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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.
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.
2017. May 17. A solution is expected soon to address problems that persist for Bermudians regarding car rentals in Massachusetts, according to a government spokesman. On Friday, a spokesman for the Ministry of Tourism, Transport and Municipalities said that a “thorough review” of the situation had been undertaken. “In the very near future, the Ministry anticipates presenting a solution which should alleviate the situation,” he said. The news follows recent accounts to The Royal Gazette about holders of Bermudian drivers’ licences continuing to experience problems renting vehicles in the state. The issue first came to light last summer. In August, a spokesman with the Ministry said that the Government was working alongside other acting bodies on the issue “as a matter of urgency” towards an “expeditious solution”. Vaughan Mosher said he experienced such a problem when he travelled to Massachusetts earlier this month for an annual physical. It was his first time travelling to the state since problems were first reported in 2016. As a precaution, Mr Mosher said he made calls to National Car Rental ahead of his trip to ensure that there would be no problems upon arrival at Logan International Airport. He said he has been an Emerald Club member — which allows customers to choose their car from the fleet on the lot — for a number of years. Mr Mosher has a disability and requires the use of a scooter. “My wife has to pick a car that she can get the scooter in and out of the back, usually a minivan,” he said. Calls made to National before he arrived in Boston suggested the matter had been addressed. “It looked as if there was no problem,” he said. According to Mr Mosher, after selecting their vehicle and packing it, he and his wife were told by an attendant that they would not be allowed to leave the lot. A supervisor subsequently confirmed that the attendant was correct in saying the couple could not drive the vehicle “because it would be breaking the law”, Mr Mosher said. They were forced to unpack the car and rent from another company, Avis, at a higher cost. Mr Mosher’s experience appears not to be an isolated incident. Last week, at least one other person described a similar problem renting a car from Enterprise Rent-A-Car at the Boston airport. Both National and Enterprise are owned by Enterprise Holdings. This past winter, several e-mails were received by The Royal Gazette detailing similar problems. In a response to an e-mail sent by Mr Mosher on his experience, a representative with National said that Bermuda continued to be included on a list of countries whose drivers’ licences were not recognized in the state. “Because the state of Massachusetts does not allow us to rent to Bermuda residents, we have to follow the state laws,” the e-mailed response said. The company provided an apology and a free day coupon to Mr Mosher’s account. While the gesture was appreciated, Mr Mosher said it was not ultimately what he was after. “I’d like some clarity, certainly for myself, but for hundreds and hundreds of other people who must be faced with this sort of thing,” he said. The incident is not without an element of irony. In the past, Mr Mosher said he received a courtesy notification from National that his driver’s licence — the same one he was recently unable to use to rent a vehicle — was due to expire. “I thought, this is terrific customer service.”
2016. November 26. Bermuda's Parliamentarians have approved legislation that could see rental minicars introduced in Bermuda for the first time. The Motor Car Amendment (No 2) passed without any objections in the House of Assembly yesterday, despite Opposition MPs decrying its lack of regulations as well as the potential impact on the taxi industry. Meanwhile, 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. After the debate, which lasted more than four hours, Michael Fahy, the Minister of Tourism and Transport, said he was “very pleased” the Bill had passed. “This brings us a step closer towards the introduction of minicars in Bermuda which will enhance our tourism offerings and move our tourism product forward and make us far more competitive with other tourism destinations,” Senator Fahy said. “We have taken into account the concerns of our transportation stakeholders and are pleased to have found broad agreement in the size and specifications of minicars. Having spoken at a number of international tourism events there is real excitement in the tourism industry about the likelihood of this offering being successful. “I look forward to the Senate debate when I will be able to expand further on the benefits of this new amenity and the consultation that was undertaken which should add clarity to some of the misleading statements made by the Opposition during the debate in the House.” Grant Gibbons, the Minister of Economic Development, opened the debate announcing that ten makes of vehicles, none of which would exceed the capacity of 150cc, were considered appropriate for local roads, including three-wheeled vehicles and quadricycles. Dr Gibbons told the House that augmenting the existing rental choices for visitors was key to maintaining the island’s competitive edge. However, Lawrence Scott, the Shadow Minister of Transport, replied that the Bill was seen by the Opposition as “the thin side of the wedge for allowing full-size rental cars” — saying that the island’s debate in the 1940s over