Call to respect riders
IT is ‘very possible’ that a cyclist will be killed on Jersey’s roads unless driver behaviour changes and more safer cycling routes are created, riders have said.
Thirty-five cyclists suffered ‘serious injuries’ and needed hospital treatment between 2011 and 2015, according to the latest figures which could be obtained by the JEP, and cycling groups say the roads have become more dangerous in the past five years.
Other figures show there have been 118 road traffic collisions involving cyclists on the Island’s highways in the past three years.
In January a LibertyBus driver lost his licence after almost crushing a cyclist against a granite wall in St Peter.
And a cyclist is currently in hospital with ‘potentially life-changing injuries’ following a crash in Gorey this week, although the cause of that accident is currently unclear.
Today cyclists have called for driver behaviour to change and for more, safer cycling routes to be introduced.
Ian Williams, owner of the Cog and Sprocket bike shop and ride captain with the Jersey Rouleurs cycling group, said: ‘Safer cycling routes and more cycle paths are really needed. If there were to be more of these, then it would reduce the likelihood of serious accidents or even a possible fatal accident.’
Today, Infrastructure Minister Kevin Lewis said he planned to push on with the Sustainable Transport Policy – despite St Helier Constable Simon Crowcroft saying the document lacked detail and would not get approved by the Assembly.
The policy sets out plans to ‘make cycling and walking a safer and more attractive choice for more people of all abilities’. Promises for this year include more work on the Eastern Cycle Network and a cycle proficiency roll-out in schools.
The minister has also said he wants to remove some on-street parking in St Helier to make way for cycle lanes.
Mr Crowcroft previously said he backed the principles of the policy but gave it a ‘three out of ten’ for ‘realism, joined-up thinking and the likelihood of actually getting things done’.
Now, cyclist Adrian Kemp has said more traffic on the Island’s roads was leading to motorists becoming impatient and putting those on two wheels at risk.
He said: ‘I do a lot of miles and I see a lot of bad cyclists, but also bad drivers, and I’ve noticed it a lot more in the past five years. There is more traffic, which I think has led to people being more impatient. People get stuck in traffic and then they come across a cyclist – which sometimes is the last straw.
‘Living with a life-changing error is a lot worse than having to wait a few moments. It is very possible we will see a fatal incident in the future, and this is at a time when the States are trying to promote healthier lifestyles and cycling.’
Mr Williams said that the Jersey Rouleurs used cameras to capture near misses, which they report to the States police.
He added: ‘Near misses are very, very common. I would say we get two a week. People have had scrapes and near misses. Myself, I have been pushed into a wall by a car in the past and the driver went to court and almost lost his license.
‘It is drivers being impatient. Cyclists go at about 25mph and the speed limit is 30 and 40, so all it takes is for a driver to wait an extra minute or so – that is all it is.’
Of the 35 cyclists seriously injured between 2011 and 2015, 12 incidents resulted in prosecutions for drivers alone and three for the cyclists alone. Two cases resulted in both driver and cyclist being prosecuted.
Defending the Sustainable Transport Policy, Deputy Lewis said cycle safety was something he was actively trying to address.
‘We are trying to separate cycling from drivers, but there are some areas of the Island where this isn’t possible and some cyclists don’t like to ride on tracks. We are moving forward with this policy. We are already putting the meat on the bones of it and there is no reason why it shouldn’t get voted through by the Assembly.’
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