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Dangers of cycling on Barbados roads

Dangers of cycling on Barbados roads

Old Dec 10th 2009, 7:22 pm
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Default Dangers of cycling on Barbados roads

I have just read in today's Nation Newspaper that a prominent Brabadian cyclist has been killed in a road traffic accident. This is the second such incident in only 5 days. Who is to blame? What should be done?

In my opinion there are many factors which make barbadian roads a very dangerous place for all users, including cyclists, pedestrians and even motorists.

There are no cycle lanes provided anywhere on the island (that I have seen!!). Surely this wud be a very simple thing for the government to install and would vastly improve safety for both local cyclists and tourists. Barbados would be a magnificant place to discover by bicycle but I think anyone would be crazy to attempt this at the present time.

I think the government should seriously look at undertaking the following works on the island. These improvements would increase safety, improve the appeal of the island for tourists and investors, reduce pollution and provide much needed employment during the construction phase and beyond.

1. Apply proper/clear road markings to all roads
2. Improve road surface to eliminate extremely dangerous slippy wet weather conditions.
3. Install footpaths (sidewalks) to all roadways.
4. Install cycle lanes and paths islandwide
5. Improve street lighting islandwide
6. Improve signage, especially at junctions, roundabouts, pedestrian crossings etc.
7. Establish a government car test which would be required every second year on vehicles of over 3 years of age. (Any "boy racer" alterations would be an immediate fail. The test would also check for noise levels and exhaust emissions)
7. Establish (or allow the licensing of) a sea taxi service to serve Speightstown, Holetown, Bridgetown, St. Lawrence Gap and Oistins
8. Install a monorail system islandwide (This would be by far the biggest project, but would offer the greatest benefits. It would reduce road traffic, which would in turn reduce pollution (a requirement of every nation at the moment). It would also serve as a great tourist attraction and you can be garaunteed that 90% of all tourists (including cruise ship day trippers) would jump at the chance to see the island from a monorail)

I would really love to see these improvements to be put in place. It would vastly improve the quality of life for all Barbadian residents and also improve the tourist experience for the many visitors on which the island relies so heavily.

I'd like to hear your opinions on the above. Especially Neal Brown and Reslax, as you are both Barbadian citizens, born and raised (I Think!!).
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Old Dec 10th 2009, 7:50 pm
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Default Re: Dangers of cycling on Barbados roads

I'm a road cyclist myself, and would love to see improvements that would make cycling safer in Barbados.

I've been in a few situations myself where cars were too close, or didn't see me (despite all my flashing lights and reflective gear) etc. and one time even had to throw myself off my bike into a cane field to avoid being hit by a very erratic driver (it was not even 7am on a Sunday, so it's possible he was on his way home and/or still drunk from the night before). Needless to say, I was shaken by that incident, but had to get back on my bike to get back home! A concerned citizen in an oncoming car stopped to see if I was okay - I really appreciated that.

I'm not sure cyclists here have much of a voice, however. There simply aren't very many of us If I'm wrong, I'd love to know more.
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Old Dec 11th 2009, 12:02 am
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Default Re: Dangers of cycling on Barbados roads

ok.. I'm just as concerned about these last 2 incidents as the first 2 posters.. I'm not a cyclist, but know people who are. but the 2 deaths in 5 days in nothing comparatively speaking.. I know.. I'm going to get blasted for that.

While that list from Cuchullain is wonderful, it simply will never happen and if it ever did, it would cost a mint and take forever. Bike lanes would be great but some of our roads don't even have enough room for 2 cars let alone a bike lane in both directions.

I've screamed for years for sidewalks (I'm an American and that's what we call them) but even now that some roads have them, many bajans simple refuse to use them.. Just this morning a women on Pine Road in Belville was walking on the road with a perfectly good sidewalk right beside her..

One of my pet peeves is that lack of simple respect for road users by Secondary School Children between 230pm and 4pm.. I have come to a sudden halt before on several roads.. because some 15 year old, thinking they are invincible, steps out onto the road without looking in any direction.. just continuing to walk straight like they own the road.

Anyway... I've lived here for 17 years.. I know the roads here are not the best. I pray daily for those cyclists I see (the professional ones at least) on the road.. it's the ones who again act like they own it that will never have any respect for anyone else on the roads..

and don't even get me started on Licensing and vehicle testing (OMG)
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Old Dec 11th 2009, 3:33 am
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Default Re: Dangers of cycling on Barbados roads

