Cruisers and other tourists heading to the Bahamas were this week warned of a new threat in the form of traffic-related fatalities caused by, among other things, erratic drivers and the dangers associated with bicycle and scooter rentals.
Why They’re Issuing A Warning
According to a report in the Nassau Guardian, the Overseas Security Advisory Council — which functions as a division of the State Department — issued the warning because of a 29 percent increase in traffic-related deaths since 2017.
“Traffic accidents pose a safety hazard in some parts of The Bahamas,” the report said, “primarily due to intolerant drivers speeding and driving recklessly.”
READ MORE: State Department Re-Issues Travel Advisory
The portion of the report which most impacts cruisers is probably the section regarding scooter and bicycle accidents. “Travel by scooter or bicycle can be quite hazardous,” says the report, “especially in heavy traffic conditions. Those who choose to ride a motorcycle, scooter or bicycle should follow Bahamian helmet laws and drive defensively.”
Proceed With Caution
The document does make it clear that while recklessness and “antagonistic” driving on the part of locals is often to blame, tourists are often their own worst enemy in regard to scooters and similar forms of transportation. “The embassy continues to see a significant number of serious injuries from accidents in which the operator suffered from alcohol/drug impairment, lack of experience or [failing to pay attention to] other motorists.”
As for law enforcement, the report said, “police can be slow to respond to vehicle accidents.” It also said that although drinking and driving is illegal in the Bahamas, it is also common. “Police infrequently enforce the ban, resulting in numerous accidents and fatalities, including some involving tourists on foot or on motor scooters,” it read.
Ultimately, the report boiled down to one sentiment, which is true whenever one travels: “Visitors, particularly pedestrians, cyclists and runners, should exercise caution.”