The Bahamas use the English system for traffic management (We refuse to say they drive on the wrong side). Their pedestrians generally walk in a similar fashion — passing right shoulder to right shoulder.
Visiting pedestrian deaths and injuries here tend to be rooted in looking the wrong direction before stepping off a curb.
So some guidelines For Marsh Harbour.
- Use the sidewalks. When stepping off, STOP, STOP, STOP — LOOK BOTH WAYS TWICE and LISTEN. Americans are programmed to look the wrong way in these situations.
- When using the sidewalks — when one can, stay as far from the road as possible. Cars here are both left and right hand drive. We have noticed left-hand drive drivers tend to gravitate toward the curb. [A human factors engineering dilemma I suspect.] When they do, they sweep their rear-view mirrors along over the sidewalk at a speed that will injure or kill. And some right hand drive vehicles do the same. Stay away from the curb.
- When there is no sidewalk (frequently), walk facing traffic — on the right hand side of the road. Always be looking ahead for where you will bail out when things get tight. We have noticed that the vast majority of passenger vehicles manage these meetings well — commercial vehicles and motorcycles, not so much.
- Parking lots and turn lanes are a serious issue. Most car pedestrian accidents here involve vehicles making turns and visiting pedestrians going “deer-in-the-headlights” and freezing or bolting the wrong way.
- We wouldn’t recommend a golf cart (we’ve seen none here), a bicycle (we seen some oblivious folks depending on providence’s favorable attitude toward idiots) or a push, electric, or powered scooter. The town’s essential services are in walking distance and a two-wheeled cart of the folding variety comes in very handy.
And one seasonal observation — national elections are approaching. The number of signs and placards are increasing. Some obscure the view along the road — and some drivers stop in the middle of the street without notice, to bolt from their car and tear down the offending political message. [Happened in front of us on the way to dinner last night.]
Having one’s head up and on a swivel, as my flight instructor insisted upon, is every bit as relevant advice walking here as it was flying.
And I should point out we haven’t seen or heard a wreck here, nor have we seen the evidence of them littering the street. I can’t remember anywhere I’ve been before this where I could say that. In the middle east…