the original introduction of cars had included dividing up the automotive market. “Behind the scenes they were trying to figure out who got what dealership,” Mr Scott said, adding that some taxi owners still opposed minicars, and had not been consulted. Progressive Labour Party MP Derrick Burgess maintained that Bermuda was too small and already “saturated” with vehicles, while PLP MP Jamahl Simmons berated Mr Fahy for his consultation efforts with taxi drivers. PLP MP Rolfe Commissiong also raised questions why electric-powered vehicles were not being championed in the legislation, describing the proposal of using vehicles that emit greenhouse gases as “an opportunity missed”. David Burt, the Leader of the Opposition, added: “The Government cannot seem to get it right when it comes to consulting or communicating or understanding the fact that you need the support of the people before you move things forward. The first time they got taxi drivers to drop tools.” Independent MP Shawn Crockwell threw his backing behind the Bill, saying: “Tourism is about what our guests want, it is not about our comfort. Let’s look at this as adding to the experience for our guests.” Meanwhile, Sylvan Richards, Minister of Social Development and Sports, described it as “a matter of life and death — it’s a safety issue for our visitors” that would deliver new business opportunities for Bermudians. OBA MP Leah Scott acknowledged that the Government could have done a better job in conveying information about the initiative to the public, but maintained “we should all support it”. OBA MP Glen Smith also supported the Bill while assuring the House that his own auto business had no deals in the pipeline. Public Works Minister Craig Cannonier insisted that the entrepreneurial opportunities “do not have an agenda”, and OBA MP Mark Pettingill called on the House to embrace offering a greater range of visitor amenities. Summarizing an at times heated debate, Premier Michael Dunkley chastised the Opposition for their “tired and typical” approach of knocking down government legislation. “Everything we do is with a view to making all Bermudians’ lives better.” the Premier said. “We can work through the challenges; this Bill is a very positive step for the people of Bermuda.
Until the laws were relaxed, see above, visitors to Bermuda are not allowed to rent cars under any circumstances, nor may they borrow a locally registered car and drive it, even when they have relatives living locally. However, on November 3, 2016 it was revealed by local government resources that rental minicars — no more than 60 inches wide and no more than 115 inches in length — could be on Bermuda’s roads in the near future. An agreement between the Bermuda Government and taxi operators about minicar legislation has been reached after a series of meetings. According to a government statement, several changes will be introduced to the legislation tabled by the Ministry of Tourism, Transport and Municipalities after “extensive dialogue to allay industry concerns”. The original Bill, which proposed the introduction of rental minicars, was put on hold this summer after a storm of complaints from taxi and minibus drivers about their potential impact on the industry. The Government said the amended legislation would allow for licensed liveries to operate the minicars provided they are within the agreed size. The primary legislation makes it clear that the number of seats permitted is limited to two, the same as a livery cycle. Limits will also be imposed as regards the power of the vehicles with the cc not exceeding 150 and a horsepower of 20 or 15kw. Senator Michael Fahy, the Minister of Tourism, Transport and Municipalities, said: “There were some concerns as to the previously proposed size, and not withstanding that the types of vehicles we are talking about were always limited in their power and size, we have added extra clarity to give comfort to the transportation industry. We will continue this dialogue as we draft the regulations in support of the primary legislation. “During our fruitful discussion, a myriad of other issues were raised by both the Government and the industry stakeholders, among them concerns about the high cost of purchasing new taxis and the hardship it places on the taxi operators. To assist the industry, we have agreed to permit the importation of second-hand vehicles for use as a motor taxi, as long as they comply with the necessary restrictions long established by the Public Service Vehicles Licensing Board and the Transport Control Department. Consequential regulations may be adopted to assist with this new market. New guidelines to reflect this policy change will be released by the end of the year. I’ve been told that it is something that has been sought by the industry for a number of years.” Leo Simmons, president of the Bermuda Taxi Owners/Operators Association, said that there were longstanding issues facing the industry that needed to be addressed. “We have formed a good working relationship with Mr Fahy throughout this process,” he said. “We are very pleased with the solutions given to assist the taxi industry thus far and look forward to continued dialogue. The meetings were useful to get a number of issues on the table faced by taxi owners and for us to understand where the Government is coming from. The BTOA supports the actions thus far by the ministry in this regard and looks forward to the new guidelines for the policy change regarding the importation of second-hand vehicles for use as a motor taxi before the end of 2016.”
