Speeding is the leading cause of motorcycle accidents in Cayman, according to police.
Three people have died in motorcycle wrecks in Cayman so far this year. A 23-year-old man died when his motorcycle slammed into a post on Shamrock Road in Savannah on Oct, 16; a 28-year-old rider died on Jefferson Road, West Bay, after falling off his bike on Sept. 5; and a 21-year-old man lost his life in a two-vehicle collision on West Bay Road on July 29.
Since January, police have recorded 42 incidents of motor vehicle accidents involving motorcycles, including the three fatalities.
A Royal Cayman Islands Police Service spokesman said, “The most common thing we are facing [with motorcycles] is speeding.”
He added, “It is not dangerous to ride a motorcycle in Cayman as a transportation, but when one [is] exceeding the speed limit at excessive speed, it can be very dangerous to the motorcyclist and the general public.”
Courtney Myles, acting deputy director of the Department of Vehicle and Drivers’ Licensing, is all too familiar with the dangers of being a motorcycle rider.
“There is always a [danger] of riding a motorcycle on the road,” said Mr. Myles, speaking from previous experience as a traffic police officer who used to ride motorcycles for his work and also as a recreational biker.
He encourages all people who ride motorcycles to exercise extreme caution when riding on the roads of the Cayman Islands and to obey the local traffic laws.
According to Mr. Myles, there are several critical points that all motorcycle riders should pay special attention to, including debris, gravel, oil and sand on the road. Mr. Myles said to think “safety first” when riding. “Be vigilant for persons opening [car] doors, wear appropriate safety gear, and always ensure that one’s motorcycle is properly maintained and is always in a road-worthy condition,” he said.
Keith Keller, president of the Cayman Islands Motorcycle Riders Association, said the major challenges motorcycle riders face on a daily basis are “other drivers, slick road conditions and street hazards.” To avoid these, he said, “keep an eye out for everything,” which is one of the main points they push each day during motorcycle training courses.
According to Mr. Keller, motorbike riding is growing in popularity because of rising gas prices and traffic.
“We get a lot of complaints regarding riders acting foolishly on the roads from “white-lining” [riding along the white line in the center of the road between traffic] to burnouts and wheelies … which is a bit of tension between some riders and drivers. But it is something we have no control over as an association,” he said.
Alex Balls, 18, a graduate of John Gray High School, says being aware is the number one priority with motorcycle riders, but he urges other road users to also be conscious of motorcycle riders. “Be aware, listen and look,” he said.
“Everybody thinks people enjoy riding because of the feeling of being free, but it is not what I think. I enjoy riding because there are no distractions other than what is in front of you. It is not like a car where you have a radio, air conditioning, windshield wipers or anything like that to mess with – all you have on a bike is throttle, indicator and brakes.” he said.