I have a bicycle here, and it resides in our laundry room and it’s currently sporting a beautiful flat tyre (!!), because I have seen the state of the roads out here and I’m simply too petrified to get on it...due to the lack of facilities for cycling safety here. You could perhaps account that to a number of factors, some of which happen anywhere in the world (not just Barbados!). I don’t know of anywhere here which accommodates open space for people to cycle safely, both on the road, and off road. I would welcome some ideas on open space where you can cycle, which includes cycling safely to get to, without the risk of being run over in the process (I do not have a vehicle that would accommodate 2x bicycles).
In my opinion I think anything is possible, with the right approach. Simply because something hasn’t happened before now, does not mean to say it will never happen.
I do hear what you're saying about how people who live on this island approach the roads. Only this morning, I saw a child in school uniform jump out into the middle of the traffic near Chelston Park without any awareness of the danger that imposed. But how many more road deaths is it going to take before something changes, for the better?
All I'm saying here is, is there something we can we do ourselves to start the ball rolling on improving things? I’m not trying to change the world by any means, but surely we can do something as a group (??) to raise awareness, as a start? Even if something we do to improve the situation did take a long time, even if one life was saved, surely it is worth pursuing?
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Old Dec 11th 2009, 12:53 pm
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Default Re: Dangers of cycling on Barbados roads

For those interested, there will be a Memorial Ride for the 2 cyclists who were killed. One of the cyclists who died was a well-known Barbadian champion racer.

Date: Saturday, December 12 (tomorrow)
Place: Starts at the Gymnasium (Aquatic Centre)
Time: Ride starts at 6am. Be there maybe 5:45am
End: Chickmont, where there will be a memorial service

It's going to be a very slow ride, and there are runners & walkers as well (starting at a location closer to Chickmont).

Netsirk and I will be there, showing our support, as will a good percentage of the cyclists on the island.

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Old Dec 11th 2009, 4:12 pm
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Default Re: Dangers of cycling on Barbados roads

Foxy, where is the start for the walkers? This is really something that is important to participate in whether or not you cycle IMO.
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Old Dec 11th 2009, 6:00 pm
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Default Re: Dangers of cycling on Barbados roads

I pulled this information from the Facebook page:

"We will be put on a memorial Walk, Run & RIde on Saturday 12th. at 6:00AM

Previous to Wednesday events we were only going to take it to the crash site of last weekends accident but we will be continuing this event to Automotive Art Six Roads for a wreath laying ceremony and prayers.

Walks can start at Balls Plantation and walk to the accident scene at Lowlands. Runners can start at the same location. Family bikers with small children are asked to start at that location as well
Walkers can move at approx. 6:10am
Parking at Chickmont food.

Road Cyclist and commuters and adult riders will meet at the GYM for a prompt start at 6:00am.

After Lowlands cyclist will continue to the Six Road location. Walkers, runners and family cyclist can meet the group at Emerald City and join us by running walking and cycling to the site of the second accident.

Please wear a black arm band or affix a black cloth to your bikes."

Hope that Helps. I will be there.
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Old Dec 12th 2009, 11:50 am
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Default Re: Dangers of cycling on Barbados roads

They should run this advert on Channel 8..... It's very clever. Definitely demonstrates that you need to be more aware and remember cyclists.

http://www.dothetest.co.uk/basketball.html
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Old Dec 12th 2009, 2:18 pm
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Default Re: Dangers of cycling on Barbados roads

Cuchullain,

I think all of your suggestions are good suggestions except for the suggestion for the monorail. There are things that would be convenient to have in Barbados but that would ruin the character of the country. I don’t want Barbados to be turned into a mini U.S.A. or Canada. No offense to people from those countries, but I want Barbados to maintain some of its uniqueness. Besides, school children and others in Barbados vandalise the buses, which are currently being underutilised. A monorail system would make the bus system even less viable. I have no doubt some pathetic people would vandalise the monorails, and then they would just be dirty trains like what you see in major cities around the world.

SEE MY OTHER POST BELOW
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Old Dec 12th 2009, 2:28 pm
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Default Re: Dangers of cycling on Barbados roads

Unfortunately, I have to report this morning that there has been yet another road fatality. It is the 4th in 7 days and the 24th for the year, up from 17 last year, according to the Nation newspaper. The latest victim was a passenger in a car.

Cucchullain, you asked for my opinion on road and traffic improvements in Barbados. Here is my opinion. Please excuse the length of the post.

People are trying to force Barbados to develop before its time. Some of the roads in Barbados were built during the days when people used donkey carts for transportation and when the population was much smaller. They are very narrow and many homes and businesses are built very close to them, making it impossible to widen them. It is necessary for people to drive slowly and cautiously on many of the roads, but many people drive on them at very fast speeds, as if they are on multi-lane highways in Europe or North America.

Also, people insist on using the diversity of vehicles that they see on European and North American roads on them. Roads that were built for donkey carts are being used for SUVs, ATVs, an excessive number of cars, bicycles, motorcycles, etc. In addition people want to walk and jog on the roads. Hopefully, at some time in the future, the government will start engaging in “development” to benefit the people who live in Barbados permanently instead of just encouraging development for tourists and seasonal dwellers. At that time, most of the roads in areas where they can be widened will be widened and sidewalks and bike paths will be built.

Until the roads are widened and bike paths and sidewalks are built, the only solution I can think of is for parks to be built to accommodate bicyclists, walkers, and joggers. I recently visited a friend who lives near Atlanta Georgia in the U.S. She pointed out to me that some vacant land near her housing development had been turned into a park for recreational walkers and joggers. I assume cyclists can use it too. Paths were built into the land. I noticed a few people walking and jogging when we passed by. I also noticed a sign during a trip to a small town in Florida that states there is supposedly a scenic bike route in the area. Supposedly it is a nature park that has bike paths for people to not just enjoy cycling, but to enjoy nature as well.