In every year there are hundreds of road traffic accidents and numerous road fatalities in Bermuda's 21 square miles and 69,400 people. 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.
Are under the control and administration of the Transport Control Department - e-mail email@example.com - 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:
48,971 registered vehicles in Bermuda in 2015 (when last counted) compared with 6,000 on March 1, 1951.
The current figure includes 4,397 privately-owned cycles under 55 cc, 1,582 livery cycles (rent units), 15,677 motorcycles over 50cc, 22,600 private cars, 4,074 trucks, tank wagons and 600 taxis.
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.
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.
Annual examination for all vehicles. See Transport Control Dept.
Annual licensing and registration and examination. See Transport Control Dept. They are the world's most expensive by far. 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 in http://www.gov.bm/portal/server.pt?open=512&objID=253&&PageID=477&mode=2&in_hi_userid=2&cached=true. All costs shown are annual, in Bermuda/ US $ and depend on the length primarily and width of the vehicle. Costs are payable to the Bermuda Government's Accountant General. The prerequisites are that the vehicle must be passed beforehand by inspection, paying the annual vehicle examination fee, 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 are exempted in whole or in part, depending on length/size of the single car they own).
Custom (otherwise known as personalized or vanity) American-style but Bermudianized license plates for private cars were allowed by law from mid 2000.
Compare these with those 3.500 miles away in the UK effective April 2017, where many private vehicles are now exempted based on quality and quantity of emissions. See https://www.gov.uk/newvehicletaxrates. Most are a fraction of what Bermuda charges. The UK's highest rate is appreciably more than Bermuda's lowest rate for smallest cars.
|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|
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 in http://www.gov.bm/portal/server.pt?open=512&objID=253&&PageID=477&mode=2&in_hi_userid=2&cached=true.
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
In view of the huge local cost of gasoline (called petrol in the UK), at more than three times the consumer cost of gasoline in the USA - prospective buyers may wish to buy the vehicles offering the cheapest fuel cost, such as the Toyota Prius, shown first left, if the engine and cc fit in Bermuda.
Cars include the following but unlike in the USA, UK and Europe where warranties extend for at least three years and sometimes up to 10 years, a typical Bermuda warranty will be for one year (although all new Toyota models have a 3-year warranty). Because of the huge customs duty rates on cars, local dealerships - to reduce their duty obligations - often ask the exporting companies (sometimes not the actual vehicle manufacturer) to reduce the declared value of a car while increasing non-dutiable charges such as shipping and commission. The importer pays the exporter the same amount for the product but the cost of duty is less.
|Auto Solutions, from May 6, 2013, in place of Holmes, Williams and Purvey||Daihatsu, Honda, Hyundai, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Suzuki, Volkswagen||St.
John's Road, Pembroke
2018. March 12. The VW motor vehicle franchise in Bermuda is moving from Auto Solutions, but it’s unclear who is taking over the franchise. In a letter to customers, Auto Solutions said it had been informed by VW that it intended to move the franchise to Ascendant Group Ltd. However, this afternoon a spokeswoman for Ascendant, the parent of Belco, said the company does not have an agreement with VW. Auto Solutions announced the change as it welcomed the newest version of the electric Nissan Leaf to the island. Nissan is one of seven car brands that are represented and serviced by the company in Bermuda. Glen Smith, managing director of Auto Solutions, said in a letter to customers that the company would do its best to carry out repairs and immediate service requests for VW vehicles until the end of May. Mr Smith said: “We have been informed by Volkswagen (Latin America) that they intend to make The Ascendant Group of Companies (the owner of Belco) their local representative in Bermuda. While we learnt of VW’s decision in early February, they have yet to inform us what arrangements have been made with Ascendant to service VW cars going forward. However, to ensure that your immediate service and repair needs are met, we will do our best to service VW vehicles until May 31, which is when our access to VW’s diagnostic equipment is due to expire. Thereafter, it will be for VW Latin America or their new representative to provide the necessary infrastructure and support to maintain the VW brand. While we are sad to say farewell to the VW brand, we wish their new representative well.” But a spokeswomen for Ascendant Group said: “We cannot speak to Auto Solutions’ own relationship with Volkswagen; however, can confirm that AGL does not have an agreement with Volkswagen, or any other automotive manufacturer, to retail or service cars at this time. We regret that customers of Auto Solutions are being advised otherwise.” Mr Smith, speaking to The Royal Gazette late this afternoon, confirmed that his company had been told on three occasions by VW about the intended switch of the franchise to Ascendant, and said it had also been mentioned at the Transport Control Department. Auto Solutions represents and services the brands Suzuki, Hyundai, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Honda and Daihatsu. Mr Smith, said “We are really excited about with our 2018 line up of cars including the introduction of the all-electric, zero-emission Nissan Leaf, named ‘Best Electric Car’ in London’s 2018 What Car Awards. Our first shipment of Nissan Leafs arrived last week and we are confident this spacious four door hatchback will be a hot ticket item in the local car market. Many customers have already been in touch requesting test drives and have expressed a keen interest in switching over to Auto Solution’s Leaf. The EV market is upon us and we are happy to lead the way. Our priority is to continue to be the leading car dealership in Bermuda. We believe that our high level of customer care and attention, our great staff and our exciting line-up of 2018 and 2019 cars, including award-winning electric cars, will keep Bermudians and residents rolling with us.”
