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Senator: Workers should ride bikes to work

Opposition Senator Wilfred Abrahams wants bicycle racks placed in Bridgetown car parks to encourage City employees to ride to work as a means of alleviating parking challenges and promoting better health.

The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) representative and Christ Church East candidate also wants incentives offered to attract businesses back into the City and urgent restoration work done to save the old Supreme Court building.

Abrahams made these recommendations today as the Senate discussed a resolution for vesting in the Central Bank of Barbados, land at Church Village, the City.

“We have become victims of our own prosperity. Everybody in Barbados aspires to own a vehicle,” he said, contending that Barbadians use their motor cars to go even short distances.

“We in Barbados need to ride bicycles more. For those who live in the vicinity of Bridgetown, you should not be getting a bus into Bridgetown. You should be riding a bicycle into Bridgetown. Every car park in Bridgetown should have a facility to chain your bicycle.”

He said the dual benefit of cycling to work is that buses would not be overloaded for short trips, and those who live close by will overcome traffic congestion.

Additionally, he said riding to work was part of the sustainable behaviour needed in Barbados to maintain health and wellness.

He urged that the idea floated years ago of prohibiting cars from the City be encouraged, and said that with the wonderful Barbados climate, restaurants should be allowed to place dining tables onto the sidewalks.

“It is almost a no-brainer that we should encourage shaded outdoor eating,” Abrahams told the Upper House. “When we talk about the redevelopment and revitalization of Bridgetown, let us not simply look at bricks and mortar, let us look holistically at a plan.”

The senator said tax rebates should be among incentives offered to make businesses more interested in setting up shop in the City.

Turning his attention to the old Supreme Court building, which he described as majestic with great historical significance, the attorney-at-law said: “What I find to be disgusting and a travesty is that while we’re restoring the Synagogue, while we’re talking about historic Barbados, we are leaving the old Supreme Court building to fall down”.

He spoke of a pillar supporting the verandah that broke last year. “Then another pillar broke. Then the roof started to sag, so it became only a matter of time before the eastern section of that verandah collapses entirely. Now, with the weight pulling on the verandah, the south has started to sag and crack,” he said.

Abrahams predicted that without urgent restoration work, the roof of the verandah, “will not last out to the end of this year”.

He said that instead of remedial work being done to the structure, the nearby parking area was blocked off to protect cars against the eventuality of the verandah collapsing.

“It is a stain on us when that building collapses,” Abrahams said.

24 Responses to Senator: Workers should ride bikes to work

  1. Rawle Maycock
    Rawle Maycock March 10, 2016 at 6:03 am

    Great idea, it works in the big cities.

  2. Rawle Maycock
    Rawle Maycock March 10, 2016 at 6:04 am

    People rent bikes.

  3. Lawrence Griffith
    Lawrence Griffith March 10, 2016 at 6:20 am

    Sounds like a good idea, but are the roads bike friendly? I don’t think so, only if he wants more road fatalities.

  4. Cheryl A Rollins
    Cheryl A Rollins March 10, 2016 at 6:29 am

    Motorist do not have respect for cyclist. Change the attitude of road users first.

    • D Costa Haynes
      D Costa Haynes March 10, 2016 at 6:42 am

      Indeed! We have been told here in london to cycle to work….. As if we need more users of the road! We have lorries, cars, motorbikes and buses already using the road! cyclist death is constantly on the up… Because we have people now cycling with no training in the road with people who drive vehicles! If a collision happens no matter what the cyclist will lose! Yet they overtake , weave in and out of vehicles… Uninsured…. No helmet or lights in the night…headphones in so cant hear horns! No licence or registration! Who pays if a cyclist damages a car… When a bike is unregistered?!!

    • Cheryl A Rollins
      Cheryl A Rollins March 10, 2016 at 7:18 am

      D Costa Haynes apparently we on this island say things with out the proper research or putting a structure in place first.

    • D Costa Haynes
      D Costa Haynes March 10, 2016 at 7:57 am

      Thats career politicians for u….. No experience of living and working in the real world

    • Alva Hope
      Alva Hope March 10, 2016 at 10:20 am

      No body on wheels respect the other..cyclists riding on sidewalks n cussing pedestrians..bopping in and out of traffic….pedestrians not using the roads properly… Each one needs lessons in respecting others and road usage

    • Cheryl A Rollins
      Cheryl A Rollins March 10, 2016 at 6:08 pm

      Hence the comment the road users must change their attitude. Not only the motorist each and everyone that use the roads.

