“This is one of the last refuges now left in the world to which one can come to escape such persons,” read a 1908 petition against allowing cars (and their drivers) in Bermuda. The petition was signed by Mark Twain and Woodrow Wilson, among other Bermudaphiles, who staged a successful lobby against the noisy onslaught of 20th-century transport. Alas, such quaint hopes for tranquility are long gone from Bermuda’s now-frantic roads. The influence of celebrity visitors managed to keep out automobiles until as late as 1946, but since then, Bermudians have proven as hungry for four-wheeled convenience as anyone else. There are certain restrictions, including a limit of one car per household and a maximum vehicle size, though the government has stretched the limits to allow bulkier SUVs and Cabriolet convertibles. Given the ever-increasing congestion, it’s understandable that the island has always denied car rentals to visitors.
The rule poses challenges, however, for movement around the island, particularly for families traveling with babies or small children, or anyone who dare not risk the next best option, mopeds and scooters. But public transport via buses and ferries is comfortable, safe, and efficient and allows a far more leisurely appreciation of Bermuda’s picturesque scenery than could be had negotiating hairpin turns and dodging local road hogs.
© Rosemary Jones from Moon Bermuda, 2nd Edition