|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||2017. April. Imported the French two-seater Renault Twizy as an alternative to the traditional scooter. A total of 25 cars will be available at the Princess, supplied by new company Current Vehicles, which has also supplied Twizys to the Groupama Team France America’s Cup team.. The cars, which boast seatbelts, an airbag and side impact protection, can be booked online and Current Vehicles have installed charging stations at the Princess and Beach Club. John-Paul Doughty, director of operations at Current Vehicles, added: “We are excited to offer visitors the safest, greenest, and most enjoyable way to travel around Bermuda. These vehicles are safe and accessible and a good choice for those who are not comfortable on a scooter, but still want the freedom to explore the island on their own itinerary. And they are a lot of fun to drive.”|
|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. On 27 January 2017, acquired the island’s Peugeot dealership by buying Pembroke-based Continental Motors.||Peugeot||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 (smaller size than US models, with right hand drive, made in South Korea). 2 year warranty from dealer|| 8
Addendum Lane, Pembroke.
Effective 1 January 2004, under The Motor Car Act 1951 and Motor Car (Seat Belts) Regulations 2002, seat belts in cars are required, with certain approved exemptions. Expensive import duty is payable on seatbelts. Adults sitting in the front seat must wear a seat belt in all 4 -wheeled vehicles including Commercial and Taxis. Adults in the rear seat are not required to do so. Children from birth to one year and 20 lbs in weight must be in a rear facing seat. Children from 1 year and 20lbs to 40 lbs must be in a forward-facing child seat. Children from 40 to 80 lbs must use a seat belt positioning device or booster seat. All children are safest in the back seat. The wording "one year" and "lbs" may sound awkward but is used in all jurisdictions to emphasize that the child must meet both the age and weight minimum to progress to the next seat. The driver of the vehicle is legally responsible for ensuring compliance and may be fined for non-compliance. Occupants 18 and older are legally responsible for themselves. Older cars with no seat belts are not required to be modified. Non-compliance otherwise attracts a fine. No new cars will be allowed in without seatbelts fitted. Only those with old cars without seatbelts at all will be exempted.
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.
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.
|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.|
Helmets are required on all these vehicles. This is a source of revenue for the government as expensive import duty is payable on them. A moped has larger wheels, a scooter small wheels. Mopeds, with their bigger wheels, are generally considered to be safer than scooters. Presently, there are a large number of 2-stroke mopeds and scooters, but they are being phased out in favor of 4-stroke vehicles.
With the passage of the Motorcycles and Auxiliary Bicycles Amendment Act 2002, it became illegal to import and sell 2-stroke motor cycles over 50cc after 31 December 2004. 125cc and 150cc sizes will be allowed, as was the case decades ago. 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%.
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.
Unlike visitors who are strictly limited to 50 cc rented vehicles, residents may own and operate mopeds or similar with a maximum 93 dbA noise limit.
It is also illegal to alter the color of back lights, which must be red.
A local trade group of automobile dealers.
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.
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:
(See under Automobile insurance).
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.
2017. December 1. Spot checks on commercial vehicles are being carried out by the traffic enforcement section of the Transport Control Department. TCD is reminding commercial vehicle permit holders that vehicles licensed under their respective permits are only to be used under the terms and conditions of the permit.
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.
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.
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.
A system is in effect covering all types of violations.
