There is a call for road networks to be improved across the territory to change the culture of unsafe practices among motorists.
That position was put forward by hosts of the Talking Points radio show, Violet Gaul and Damion Grange who were discussing poor road practices with former Commissioner of Police Michael Matthews.
Grange said while he admits that some motorists make the roads unsafe for other users, the government must be blamed for vital road infrastructure that should already be in place for the motoring public.
“I attributed the poor (road) design to our government because there is nowhere to pull over and drop off people. There is nowhere to pull off the road if you’re having mechanical issues. So it’s an unsafe road system in general and we just can’t put the responsibility on just the drivers,” Grange stated.
While agreeing that the roadways need to be improved, Former Commissioner Matthews bemoaned the unsafe road practices among drivers, especially taxi operators who transport locals and tourists.
“We have some very unsafe practices still here on our roads. A lot of people do not understand dual carriageway. You’ll see taxis and cars stopping in the outside lane which is the overtaking lane, and they’ll stop and drop the bloke right in the path of oncoming traffic. I’ve seen taxis stopping in the middle of the roundabout. This is not about bashing taxi drivers, we’ve got a lot of very good taxi drivers doing a great job for the territory and tourism,” Matthews explained.
At the same time, Matthews pointed out that he has noticed that many drivers don’t use the areas along the roadways that are designated for pick up and drop-offs.
“There are also locations where drivers are told ‘that’s the place to pick up passengers’ and it still gets ignored because somebody is flagging them down and they’ll just stop the traffic to pick up. We are going to see people get hurt at some point because nobody is thinking safety,” Matthews stated.
The state of the territory’s roads is always a topical issue in the community. And while BVIslanders always advocate for improved roads to accommodate local motorists, many have expressed concerns that the roads aren’t suitable to accommodate the increased airlift the territory is expecting as of June 2023.
Works Minister Kye Rymer vowed that roads on the eastern end of Tortola that will be frequented by visitors will be ready for increased arrivals next year.