Wednesday, June 30, 2010
I’m just back from a short trip to Nantucket, another small island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. And while the similarities to Bermuda are uncanny—both islands have strong British colonial roots, a rich seafaring history and extremely high costs of living—it was the differences that really got me thinking, most notably how Nantucket has miles upon miles of dedicated bicycle paths and Bermuda does not. Over 25 miles of well-paved paths, actually. Now, I fully understand that Nantucket is larger than Bermuda (47-square-miles as compared to 21-square-miles respectively) and thus, has more land to create recreational lanes for its citizens and tourists, but whoever had the foresight to create island-wide bike lanes gets a gold star in my book. Which begs the question: Why don’t we have any bicycle lanes in Bermuda? When my wife and I moved here over a year ago, we envisioned hopping on our bikes and spending long days pedaling under the sun. But with congested roadways and impatient tailgaters, bicycling on Bermuda’s roads is dangerous at best and deadly at worst. Is there no better option? Sure, bicyclists can try the Railway Trail—the path left behind from the island’s 40’s era now-defunct train—but it’s unpaved and not really suitable for a leisurely bicycle ride. What I’m talking about here are dedicated bike paths alongside major roads, made for pedal bikes and only pedal bikes. Just imagine the progress we’d see: More people biking to and from work, less congestion on the roads and yet another source of tourism revenue for small business owners (I paid $50 for two bikes for 24 hours in Nantucket; Bermuda had around 500,000 visitors last year—you do the math). Look, it’s not that Bermuda isn’t a wonderful place to live. It absolutely is. But a few tweaks here and there wouldn’t hurt. My rusty bicycle thanks you in advance.