2018. January 31. Transport Minister Walter Roban has reiterated that roadside breath tests are a priority for the Government. “The idea of deploying roadside sobriety testing has been something discussed for many years,” he added. “It has taken much too long to put in place and the Government has made it an objective as one of the tools that we are going to use to influence the behavior of persons on the roads. We know from the data that the majority of deaths are attributable to some involvement of substances that have influenced the behavior of a person on the roads so we have got to go directly at that. Observing what is happening in other jurisdictions can make some difference. There are other things that have to happen but this is one of the key initiatives that we are going to make sure we get in place as soon as possible. We want to make sure it is in place this legislative year.” Australia has one of the best road safety records in the world. Random breath testing started in 1982 in New South Wales and fatal crashes involving alcohol dropped from about 40 per cent of all fatalities to 15 per cent in 2012. The police in NSW can test drivers for impairment without cause. But Bermuda police officers still need a reason to pull over a driver — so a road user has to exhibit potentially dangerous behavior such as swerving across the centre line or ignoring traffic signs. Mr Roban has not said whether Bermuda’s road testing system will include non-selective testing, which would reduce the risk of profiling. It is also unknown whether sobriety checkpoint locations would be announced in advance. Mr Roban said: “It’s important to make sure that it’s done correctly due to the sensitivities around it. Those details are being discussed and worked on. Right now 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, we want the people to understand that this 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 that we are experiencing.” Only two police doctors are authorized to take blood samples from suspected impaired drivers, although 15 doctors are trained to do it. And there are legal problems around taking blood from an unconscious hospital patient without their consent. Mr Roban said: “We will advance that as we advance the roadside sobriety testing regime. That piece about having more people available to take blood samples will be advanced. I’m not sure whether that is just an issue for my ministry. It may be under national security and it may come under health. But I agree that needs to be advanced.”
2016. September 1. Motorists convicted of drink-driving could be referred to Drug Treatment Court by judges for the first time after a ground-breaking decision by the Supreme Court. Chief Justice Ian Kawaley ruled that section 68 of Criminal Code, which provides for the Drug Treatment Court (DTC) programme, embraced alcohol addiction and allowed magistrates to sentence those convicted of traffic offences to DTC. His judgment followed a legal challenge by two residents with a history of impaired driving who sought to overturn their sentences to access rehabilitation at DTC. Lawyer Saul Dismont, who represented two individuals, told the court his clients suffered from addiction to alcohol and attributed their offending behavior to their substance misuse. “At sentencing they revealed their addictions but their requests for Drug Treatment Court were refused,” Mr Dismont said. After the judgment Mr Dismont told The Royal Gazette: “Despite increasingly harsh punishments people are still drink-driving, even some that have been disqualified for the third time and know they are facing imprisonment. “On most occasions that has to be evidence of a drinking problem, and now with this ruling such individuals can be diverted to Drug Treatment Court to address the cause. “With DTC’s phenomenal success rate, estimated to be above 75 per cent, the roads are likely to become safer than just taking someone off the road, who invariably continues to drive during that period anyway. Some may say that DTC will be an easy ride, or that it will be easily manipulated, but consider that the court already has a vast experience of dealing with individuals suffering from addiction. Also, any person participating in the DTC programme is electing to be subject to very strict requirements. If they breach the requirements they can be sent to prison for up to 20 days and they can be terminated from the programme and re-sentenced. Though the ruling opens DTC’s door to DUI offences, my clients have not been accepted into the programme yet. That opportunity is the next stage. It should be recognized that this was not a legal aid case. My clients felt so strongly about the importance of having DUI offences in DTC that they paid for the case themselves, and not just for their potential benefit but for all of those that suffer from the same affliction, and to help keep our roads safe.” In the ruling that was released on Tuesday, Mr Justice Kawaley declined to consider the practical question of whether or not a suitable DTC treatment programme could be prepared in relation to alcohol. The Chief Justice said that issue was a question for the Magistrates’ Court to decide in each case after determining if an offender was eligible for DTC. “In my judgment it is important to distinguish between two questions,” Mr Justice Kawaley said. “The first is the question of whether section 68, properly construed in conjunction with the Eligibility Notice, includes or excludes traffic offences. The second question is whether or not as a matter of legislative or executive policy, traffic offences ought to be excluded. Only the first question is a matter for this court and falls to be determined in the context of the present scheme. The second question is a matter for the Legislature and the Executive. There is no ambiguity in the scope of section 68 and the Eligibility Notice and in my judgment there is no credible basis for this court finding on the basis of mere argument unsupported by evidence that the inclusion of eligible traffic offences in the DTC regime would be obviously unworkable.” The Chief Justice added: “The Magistrates’ Court in two separate cases declined to consider referring the appellants’ cases to the Drug Treatment Court on the explicit or implicit basis that section 68 of the Criminal Code does not apply to traffic offences. This court has concluded not without some difficulty that this jurisdiction does in fact exist and that, as was tacitly agreed below, section 68 embraces alcohol addiction as well. This conclusion is based upon interpreting section 68 of the code in conjunction with the current version of the Eligibility Notice issued by the Minister. Whether the appellants are suitable candidates for the DTC can now be considered on the merits for the first time by the Magistrates’ Court.”