I think cyclists, recreational walkers, and joggers should limit their activities on public roads. The roads have not yet caught up to the “development” people are pushing. The government should build more parks. Private individuals should build places for ATV riders. Personally I don’t think ATVs are necessary in Barbados, but if people insist on having them, private individuals should purchase land to build a place for ATV riders. I would hate to see land wasted for this, but the alternative would be to see more people die on the roads in collisions between cars and ATVs.

As long as people keep insisting on forcing the roads to accommodate far more than what they were built for, there will be tragedies. However, even in countries where there are wide roads, sidewalks, bike paths, and jogging trails, people are still killed in road accidents. At the end of the day, human beings need to exercise caution while using the roads.

Last edited by reslax; Dec 12th 2009 at 2:37 pm.
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Old Dec 13th 2009, 1:44 pm
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Default Re: Dangers of cycling on Barbados roads

Reslax,

That is indeed unfortunate news Thank you for sharing.

Your post was very interesting, and well said. It would be nice if our forum could get back to that type of post, where people can post their thoughts/opinions without attacking other people or being attacked in return. We are not all always going to agree with each other, but we can acknowledge that in such a way that is still respectful, instead of jumping into fight-mode each time someone expresses a frustration.

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Old Dec 14th 2009, 6:16 am
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Default Re: Dangers of cycling on Barbados roads

I don't think there's any fault in ambition, or people wanting to drive nice cars, develop their country etc. I'm not sure that I agree with Barbados developing "before its time", because in this global economy it seems you're either part of those countries thrusting forward, or a majority of citizens end up left facing poverty.

I do agree that some areas of development aren't keeping up with others though. I think major investment is needed in the roads for them to cope with the traffic the country is now creating. The government don't seem to be on top of this whatsoever, maybe due to cost.

Ultimately it comes down to personal responsibility of those of us who drive here, doesn't it..... And every time I leave my house, I see that a minority of individuals aren't doing this and are making life dangerous for all of us. The roads could be functional until such time as the government improve them if only those people would slow down and take care.

I think it would be great if some of the country's investment went on green spaces for cyclists etc too, though I guess you'll still have some who choose to use the road instead - just as someone pointed out earlier, there are some pedestrians who ignore the footpaths and god forbid you drive past a school at the end of the day because that's a genuinely terrifying experience.
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Old Dec 19th 2009, 11:00 pm
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Default Re: Dangers of cycling on Barbados roads

I would have to agree with reslax. Frankly, the increasing majority of places where new developments are not moving in step with infrastructure improvements to accommodate the increased traffic to these areas.

In the US, developers are held responsible for road improvements where they want to build. Not only for their immediate development, but also widening the roads to the development, adding signs and lighting, etc.

I don't see that in a lot of places. The new roads tend to still be the same width as older roads and not as much general lighting or signage that serves the community outside of the development.

It's a community issue that ought not to be borne solely in the shoulders of the govt. I love the idea of the recreational parks, however, I know plenty road cyclists might not agree.

I would have to agree with Ikon, on speed and safety. I've seen two bad accidents and 2 near misses in 2 days. Both accidents were clearly the result of foolishness by the drivers and not the roads self.
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Old Dec 20th 2009, 5:25 pm
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Default Re: Dangers of cycling on Barbados roads

As a regular traveller,Barbados has the safest roads in the world,we may not have the best road structure,but compare to all of Europe and USA our drivers have more respect for pedestrians and other road user.We Bajans are the only people in the world that stop our cars and allow people to cross the road,allow other cars to come out of congested area,stop and give way.Our drivers are the most generous compare to the international community.People in the big countries does not give way,they have no respect for other road user,and they would run you over if you try to cross the road.
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Old Dec 20th 2009, 5:57 pm
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Default Re: Dangers of cycling on Barbados roads

and may I add.. the most inconsiderate drivers who stop in the middle of the road to chat (cars and buses included) and not care there are cars behind them.. and the most unconscious pedestrians who think they can walk across a road without a second thought as to what is coming.. or people (school children usually) who walk 3 abreast (or 4 or 5 sometimes) and could care less that cars are coming in either direction and they pay no attention to the fact they could get run over.... and with regards to all those lovely people who "let people out from side roads".. why can't they think that there are people in a line way behind them (on Govt Hill at 8am) who have been on that same road for 30 min stuck there while you (and the mini-bus driver) direct traffic, which by law they are not allowed to do, and let all those cars out of the side roads. and how bout the transport board bus who almost ran my husbands car into the side of a cut rock road in the middle of the country, just so he could shave a few extra seconds of his route????? anyone else feel like ranting!!! and one last one.. the idiot who puts on one of the muffler things (you know the one that makes the car sound 5 times louder than it is) and rides up and down the road outside my house at 3am on the morning before a rally race.. just to "test out the engine".. I gone!!
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