More roadblocks to catch those who break the law, and harsher punishments when they get caught, will make Cayman’s roads safer.
That’s the majority view of respondents to the latest poll conducted by the Caymanian Compass.
Of 408 who took part, 132 – 32.4 percent – chose the option to “Have more police roadblocks to check for speeders and drink drivers.” The second highest number selected was “Stiffer fines for traffic offenses,” which caught the imagination of 111 people, or 27.2 percent.
The next most popular was “Other,” which gave the 61 respondents (14.9 percent) the chance to suggest alternative options to those offered in the poll. Reducing the speed limit on West Bay Road drew 59 votes, or 14.5 percent, and the remaining 45 people (11 percent) felt that putting speed bumps along the turning lanes on West Bay Road would do the trick.
Evidently, the police roadblock option said it all, with few respondents adding extra comments. However, the level of punishment available did inspire some people to point out what they saw were flaws in current implementation of the laws.
“The police need to have more presence on the roads at all times,” one person wrote. “Roadblocks work but can be avoided by drivers if they know they are in set areas. However, roaming patrols will catch bad driving, no matter the location.”
Another strident view was offered from a member of the public. “Stiffer penalties for proven criminals,” the writer demanded. “Slaps on the wrist don’t work Cayman!”
Of the myriad additional viewpoints given from those who selected “Other,” many people wrote a variation on the simple, “Actual enforcement of the existing laws would help,” that one commenter noted.
Others went into very specific detail of what ought to be done.
“Make West Bay road brighter,” began one such writer. “Weather strip roundabouts (too slippery), change warning system on new crosswalks to blinking red, cut down brush that blocks views.”
“[Introduce a] trolley up and down West Bay Road so tourists do not need to rent cars and can shuttle back and forth to destinations, water taxi same idea, lower taxi fares – so more people would consider taking them especially after drinking,” the writer continued.
Another person felt that the issue was not necessarily with law enforcement itself, but that the onus in safety began elsewhere. “Teach people how to drive!” said the commenter. “No one indicates, and tailgating is a very serious problem. Not to mention people pulling out in front of you!”
Another respondent felt the roads were dangerous for pedestrians. “I nearly get hit multiple times a day by people not giving way or stopping at stop signs or failing to navigate a roundabout properly. And no one uses indicators. Cops could be booking hundreds of people a day and the government making loads of [money] on fines.”
Many people called for more traffic lights to assist pedestrians crossing high-traffic tourist areas, as well as an increase in pedestrian crossings. Others called for the installation of working speed cameras or creating a higher standard of driving through more difficult driving tests in the first place.
Pragmatic considerations also came into play for one commenter. “Ensure drivers know the speed limit is in MPH and not KM,” the respondent noted.
Even measures that are ostensibly there in order to retain traffic flow came under fire, including roundabouts. “Get rid of the roundabouts and design future roads to be as straight as possible,” one reader wrote. Roundabouts encourage speeding by frustrating motorists and forcing them to decelerate and accelerate frequently. Straight roads are less dangerous generally and especially when wet.
“Removing the roundabouts will also reduce the incidence of fender benders which inconvenience other motorists and cost the economy in lost productivity. Use stop lights or exits like most other countries.”
Impounding cars of those who violated the law would create a double whammy win for the authorities, one person felt.
“It will create very good revenue for the government,” the respondent said. “Any cars in violation of inspection faults or lack of insurance and are immediately impounded! Anything from too dark tint to modified engines. Offenders will have to pay impound fees plus to have tint removed, etc.”
Something that would dissuade people from breaking the law, said a couple of people, would be a visual reminder of the consequences of taking the wrong option.
“Have a replica of a crashed vehicle (totally written off) mounted on the side of the road. Preferably on a corner,” suggested one person.
The much-discussed option of reducing the speed limit on West Bay Road was discussed by a few respondents.
“West Bay Road should be reduced to 25mph/40kph. Speed bumps which can be driven over at those speeds should be installed every half mile to automatically enforce the speed,” said one reader.
Finally, one commenter summed up what may be the root of the issue: “Teach people to be considerate,” the respondent said, adding, “Good driving takes a little more effort.”
Next week’s poll question:
If Cayman were to introduce a minimum wage, what should it be? $5 an hour
$8 an hour
$10 an hour
Higher than $10 an hour (explain)
There should be no minimum wage (explain)
To participate, visit www.caycompass.com.