BVI News

LETTER TO EDITOR: Banning right-hand drive vehicles won’t solve BVI’s road safety issues

Dear Editor,

It was just a few days ago I was tuned in to one of my favourite local talkshows Honestly Speaking on the radio station ZBVI, hosted by a famous and well-renowned Social Commentator Pastor Claude Skelton Cline.

I am always keen to applaud his efforts to address the issues that exist in our community and his attempts to offer or seek solutions are unwavering. His favourite words always resonate with me, “be the hope that you are looking for, be compassionate and seek understanding”.

Although controversial at times, I am convinced that at all levels the good gentleman means well and he must be commended. He was fiercely addressing the issue of road safety which, of course, has several elements.

He has always been an advocate for a permanent ban on scooters in the territory and that is debatable. However, recently temporary restriction on the use of motor scooters and motorcycles between the hours of 5 pm and 5 am has been lifted.

‘Right–hand drive vehicles should be banned in BVI’ — Skelton Cline

While he continued his campaign for road safety, he expressed his personal opinion and I quote: “These people who drive these right-hand drive (RHD) vehicles cannot drive on the left-hand side of the street … they are always in the middle of the road … I want to call on the Minister of the subject Minister Kye Rhymer and our Premier to bring forward the legislation that bans these vehicles, that bans any more importation of these vehicles into our territory. They are creating a havoc.”

He further lamented about the environmental safety concerns and also road safety concerns associated specifically with the right-hand drive vehicles on the territory’s roads.

I disagree

Indeed, I can agree that there has been an increase in the number of right-hand vehicles in the BVI. Hence, I cannot ignore the concern expressed about the carbon emission issues. But I cannot hesitate to disagree with the issue expressed about road safety, as the host should have been mindful to realise that the much-appreciated left-hand drive vehicle which he, and most taxi drivers and the majority of the populace drives, is much need for concern.

I would be delighted if the host can produce some statistical argument to indicate that when an accident occurs, the driver of the RHD vehicle is at fault or the cause of the accident.

Left-hand vehicles cause passengers disembark in the road

I am only trying to provoke the discussion. What the host stopped short of saying that our school children and passengers when they commute are severely exposed and vulnerable to the brunt of the heavy traffic that traverse our roadways.

This is simply because his preferred left-hand vehicle gives our students no alternative but to disembark on the right side of the vehicle which gives them maximum exposure to the flowing traffic, which is a huge risk.

Host, please consider this in your advocacy as I am only trying to provoke the discussion. The road safety concerns of the host should have been the advocacy for the improvement of the poor and deplorable condition of our roadways. Maybe it has been a while since he traversed our roadways especially if he took a trip to one of the business houses in the east that sponsors his show.

Potholes are the real problem

The craters in the road cannot be avoided whether you drive the Ridge Road or the coastline to the east. It has now reached to an agonizingly unacceptable level and the road safety issue in this respect was not voiced by the host.

Did he ever pause to consider that some of these drivers that he is accusing cannot drive on the left side of the road are concerned about the fate of their vehicle should they suddenly descend into these unavoidable craters.

Host, consider this in your advocacy that the deplorable road surfaces are posing a threat to road safety. Let’s have a discussion. I am still mindful of the road safety concerns with the RHD vehicles expressed by the host but I find it quite amusing that a call is being made for the ban of RHD vehicles. But did the host have a look at the vehicle stock at the Governor’s office?

Check the governor’s office

I think he would be rather amused to find an RHD vehicle which was purchased from the public purse. So, host, are we gonna ban this one as well? I leave that for your consideration because I am only trying to provoke the discussion.

Host, may I invite you to be the voice of the voiceless, and not apparently the thorn in the flesh. The reality on the ground is that the issue of road safety is a vast topic and a ban on RHD vehicles does not change the deplorable conditions of the roads. And once these conditions remains, persons will be driving in a mode to avoid the unavoidable craters in the road.

Banning RHD vehicles won’t bring financial ease to families

Host, the voice of the voiceless, have you considered that a ban on these vehicles will not bring any ease on families that are already facing difficult times? A ban on RHD vehicles will impose some measure of financial strain on individuals as persons in these difficult times will purchase what they can afford.

I think the host needs to take an approach which has the backing with the statistics and consideration and compassion for all levels of society.

Let’s have a discussion.

Yours Truly,
Concerned citizen

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  1. The Nation says:

    THANK YOU to Concerned Citizen! Well said!!! If they are going to ban RHD vehicles then they need to change the side of the road we drive on from left to right.

