[private] When I first arrived on the jewel of the Caribbean we had sand street with a couple of ancient rusty trucks, a couple of bicycles, no motorcycles, no ATVs, no golf carts; people walked and were in reasonable shape. The local constable told you that you needed a light on the bicycle and had to wear a shirt while riding it. “No shirt, no service” is a sign you still see in several shops.
Then came prosperity, pave roads and an insane amount of vehicles in the form of ATVs, golf carts and motorcycles. The idea is that you have to keep up with the Joneses next door; or to use the old Utila phrase: “monkey see monkey do.” The problem is that our roads haven’t change and are still extremely short, perhaps eight miles in total and on average only about 20 feet wide.
Now you have to have a license to operate a vehicle which is periodically enforced by our men in blue who are parading down our street armed to the teeth with automatic weapons. The problem is they want to see if you got a license, but don’t check if you know how to drive or if you know right from left.
You see young punks on their big machines screaming down Utila roads at 50-60 MPH, while our speed limit is 15 MPH. Some are even doing wheelies in total disregard to safety of any pedestrians. I am shocked about the disregard for safety on out streets.
You see terrified old ladies coming from church afraid to be ran of the road by some imbecile on a big motorcycle or ATV.
Even though there have been numerous deaths, severe crashes and untold close calls, there still seem to be no repercussions for the out-of-control vehicle perpetrators. I myself had a couple of close calls and near-head-on collisions with the cops. They don’t even seem to know left from right. If you want to survive the madness on the roads of Utila forget everything you learned in driving school and expect the unexpected. You have to have your eyes out for dead corners. That can get very tricky because you don’t know if some clown will fly around the corner and cut you off.
Utila being the party island it is, you can expect some of those punks to be a bit doped up, especially at night when the parties are booming. I’ve seen some of them with no shoes, no helmet, no protective clothing and roaring down the airport road.
Maybe we should apply the “three strikes and you are forever banned from driving” on Utila for those potential killing machines that have caused already a considerable amount of injuries and even deaths on this island.
Shouldn’t the ones who’s got a brain use it to stop the ones who got no brain?
Sitting in traffic pollutes the air and is dangerous to your health even if you don’t get run over. It also makes you fat because, it caters to a sedentary lifestyle.
I talked to a local friend the other day who switched from a golf cart to a bicycle. He told me how much better he felt, how much healthier he was and happier. He never wants to get back into his golf cart perhaps we would have less obese people and diabetes if more would follow his advice.
A drive on Utila is the survival of the fittest so watch out when you drive on our congested road. Good luck! you will need it. [/private]