International race could boost road safety
An international motorbike road race proposed for next year is an ideal opportunity to boost road safety on the island, organisers said.
David Cahill, director of Bermuda Charge, said the organisation will put a strong emphasis on good driving and entrants will need to show a two-year clean driving record.
Road safety ambassadors will also encourage responsible use of the roads.
Mr Cahill said: “Anyone who has any ambition to take part in our road race, if it goes ahead in 2019, is automatically incentivised to behave better on the roads, otherwise it could penalise their opportunity to participate.
“They must have a mandatory Bermuda Motorcycle Racing Club or other equivalent motorsports membership and to have qualified top in the race season. They will go through competency assessment, skills training and qualifying stages and will be overseen by the most experienced professional on the planet — clerk of the course, Mervyn Whyte — prior to going on track.
Mr Cahill added: “We are looking at that bracket between when they get their 150cc at 18 and when they are eligible to enter the 2019 race at 21. We will encourage good road behaviour and, once participants are involved, we will help to maintain good behaviour.”
He was speaking as Bermuda Charge prepare to run the Bluewave Charity Ride-Out and Expo on Sunday.
The weekend event, to run between the Transport Museum in Dockyard and Clearwater Beach in St David’s, will feature an electric versus gas-powered bike race, with proceeds donated to environmental group Greenrock, as well as live music and a trophy race day at the Rubis Southside Raceway.
The ride-out will feature up to 100 classic and modern vehicles.
There will be a free festival from noon at Clearwater Beach, including an automotive expo, music and entertainment, vendors, waterslides and the Bluewave Trophy Races at the Rubis Southside Raceway.
Bikes taking part will be entered into a Best in Show contest with a $500 prize.
The ride-out will be followed by the Bluewave Trophy Race on the Southside track, where gas and electric bikes will compete against each other.
Mr Cahill said the main event next year would help to keep speeding confined to a track or a controlled road course.
He said: “Statistics show that when people have access to regulated provisions for racing motorcycles, the number of road traffic incidents drop.
“This is because people will ride motorcycles at speed regardless. If they have a carefully considered route to do so, on closed roads without the risk of oncoming traffic or pedestrians, then it is the obvious choice.”
He added that Northern Ireland, which holds up to 15 motorbike road races per year, had the equivalent of 2.2 road fatalities for every 65,000 people in 2017, while Bermuda, where the population is 65,000, saw 15 fatalities on the roads over the same period.
Mr Cahill said that the 2019 race would see racers compete against the clock, rather than each other, and released at intervals to avoid the risk of collisions.
He added: “We are bringing in the world’s foremost authority in terms of safety in road racing. It is in everybody’s best interest; we are all trying to achieve the same thing to improve road safety in Bermuda and for this event, we are promoting probably the most residentially and socially responsible road-race proposition in the world.”
The 2019 road race has already won backing from the Bermuda Tourism Authority, but still has to gain Government approval.
•For full details of the Charity Ride-Out this Sunday and the 2019 race proposal, visit www.bermudacharge.com
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