Cayman is torn on whether to alter speed limits across the island.
According to the latest Caymanian Compass online poll, 44.1 percent of the 356 respondents said that current speed limits were “about right.” On the other hand, 52.8 percent thought the speed limits should be altered either up or down, or dependent on population density, while 3.1 per cent of respondents clicked the “other” option.
The complex issue drew many comments from all sides, no matter on which side of the pie they ended up.
The “other” section comprised a rather vocal set of contributors. One poll participant called for “police presence on our roads.”
“Everyday I get passed by motorists in such a hurry,” read the comment. “It’s such a small Island, how late can you really be? It’s out of control.”
Another contributor pointed to the fact that some irresponsible drivers would not be deterred no matter what the law books said.
“The people who are killing themselves and others in high-speed collisions obviously have no regard for laws,” read the comment. “The implementation of stricter laws will only hinder law abiding citizens. It is the same concept as making guns illegal, it simply has little/no positive effect on society. Criminals are not stopped by laws, but by enforcement.”
The large minority who felt speed limits were “about right” were also in thoughtful mode.
“People need to abide by speed limits in place, I find most people speed and there’s a general lack of consideration for other drivers/pedestrians,” wrote one commenter.
Investment in infrastructure was the theme for another participant, who wrote, “If they add lanes to the roads they can increase the speed limit.”
Of those who thought all the limits could be raised, pragmatism seemed at the fore.
“In practice,” mused one respondent, “25 mph becomes 40 mph. In practice, 40 mph becomes 50 mph. 50 mph also saves gasoline, the motor is more efficient in the range of 50-55 mph.”
Financial considerations also were a measure of whether to alter the current scenario or not, for one person at least.
“Limits are already low and reducing them further will force people to pay fines. Speed limits below 40 mph are not reasonable. All accidents happen either for speeding (much above 50-60-70 mph) and not because people are following the currently allowed limits.”
Roads, said another commenter, were of “good enough quality to allow an increase,” but according to another who checked the “raise all limits” option, “We don’t want to be Bermuda.”
Those who felt speed limits should be lowered also had some points to make, one on driving in general in a list of grievances common to many familiar with Cayman driving.
“People also need to heed basic road rules also,” began the comment. “[For example,] do not enter [a] roundabout unless you can exit, do not block junctions, allow pedestrians (and chickens, lol) to cross safely on the crosswalks, use indicators, learn to be in the right lane when entering roundabouts, arrows mean MERGE, not muscle your way in after lane hopping the ones that are actually using the correct lane. It is not our fault you are late!
“Please stop tailgating me, you do not leave just one foot per 10 mph it is (I think) one car length per 10 mph, especially if raining. We need to start putting points on people’s driving licenses and make them pay higher insurance than the ones that are trying to drive safely!”
Put simply, according to another person who felt speed limits should be lowered, it was a basic safety option. “Too many fatalities, what is the rush?” the writer enquired.
An option on the poll was that speed limits should be dependent on population densities. This also drew some comments on notorious bottlenecks that have developed on-island over the years.
“In areas where the speed limit is 50 mph, keep as is,” wrote a commenter.
“These are safe, low-density areas. West Bay Road on the other hand should go down to 30 mph and speed bumps should be introduced to slow traffic. People still drive dangerously down that road! Some roads, like the little Camana Bay single-lane stretch linking the two roundabouts, don’t seem to have a speed limit posted at all and people speed down that stretch. No wonder there are accidents – even saw one car driving down the road the wrong way!”
Reducing the speed limit down the Seven Mile Beach/West Bay Road area was a common theme of the comments in this category.
A commenter who had voted for “Other” summed up the discussion. “The speed limits are fine,” wrote the participant. “It’s the irresponsible drivers who are the hazard. Barriers need to be put down center lanes so people will not overtake on West Bay Road or the Bypass.”
Next week’s poll question:
Who do you think should be directly responsible for hiring Cayman Islands civil servants?
Government department directors (explain)
Civil service chief officers and deputy governor (explain)
Elected politicians (explain)
The governor’s office (explain)
To participate, visit www.cayCompass.com.