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 no more than one year and also a $1,000 fine.
Illegal. Will incur a fine recently increased from $1,000 to $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).
Illegal. Abusers are disqualified from driving.
Not the type for the physically handicapped or disabled (which must also be licensed and insured by both locals and tourists).
2016. November 16. The hi-tech all-electric BMW i3 is to be launched in Bermuda this weekend. Visitors will be able to test drive the i3, already seen on Bermuda’s roads as part of the America’s Cup fleet of vehicles, on a special rooftop track. The show will also feature the electric Kia Soul EV, the Lexus CT200h and Toyota Prius c.
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.
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.
Available for working commuters as well as visitors. See under "Ferries" in Transportation for Visitors.
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.
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 a surcharge of $5 per bike and $10 per car. 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.
For commercial licensed users only. Not allowed instead of saloon cars or sedans or hatchbacks.
Bermuda Government appointed under the Motor Car Act 1951, members are shown in Bermuda Government Boards.
2018. February 19. A commitment to the introduction of roadside breath tests is “a frontline priority”, despite no mention of road safety in the Budget statement. Walter Roban, Minister of Transport and Regulatory Affairs, said that handheld breathalyzers were not highlighted in the Budget statement by David Burt, Premier and Minister of Finance, because it was a legislative measure covered in the Throne Speech. Mr Roban pledged that the measure, designed to combat high levels of drink driving, was on the verge of making it into law. He said: “From a legislative standpoint that is in train. We are about to deploy the process to get the legislation done. All parties, whether it be the Government’s lawyers, the Bermuda Police Service or the ministry, are on the same page as to the direction, so we are full-steam ahead on our legislative priority. The police now are busy getting to grips with the equipment they will be using as we deploy roadside sobriety testing, doing the training so once the legislative measures are passed they can begin using the equipment.” Mr Roban added: “In the changes we make, we have to include the specific equipment that is being used to do the testing. We are committed to getting it in place this legislative year and that is top of my list of legislation. That is what myself and Mr Caines have committed to, and my team here is driving to get it done.” The Royal Gazette’s Drive For Change road safety campaign has called for roadside breath tests as well as improved speed control technology and a graduated licensing programme for new road users. Mr Roban said he could not comment on whether the testing would be non-selective to avoid accusations of profiling or if locations of roadside stops would be announced in advance. Mr Roban added that the budget for the Bermuda Road Safety Council had been doubled to $25,000. He said: “Our next priority is for the Road Safety Council to be even more assertive on public education and begin to impact driver behavior. Their budget has been more than doubled from last year to enable them to carry out their objectives. We feel that we have equipped them well to do what they need to do for this calendar year and you should see more on these issues going forward for the fiscal year.” A $3 million commitment to road works could also be used to improve road safety. Mr Roban said an apparent 34 per cent drop in his cash allocation was explained by a restructure, which resulted in the ministry losing Tourism and Municipalities and gain Regulatory Reform, whose agencies are mostly self-funded. He added: “I have the same amount of money to spend as I did last year. I will be doing a Budget press conference and will give more detail, but in terms of current spending, I have not had any decrease. The ministry was structured very differently in the previous financial year. That money has moved to where those departments have gone.”
Unlike in the United Kingdom, etc there are no consumer laws offering Bermuda 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.
See Get Round.
Available brands include Bridgestone, Dunlop, Goodyear and Kelly. Sizes for automobiles are 12-17 inches. Most cars in Bermuda are front-wheel drive.
March 14, 2018
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