    Like 53
    Dislike 7
    • Liza says:

      Why should the BVI change its laws and customs to please others. When you go to Rome, you do as the Romans do.

      Like 16
      Dislike 20
      • hmmmmmm too... says:

        @Liza…first set of vehicles in BVI were RHD. it only became LHD because of the close proximity to the USVI and Puerto Rico.

        Like 41
        Dislike 1
        • Green Cup says:

          Thank you.. These little fools posting in anonymity only prove that they are bereft if history. Everything always boil down to idiotic xenophobia.

      • Hmmm says:

        But you are not doing what romans to you are driving left hand vehicles on right hand road. 😀

        Like 10
      • @Liza says:

        Nobody is changing laws…in the US they use LHD vehicles because they drive on the RIGHT SIDE OF THE ROAD…in UK and other countries they drive on the LEFT SIDE with Right Side vehicles…BVI Is the only place where the take the left on both drive and side of the road…that should NOT be….COMMON SENSE…passengers with the left drive and left side of road are let out into the traffic…that is NOT safety…BVI needs to figure out whether they will adopt the US style or the UK style…they can’t take the worst of both worlds…also they done remain the Licensing Department to the US terminology (DMV) …which is nonsense…we are a BRITISH TERRITORY…

        Like 23
  2. Seriously says:

    Are you all being serious? You do know that RHD cars are the CORRECT vehicles for driving on the left hand side of the road don’t you. How can anyone take anything you take seriously when you don’t even know simple things like that…!? It’s embarrassing.

    Like 71
    Dislike 10
    • small island says:

      A person once joked with us that people pass on curves.. because they “don’t see anything coming” !!

      RHD is the only safe way to drive here.

      Like 27
      Dislike 6
  3. Loud mouth says:

    Every time this man speaks I cringe. Right hand vehicles is the correct vehicle to drive on the left hand side of the road. His ignorance and xenophobia is always on display when he talks his crap on the radio station. And he has the audacity to call himself a man of God. What good thinking person should do is to stop giving an ear to his rants. His followers are always the ignorant like himself and those who cannot think for themselves.

    Like 55
    Dislike 4
  4. Just Do It says:

    Left hand drive vehicle on the RIGHT side of the road. Left on the left is so turd world. can’t see around the vehicle in front of you at all

    Like 17
    Dislike 4
    • Disappointed! says:

      @ Just Do it. Your spelling and comprehension skills are also third world.
      You were so eager to get out of class to distribute hate, you forget your spelling class was next.
      Walk away from that keyboard with your “turd” world brain.

      Like 5
      Dislike 7
  5. OMG says:

    Banning RIGHT hand drive… LoL that’s the dumbest thing. It’s the LHD vehicles that are on the wrong side and have no clue how close they get to oncoming vehicles.

    Like 27
    Dislike 4
  6. fish says:

    What a clown.

  7. Hopefully says:

    Unfortunately the man of god needs to put food on the table, as god only provides the means not the actual food so he still has to look after the hand that feeds him…money is the root of this decision!
    From shipping companies, local dealers.
    At the same time BVI will be making it illegal for persons to buy and import anything into the BVI? What is the difference from a car to a pack of toilet paper?
    let us see the facts, I bet there are
    older left hand drive cars on the road than right
    more left hand drive car accidents than right

    Show me the facts!

    Like 8
    Dislike 1
  8. Facts says:

    I have a question for the good gentleman.
    While he was living in the U.S,what type of vehicle did he drive, left hand or right hand drive? Which side of the road do they drive on Sir?
    Have u ever visited the U.K Sir? What type of vehicles do they drive, left or right hand drive vehicles? And Sir, what side of the road do they drive on?
    Sir, please use facts when are propagating these issues and not opinions.

    Like 21
    Dislike 2
  9. Ok says:

    Everyone on here bashing the statement own a rhd vehichle. Ayo don’t hold ayo side. regardless of what side of the road we drive on, left hand drive is majority and what we’re accustomed to. so just be quiet. this is the only place i see, outsiders come and do what they want. talking about what was first and what is correct. We are accustomed and of driving lhd and that is what we know…. follow or leave.

    Like 5
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  10. An experieced driver says:

    Didn’t the talk show host lived in Michigan where they drive in the middle of the road? I drive on the left side and right side of the road where’s safer for th USVI, they have left hand drive cars and they should but they’re driving on the wrong side of the road..they should be driving on the right side like the rest of the the UK, 99% of cars,trucks,etc are right hand drive because it’s safer..I got my license in the VI and I had issues trying to pull out from behind parked cars, overtaking, dropping off ppl in traffic because of left hand driving cars..left hand cars are for the right side of oncoming’s many times safer for everyone.

