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Bermuda's Motor Vehicle options for Residents

Most expensive place in the world to own and operate automobiles (cars), trucks, lorries, motor cycles, mopeds, scooters

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By Keith Archibald Forbes (see About Us) exclusively for Bermuda Online

All tourists - airline via Bermuda International Airport or cruise ship or business visitors - should refer to Getting Around by Visitors.

Bermuda's Transport Control Department (TCD) - an agency of the Bermuda Government - administers the operation of all motor vehicles on the roads of Bermuda. The Department regulates and controls the size, number and quality of vehicles on Bermuda's roads as well as their operation. It alone is the authoritative regulatory authority in Bermuda for all aspects of private and public transport. The Department is also responsible for the regulation and control of the public service vehicles and their operations. All requests for more details, or statistics, drivers' licences, insurance requirements, penalties and more, of the type not covered in the notes below, should be referred directly to the TCD. 

Transport Control Department (TCD)

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For residents, only one private four-wheeled vehicle per person or family or household unit is allowed in Bermuda - and only when the person concerned can qualify by both residence and appropriately registered home or apartment unit. Residents include locals and Work Permit approved newcomers and their dependents, and those buying or leasing a property or retired. 

Residency means being resident for a minimum of 30 consecutive days and planning to stay resident indefinitely if a Bermudian or for the Work Permit duration or Permanent Residency qualification if not a Bermudian. You need to personally and physically live in Bermuda and register where you live with the TCD both when applying for a local drivers license and to purchase an automobile (car). To register where you live, quote your unique residential house or home or apartment assessment number. (TCD assessment number records will say whether or not you are entitled to own a single automobile (car) or if one has already been registered to that assessment number address). Presently, there is no limit on the number of mopeds or scooters a family may have.

Apply for a Bermuda Driver's license from the TCD above by going in person to the TCD at 11 North Street, Hamilton HM 17, Post Office Box HM 718,  Hamilton HM CX, telephone (441) 292 1271. You may find you will have to wait and queue and take a number before you can be served. All persons driving cars in Bermuda must have a valid Bermuda-issued driving license, issued only to Bermudians or residents (see above). Non-local drivers' licenses - those issued outside Bermuda by any country - are not valid in Bermuda.

2019. January 26. The island’s only vehicle emissions test firm will be left in “chaos” when it is stripped of its contract to carry out checks for Transport Control Department, it was claimed yesterday. Staff at Bermuda Emissions Control Ltd, which employs 13, said they were in the dark over job security after the Government takes over responsibility for the work next Friday. A transport ministry spokesman said most of the team will be offered employment under the new arrangement, which was expected to save $400,000 a year. A source insisted no promises had been made to the workforce and that the business would be “crushed”. Bob Richards, the former One Bermuda Alliance finance minister and deputy premier, added that the Government’s decision was a “squandered opportunity” to generate work for garages across the island.  BECL started emissions testing and roadworthiness checks for all vehicles in 2009 after it was awarded a controversial multimillion-dollar deal without an appropriate tender process. The five-year contract was later extended on shorter-term deals by the former OBA administration. The contract was last renewed for a year in early 2018 by the Progressive Labour Party government. A ministry spokesman explained: “As of February 1, 2019, TCD will take over the responsibilities previously held under contract.” He said the company signed a year-long deal in early 2018 and it was warned then that it was unlikely to be renewed as the Government considered whether to give responsibility for carrying out pollution checks and other vehicle tests to TCD or to outsource again. The spokesman added: “With regard to BECL staff, as part of the transition process, Government is extending employment opportunities to most of the existing staff and is prepared to transition them to TCD immediately upon expiry of the BECL contract. We would like to take this opportunity to thank BECL, and its staff, for their hard work and dedication.” A source close to the company said yesterday, employees were unsure what will happen after the switch and claimed there had been no discussions with the workers. He said: “It’s going to be very chaotic. Government is the only BECL client so, once they take over, they’re going to crush another Bermudian business.” It is understood the firm has eight test inspectors, three administration staff and two managers. The source said: “Everything is up in the air right now; they are not guaranteed anything. Nobody’s job is safe.” A government spokesman added: “Those BECL staff members that expressed an interest in working at TCD have been invited to complete the necessary paperwork for a February 1, 2019 start.” The Government also said the cash savings would be made through bringing vehicle inspections and emissions testing under TCD control. A spokesman said: “As a result of this, the only change affecting the public, will be having to make vehicle inspection appointments through TCD.”

