Well ........ four Segways were traveling up the beach yesterday. I approached them and said please use the road.
As much as I wanted to use the F-off approach, I erred on the side of calm and friendly, with a lot of pleading sighing and explaining that we'd really like to give the tourists a real beach where their kids can sit by the water's edge and play in peace. I said there is such a big difference between a beach and a road. I said that members of the neighborhood had gone to the personal expense of buildng and maintaining a road behind the lots to give vehicles a decent alternative route (incidentally the road in our area is really good).
I informed them of the ordinance about vehiecles on the beach. One of the riders made a sarcastic remark which I will not dignify by repeating here. Another rider, a gringo male, began to argue his case ---- he claims that he understands vehicle ordinances, but that "everywhere in the world we get Segway's exempted from the definition of a vehicle"........ and then annoucned that the Chamber of Commerce fully supports their beach tours. I shook my head and said look - you will get forcefull opposition from residents and businesses in this area and that is not fun for any of us - it will especially not be fun for your customers. He said surelyt here is a way to do this responsibly - I said - not on the beach there isn't, and walked away while he continued to mutter. The riders proceeded north along the beach. I did not see them return headed south.
I've read the Chamber Minutes each week and have not seen a single mention of an endorsement of Segway beach tours (could have been there and I forgot?)- but really, that is not the main point is it. The main point is how do we turn this island into a success story.
The quality of our beaches is one of our shortcomings - we can turn that around by picking up garbage, and by raking, and doing a little bit of volunteer grooming on adjacent vacant properties. We can do that by discouraging vehicles on the beach, we can do it - we can. There are some really beautiful stretches of beach along this island now, but if thes beautiful beaches are used as roads insteaad of parklike spaces where people cannot spread out a beach towel in peace, what is the point.
Suggest a passive resistance approach from beach establishments - no doubt the tourists on these vehicles will get thirsty and the tour operator figures he can stop at your resort or bar for a drink for his group. Well - the profit on five beers is not going to make up for lost revenues due to unhappy overnight guests on this island - period.
Suggest that establishments along the beach refuse service to people who abuse the beach by driving on it with golf cart, motorcycle or segway.
Also - suggest that those of us who live up island and who do not like vehicles on the beach should put our money where our mouths are - and keep the roads passable. Maybe even put some time and effort into making the roads a bit pretty. Tres Cocos has a lovely garden-lined roadway. Some of the other roads run along lagoons where the views are stunning, birding is great and it's a totally diffrernt and special island experience.
Let's do our part to make the roads someplace the travelers want to be - that would go a long way to taking the burden of "enforcement" off our shoulders. I ride a bike a lot. Beach riding is what I do where there is no road (or better said, no passable road) - I would far perfer to be on a road, as the soft sand is really difficult and somewhat dangerous. I think the hoards of workers who speed up the beach on bikes would rather go on a decent road too.
So anyway I am suggesting that without an attractive alternative we are going to be fighting a real uphill and possibly loosing, battle.
There are still some high-end homnes and resorts with large garbage pits along the roadside in the back of their property. It was the norm 15 years ago, but it's time that stopped too.
We should re-assess the big picture and make a concerted effort to make a clean, safe, beautiful beach and a clean, safe and comfortable road.