Drive For Change

Two men die in separate collisions on Bermuda roads

  • A car crashed with a motorcycle on St John's Road, Pembroke, today (Photograph by Sam Strangeways)
  • Emergency services at the scene of a crash near Gorham's on St John's Road (Photograph by Sam Strangeways)
  • Police at the scene of a crash on St John's Road, Pembroke, today (Photograph by Sam Strangeways)

Two men involved in separate road collisions died yesterday, becoming the fifth and six traffic fatalities of 2018.

The deaths came after a spate of five serious crashes in the past five days and prompted a renewed warning from police for motorists to slow down and pay attention when driving.

Walter Roban, the Deputy Premier and Minister of Transport and Regulatory Affairs, was in attendance at a public meeting last night to discuss the role the Government can play in bringing an end to the loss of life on Bermuda’s roads.

The first death yesterday was of a 59-year-old motorcyclist who succumbed to his injuries after losing control of his bike and crashing into a car coming in the opposite direction in Pembroke at about 10.35am.

The second was of a 66-year-old cyclist who was seriously injured when his pedal bike collided with a motorcycle late on Saturday night in Devonshire. The identity of both victims had not been made public by press time last night.

A Bermuda Police Service spokesman said: “We see the greatest increase in fatalities during our summer months and Christmastime. Our message is very clear: speed kills, inattention on the road kills and alcohol consumption and drug consumption while operating a vehicle kills.

“We are asking people to slow down on the roads. The life you save may indeed be your very own.”

Police also issued a plea to social media users in relation to yesterday’s fatal crash after social-media users posted pictures of the victim as emergency workers battled to save his life at the scene, near Gorham’s, on St John’s Road.

The spokesman said it was a “very troubling reality for our community”, adding that family and friends saw photographs of the injured man online before they were notified about his death by police.

“As the 59-year-old man was fighting for his life, members of our community took their phones, took images of that man in that compromised state and started to circulate those images on social media,” he said.

“Unfortunately, family members and friends got a hold of that information before they had the appropriate notification from the Bermuda Police Service.”

He added: “We are asking members of the community, if you come to a scene and a person is compromised, first of all, think before you act.

“Do not pull out your phone and take that image because that image puts us all at risk. It’s insensitive to the family and it could compromise the integrity of an investigation.

“We are simply asking you to think before you post. When you put that image online, it is a member of our community that can suffer from finding out that untimely message from that medium.

“We are asking people to be mindful of the sensitivities of a very small community.”

He said those who received such images should not share them, as “titillating” as they may seem.

“Simply keep it on your phone and hold it,” said the spokesman. “We are asking for you to be sensitive and ask yourself a question: what would you want to happen if it was your loved one or member of your community or family?”

The spokesman said initial reports suggested the victim of yesterday morning’s crash, who was pronounced dead after being rushed to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, may have been travelling at high speed as he headed west just past the entrance to Gorham’s.

He added: “What we want to do is, for a fullness of investigation, wait for officers to do their investigation and to present that information in a coroner’s inquest, where the official cause of death may make itself known in a public and clear manner.”

Asked to confirm if a public inquest would be held — a rare occurrence in Bermuda — the spokesman said: “An inquest, I apologise.”

The driver of the car sustained non-life threatening injuries. St John’s Road, between Berkeley Road and the junction with Pitts Bay Road and Cox’s Hill, was closed to motorists while officers processed the scene.

Saturday’s crash involving the pedal cyclist happened at about 11.50pm on Middle Road in Devonshire, near the junction with Vesey Street.

Witnesses to either crash should call the main police telephone number 295-0011.