BVI News

COMMENTARY: Road safety is public safety

Shaina Smith

Shaina Smith

By Shaina M Smith, Contributor

I would like to thank the Ministry of Communications and Works and the BVI Electricity Corporation for the installation of solar streetlights along the Sir Francis Drake Highway in the area we call The Bluff heading to West End.

It is difficult to drive on a road – you can’t see and the first set has been helpful.

Some people may think that because a car has headlights it provides enough light, but sometimes the glare from oncoming traffic forces persons to stop because those motorists need to use the high beam to see.

I urge the ministry to continue to invest in making our roads safer through a few more simple but impactful measures.

1) .Restoration of the road surface after utility works

Too often motorists must dodge trenches and manholes left for weeks. If funds are an issue, a one percent road levy can be added to vehicle registration (this might be an old idea previously discussed) that would be earmarked for road maintenance.

Also, something as simple as a clean-up after an accident is important for road safety. We are still dodging rocks from accident in Duffs Bottom across from car wash where rocks came down in the road.

 2) Demarcation of roads

A centre line will make the world of difference and keep everyone in their lane since they will undoubtedly know when they are driving in the middle of the road.

The road side reflectors are helpful in knowing where the side of the road is. Everyone’s judgement is different and this can help mitigate accidents.

 3) More solar street lights on hillside roads

Guardrails are needed. Maintenance is also very important. A blown light bulb is just as good as not having the streetlight in the first place. The process for the public to report a blown light should advertised more.

To fellow motorists: common sense and courtesy will go a long way in reducing accidents and traffic congestion.

Let us be respectful of each other and do not block lanes when coming out of intersections, trying to force into stand-still traffic. If you wait a few seconds, someone will let you in.

Parking, or the lack thereof, in Road Town is a sore point for all of us as motorists and a solution is needed and it is not more ‘no parking’ signs.

There was talk about a parking garage recently but it has died down to a hush whilst the angst of doing business in town is still there.

People will continue to park on the road or block you in the parking lot until a viable solution is implemented and I don’t believe giving more traffic tickets helps.

Road safety is everyone’s responsibility and I would like to encourage pedestrians to wear bright or white clothing or have a flashlight when walking in the evening.

Sometimes it is difficult to identify you on an inadequately lit roadway until we (motorists) are dangerously close.

And when using crosswalks, it is not a wise idea to walk behind a vehicle and then pop up in front of oncoming traffic. That is a recipe for disaster.

It is always a good idea to make eye contact with a driver before leaving the sidewalk. I am especially pleading with our students with this.

Public safety is not something to be taken lightly and shouldn’t be the buzz only after accidents. In this the 21st century, while the road rehab projects are good, we need to develop a national physical development strategy with a proper road infrastructure plan and a plan for its maintenance.

Time for Action!

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