I would like to point out some of the dangers that I have encountered on Bermudaís roads. First, I must point out the conditions of some of our roads around the island.
I own and ride a motorcycle; that is the only piece of transportation that I use to get around on. I have ridden all over Bermuda, so I have a good idea what the conditions are of some of the roads.
Letís face it, some of our roads are in a bad state and it should be up to the Government to send inspectors out to inspect the state of our roads.
I, like most road users, pay taxes and expect to be driving on roads that are in the best of shape. I get very upset when I see a freshly paved road being torn up and never put back in the proper state that it was found in. A lot of the roads up and down Bermuda have distortions of all kinds, including potholes.
I mention this because on several occasions while riding along the road, I had almost gotten into an accident because I had ridden into a depression in the road that almost threw me into a wall.
I also realise that I cannot just blame the conditions of the roads and recognise that some of our road users are taking chances that are not only a danger to themselves, but also to other road users.
I never overtake any vehicle without making sure that the way is clear. Iím not that stupid to take a chance overtaking a vehicle on a corner or try to squeeze through traffic when I know that I could be risking my life.
To give two examples: on one occasion I had stopped at the stoplights coming from South Road during the morning traffic jam going into Hamilton, when this fellow coming along Middle Road, moving along at a very high speed, had overtaken a long line of traffic that was at a standstill. Just as he was taking the bend, he had to duck in between two cars in order not to hit another car that was coming along in the South Road lane.
On another occasion, I had to move over close to a wall because I had to give way to someone who just dashed out from behind a car without looking to see if the way was clear, and it almost nearly caused me to crash head-on.
Maybe, Sir, itís that I am getting too old these days.
Yes, I do get flashbacks to the good old days when I was younger and took some stupid chances on the roads in those many pack races you donít see too much of these days.
Yes, I used to be one of those wild riders who felt as if I was immortal and had no fear of death, even though I had attended the funerals of some of my very best friends that had died on the roads over the years. I know the thrill of speed; it was seen as a challenge to be able to outrun the police, especially when you knew the lay of the land and that they did not.
Some of those riders back then were such skilful riders that it was amazing that some of these guys were able to outrun a 600cc police cycle with a 50cc that had built-up super parts on it.
Yes, Sir, for me those days may be gone but the thrill for speed is still with us and because Bermuda is small and so many of us are related, a shock just runs through me every time I hear that someone has died on our roads.
Why? Because I hate to think that it may be someone that is related to me or that it may be someone who I know. It has already happened to me with my son, who got into an accident in which someone lost their life. Even though it was not my son who died, that someone did die hangs heavy with me that a family lost a loved one.
Sir, I donít have all the answers to our problems on our roads, but I do believe that it be most important that a well-structured and comprehensive road-traffic programme be designed for our schools because, Sir, that is where it is going to have to start.
E. McNEIL STOVELL