  11. Ning says:

    Maybe it was the man of the cloth that wrote the letter himself as ‘concerned citizen’? Would not put it past him to self congratulate both himself and his thoughts so thoroughly in public forums! 😉

  12. I have driven both says:

    I have driven both LHD and RHD vehicles and I don’t see a problem. Clearly the problem is not the vehicles; its the drivers. We have a lot of persons with driver’s licence and they can’t drive. I question myself everyday as to how they really got their licence.

    You have:

    1. Those who can barely get the vehicle to go forward
    2. Those who CANNOT reverse
    3. Those who CANNOT park (whether parallel or otherwise)
    4. Those who CANNOT hold their side of the road.
    5. Those who driving but holding on to their door for dear life (and have audacity to have in passengers)(You are suppose to be in control of your vehicle so if you holding on to your door YOU CANNOT DRIVE ME NOWHERE.)
    6. Those that don’t know the first thing about using their mirrors and the list goes on.

    It is especially embarrassing to see that some women can maneuver vehicles way better than some men can

    Like 14
    • Lost Lemon says:

      And those that drive with their lights only ever on high beam! I just don’t get it.

      Like 13
      • Pet peeve says:

        One of my biggest pet peeves…dim your high beam at night. You’re pratically blinding the other driver

    • YES! says:

      You read my mind! CORRECT! 100%

    • Concerned says:

      And those who overtake on a curve because they can’t see anybody coming so it is safe.
      Those who never heard what an indicator is for or use it incorrect, like wanting to turn right and put out the left indicator.

  13. And last "I Have driven Both." says:

    too many lack spatial, linear and eye road coordination and judgement.

    A person with those and other requisite driving skills is troubled not by a L or R hand drive.

  14. Concerned says:

    I agree with CCS 100%. We need to band them. Eventually the BVI Government will have to decide to stop the importation of these cheap vehicles from Japan. The BVI is small and the roads cannot handle anymore of these vehicles. I think they need to put an extremely high import tariff on these vehicles as a means of discouraging their imports. Secondly, there are individuals importing these cars acting as car dealers but with a trade license.

    Dislike 12
    • Who has what to gain? says:

      Fact: everywhere else in the world uses either LHD on the right of the road, or RHD on the left of the road. This is for proven road safety reasons, as studied by government traffic ministries and universities the world over – no other reason.

      So if the BVI bans RHD, it is effectively saying the rest of the world is wrong, and BVI knows better. This would only make sense if the BVI had a fantastic driving safety record, which it does not.

      So the only reason there are these loud voices calling for BVI to ban RHD, must be because someone stands to gain something?? Who has money in the local dealerships that is contributing to Pastor Cline’s collection plate?? Who is more concerned about RHD than they are about road surfaces, Lane markings, road lighting, or driver training?

      Someone has something to gain. Mark my words.

    • No sense says:

      Most people want the best and safest car they can afford.

      If they are buying a ‘cheap car’ from Japan, then that is because they believe they are buying safer, better vehicle than can be bought on island for the same money.

      And thousands in shipping plus 20% duty is not in anyway ‘cheap’

    • Bus Service says:

      If you are going to limit cars, then an affordable bus service is needed. Obviously, people want their independence and don’t want to catch rides. Right Hand or Left Hand – ALL vehicles have issues and break down. Therefore, if you want to enforce that every get left hand, then put the bus service and put price control on car dealers.

      Unless the government gets serious and deals with the real issues, people can buy what they want.

    • What about the US used imports says:

      Imports of used vehicles will bring issues whether from Austria, USA, Mexico or Japan. If new vehicles have issues, what do you expect of used vehicles. We don’t manufacture vehicles here so pick a struggle!

  15. wow says:

    Left hand drive vehicles was never a problem untill the spike in the population.

  16. LHD Headlamps says:

    One law that needs to come into effect immediately is LHD headlamps need to converted left-side driving before a DMV gives it a road safety sticker. RHD lamps point to the right, which is why lights from oncoming traffic is so blinding.

