Moped and Scooter Travel

DESTINATIONS bermuda moped-and-scooter-travel

TRAVEL TIPS

Moped and Scooter Travel

Because car rentals are not allowed in Bermuda, you might decide to get around by moped or scooter. Bermudians routinely use the words "moped" and "scooter" interchangeably, even though they're different. You must pedal to start a moped, and it carries only one person. A scooter, on the other hand, which starts when you put the key in the ignition, is more powerful and holds one or two passengers.

Think twice before renting a moped, as accidents occur frequently and are occasionally fatal. The best ways to avoid mishaps are to drive defensively, obey the speed limit, remember to stay on the left-hand side of the road—especially at traffic circles—and avoid riding in the rain and at night.

Helmets are required by law. Mopeds and scooters can be rented from cycle liveries by the hour, the day, or the week. Liveries will show first-time riders how to operate the vehicles. Rates vary, so it's worth calling several liveries to see what they charge. Single-seat scooter rentals cost $55–$75 per day or from about $200–$250 per week. Some liveries tack a mandatory insurance-and-repair charge on top of the bill, whereas others include the cost of insurance, breakdown service, pickup and delivery, and a tank of gas in the quoted price. A $20 deposit may also be charged for the lock, key, and helmet. You must be at least 16 and have a valid driver's license to rent. Major hotels have their own cycle liveries, and all hotels and most guesthouses will make rental arrangements.

Gasoline

Gas for cycles runs from $3 to $4 per liter, but you can cover a great deal of ground on the full tank that comes with the wheels. Gas stations will accept major credit cards. It's customary to tip attendants—a couple of dollars is adequate.

Parking

On-street parking bays for scooters are plentiful and easy to spot. What's even better is they're free!

Road Conditions

Roads are narrow, winding, and full of blind curves. Whether driving cars or scooters, Bermudians tend to be quite cautious around less-experienced visiting riders, but crowded city streets make accidents all the more common. Local rush hours are weekdays from 7:30 am to 9 am and from 4 pm to 6 pm. Roads are often bumpy, and they may be slippery under a morning mist or rainfall. Street lamps are few and far between outside of the cities, so be especially careful driving at night.

Roadside Emergencies

The number for Bermuda's emergency services is 911. Scooters are often stolen, so to be safe you should always carry the number of your hire company with you. Also, don’t ride with valuables in your bike basket, as you are putting yourself at risk of theft. Passing motorists can grab your belongings and ride off without your even knowing it.

Rules of the Road

The speed limit is 35 kph (22 mph), except in the World Heritage Site of St. George's, where it is a mere 25 kph (about 15 mph). The limits, however, are not very well enforced, and the actual driving speed in Bermuda hovers around 50 kph (30 mph). Police seldom target tourists for parking offenses or other driving infractions. Drunk driving is a serious problem in Bermuda, despite stiff penalties. The blood-alcohol limit is 0.08. The courts will impose a $1,000 fine for a driving-while-intoxicated infraction, and also take the driver off the road for at least one year. A new law has recently been imposed against using a mobile phone while driving a scooter.

Rental Companies

Elbow Beach Cycles Ltd.. 441/296–2300; www.elbowbeachcycles.com.

Eve Cycles. 114 Middle Rd., Paget. 441/236–6247; www.evecycles.com.

Oleander Cycles. There are also small branches in Hamilton, St. George's, the Reefs, and Dockyard. 6 Valley Rd., off Middle Rd., Paget, PG05. 441/236–5235; www.oleandercycles.bm.

Smatt's Cycle Livery Ltd.. 74 Pitt's Bay Rd., 441/295–1180.

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