A new traffic law entered into force on Bonaire on 1 August 2019. This law has caused quite a bit of commotion because a lot has changed compared to the old traffic regulation of 1957 and it was about time and definitely necessary to review this regulation. Back in 1957, there were only 250 cars and three motorcycles on Bonaire! Quite difficult to imagine this, when cruising the roads of Bonaire nowadays. What are the new traffic rules exactly and what should you pay attention to?
The most important thing to know about the traffic on Bonaire is that the quality of the roads is probably not the same quality as you are used to at home. For example, most asphalt road are full of pod holes. After heavy rain the residue of oil and rubber might cause the roads to become very slippery. This is especially risky when riding a bike, scooter or motorbike! At some intersections the roads are almost too narrow for the amount of users and there are also a lot of dirt roads on the island. All in all it is best if you drive a sturdy car that will transport you safely on the roads of Bonaire.
Sometimes people are joking about this well-intended advice. But soon you will notice this warning is there for a reason. Especially in the dry months (when donkeys and goats go out to find water and food in urban areas) you have to pay attention. Around sunrise and sunset you will see them roaming along the roads, mostly in groups. They don't look out to the left and the right before they cross, so reduce your speed and only pass by when you know for sure they will not cross the road.
A strikingly different traffic rule compared to the European Netherlands is the fact that traffic coming from the right does not have the right of way. The main road going straight always has the right of way. This may sound confusing, but you will soon notice this when driving on main roads. So pay attention when you take a main road or when coming from a smaller road.
There are no radar checks or speed cameras on Bonaire therefore some inhabitants and tourists sometimes feel the urge to exceed the speed limits. This particularly happens on the straight sections of asphalt roads. Nevertheless, there are speed regulations on Bonaire. The maximum speed limit is 40 km (25 miles) per hour in all urban areas and the maximum speed limit is 60 km (37 miles) per hour in the rural areas. Please pay extra attention to the speed of other drivers on the road to Rincon or the straight road to Sorobon. I happens quite often that cars crash on these roads because of speeding or unsafe behavior.
When introducing the new traffic regulation, the police announced that they are going to be extra alert on the following rules:
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