    Like 2
    Dislike 2
  17. Experienced driver says:

    In Sweden they switched the traffic from the left side of the road to the right in the past.It should be done in the USVI.It will meet their international driving safety standards.
    In the BVI on the other hand,you already drive on the correct side of the road but the problem has always been:those (left hand drive) American and European version vehicles people have been importing for decades.
    St Martin island and Dominican Republic can import those. Left hand drive cars suit their traffic correctly.
    BVI need to widen the roads where neccessary and put the corect road markings ,divider lines,traffic signs like you see in any British town and you’ll do fine.There are some of the UK traffic road markings but there’re need for many more through out the territory.It’s a United Kingdom’s territory and driving, including the vehicles should be the British way also(left side of the traffic and right hand style vehicles) because it’s totally safe.I don’t understand why people tend to overlook all the safety hazards on a daily because of driving next to the safety rails or side walks.That isn’t safe in any way for anyone.
    Put a high tarrif on imported cars from USA cause they have been putting too many lives at risk because of the side of the vehicle their steering wheels are located.
    No driver should be driving on the same side of any road as the side walk.
    Dropping off and picking up a passenger in traffic is not in any way safe.
    You can’t even see to pull out of intersections properly in some places because of the many blind spots left hand drive cars cause because they are for the right side of the road.
    No driver should have to ask the passenger if it’s clear to proceed.He should be sitting in the right front seat where he or she can have an clear view of oncoming traffic or anything else.
    Drivers in other territories e.g Bermuda, Caymans, Jersey, St Martin don’t have those safety issues on a daily because they import the correct cars for their traffic.
    Drivers are soposed to drive to the oncoming traffic.Very safe to overtake, times safer for your passenger,spouse,kids,etc

  18. Single mother says:

    Mr. Cline, not every body making big money like you. RHD is way cheaper to buy than the LHD vehicles, be considerate, my God. How many accidents accords with a RHD vehicle? The roads are designed for the RHD vehicles. Everybody has a problem with them and no body worst than SOME OF THE LEFT HAND DRIVERS. Stop letting the simple things be big things. We have a bigger concern; THE UNEMPLOYMENT IN THE BVI that you Mr. Cline can assist a number of families.

    Like 2
    Dislike 1
  19. RHD says:

    All our eastern caribbean countries
    drive on the left and uses rhd vehicles.
    It’s the correct way.
    Left hand drivers overtaking have cross onto the
    oncoming lane to see if road is safe to overtake while right hand drivers always have a clear line of sight down the oncoming traffic lane.
    Have been on both sides.
    Our traffic orientation is based on right
    hand driving. .

    In this day and age why some people want
    to ban other people property. Today your trtransportion;tomorrow what? Ban you from
    from owning your property ? Who decides

    Like 1
    Dislike 1
  20. Indee says:

    Before this man worry about saving souls for his lord and saviour he worried about the orientation of a car steering wheel and the Governor. Every week this guy on the Governor more than he on his wife

  21. Pedro says:

    The problem Sir is not the vehicle whether LHD or RHD, the problem is the lack of road markings particularly the centre line leaving drivers to guess. Mark the damn roads and this issue will be reduced to triviality

  22. Driving here is about surviving says:

    Driving here is survival of the fittest. Got to be on your highest alert.

    Pots holes,

    Over taking drivers on blind bends and hills, sometimes in your lane coming at you. Or behind you overtaking you and the 2 cars in front of you.

    Drivers that stop without warning be it with no hazards, or indictator. Usually I am prepared for this. The person tail gating me is not.

    Speeding scooters that dart out, in out where ever.

    Other cars pulling out without warning or care. This alone makes me jumpy especially in town. You never know when a pedestrian may step out and you must stop but the car behind you may not have seen and now its just about survival.

    Trucks going up and down steep hills and hair pin corners. Usually the are friendly enough to blow the horn.

    Circles… that says it all.

    High beams at night, sometimes the person behind you has them on and the person in the opposite lane so now I have no chance in seeing the potholes I so desperately need to dodge.

    Fill in any blanks I missed.

  23. Unbelievable says:

    We were fine all these years with our driving on the left with left hand drives. All of a sudden they start letting in abundance the right hand drives, who always driving in the middle of the road, and they want to tell us what is best for us. Unbelievable. Everyone wants to run our country. Tired of this nonsense. We need our country back. Things are out of control. Why cant the powers that be see this? It is clear as day.

  24. Seriously? says:

    Are yall serious right now about what type of vehicles should be banned or not whether is RHD OR LHD? Like what the hell… we have bigger issues than that… at the same time there are persons who are comfortable with a RHD while other is comfortable with a LHD, then there are those that are comfortable with both. I love my RHD vehicle and I feel comfortable to say (sad for some) that is what I prefer by far. Yall have bigger fish to fry, yall need to stop the debate for sh&*

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