  5. Sunshine Sunny Shine March 10, 2016 at 7:17 am

    Mr. Abrams, you will need to ask businesses also to incorporate showers into their establishments and give employees some grace time to freshen up. Because if you don’t, you will surely have a whole lot of sweaty employees arriving wet from head to toe. Though your suggestion makes sense for all those who live within cycling range of the capital city, you fail to forget that in Barbados’ hot climate, a mere walk of a few centimeters, coupled with humid and hot conditions, results in perfusive sweating for some quite quickly. You also know from experience that the roads of Barbados and around Bridgetown are not exactly friendly to pedestrian traffic far lest cyclist. Cycling in Barbados is a dangerous experience unless you intend to get the public transport ministry to expand roads where they can for incorporating designated cycling lanes, or where they can’t demarcate lanes on the existing ones for that purpose. However, you will have to persuade this administration to think more holistically since their focus seems more towards random developments that could place the state of Barbados’ affairs into financial tailspins. For example, their controversial Waste to Energy in the form of Cahill, their self-serving interests under the guise of 50 years of Independence celebrations when the island is reeling from garbage and other problems, their constant tapping into the NIS few billions, and their proposed Republic plans, which is obviously to set a legacy that is all but self-serving. Mr. Abrams, if this is all you can suggest as a solution to the problems of traffic in the Bridgetown area, after all, the talk about bus shuttles, ferries, and other nicely articulated things, all I can say to your suggestion is that it is just lot more of the same long talk.

    • Sue Donym March 10, 2016 at 8:07 am


  6. BaJan boy March 10, 2016 at 8:31 am

    @ sunshine sunny shine you were probably in my brain the entire first half of your so intelligent presentation was exactly in my head to comment. But idea is too magnanimous for this last,small thinking,backward group..

  7. Watchman March 10, 2016 at 9:01 am

    @ Sunny sunshine, typical useless mentality. A guy forwards an idea and you say if you cant have everything then you want nothing. One needs to start somewhere, why put bicycle lanes before people actually begin and continue cycling as transport in sufficient numbers ? So that you can then post about what a waste it was and how they should have done a survey to see who want to do it ?

    You also wrote that Bajans too great to be sweaty at work, so employers need to provide showers.
    WOW !

    Abrahams, something missing in corporations , governments and organisations around the world is LEADERSHIP.
    People have forgotten that it is by EXAMPLE.

    • Sunshine Sunny Shine March 10, 2016 at 2:36 pm

      There is nothing wrong with the idea as long as it is cater for properly. Do you see anything wrong with doing things the right way. Its called having the right start to ensure you do not have an abrupt endings. Also too do believe that all the years Barbados has been practicing cart before the horse management that we can continue practicing the same? So you see nothing wrong with asking people to ride on roads in the hot sun, between traffic when we have serious road rage issues happening on the island, and the fac that most if not all will turn up hot, sticky and sweaty? Do I have to point out to you the accidents per day that are reported in the news? Do you not understand that a lot of what is failing in Barbados is because of the many times we decided on an ad hoc approach as oppose to a thorough well organized one. Do you not understand that we need far greater stringencies and professional approaches rather than ”a let’s see how it would work”. You are obviously one of those people who are about ‘throwing things into the deep end and hoping for the best. Well not me. Be happy we are here and not there.

  8. Barney Gibbs March 10, 2016 at 9:04 am

    Sunshine, What about using existing government assets like the old train line to create a dedicated bike corridor from Consett Bay to Bridgetown, via the St George Valley? For the cost of a strip of tarmac, Mr Abrams suggestion would be doable.
    There could be shade/rain shelters built along the way to correspond with the old stops that would provide riders (young, old, local, visitors) reprieve from rain or sun.
    Such a project would be inexpensive, improve the health of the nation, provide recreational space but also another method of commuting. Based on the popularity of the boardwalk, it would seem there is an appetite for this kind of infrastructure. Bike trails are increasingly popular overseas … the Highline, a rail-to-trail conversion is now one of New York’s top attractions.

