The traffic rules on Bonaire, not very complicated!

5 March 2016 by Sunwise Bonaire - Reading time: 3 minutes

For visitors from North America or European countries who are already used to driving on the right side of the road, driving on Bonaire might be very easy, but because the island does not yet have any traffic lights and Bonaire uses a large part of the international road signs, it is not very complicated for guests from other countries to participate in traffic here either. Some of the texts on the plates are in Dutch, so this can sometimes raise questions for non-native speakers.

No public transport

Bonaire has so much more to offer than just the immediate vicinity of your Sunwise accommodation! Natural beauty, cultural sights, the best shore dive sites in the world …

Since we don’t have public transportation on the island (apart from a few taxis that are often very busy at the airport or with the cruise ships in town), we always recommend our guests to rent a car. Also because walking is often too far, even though the island is not very big and because riding a bicycle or scooter is often just too hot, under the burning Caribbean sun.

Car Rental Bonaire

The car rental company with the largest and best maintained fleet on the island is AB Car Rental. The hostesses and hosts of Sunwise Bonaire, can get a nice quote for their guests at this well-known Bonairean company!

Rules and standards

For visitors from North America or European countries who are already used to driving on the right side of the road, driving on Bonaire might be very easy, but because the island does not yet have any traffic lights and Bonaire uses a large part of the international road signs, it is not very complicated for guests from other countries to participate in traffic here either. Some of the texts on the plates are in Dutch, so this can sometimes raise questions for non-native speakers.

Important traffic rules and standards of conduct

  • You must have a valid driver’s license to drive.
  • Roundabout rules are the same as international law, which means that traffic on the roundabout has priority over those entering the roundabout.
  • You may pass other cars, parked vehicles or groups of pedestrians.
  • 40 km/h (25 MPH) is the maximum speed within city limits, 60 km/h (37 MPH) oustide.
  • Never attempt to overtake a moving truck within city limits. When you pass trucks outside built-up areas, be alert to any unsecured cargo.
  • In the event of an accident, you must not leave the scene of the collision if there is material damage, personal injury or death of an affected person. Before leaving the location, your identification must be properly registered by the authorities.
  • Be very careful when passing cyclists, especially in the dark. It is mandatory that bicycles have lights, but the roads are poorly lit and there are many holes and potholes.
  • There are many stray animals, donkeys, goats, iguanas, on the public road. When you approach this, be extra careful.
  • Be extra careful after rainfall, because the roads will become slippery by water and oil residues that will float upwards.
  • A stop sign (on a sign or by the police) means that you really have to come to a complete stop.
  • The car must be in order, with ame the lighting. A broken headlight on the car can result in a fine by the police.
  • When leaving the car, especially on the remote dive sites, leave the doors of the lock to prevent damage. Do not leave anything of value in the car.
  • Keep in mind one-way streets in Playa (Kralendijk), because there are quite a few!
  • You must be 18 years old to drive a motorcycle or car. Small children may only ride a bicycle or motorbike if a special child seat is fitted or if the child is large enough to use the footrests safely. It is not allowed to ride on the petrol tank of an engine.
  • Please note that the coastal tourist route on the northwest side is a one-way road approximately from the 1000 Steps dive site. This means that traffic that continues below must return via Rincon to Playa (Kralendijk).

Rules for right-of-way

  • Always drive defensively. At an intersection where you have priority, you do not always get priority! Be alert to traffic that does not take into account traffic rules.
  • Be extra alert at intersections, especially when driving on unpaved roads. The basic rule is that motorized vehicles coming from the right at an equivalent intersection have priority. This is not the case on T and Y splits and (other) unequal intersections! Traffic from the right has to wait! On Bonaire, equivalent crossings are often priority crossings, so that in almost all cases traffic from the right has no right of way! If in doubt, wait.
  • All traffic turning left must must give right-of-way to all oncoming traffic, on all roads.
  • All traffic from secondary roads must give right-of-way to all traffic from right and left.
  • Take precedence over all other traffic:
    – Police car with siren;
    – Fire truck with siren;
    – Ambulance with siren;
    – Funeral procession;
    – Military convoys.
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