The Barbados Road Safety Association (BRSA) said one of its worst fears was realized with an injury to a 12-year-old boy as a result of a pothole.
The Frederick Smith Secondary School student was awaiting a bus to school at about 8:30 yesterday morning when he was struck by a motorist avoiding a 3.5-inch deep pothole.
“We are very upset. This is what we were preparing the ministry for; this is what we had anticipated. We said all along that accidents can happen, potholes can cause accidents, and they did not listen to us. Next time could be a fatality,” BRSA President Sharmane Roland-Bowen said.
The non-government organization advocating for safe road use and conditions last week began erecting brightly coloured flags along sections of the roads in several communities to alert motorists of upcoming potholes.
The Ministry of Transport & Works (MTW) has since advised that the signs are illegal; and while defying an order to take them down, Roland-Bowen had said the association would not erect any more flags.
However, the accident prompted BRSA to erect a notification sign near the crater in the vicinity of Waves Hotel in Prospect, St James to alert unsuspecting motorists of the danger that lies ahead.
Amid scathing criticism of the poor road conditions, Government on Monday rolled out its million-dollar pothole patching programme in some St Michael communities.
Still Roland-Bowen said yesterday’s accident could have been avoided if the authorities had acted more swiftly.
“As you can see yesterday with that incident one young fella, he got hurt, and if this had been acted on urgently this could not have happened; it could have been avoided, and that is why we are here today to prevent these accidents,” the road safety advocate told Barbados TODAY.
Meantime, Roland-Bowen disclosed that the BRSA wrote the ministry today requesting permission to install more notification signs.
“We are asking them to do something, we are awaiting a reply; we are also asking them to meet with us to discuss matters pertaining to this pothole issue . . . . Monday started the pothole initiative and as you can see accidents are still happening and vehicles are getting damaged
. . . . We asking the ministry to help us protect our people, our citizens, so give us permission [to erect more pothole markers] because right now they are not doing it.”
The BRSA president also took the opportunity to address concerns that the signs could distract motorists, insisting the organization was simply trying to save lives.
“This type of distraction is a much-needed one because it can save lives; and we don’t agree that it is a distraction at all because as you drive you should be focused on the road . . . . It has no writing on it [and] you can see it at night.
“If they are saying that our flags which are placed to protect and safeguard persons is a distraction we need to ask, what about the cars for sale that are placed along the highways with the telephone numbers that people have to drive and read? What about the billboard signs and the roundabout beautifications?” she asked.