Mon | Sep 25, 2017

Motorcycle mayhem, rough rallying

Published:Sunday | January 10, 2016 | 1:00 AM
Police and Hawkeye representatives gather information at an accident scene along East Street in Kingston on Monday, January 19, 2015.

 

October

 

4: Craig Powell of Jamaica Off Road Challenge, who is co-organiser of the Jeep-sponsored Navigational Rally and Obstacle Course, is trying to encourage persons with off-road vehicles to do as the name suggests and go off road, exploring the vehicle's power and the great outdoors.

"That's what we are trying to encourage and give some exposure to. We Jamaicans have all these off-road vehicles and we have nothing really to do with it. Most of them probably have never been off road. So not only are we creating an obstacle course where people can drive their 4x4s anytime, but we are using this event to encourage people to utilise them," Powell said.

11: Motorcyclists have overtaken pedestrians as the most vulnerable road users in Jamaica, with motorcycle-related road fatalities almost doubling since the start of 2015, compared to last year. The Jamaica Constabulary Force's Traffic Division is imploring motorcycle riders to exercise more discipline.

Senior Superintendent Calvin Allen, head of the Traffic Division, says that since January 83 motorcyclists have died on the country's roadways (at the time of speaking on September 29), almost doubling the 42 who perished over the corresponding period in 2014. On the other hand, pedestrian deaths in 2015 stood at 65, a reduction from the 81 deaths recorded during the corresponding period in 2014.

18: Kingston Industrial Garage, Jamaican dealers in Ford, Subaru and Jeep, is a staple along Spanish Town Road. Now, they have another St Andrew address; this time a bit closer to the Cross Roads and New Kingston business districts.

The new-car dealer's recently opened showroom at 21-25 Old Hope Road is part of a $60 million expansion and upgrading of its facilities. While Old Hope Road gets the expansion, 381 Spanish Town Road, which is the country's oldest and the first Ford outlet outside the United States, is being renovated by a new vehicle dealership.

25: The nail-biting, dramatic showdown which unfolded at Dover Raceway, St Ann, on the last race meet of the season was just the latest public salvo between the country's top circuit racing drivers, Doug Gore and David Summerbell. Their fierce rivalry had the hundreds of fans screaming while shifting to and fro from one end of the compound to the other as they attempted to keep their eyes fixed on the races. It was the Thundersport events that injected life into the grand finale race meet for 2015, dubbed the 'Heroes of Speed' carnival.

 

November

 

1: While they might not put out advertisements with Christmas carols, reindeer, and Santa Claus, it is customary for used-car dealers to cut prices on vehicles at the upper part of the car importation at about this time of year.

So it was the 2009-2010

models which were getting a reduction of what Jamaica Used Car Dealers Association head Lynvalle Hamilton said is "about five to 15 per cent". This has given sales a much-needed boost. Hamilton identifies family wagons (such as the Toyota Wish, Honda Stream and Mazda Premacy), commercial vehicles (the Toyota Hiace prominent among them) and SUVs as the types which are moving off used-car lots faster.

8: With longer loan terms being offered on new vehicles and financing going up to 100 per cent, purchasers could end up owing more than their comprehensive insurance coverage payout if the vehicle is written off early into the repayment period.

David McKay of MSC McKay and vice-president, Motors, of the Loss Adjusters Association of Jamaica, told Automotives that he has been seeing a number of those cases. It is significant enough that he intends to bring the situation to the attention of financial institutions which offer new-car loans, raising the possibility of a solution like the option of an extra premium.

15: Lack of sponsorship has been one of the main obstacles to Jamaica's chances of winning any of the major titles in the 2015 Caribbean Motor Racing Championship, which climaxes at the South Dakota track in Guyana.

Peter Rae and Natasha Chang, along with motorcyclist Kyle Reynolds, who have been dubbed the Reggae Racers, will be representing Jamaica at the meet. Sponsored by Seaboard Marine and Fly Jamaica, the team left the island on Thursday, giving the assurance that they will be making their presence felt in Guyana. They did not have the chance to compete at the preceding leg in Barbados.

 

December

 

6: "If we begin where it started, it was a proposal that I wrote from the National Road Safety Council (NRSC) to the then Minister of Transport. That's over 10 years ago. It's over 10 years in gestation."

That's how Paula Fletcher, executive director of the NRSC, described the new Road Traffic Act finally being implemented after a decade of labour pains. "It's really long overdue," she said. Fletcher said the NRSC is ecstatic about the implementation of the act and commended the Ministry of Transport and Works for working hard to see it through the legislative process.

13: Most of the 2015 Jamaica Rally took place in muddy fields and rough roads in St Catherine. However, the now standard end in downtown Kingston offered spectators close-up views of the cars as they took two runs each over the course. With right-angled corners, at least one hairpin turn and shallower corners going and coming past the main cluster of spectators on the waterfront, then two long straights which afforded strong acceleration, it was a motor sport enthusiast's delight.

27: Executive director of the National Road Safety Council (NRSC), Paula Fletcher, says the quality of cars imported into Jamaica is not quite up to international standards. Though she is happy about the new Road Traffic Act which was recently passed, Fletcher describes the requirements for car imports as a "compromised standard".

"We need to have standards that developed countries have," Fletcher told Automotives. "Most of our cars come from Japan. (Some of) those cars could never enter the US or European countries."

The NRSC boss said cars from the US and European countries have an abundance of airbags, which are installed for optimum driver-passenger safety. She recalls cars from these countries having airbags in the front and sides of the car.