On November 26, 2016, Bermuda's Parliamentarians approved legislation to allow tiny rental minicars introduced in Bermuda for the first time. The Motor Car Amendment (No 2) passed without any objections in the House of Assembly. Government MPs maintained that the small covered vehicles, capable of carrying a maximum of two passengers, would offer business opportunities for entrepreneurs and safer options for visitors. Until the laws were relaxed, visitors to Bermuda were not allowed to rent cars under any circumstances. (See below under Electric Cars).

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Accidents

Every year there are hundreds of road traffic accidents and numerous road fatalities in Bermuda's 21 square miles and 69,400 residents and tourists. Riding mopeds and scooters are the most common form of injury to locals and visitors by a very wide margin.

When involved in any kind of accident involving injury to a person or damage to a vehicle, call the Bermuda Police Service (BPS) at 911. Local insurance companies will not entertain claims without a police report. Drivers should have a cell phone available. Involved parties should exchange names, addresses, home and business phone numbers and insurance companies.  Don't elect to pay for any damage you caused without calling the Police, always call the Police. Visitors should note the fee they pay to ride a rented moped or scooter includes the cost of insurance, so should not pay any extra. Keep your most important ID papers with you. Expect the Police to tell you, if the other driver does not, that the latter is licensed and insured. The Bermuda Government collects money from services provided by the BPS, which processes more than 1,000 requests for traffic accident reports every year. There is a fee for a traffic report. There is also a fee to interview a police officer and supply of evidence for civil proceedings

The fees increase the cost for insurers but it should be noted a traffic accident report is only required in either serious or contentious accidents or to settle claims submitted to insurance companies.

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All aspects of road traffic

Bermuda roads are often cloggedAre under the control and administration of the Transport Control Department - e-mail tcd@gov.bm - of the Ministry of Transport of the Bermuda Government. It manages and regulates public and private transportation in Bermuda, including the airport, weather services, buses and ferries.

Note that the density per square mile of motor traffic on the roads is one of the highest in the world - more than 2,300 vehicles per square mile. (Most tourists don't commute during rush hours, so don't see the traffic chaos then). Also, many tourists on mopeds - one behind the other as two abreast is a no-no - go well below the speed limit, which makes locals want to pass them. (Nor does it help tourists or newcomers when locals pass them at double the speed limit, usually with no detection by Police).

A traffic study conducted by or on behalf of the Transport Control Department (TCD) a few years ago said that if Bermuda had more than 15,000 cars on its total area of 21 square miles, it would reach saturation point. According to year-end 2013 TCD figures, the number of vehicles on Bermuda's 37 miles of roads were then as follows:

The figures above are the equivalent of over every member of Bermuda's adult population having a motorized vehicle on the roads.

Note that some businesses - for example, those that deliver groceries to a home, visitor at an efficiency unit or business - are allowed only one truck. Overall, the traffic situation is so bad - so crowded - that 120 proposals are being studied for possible implementation. They include further limiting car ownership - already long reduced to a maximum of one per household - by any or all of the following:

  Government needs to find ways to deal with Bermuda’s increasingly clogged roads. Expatriates working in Bermuda may have to be targeted in the future. In the meantime, motorists must live at the same address at which their car is registered. Government can and will impound unlicensed and uninsured vehicles and also where a driver is disqualified or without insurance. A demerit points system bans motorists for any serious or too many infractions. Action is taken to curb abuse of assessment numbers with landlords leaving apartments empty to allow their family to run more than one car. Landlords who use an assessment number for their own family’s use before renting out an apartment and so prevent the renter from having a car will be prosecuted. There are also some huge anomalies. Some government ministers, through their use of GP (government) cars, are the leading exemplars of the abuse of the one car per household rule in Bermuda. Would all Ministers give up their most obvious perk? Unlikely. Should expatriates, who cost the Government no votes, be targeted? No, not unless Bermuda is to apply even more restrictions on expatriates already facing more restrictions in Bermuda than in any other jurisdiction. A better policy on car ownership would be a points system, in which age, family, length of residence in Bermuda, physical needs and the like were all taken into account, and which applied to Bermudians and non-Bermudians alike. Thus, a 25-year-old single person would have less right to own a car than a couple in their 30s with two school-age children.

Main causes of road traffic accidents

All the above are among the extremely dangerous habits of residents that should be avoided at all costs by tourists.

In its total land area of 21 square miles, Bermuda has more vehicle accidents per square mile than anywhere else in the world. More than a thousand unsuspecting visitors end up in hospital each year because they have accidents on these vehicles.

For detailed statistics on accidents, ask the Bermuda Government or Bermuda Police.

