Bonaire Gets New Traffic Ordinance

Soon there will be new rules regulating the traffic on the island. Photo: BES-Reporter

Kralendijk – It took years of intensive work and various Island Council debates, but since last Tuesday it is finally a fact: the new Road Traffic Ordinance Bonaire. The new Ordinance was adopted unanimously by in the Island Council.

The new regulation was much needed. The old Ordinance dated back to 1958 and was certainly no longer equipped for the current state of affairs on public roads.

On Bonaire, for example, calling or texting behind the wheel were not yet prohibited as of yet, and even the basic obligations like the use of seat belts or helmet for motorcyclists were missing in the old ordinance. Neither were there official restrictions for the amount of alcohol someone is allowed to drink and drive. That made decisive action by the police a difficult, if not impossible thing. That is all going to change with the introduction of the new regulation.

The new Ordinance is the result of years of work by the Legal Department (JAZ) of the Public Entity Bonaire. Legislative lawyer from JAZ, Bert Nijland, gave a number of presentations to the Island Council in recent weeks to inform them about the changes in relation to current legislation.

Ferry Bakx
Important input was also provided by the Police Force Caribbean Netherlands (KPCN), and in particular by police officer Ferry Bakx, who later tragically died in a gunfight with Venezuelan robbers. Bakx’s input led to the necessary changes in the design when it comes to technical requirements for vehicles, transport of children, safety belts and equipment allowed to be used while driving.

In addition, input was obtained from the various government departments and the work group for  Physical Accessibility Bonaire.

An implementation plan has in the meantime also been drawn up by KPCN, while the Public Entity Bonaire has been working on an information plan for citizens

Implementation per August 2019

The new Ordinance will take effect on 1 August 2019. This gives the government a period of time to get used to the new provisions that the new law entails, for both the citizens and the government authorities, who are faced with the execution of the new law.

In addition to informing citizens, there are more preparatory activities that precede the implementation: driving lessons and driving exams need to be adjusted, motorcycle drivers will have to purchase helmets and car drivers must install child seats for the transport of children.

In addition, there are some implementation measures that need to be adapted, such as conditions for driving schools, where parking for the disabled is concerned and also when it comes to the physical traffic infrastructure on the island.

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