Confusion on Cayman’s roads

How do you spell confusion when talking about driving? A six-letter word spelled, “D-A-N-G-E-R.”

In recent months, we have seen a proliferation of dangerous road signs erected by the National Roads Authority. You would be mistaken if you thought that an organization such as the NRA would comply with international laws. The Geneva Convention on Roads is quite specific in that road signs should follow the same style or pattern. Either we must continue using the British style or change them all to American. Pick and mix is not allowed.

A few years ago when the yellow American style of school warning signs were erected, it appeared to be a good idea as it distinguished these from every other road sign.

We now have a complete medley of pedestrian crossing patterns. If you want to see confusion, drive on the West Bay Road or the bypass adjacent to Camana Bay. There is no need to describe this craziness as it is self-evident.

Unless the local and tourist drivers know what these signs mean, then we are setting ourselves up for accidents.

Now, think of the simpler American-style pedestrian crossings in George Town. Some have been there for a time. Two lines painted on the road surface about 6 feet apart do nothing but cause confusion, especially if, in addition, there are white stop lines.

Near the harbor, pedestrian crossings of differing style are within 50 yards of each other. If a pedestrian was knocked over and injured, and the driver taken to court, a defense lawyer would have an easy job to have the case thrown out.

What defines a pedestrian crossing? Black and white “zebra” broad lines on the road, a black and white pole beside it, crowned with an orange ball? In Cayman, one wonders.

Have any of the pedestrian crossings ever been gazetted? So, are these unlawful?

Graham Walker


  1. The new crossings outside Camana Bay are particularly confusing. I have no idea when/if I am required to stop, and the bright flashing lights mean that at night you cannot tell whether there is a pedestrian waiting to cross or not.

  2. What a relief to realise that someone else cares about the mess that has been made with pedestrian crossings in Grand Cayman. What do we have to do to get the NRA, or is it Dart, to take action. Months ago I raised the issue on Rooster’s Crosstalk and in the Compass. But it is not only pedestrian crossings that need sorting. New speed limit signs have been erected on exits from the extension of Esterley Tibbitts Highway (were they gazetted?) and have reduced large stretches of West Bay Road from 40 to 25 or from 40 to 25 or 30 mph. As a motorist, I have noticed and been puzzled by this. Surely others and especially the police must have seen it. Why has the situation not been remedied?
    But an even greater concern is how the ETH is three lanes on a 40 mph stretch going towards West Bay and then at Raleigh Quay the nearside lane suddenly ends with a traffic island across it. There is no prior warning at all. How is a driver not familiar with the road expected to know that the lane suddenly ends? I drive along this section regularly and often see a car have to brake suddenly or swerve into the centre lane. Unless warning signs are erected, there is a major accident waiting to happen.

  3. I can tell about my confusion with new pedestrian crossings. I don’t understand what flashing sign means – is it the same as red stop light or does it just say to pay more attention to the road because somebody is crossing it right now? For now drivers seem to follow the second option, because rarely somebody stops just because of the flashing sign, as a pedestrian you still need to be very cautious and ensure that cars are going to stop (I had to jump once just because driver thought he is not required to stop by the flashing sign and that he will narrowly pass without hitting me – I mean really narrowly).

    Another type of confusion with signs from my experience is European deadend sign (you can google to see it, it’s like a road which runs into STOP brick) in central Georgetown. Normally it means that you can drive there but you should not expect to get anywhere – you’ll just run into a deadend. In Georgetown it actually means ONE WAY STREET. I entered there once – based on the sign I knew that this sign means deadend, buy I just looked for the parking, not for drive through, so was confident that it is OK. Suddenly I found myself nose-to-nose with extremely irritated driver who told me that I am on a one-way street heading wrong direction. What a surprise. Somebody should have placed just normal STOP sign there.

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