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Annual inspection procedure

All private cars over three years old or with more than one owner must undergo and pass a rigorous annual inspection, for which a cost is involved, at the Bermuda Government's Transport Control Department (TCD) at North Street in the City of Hamilton by prior appointment which may be made up to three months on advance, to qualify for annual registration and annual licensing. The TCD does not undertake this, it is contracted out to a third party. Unlike in UK, USA, Canada, where signs of rust won't fail, in Bermuda they signify failures. Annual re-licensing must be done by the date of anniversary of birth of the owner or of the first-named co-owner. Only brand new private cars, after their initial inspection prior to registration and licensing, need not be inspected the next year. Owners or co-owners or their garages must bring in the vehicles for the inspection process. A checklist of what to look for and correct is available from the TCD. Inspectors check safety features and paint work carefully. Obvious signs of neglect, bodywork dents, rust, or illegally tinted windows, will cause a vehicle to fail its inspection. Rust spots must not be greater than the size of a quarter, with no more than one corrosion spot per panel and no more than three rust spots in total. Vehicles must not be able to roll when the handbrake is applied. Paintwork must match, with a maximum of three colors. Tints must be non-reflective. Only when vehicles pass inspection can they be re-licensed.

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Annual and other examination, licensing and registration costs

Annual examination for all vehicles. Book a time with the Bermuda Government's Transport Control Dept.

Annual licensing and registration and examination. World's most expensive by far. See https://www.gov.bm/online-services/renew-your-vehicle-licence. Costs vary greatly, depending on the licensing class of the vehicle.  Classes A to H apply. All costs shown are annual, in Bermuda/ US $ and depend on the dimensions of the vehicle. Costs are payable to the Bermuda Government's Accountant General. Vehicles must be inspected and passed beforehand and be covered by a prepaid Insurance certificate. Once the applicable annual fee shown below is paid, a decal is placed on the windscreen and the registration goes in the accompanying pocket. (Only qualified Bermuda senior citizens qualify for a discount on the one car they own

Licensing class Length of vehicle or cc other measurement Available to
Airport Limo 1 N/A Bermudians only who qualify
Airport Limo 2 N/A Bermudians only who qualify
Boat trailer for use by bona fide clubs or members only those who qualify
Boat trailer for commercial use Bermudians only who qualify
Bus, community service N/A Bermudians only who qualify
Bus, mini N/A Bermudians only who qualify
Cycle - Auxiliary no more than 50 cc anyone who qualifies
Cycle License plate N/A anyone who qualifies
Cycle - livery N/A tourist or newcomer usually
Community Service N/A Bermudians only who qualify
Duplicate Vehicle License    
Farm tractor (FT)   Bermudians only who qualify
Fuel tanker From June 2011 maximum weight of fully loaded fuel tankers went up 50 percent, from 22,000 pounds to 33,000 pounds Bermudians only who qualify
Hearse N/A Bermudians only who qualify
Heavy trailer SP & HT Bermudians only who qualify
Heavy truck, class A From June 2011 the upper limit for Class A trucks went from 14,000 pounds to 18,000 pounds Bermudians only who qualify
Heavy truck, class B From June 2011 the upper limit for Class B trucks went from 20,000 pounds to 22,500 Bermudians only who qualify
Heavy truck, class C N/A Bermudians only who qualify
Heavy truck, class X N/A Bermudians only who qualify
Intermediate trailer N/A Bermudians only who qualify
Intermediate truck N/A Bermudians only who qualify
License Plate (non cycle) N/A  
Light trailer (LT) N/A only those who qualify
Light truck N/A Bermudians only who qualify
Mini Bus N/A Bermudians only who qualify
Motorcycle 51-100cc anyone who qualifies
Motorcycle 102-125cc anyone who qualifies
Motorcycle 126-150cc anyone who qualifies
Motor Taxi  N/A Bermudians only who qualify
Private Car Class A  Up to 138 inches long anyone who qualifies, one per household
Private Car Class B 138 to 144 inches long anyone who qualifies, one per household
Private Car Class C 144 to 150 inches long anyone who qualifies, one per household
Private Car Class D 150 to 156 inches long anyone who qualifies, one per household
Private Car Class E 156 to 162 inches long anyone who qualifies, one per household
Private Car Class F 162 to 166 inches long anyone who qualifies, one per household
Private Car Class G  166 to 169 inches long anyone who qualifies, one per household
Private Car Class H More than 169 inches long anyone who qualifies, one per household
Special garbage collection vehicle From June 2011 the upper limit rose from 30,000 pounds to 36,000 pounds. Bermudians only who qualify
Tractor trailer N/A Bermudians only who qualify
Vehicle Registration Transfer Fee    
Water truck, class B N/A Bermudians only who qualify
Water truck, class C N/A Bermudians only who qualify

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Automobiles (Private cars)

Costs of annual registration and licensing or licensing of private cars and other vehicles in Bermuda vary greatly, depending on the licensing class of the vehicle. See Classes A to H.