    • Sunshine Sunny Shine March 11, 2016 at 2:05 am

      But Mr. Gibbs that is only one side of the island. What about the rest? Also, distances have to be factored in because I cannot see too many persons attempting to ride from Consett Bay to Bridgetown to start work at 8 am or earlier. Mr.Abrams suggestion is within a certain kilometer radius from Bridgetown or any centre of commercial activity where persons are within riding distance of their respective workplaces. All I am saying, like you, is that the necessary provisions have to be put in place to protect the rider so as to promote this type of culture because Barbados is not a bike riding island because many are deterred due to climatic conditions and dangers on the roads. Also, too, can you see any politician or lawyer riding any part of Barbados to go to work? Maybe Mr. Abrams and party colleagues could set the example and start a Riding to Parliament campaign to promote fewer cars, more bikes better health through biking exercise, by showing how this could work. Other than that, I think the idea is great but as a practical solution, it will not mount to any real solution without certain things being sorted first.

  9. Raymond Reddington March 10, 2016 at 10:22 am

    Senator , I agree with making Bridgetown come alive , but I would love to see the politicians on bicycles riding to work instead of looking overly important in their air conditioned SUVs. Lead by example…let us know how it feels…then you can speak from a position of strength.

  10. Rupert Greaves March 10, 2016 at 10:45 am

    I was once told that the Senate is just a place for talking. Everyone in Barbados lives within cycling range of the City. After all, we are only 166 square miles. Can anyone tell me the number of Mr Abraham’s bicycle?

  11. Andrew Rudder March 10, 2016 at 11:37 am

    A very good idea here ; is to have some bi ways in bridge town designated as cycle ways only. The commercial city limits should measure just about two miles in circumference and that measurement can be by the biking zone into the city. City municipal parking can be introduced at different location along the buffer zone and those receipts from the parking lots used by the the transportation system of ZRs, Bs, and Transport board vehicles to ferry folks into Bridgetown Commercial district. these tickets for parking can be daily Weekly Monthly and hourly ! It’s the only solution in near sight!

  12. Natasha March 10, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    In 2013 I submitted this idea, fast foward to 2016…..

    Dear BikeIt Rentals & Tours

    Your idea is excellent and I really hope it will be implemented successfully. Eventually, in collaboration with the Ministry of Transport, you could transform many small roads into cycling paths that would be faster (cheaper and healthier) than cars on highways during traffic hours. Did you know that Pineland Creative Workshops sells and perhaps even rents bicycles that they receive free from an organisation in the US? You may want to discuss collaboration with them, or perhaps simply learn from their experience. If you can focus on creating tours and lobbying with the government to increase bike routes, it would reduce dramatically your cash flow issues especially during the initial phase. Perhaps you also have considered targeting professional cyclists and creating a Caribbean version of the “Tour de France”. That project would be aligned with the Ministry of Tourism’s interest in using sports to attract tourists. If ever you need help/advices/contacts going forward, please let me know.
    On behalf of Automotive Art, I would like to thank you for believing in our company, and vesting your confidence in our ability to manage a competition of this nature, as well as your trust in our keeping your business concepts private and confidential.
    Thank you for your submission; we wish you the best of luck in the passionate pursuit of your entrepreneurial dreams.
    Entrepreneurship Facilitator
    Entrepreneurship Competition 2013

  13. Alex Alleyne March 10, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    Sir, Seeing that you’re about to open a “BYCYCLE SALES and REPAIR STORE” , please make sure you get the TOP OF THE LINE “BMW” bikes.
    Later and you want us to ride MOTOR CYCLES that will be added to your sales and repair center, make sure you add the TOP OF THE LINE “HARLET DAVIDSON”.

  14. Alex Alleyne March 10, 2016 at 6:41 pm


  15. keba h March 10, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    I agree with you 150% riding a bike to work a good way to exercise for the people who don’t have the time to do so also it will be less air pollution and traffic congestion in the city

  16. Fran Levy March 11, 2016 at 8:22 am

    I visited Barbados last year and was startled at the gridlock and traffic. On such a small island, with so few roads and such a high cost of petrol, why aren’t more people using motor scooters? That would certainly alleviate much of the gridlock and would be much less expensive to fuel and maintain. Bikes are a nice idea eventually, but given the congestion that currently exists and the mad driving habits of many drivers, using a bike would be dangerous unless there was a designated bike lane that was respected by the motor drivers. Promoting scooters would go far to making traveling around Barbados, particularly the south and west areas of high density and traffic, positive for traffic, congestion, safety, and economy.


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