Walkers and cyclists to receive legal priority over cars on designated roads

WALKERS and cyclists will be given priority on designated roads around the Island after a proposal was adopted following a lengthy debate in the States Assembly.

Picture: JON GUEGAN. (28842492)
Picture: JON GUEGAN. (28842492)

Deputy Rob Ward asked Members to back his proposition, calling for non-essential car travel to be banned in Jersey’s green lanes and legal priority given to pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders, with the Infrastructure Minister challenged to bring forward legislation by the beginning of 2021.

However, an amendment from the Constables means that the changes will come into force on designated roads as chosen by the parish Constable.

Deputy Ward said he wanted to relaunch the green-lanes network for parishes not currently in the scheme, adding that with the recent surge in walking and cycling, the Assembly had been presented with a great opportunity to keep the momentum on sustainable transport going.

He said: ‘During lockdown there has been an increase in walking and cycling across the Island and we have all seen more people enjoying the stunning green lanes and byways.

‘I have supported sustainable transport for some time and now we have an opportunity we must not miss, to keep moving towards outdoors and encourage long-term change.

‘My concern is that walking and cycling pathways created from major infrastructure projects that are expensive and take a long time are at risk in the current climate. Even before this economic shock, projects in the east haven’t been delivered.

‘The Highway Code indicates to give the right to cyclists and walkers, but there is a lack of legislation on it. It will have a positive impact with the sustainable transport policy without the costs.’

Part of the proposition also called for some roads to be used only for essential travel but St Lawrence Constable Deidre Mezbourian said this could be difficult.

She added: ‘We have visitors whose only mode of transport is vehicular and we don’t want to limit their ability to enjoy the lanes and prevent them from sightseeing.

‘Essential travel is not defined in the proposition and would require careful consideration.’

Concerns were raised by a number of Members, including Deputy Mike Higgins, who said the proposal amounted to discrimination.

‘I fundamentally disagree with limiting access to countryside lanes and roads. This is discrimination by creating no-go areas for the vast majority of Islanders.

‘Many hidden jewels are down these roads and we should all be allowed to share them. And what about disabled people, who have a car as the only way of getting around?’ he asked.

Infrastructure Minister Kevin Lewis said he did not want to criminalise the use of the roads for non-essential use, calling such a move ‘draconian’, before stating it would be difficult to police.

The proposition was passed, as amended, by 25 votes to 20.

FOR: Senators: Gorst, Vallois, Moore, Pallett and Mézec. Constables: Crowcroft, Mezbourian, Le Sueur-Rennard, Le Maistre, Vibert, Buchanan and Shenton-Stone. Deputies: Southern, C Labey, Tadier, Luce, Renouf, Doublet, R Labey, Young, Perchard, Ward, Alves, Pamplin and Gardiner. (25)

AGAINST: Senators: Farnham and Le Fondré. Constables: Jackson and Le Sueur. Deputies: Martin, Lewis, Higgins, Maçon, Pinel, Wickenden, Johnson, Truscott, Ash, Morel, Guida, Huelin, Raymond, Pointon, Le Hegarat and Ahier. (20)

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