Private car Class A  include

Private Car Class B include

Private Car Class C include

Private Car Class D include

Private Car Class E include

Private Car Class F include

Private Car Class G include

Private Car Class H include

Toyota Priusauto 1

Note: the local cost of gasoline (petrol in the UK), is more than three times the consumer cost of gasoline in the USA

auto 2auto 3

auto 4auto 5

In Bermuda, warranties on cars are shorter than in the USA, Canada, UK, Europe, etc. 

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Automobile dealers

Auto Solutions Daihatsu, Honda, Hyundai, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Suzuki, Volkswagen St. John's Road, Pembroke.  from May 6, 2013, in place of Holmes, Williams and Purvey
Bermuda Motors  BMW, Fiat, Ford, Kia, Lexus, Mini, Toyota cars, vans, trucks, Kymco motorbikes and scooters. 63 Church Street, Hamilton HM 12. Phone 292-0093, fax 295-6397. Monday-Friday 8:30 am to 5 pm, Saturday 9 am-5 pm.
Current Vehicles French two-seater Renault Twizy as an alternative to the traditional scooter.   
Eurocar Limited Renault 2 Woodlands Road, Pembroke HM 07. Phone 292-3240
Executive Autos Ltd Mercedes Benz 2 Woodlands Road, Pembroke, Phone  297-2369
Noble Automotive Peugeot. Acquired Continental Motors. North Shore, Pembroke, phone 292-8891.
Prestige Autos Ltd Jeep Compass, Jeep Patriot, Dodge Caliber

2 Woodlands Road, Pembroke HM 09. 278-3535

RayClan Chevrolet Chevrolet (small size, with right hand drive, made in South Korea)  8 Addendum Lane, Pembroke.

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Automobile ownership in Bermuda

Automobiles are imported at a Bermuda Government import duty rate of up to 150%. Adults with a qualifying local residence may own and drive one private car for their household. If they are acquired second-hand instead of new, it is vital that the current owner have the vehicle "tested for transfer" - have it inspected and approved before passing it to the new owner- and that he or she immediately register the new car. It should be remembered that only one person or couple may own the vehicle at any one time.  Ensuring the proper paperwork is done at all times is essential. If registered owners or co-owners don't drive their private cars themselves, those whom they authorize to do so must have current private car driver's licenses. Only local medical doctors may own a second car. Only the Bermuda Government owns a fleet of private cars. They are used by government employees on business which means their spouses or families can use their own private cars. 

All in this category of private cars must be saloons, sedans, hatchbacks, or station wagons. Light trucks, pickups, trucks, vans and other vehicles that carry freight are NOT private cars but "commercial vehicles" and may NOT be owned by individuals, only by qualifying businesses - local businesses, not international or more than 40 percent not locally-owned businesses. If a business is no  longer in operation, it must return the license. This ruling effectively deprives any newcomer from abroad from owning any kind of truck or pickup or van. Most have steering on the RIGHT.

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Automobile Insurance

Rates can vary considerably in Bermuda, where only a Bermudian insurance company can insure a vehicle. For a list of Bermudian insurers see under "Insurance Companies, Local" in Bermuda Employers

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Auxiliary cycles (including mopeds, scooters) and their procedures, sales and rentals

Dealers:

Added Speed Formerly known as Sub-Zero Racing. Phone 296-2566.
Ambrosia Cycles 6 Market Lane, Pembroke. Phone 292-2205. Fax 292-2391.
The Bike Place 70 Main Road, Somerset, next to Sandys Hardware
Cycles International Middle Road, Southampton. Phone 238-5050.
Cycle Care Repairs & Parts 2 Woodlands Road North, Pembroke. Phone 295-0003
Eurocar Ltd 2 Woodlands Road North, Pembroke. Phone 292-3240 (sales), or 296-8400 or 292-7062 (service). Renault bikes.
Eve's Cycles Paget and St. George's. Phone 236-6247.
EZ Rider 7 Dundonald Street, Hamilton. Phone 777-3500
Howard's Cycles Victoria and Union Streets, Hamilton 
IME Import/Export Co.  Phone 232-1079.
Oleander Cycles Now also includes Dowling Cycles.  Various locations. Phone 236-5235.
Smatt's 74 Pitt's Bay Road, Pembroke HM 06. Telephone 295-1180.
Cycles (Hamilton) Ltd 13 Dundonald Street, Hamilton. Phone 295-0112.
World Distributors Ltd Motorcycles and scooters. 49 Serpentine Road, Pembroke. Phone 295-2329.

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Bermuda Automotive Distributors Association

A local trade group of automobile dealers.

