Driving around the island.
For visitors from either North America or European countries who drive on the right-hand side, driving on Bonaire will be very easy as the island doesn’t yet have even one traffic light. Bonaire, for the most part, employs International Traffic Signs, although some texts on signs may be in Dutch. Here’s a short explanation of the International Traffic Signs one might encounter when driving on Bonaire.
Circular Signs With Red Rims.
All circular signs with red rims denote prohibitions and restrictions. A whole sign refers to both sides of the road. If anything is prohibited or any restraints are imposed for any side of the road, in particular, the sign is vertically divided in two, with the left half of the sign indicating the left side of the road and the right half indicating the right side of the road.
Triangular Signs with Red Rims.
All signs that have the shape of a triangle are notice signs or danger signs. The type of danger that the driver is warned about is drawn in the middle of the triangle.
Blue Circular Signs.
Blue circular signs denote a command.
Blue Square Signs.
All square signs give indications.
Here are some of the commonly encountered traffic signs around Bonaire.
|You have the right of way at this intersection|
|You must yield at this intersection|
|Prohibited for all vehicles|
|One way; do not enter|
|A car or truck may not pass another car or truck here|
|Oncoming traffic has the right of way; you must wait until it has driven past|
|You have the right of way and the oncoming car must wait until you have driven past|
|Stopping and parking on or along this road is forbidden on either side|
|Cab stand; no other vehicles except taxis are allowed to park here|
|A dangerous or sharp road turn is ahead|
|The road is broken up or there is construction on the road ahead|
|The road will narrow|
|Bump in the road; be watchful for bumps in the road|
|The road is closed to through traffic|
Important Traffic Regulations.
- You are not allowed to drive when intoxicated with alcohol or drugs.
- You may not hold a mobile telephone in your hand while driving.
- All passengers in the car must wear a seat belt.
- Children 3 years of age or younger must be seated in a child’s car seat while in the car.
- Drivers of scooters, motorcycles, and ATV quads must wear a safety helmet.
- When driving, you must have a valid license for the vehicle you are driving. You must also have insurance papers for the vehicle and proof of legally paid license plates.
- Rotary laws now comply with international law, which means that traffic in the rotary has the right of way, while those entering should yield to traffic in the rotary.
- You may pass other cars, parked vehicles, or groups of pedestrians. Be aware of oncoming traffic and traffic coming from the side roads.
- 40 kilometers is the speed limit in town and 60 kilometers out of town. The police will use radar traps.
- Never try to pass a moving truck in town. When passing trucks out of town, be careful of unsecured loads like loose gravel or sand. Trucks tend to have rocks jammed between their rear double tires, so please keep a good driving distance from them.
- In the case of an accident, you may not leave if there is material damage, personal injury, or the death of a person involved. Before leaving the scene, your identification has to be properly registered by the authorities. You may never leave an injured and helpless person.
- Be very careful when passing bicycles, especially at night. It is the law that bicycles have lights at night (white on the front and red on the rear).
- Do not park or stop your car in front of the Post Office, airport, or any very busy and dangerous road. If there are parking lots, use them, especially at the supermarkets.
- There are many loose dogs, goats, sheep, donkeys, chickens, and occasionally pigs on the road. When approaching any of these, take special care. When traveling at night, pay special attention to sleeping animals on the road or wild donkeys stepping from behind a bush into the road. It is also difficult to see people walking at night on the streets, and they are often on the wrong side of the road.
- After a rain, be especially careful as the roads get extremely slippery, which can cause accidents.
- An international stop sign means stop. You must come to a complete stop. Please see the sign section (above) for an image of the sign.
- A burned-out light bulb on a car can be ticketed with a fine from the police.
- Make sure to close all windows and lock your car. Be careful to lock your motorcycle or bicycle, especially when it is out of sight.
- Be aware of the one-way streets in town, as there are many of them. See the sign section (above) to view an image of this sign.
- You must be 18 years old to drive a motorcycle or a car. Children may only ride along on a bike or motorcycle if a special seat is provided or the child is big enough to reach the footrest securely. It is not permitted to ride on the gas tank.
- When driving on dirt roads, be especially careful at junctions or intersections. The first basic rule is that any motorized vehicle entering traffic from the right has the right of way. You have to yield to traffic coming from your right. If in doubt, just wait.
- Be aware that the sightseeing road along the sea on the west side heading north becomes a one-way road near the 1000 Steps dive site in the vicinity of the radio towers on the northern tourist road. Plan for this and also be prepared to have some vehicles approaching in the wrong direction.
Right of Way.
- Drive defensively. At an intersection where you have the right of way, you may still have to yield to traffic that is disregarding traffic rules.
- All motorized traffic entering from the right has the right of way.
- All traffic making a left turn has to yield to all oncoming traffic on all roads.
- All slow traffic has to yield to all motorized entering traffic from the left and the right.
- All traffic on secondary roads has to yield to all traffic from the right and the left.
- The following have the right of way above other traffic:
Police car with siren going,
Fire truck with siren going,
Ambulance with siren going,