Transportation – Part I
Travel by Moped or Pedal Bike
There are a number of ways to travel around Bermuda, some more exciting than others, and some safer than others. Yes, travelling via a scooter or a moped (a motorized cycle) may be more fun and definitely exciting but it can be hazardous to your health if you are not careful.
Why do I say this? Well most of all because in Bermuda we drive and ride on the left-hand side of the road. Our roads are narrow, winding and are often bustling with traffic depending on the time of day. Yes, there are a number of rental companies that will deliver a scooter to your hotel or accommodation but here are a few facts to consider if you want to rent a moped or a scooter:
- First and more importantly, you must be 18 years old and therefore you will need to show identification.
- By law, all riders (including the passengers) are required to wear a helmet.
- You are encouraged to abide by the legal speed limit of 32 kilometers per hour (kph) which is about 20 miles per hour (mph).
- Securing your personals in a basket behind you is not wise. So bring a back pack and wear your personals in front of your chest.
- Avoid drinking and riding.
- Let the slower, more unsure rider(s) lead the pack. Remain patient and allow them time to gain their confidence. Remember you will be riding on single lane roads so you are sharing the road with trucks, buses, cars, pedal bike riders, joggers and the like.
Amazed? Yes, 20 mph is a significant difference to the average speed of other countries. Too many times though, I have seen groups of tourists speeding down North Shore Road, leaning forward, almost laying on the front handle bars, laughing and having a most exciting time. The problem is, our roads are lined with foliage, they are winding, and often one is not totally aware of what is lingering around the next corner – it is not uncommon to find a car stopped beside the road with a rider, in the middle of the road, carrying on a conversation with the driver. We also have raised crossings at random places around the Island. The locals can even get distracted, and before they know it, they sputter over a hump in the road unexpectedly, but at least we can recall a lot quicker than a tourist who does not know or expect it – so please take note of the fact that street signs are often times not as clear or noticeable when you are taken in by the beautiful, and breathe-taking sights of our Island – and thus the danger.
Remember, as a tourist, you will most likely be riding a moped as opposed to driving a car because car rentals are none-existent in Bermuda, so the danger is real and concerning. Another warning is that even though we drive on the left-side of the road, sometimes other bike riders will pass you on the right AND even on your left (that is between the rider and the side of the road). This is a scary experience for locals, and I can assure you that it is most disconcerting for a visitor.
My goal is not to instill fear in anyone. I am just raising true concerns about the real dangers of riding in a country where we drive on “the other side” of the road. Yes, you can hire a moped, and I encourage you to enjoy the experience, but don’t be careless, as this can have
catastrophic results and a fun vacation can suddenly be ended a lot earlier than expected.
For those persons who are more adventuresome and athletic, they can rent a pedal bike. This is slower and requires a lot more time, but it is more reasonable in price and provides an alternative for those who are under age or those who dare not ride a moped.
Most of the main roads outside of the city of Hamilton are single lanes (one lane moving in either direction), so regardless of which mode of transportation you choose, one needs to exercise caution at all times. Riding a pedal bike is slower but one has an opportunity to see the sights of Bermuda from a unique perspective and that is by riding along the old train (railway) tracks which are also walking trails. You will be able to ride feet from the clear ocean or pedal through many of the locals’ neighborhoods. If you decide to hire a pedal bike, be assured that you will be able to see Bermuda from without and within. Enjoy!