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Bermuda Automobile Dealers Association

They also handle commercial vehicles imported at a lower Bermuda Government import duty rate. They include light vans, pickups, trucks, buses. Limited to registered businesses and often with only one per business. 

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Bermuda Vehicle License holders renting cars abroad may have difficulty

Newcomers who obtain Bermuda car licenses should know in advance that when they go abroad on vacation or business they may have difficulty renting a car in certain countries. The Royal Gazette has reported how some Bermuda driving-licence holders have had problems.  Where and when this has happened is because Bermuda has always declined and has never reversed this to date -  to participate in those international road traffic conventions that provide for reciprocal recognition of driving licences between countries and states. Sometimes, car rental companies abroad assume that a Bermuda licence is acceptable. However, this might not reflect the actual legal position in the country, which can have very bad consequences. These can include being denied access to a car that was being relied upon for a trip, or prosecution overseas for driving without a valid licence. Most seriously, someone could find themselves personally liable for a major compensation claim abroad in the event of an accident, and it transpiring that insurance was invalid because of the driver not having a valid licence. Bermuda licence holders have had such problems in Massachusetts, Azores and Canada, among other places. These risks will increase from January 1, 2021, when Britain will be no longer subject to European Union driving-licence laws as a result of Brexit. At that time, British licence holders may need to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive within the EU. This increased scrutiny of British licence holders may have a knock-on effect on scrutiny of the holders of Bermuda licences as a British Overseas Territory. Unfortunately, Bermuda driving-licence holders cannot get an IDP because Bermuda is not signed up to any of the international conventions. If and once Bermuda signs the international road traffic conventions then Bermuda licence holders to drive throughout most countries in the world. In return, Bermuda will have to reciprocate by allowing new residents to use foreign driving licences for the first six months of residency, and to allow visitors to use their foreign licences — eg, if they borrow the car of a local family member they are staying with. It would not require Bermuda to introduce car rentals. But in the meantime there will likely be opposition from driving-licence instructors and taxi drivers who benefit from the red tape stopping people from driving in Bermuda short term with a foreign licence.  It needs to be noted that visitors who are denied the right to rent cars in Bermuda will likely go to a Caribbean island instead where there are no such problems.

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Boats, private

Boat owners are required by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to obey safe zones to discharge sewage from their vessels.  

Boat sewage flushing in Bermuda

Sewage is permitted overboard outside of no-discharge zones, beyond the near shore area — or greater than 500 metres from the nearest land. Waste is not allowed overboard in the enclosed areas of Great Sound, Little Sound, Harrington Sound, Castle Harbour, Hamilton Harbour or St George’s Harbour, as well as fisheries protected areas. A spokeswoman said that the Water Resources (Prevention of Pollution by Sewage from Boats) Regulations 2018 had come into force in August 2018. The restrictions cover the owners and operators of recreational boats, as well as live-aboard boats, charter vessels, and all other boats that sail or motor in and around Bermuda. Disposal options include certain marinas, shore-side sanitation trucks, or moving outside of the no-discharge zones. A brochure outlining regulations is available from Marine and Ports. Regulations also require an instruction sticker showing no-discharge zones to be visible adjacent to toilets on board. The discharge valve from the toilet or sewage holding tank should be set to closed whenever vessels are moored or at anchor in no-discharge zones. The instruction stickers and brochures are available from either the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in the Botanical Gardens, or from the boats and mooring section of Marine and Ports Services, in the old Paget Post Office at Middle Road, Paget. For more information, call 239-2356 or 239-2303, or e-mail pollutioncontrol@gov.bm

Includes pleasure yachts and other pleasure craft. See under "Boats" in Watersports. There is no restriction on how many, size or type a person may have, but all must be licensed annually and some require licensed moorings. Expect to pay from $79,000 for a 20' 6 inch boat new. Customs Duties (import duties) on all new boats were reduced from 55% to 22.25% from April 1, 2009. All boat owners who claim on their insurance for damage should be prepared to offer their insurer proof that their mooring has recently been inspected - every year or every other year depending on mooring and insurer. Mooring certificates are required.

The Maritime Offences Procedure Act 2006 provisions include giving Police officers, Marine and Ports Services Officers and Fisheries Inspectors the power to issue tickets for a wide range of offences. The recipient will be able to pay within seven days without the need for the matter to go to court. Among the on-the-spot fines that could be issued are:

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Commercial vehicles

Only in Bermuda, nowhere else in the world, are non-Bermudians not allowed to own and operate any commercial vehicle such as a pickup truck. Nor may any Bermudian own and operate them instead of a private car. Also, only in Bermuda  are employees-only of the permit holder permitted to operate and be transported in any commercial vehicle unless approval has been granted otherwise by the Department.

