Bermuda Scooter Rides
What You Should Know
If you are planning to go for a scooter rental in Bermuda and that too for the first time, I would strongly suggest that you prepare yourself well with the anticipated road conditions, some of the main traffic rules, speed limits and few other strange traffic behaviors that are unique to Bermuda.
While most of the scooter rental companies will offer you a short lesson before handing over the vehicle to you, but those are short and more meant for you to get used to the two wheeler rather than getting any real insight into Bermuda's traffic system.
And with your excitement to zoom through the streets and start exploring the island without wasting a minute, not sure if such short lessons would be really effective. So here is what you need to know before venturing into a scooter or a moped ride in Bermuda.
Make yourself comfortable
Before you rent, first of all you need to have confidence in your own ability to handle a scooter or a moped in a new country that has its own traffic behaviors and road rules. If you have doubt or are not comfortable even after the short lesson from the company, then I would strongly recommend that don't go for it. I don't want to scare you, but riding a two wheeler in Bermuda can be quite risky for tourists unless you are absolutely comfortable.
It is not uncommon to hear of scooter accidents in Bermuda taking place due to lack of awareness or anticipation on part of the tourists. You might like to watch the traffic behavior in the island for half a day or one full day before you rent it. Try to time your rental accordingly so that you have some time to observe before driving it.
Left Hand Drive
The next most important point is that it is a left hand drive in Bermuda. Which means, unlike in the United States or Canada, you will need to drive along the left side of the roadway. Remember there has been a long British rule in the island and many of the British systems are still prevailing here including the traffic norms.
So remember while driving that the right side is the wrong side and the left side is the right side. This may be a huge mental shift required if you never drove on the left side of the road. But once you ride for a while, you soon get used to it. It's only the first one hour or so which is so critical when your are riding along the opposite side of what you knew to be right.
Narrow and Winding Roads
Bermuda roads are NARROW. You will find them real narrow unless you are coming from another similar island. And they are winding and often pass through terrain that have high gradients or slope. So if you are riding downhill a narrow road, you know what you should do. Yes, breaks are important part of scooter rides in Bermuda. For that matter it's important for all vehicles.
Road Traffic in Bermuda
Road traffic in Bermuda and particularly during the high season is exceptionally high. While this tiny island has a resident population of about 65,000, it gets multiple times inflated by tourists visiting the island.
It's quite a scene actually to watch a large cruise ship coming to the port and unloading thousands of passengers at the dockyard. In no time huge queues get formed where everybody is trying to get into a public transport like a bus or a ferry to get to their destinations. Nobody wants to waste a second. So what do you do and what are the options?
You want flexibility and like to avoid waiting for the crowded buses. The only other options are taxis, vans and scooter rentals. There is no Car Rental in Bermuda
and taxis & vans can be expensive. So many tourists who can somehow balance themselves on a two wheeler, decide to give it a try, and that's where the problem starts.
So expect a lot of traffic on the roads during high season like the summer time. You can easily identify tourists who generally ride far more slowly and often along the middle of the road. They forget that they should be driving close to the shoulders giving way for others to pass as the roads as I said are quite narrow.
And like locals, tourists also forget to switch off the signal lights after the turns and keep riding with the signal lights on. This can be quite confusing at times as you don't know if the scooter ahead of you would actually take a turn or not. It is also not uncommon to find locals hooting horns in Bermuda that may sometime distract you.
Speed Limit on Bermuda Roads
Speed limit on the main roads of Bermuda is 35 Kilometers per hour or 23 miles per hour. But it's the locals that you need to watch out for. Some of the young ones often tend to ignore this and drive at far higher speed. So don't be scared and be watchful when you see some one zooming past almost brushing you. But as a tourist, observe the speed limits.
Roundabouts or circles are quite common on Bermuda roads where several roads meet. Wait and yield to the traffic which is already in the circle and control your speed according to the traffic speed at the circle. This is where many make mistakes of landing into the circle at high speed and then unable to control as per the flow in the circle or getting confused whether to get into the circle or wait. Take it easy, get in when your turn comes.
Some Tips and Good Practices
I would strongly recommend that when you park your scooter, ALWAYS lock the basket if you have valuables or other personal stuff kept in that. Even while riding, do not keep your purse exposed and easily accessible. Keep them in the basket and keep the basket locked. In the beaches and in other public places, do not keep valuables like camera etc unattended.
Unfortunately there have been cases of snatching and other petty theft in the island in the recent times. This has a lot to do with the economy of the island which has been going through some challenges, Like any other place in the world, there do exists a few bad sides even in a paradise like this. So you need to be careful.
Always wear the helmet. That's your first safety equipment. However there is one odd thing about them that we have noticed. All the rental companies usually give you helmets having their big company logos on them stamping you as a tourist. If you don't like such a stamp on your head, then cover them up with a white tape.
While filling up gas at a gas station, render the exact amount or otherwise do not expect to get back the change.
Well, if you have absorbed all that I have discussed above, you should be all set to ride a scooter comfortably in Bermuda and enjoy some great rides.
1) If you like to know more about scooters and mopeds in Bermuda, about the rental companies and the rates, or about some great scenic rides that we enjoy ourselves, then check out my section on Bermuda Scooter & Moped Rentals
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