Sandals Resorts kicks off series of motorcycle safety workshops SundayThursday, May 12, 2016
SANDALS Resorts International (SRI) has undertaken to sponsor a series of Back to Basics Motorcycle Safety Workshops, amidst the country’s startling statistics of motorcycle fatalities in recent years.
The first of the workshops will take place on Sunday at Sandals Whitehouse, with others planned for later this year.
The workshops target motorcycle riders in western Jamaica, the region that currently accounts for 30 - 40 per ent of the island’s motorcycle-related road fatalities.
"Road accidents claimed the lives of over 110 motorcyclists in 2015," said Tarik Zawdie Kiddoe, a member and spokesperson of the Kingston-based riding group, the Shango Bikers. Figures from the National Road Safety Council also show a 112 per cent leap in motorcyclist deaths from 2014 to 2015.
Kiddoe, who has been championing the call for greater focus on motorcycle safety in Jamaica, developed this series of workshops in an effort to meaningfully curb the high instances of road fatalities through targeted training for riders.
These strategic workshops provide ‘in-class’ road safety sessions as well as practical field exercises, focusing on the importance of safety gear, risk awareness, visibility and manoeuvring skills, including proper braking and strategies for maintaining the rider’s personal safety limit.
Much of the content of the workshop is also driven by analysis of local accident data and will allow riders an opportunity to upgrade their licenses, while improving their road safety skills.
"Within our group [the Shango Bikers] there are members who have been riding throughout the Caribbean and the USA for 20 to 30 years without so much as a broken bone," said Kiddoe. "So, whenever we hear of a motorcyclist dying on our streets we are particularly moved and as a group, we are determined to do something about it. With the Back to Basic Motorcycle Safety Workshops, our goal is ultimately to get riders home alive," he said.
This sentiment has certainly hit home for other private sector entities, including SRI.
"Statistics show that for the first time in 2015, motorcycle fatalities topped any other group in Jamaica, with Westmoreland registering the highest count. This is alarming as it indicates an underlying safety issue," said Sandals Group Public Relations Manager Sheryl McGaw-Douse. "We are all road users and SRI remains open to discussions on practical, measurable ways in which we can play a part in curbing these fatalities."
"Additionally, for us within the Sandals family, this touches us personally", McGaw-Douse continued. "Over the years, we have lost a number of our team members in such accidents and still, we have staff that rely on this mode of transportation daily."
SRI is also on a campaign throughout its Jamaican properties to get team members involved in these critical motorcycle safety sessions. Some resorts, like Sandals Whitehouse, are exploring ways to get more of their riders wearing a helmet and exercising greater care on the roads.
"These are all good indicators," says Kiddoe, "as we need the private sector to also endorse our message of motorcycle safety".
Pointing out that the current legal framework concerning motorcyclists is inadequate, Kiddoe and other members of the motorcycling community are lobbying to have a say in the creation of legislation and policies that impact riders.
While they do this, however, Kiddoe and his team are partnering with key institutions to further spread their messages to the island’s at-risk riders. To date, the initiative has gained considerable momentum, securing support from the Ministry of National Security, the Jamaica Constabulary Force, Insurance Association of Jamaica, Learn to Ride Jamaica as well as the Island Traffic Authority.
Riders interested in participating in the Back to Basics Motorcycle Safety Workshop on Sunday can contact 1-876-434-1755 or WhatsApp 1-876-335-4660 or sign-up online at