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Driver's Abstracts

Common in USA and Canada but not generally available in Bermuda. When beyond-Bermuda employers or their jurisdictions want Driver's Abstracts as part of the credit or driving history investigations of Bermudians working abroad or non-nationals who once worked in Bermuda, they should consult Bermuda's TCD mentioned on the third line above of this web page. 

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Driver's Licenses and their costs

A Bermuda driver's licence must be obtained for every resident who drives any motor vehicle. It is issued in photo ID format meeting international standards.  It also contains numerous security features, such as micro-printing, images visible via ultraviolet light, and a holographic image of the Bermuda crest. It will show whether the holder is licensed to drive a car or scooter or moped or other vehicle. The full Bermuda residential address must be given as Post Office Box numbers and businesses addresses are not accepted. The correct Land Valuation Assessment Number of the residential property concerned must be shown, before a license to drive a car at that address can be issued

Non-Bermudian applicants for a public service or commercial vehicle license - distinct from a private car license - must have a permit from the Department of Immigration. A Driving Test is required to be taken, arranged by appointment only (via telephone numbers 292-2255 or 292-1271) and must be confirmed by 12:00 noon on the previous working day or will be subject to cancellation.

The Driving Test is in two parts, practical - with an official Examiner with you, on the road, to assess your skill - and written. A separate appointment is required for the written part, which will test your knowledge of the local Highway Code. (A booklet is available at moderate cost as a guide). Both parts of the test are carried out by the Examinations Section of the Transport Control Department, on North Street in the city of Hamilton. Newcomers must pass both parts to be issued with an automobile's registration, licensing and a current Bermuda driver's license (recognized by most overseas jurisdictions for up to six months).

Applicants for a driver's licence can take the test on an ATM-like touch-screen computer terminal that will automatically record the answers selected and grade the test. Each test is individually constructed in a random fashion from a database of over 250 questions. This makes certain that no two test applicants ever get the same test, and goes a long way in protecting the integrity of the tests by virtually eliminating cheating.

Bermuda drivers' licenses are now valid for up to ten years for most applicants, when they expire automatically. They, and the vehicle's annual registration, expire on the applicant's (owner's) birthday. When there are co-owners as well, the owner or co-owner with the first birthday during the calendar year is the one selected for the vehicle's annual registration date. 

Bermuda has no reciprocal arrangements with the United Kingdom or Canada or USA or any Caribbean island for mutual recognition of driving licenses. It means that when Bermudians or non-Bermudian newcomers go to the UK to work or study, they are not allowed to have the same arrangements there as do those holding driving licenses from Australia, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Cyprus, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Japan, Malta, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa and Switzerland. However, in some overseas jurisdictions, on a discretionary basis, Bermudians and Bermuda residents may be allowed to drive on their valid Bermuda licenses if they are visitors for up to a certain period. In all cases they should check this out in advance with the authority of the country they wish to visit. But the same gesture is not extended by the Bermuda Government to newcomers retiring or working or visiting Bermuda. 

Newcomers from abroad may have to wait for a few weeks before they can get a local license and in the meantime are strictly forbidden to drive any 4 or 2 wheeled vehicle until then, except a rental moped or scooter. To obtain a local driving license, an application form must be completed, handwritten in block capitals, with acceptable proof of identity and age (such as birth certificates or passports) presented as well. The application includes a Declaration on physical fitness of the applicant which must be signed by a local medical practitioner. This necessitates a medical appointment with one at the applicant's cost.

If your Bermuda Driving License has expired, bring it with you and contact directly the Transport Control Department about when it expired, your age and driving record abroad, whether it can be renewed without testing, what time limits apply if applicable and what the fee will be. Be prepared to wait at TCD until your turn comes to be served. 

Senior citizens (over 65).

At 65 years of age, your driver’s licence is renewed every 5 years. After the age of 75, the licence has to be renewed every 2 years.

To renew your licence you must:

• Have a medical examination by a locally registered medical practitioner. The medical form is found in Section C of the Drivers Licence Application. This from can be obtained from the information desk at the Transport Control Department, at your doctor’s office, or downloaded from the TCD website.

• Once completed and signed, the medical form is only valid for 3 months.

• You may come in any morning by 8:30 AM with your completed medical form to be tested for licence renewal. Note: Senior testing at 8:30 AM is available without appointment.

• You will be required to take a driving examination to demonstrate your driving competency. (When arranging a driving test please notify the examination clerk whether you wish to do a zigzag/reversing test or a road test).

• If 8:30 AM is not a convenient time for you, or if you would prefer to test on the road instead of the parking lot, you will need to schedule an appointment with the receptionist.

