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Cruise lines warn against moped and scooter rentals in Bahamas

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Seems like a wonderful vacation idea for a cruise ship stop. Rent a moped or scooter and breeze around a beautiful Bahamas island.

But many cruise lines, as well as the U.S. Department of State, are warning against that choice.

“Serious injuries and deaths have resulted from accidents involving the rental of mopeds or scooters,” noted the FunTimes newsletter on my recent Carnival Cruise Lines voyage. “ We strongly discourage their rental.”

If you do rent a car or similar vehicle, the newsletter said, “it is important that you know that traffic laws and the consequences of being involved in a traffic accident vary by country. You should familiarize yourself with these laws before renting a car.”

Bermudians drive on the left side of the road and the roads are very narrow and twisting. When I was on a Nassau shore stop on another cruise, I saw a tourist on a scooter turn right at a stop sign – directly into oncoming traffic. At home, of course, those right-hand turns might be legal. But in the Bahamas, this was a nightmare waiting to happen.

The guy slammed on his brakes and skidded, tipping over on his scooter. No collision but I imagine the tourist ended up with an array of bruises, plus skinned arms and knees.

He also damaged the scooter and I don’t know how that turned out. Last time I saw him, he was dejectedly pushing his scooter back to the rental company, while his two buddies accompanied him. Good to see that his near-collision made his friends rethink their scooter adventure.

Another time I saw an obviously intoxicated cruiser without a helmet and wearing flip flops on his feet having a bit of trouble getting his scooter to start. I hope it never started and he made it back to the ship to sober up.

Scooter rentals are everywhere in the Bahamas. Get off a cruise ship and it’s easy to find a vendor wanting to rent one to you.

According to the U.S. Department of State, "The water sports and scooter rental industries in the Bahamas are not carefully regulated. Visitors should rent equipment only from reputable operators, and should insist on sufficient training before using the equipment. Every year people are killed or injured due to improper, careless or reckless operation of scooters, jet-skis, and personal watercraft."

Think it through carefully and be sure you have experience in operating any vehicle before renting one on a cruise vacation. Might be the “mother” in me speaking but be careful out there. Take home only fantastic cruise memories.

Photo by Jackie Sheckler Finch

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