Earlier this week, Joanna Dentskevich spoke out about her family’s experience in March when her son Freddie was allegedly hit by a van while cycling and knocked unconscious. Mrs Dentskevich claimed that the driver did not stop or call 999 and the prosecuting authorities had told the Dentskevich family that nobody would be charged as the driver said they did not realise they had hit and caused injury to a person.
Since sharing her story, Mrs Dentskevich has been flooded with messages of support from Islanders. ‘I’m absolutely overwhelmed with the response – our whole family is by the support that we’ve been given,’ she said.
‘I’m also kind of shocked. If anything comes out of this, I hope we can make drivers more aware and more responsible regarding the impact of their actions on the road.
‘There are so many important issues out there and it’s shocking that we are even having to debate something as simple as this.’
Mrs Denstkevich said she hoped that the publicity from her son’s case would act as a catalyst to change the laws in Jersey. ‘I want something to be in place so that parents have more confidence when their children are cycling,’ she said.
She suggested that Jersey’s legislation for road-users ought to be more in line with the rules in those European countries which have adopted a ‘presumed liability’ regulatory approach. This places the liability for an accident on the less-vulnerable road-user, unless they can establish that the other party was at fault – so a vehicle driver would automatically be liable if they had a crash involving a cyclist.
‘It’s about the vulnerability of users on the road,’ said Mrs Dentskevich. ‘It starts with pedestrians, then horse riders and cyclists – we need to ensure the roads are safe, not only for bike riders but for all vulnerable road users.’