Types of licenses

A license granted to drive one type of vehicle (for example, a private car) does NOT automatically qualify the applicant to drive any other type of vehicle. Separate Driving Tests are required for all other types of vehicles. Details of other types of vehicles for which you have passed the appropriate tests and are licensed to drive are entered on your Driver's License.

Bermuda is one of the most expensive places in the world to purchase and operate any motor vehicle, partly because of extremely high import duties on motor vehicles. Plus, there are high annual costs of vehicles - more than twice those imposed by London, 4 or more times the cost of most American cities.

Government import duty on motor vehicle parts was raised less than a decade ago from 22.5 to 33.5 percent of FOB cost for importers, substantially more for consumers. Government import duty on cars was raised at the same time from 55 percent to 75 percent and higher of F.O.B. cost for importers, substantially more for consumers. 

Owners of vehicles pay hugely more per square mile for annual licensing of their vehicles than anywhere else in the world.

Other Bermuda Government entities involved

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Demerit points system 

A system is in effect covering all types of violations.

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Distracting devices such as cell phones (mobile phones) are banned

It is against the law to drive while using a distracting device such as a cell phone.
With narrow roads, blind corners and nervous tourists, Bermuda does not need distracted drivers adding to the dangers. The legislation creates an offence for drivers/riders driving while holding a cell phone in their hand either to talk on or to text. The law fines miscreants up to $500 for people caught using cell phones or other devices while driving.  

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Driving under the influence

Roadside breath tests apply and are a priority for the Government. The police can stop anyone at any time for any issue that they feel raises suspicion. They can stop you to check your licence or if there is some safety issue with your car. They already have general power to stop persons. Whatever is done, it is to stop people from dying. It’s not to interfere or make it inconvenient for people to move around and enjoy themselves. It is only being done to stop the high level of deaths and collisions being experienced. Police doctors are authorized to take blood samples from suspected impaired drivers. Motorists including visitors convicted of drink-driving are referred to Drug Treatment Court by judges 

Drivers in Bermuda of cars or auxiliary cycles or motorbikes or any other type of vehicle caught under the influence of alcohol (the legal limit of alcohol is 80 mgs in 100 mls (mL) of blood) or drugs merit on conviction automatic suspension of all driving privileges for a year or longer and also a $1,000 fine. 

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Driving unlicensed vehicles

Illegal. Will incur a fine of from $2,000 plus penalties including demerit points and likely disqualification. But innocent motorists pay a penalty too, a surcharge on their insurance rates, as most jurisdictions abroad also impose. (See Motor Insurers Fund).

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Driving without insurance

Illegal. Abusers are disqualified from driving.

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Electric mini-Cars

Available

 Some facts about electric vehicle from the 2019 Transport Green Paper, based on a transport survey conducted in 2018.

• In 2018 there were 250 electric vehicles licensed and on Bermuda’s roads.

• 63 per cent of respondents said they’d be willing to replace their car with an electric or hybrid car.

• 44 per cent said they would consider purchasing an electric motor cycle.

• Cost was the main reason some residents were reluctant to purchase electric vehicles. Electric vehicles tend to be 1.5 to two times more pricey than similarly sized internal combustion engine vehicles.

• In the 2018 Transport Survey, 75 per cent of Bermudians expressed interest in seeing more electric cars on the road.

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Electric mopeds/scooters

Available. Not the type for the physically handicapped or disabled (which must also be licensed and insured by both locals and tourists). 

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Electronic Vehicle Registration (EVR)

The TCD has island-wide deployment of an Electronic Vehicle Registration (EVR) system. Based on radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, EVR is used to maintain an accurate registration of the island’s 47,000+ 4-wheel or more vehicles and motorcycles. RFID tags on each vehicle interact with strategically placed readers around the island to ensure that all vehicles are properly registered, insured and inspected. The system operates similar to electronic tolling, popular in high volume traffic centers around the world and combats vehicle owners who break the law by driving around with no license or insurance. The Government does not include motorcycles and mopeds in EVR.

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Emissions testing

Bermuda Emissions Control (BEC) commenced vehicles examinations in April 2009, testing exhaust emissions to reduce pollution. Fees are from $45 for vehicles with four or more wheels, and from $31 for those with less than four.

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Ferries - public transportation

Available for working commuters as well as visitors. See under "Ferries" in Transportation for Visitors

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Gasoline and oil costs

Bermuda is one of the most expensive places in the world for gasoline (petrol). Bermudians, locals and visitors pay per liter (more than 4.5 liters per gallon) what US consumers pay per gallon.  It is due to an extremely high Bermuda Government import duty on all motor fuels. 

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Helmets on 2-wheeled vehicles

Required. Also a source of revenue for the government as expensive import duty is payable on them.

