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Cadiz to lobby for cycling zones

Published: 
Monday, November 24, 2014
Relatives of accident victim Rachael Kristina Watson participate in the Remember Me Walk, Ride and Run in commemoration of World Day of Remembrance for road traffic victims at Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, yesterday. PHOTO: SHIRLEY BAHADUR

“I have committed to lobbying for the cyclists, that we will have cycling zones. However we do it, whether it’s by the Savannah, or in Diego Martin, or in Arima, or San Juan… we will finally have cycling zones working in conjunction with the regular road system,” said Transport Minister Stephen Cadiz at yesterday’s Remember Me—Walk and Ride event at the Queen’s Park Savannah.

Starting at 7.20 am in the Savannah, the event marked the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims. Rainy skies did not deter cyclists, walkers and parents with babies in strollers from participating by riding or walking around the Savannah.

A sombre black hearse (courtesy Clarke and Battoo funeral home) parked near the event’s entrance was a visual reminder of the finality of road deaths. The silent hearse sported a big yellow sign on its back: “Arrive Alive—or else,” which contrasted with the cheerful rainbow of colours of surrounding lycra-clad cyclists.

Minister Cadiz participated in the walk and gave the closing keynote address. He suggested cycling zones might be developed on a fixed-timed basis (eg, cyclists using the Savannah at fixed time periods in the early mornings or evenings); and asked the cycling fraternity to make recommendations. Talking on general challenges of road use, Cadiz noted there were 137 fatalities this year so far. He said individuals needed to take more responsibility on the road.

“And if people cannot understand what their responsibilities are on the road, then we have to have the laws and the policing come together to ensure that if you can’t hear, you will definitely be feeling,” he said. 

Minister Cadiz referred to the new Motor Vehicle Act which he hoped would be laid before Parliament before the Christmas break. He said the new act promises “real changes…in the way we will manage our road system, (and) the way we will manage driving. And we’re not only talking about driving under the influence; we’re talking about a whole host of other things that we will be bringing to the Parliament.”

Sheldon Waithe spoke on behalf of cyclists and reminded people of this year’s deaths of cyclists Clinton Grant and Roger Smart in “senseless accidents.” Both were national cyclists and coaches, he said. Grant was killed by a motorist in March on the Audrey Jeffers highway while training on the shoulder of the road; the driver hit him from behind on a bright Saturday morning. 

Five weeks later, Smart was killed in a car crash on Ariapita Road. The deaths triggered cyclists to form the group Share the Road TT. Waithe said existing laws already reflect the need for shared users of roads, and that education and enforcement are needed.

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