflect to the unexpected/unintended effects of low powered and slower moving vehicles added to our roads, the benefits may be outdone by these unintended consequences.

“Some of the more obvious benefits include:

  • Self transport for tourists at their own schedule,
  • door to door hop-on and hop-off,
  • traveling dry in wet weather
  • less risky and somewhat safer travel

“We would caution any sudden or major adjustment to our Island’s traffic population until several questions have been asked, and answered:

1. Has an “omni” Impact Assessment been conducted, gauging the impact of this new class of vehicles on:

a. Traffic congestion
b. Parking
c. Policing
d. Differential road speeds due to low power?

2. Has there been an examination of the potential conflict between what is becoming the de facto speed limit and the fact that these vehicles will be, essentially, underpowered cars?

3. Has there been input on this scheme from the Bermuda Road Safety Council? If so, what was it?

4. Has other collateral impact, such as to other transport services, been examined?

5. What specifically will be the regulations associated with these vehicles?

“We know from our own experience the disastrous impact of larger vehicles ( trucks, cars and bikes), faster vehicles (cars and bikes), inadequate policing and the consequent ill-behaviour on our roads,” said Mr Hayward.

“The existing laws — speed limits and noise limits, for sure — are almost universally ignored. The broader social lesson from lack of enforcement of laws of the land threatens the quality of life of residents and tourists alike.

“The potential for injuries, heightened road-rage and damage to the very tourist industry we’re trying to help is too great to proceed without careful and thorough thinking-through of this course of action.”

Mr Hayward concluded: “Let’s look before we leap.”

By Ceola Wilson