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Importation privately of private cars

If you are a newcomer and want bring in a car privately instead of buying a new model from a dealer in Bermuda, note the following:

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Insurance costs of vehicles

Bermuda has by far more vehicles per square mile than anywhere else in the world - all of which must be insured for at least 3rd Party liability by a Bermudian insurance company licensed and registered to offer insurance business. Comprehensive coverage is required for people paying a bank or other lender for their vehicles.

Insured persons have the choice of insuring for comprehensive insurances less excesses if there is no loan on the vehicle, or third party only - which means no insurance payout to the owner, only to an appropriate third party. An extra insurance is levied on all vehicles but it does not include any payment to persons whose vehicle is stolen.

All newcomers should get their new vehicles U-Marked by the police, working with the dealer, before they take delivery, even if they have to wait longer. It is also essential that not just one but two good locks be bought and used religiously. When a claim is made from a theft is reported to the insurance company involved, there is at least a two week waiting period while the insurance company checks with the Bermuda Police to see that a theft was reported. Of bikes are not recovered during that time, the insurance company will issue a settlement check. If bike parts are stolen, there will be at least a $200 excess. Because of the alarming rate of theft, it is virtually impossible to get third part, fire and theft for a reasonable price.  

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Medical Reference Committee

A Bermuda Government committee under the Motor Car Act 1951 to determine the fitness or otherwise of licensed Bermuda drivers, especially those over 75 years old. See Bermuda Government Boards.

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Motor cycles 

Allowed only if under a certain cc. Powerful ones are too big for Bermuda. Individual driver's licenses are required, irrespective of whether an owner already has a local license to drive an automobile. Like automobiles, mopeds and scooters must be inspected, insured for at least Third Party liability, licensed and registered annually. The average price for a new model, with extra locks and basket as extras, is well over $3,000. Newcomers to Bermuda should be aware that while they can be fun to drive, instead of a car - and can be parked outside apartments and homes which do not allow another car to be registered there - they can be treacherous in rains and gales; much more dangerous than a car; and hugely more liable to theft. The theft rate is over 70%.

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Motor Insurers Fund

Established on July 1, 1990 at the initiative of local insurance companies who agreed with the Bermuda Government to establish a method of compensation for people injured by uninsured drivers or untraced drivers in “hit and run” cases. All drivers who buy or renew motor insurance in Bermuda pay into the fund.  However, the maximum payout the fund can make is $250,000. Exists because of a serious problem of uninsured and unlicensed vehicles despite police searches and periodic traffic delays for the purpose. An uninsured vehicle on its own and with a rider are a burden for the Motor Insurer’s Fund should they cause an accident or bodily harm to another individual.  

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Road Safety Council 

Bermuda Government appointed under the Motor Car Act 1951, members are shown in Bermuda Government Boards.

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Seat belts in 4-wheel vehicles

Required.

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Speed Cameras to limit speeds

Now in use. A speed limit of 35 kilometers per hour (21 mph) is the maximum speed allowed on all Bermuda's roads; less in marked built-up zones. All caught speeders are fined heavily. In local waters, many places have a 5 knot maximum and wake limits.

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Used car buyer's checklist

There are no consumer laws in Bermuda offering consumers any protection on used cars. Before buying a used car, take certain precautions.  It's hugely important to get from the person selling the car that he or she is in fact the present sole legal owner of the car and can prove this by production of not only the registration certificate but the insurance certificate both in the same name as the owner and his or her driving license. Always insist on the present owner, not you as a possible buyer, getting and paying for a transfer-test for that vehicle from the Transport Control Department. But do not rely in this alone, as it is largely limited to paintwork and lights.  Always get a good garage to make a thorough inspection for roadworthiness and make an offer conditional on this. It will cost you to do this but is well worth the cost. Then, get an indication from your insurance company on the present insurance value of the vehicle as an indication of market price. And ask or do the following:

Once you make an offer to buy a vehicle in writing, you will be held to it.

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Taxis

See Get Round.

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Tyres

Available brands include Bridgestone,  Dunlop, Goodyear and Kelly. Sizes for automobiles are 12-17 inches. Most cars in Bermuda are front-wheel drive.

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Weekday Rush Hour Traffic restriction

Drivers of large or slow vehicles are reminded not to use roads during weekday rush hours. The Transport Control Department issued guidance today stating that tractor trailers and self-propelled construction machines — vehicles used for building and maintenance work — are banned from roads between 7.45am and 9.15am, as well as 4.30pm and 6pm, every Monday to Friday. A Government spokeswoman said the restriction does not apply to container trucks when no container or container trailer is attached. For more information, contact the TCD on 292-1271.

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Last Updated: May 24, 2020
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