Island roads more dangerous for vulnerable users

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ACTION needs to be taken after a new report showed that Jersey’s roads are ‘significantly’ more dangerous than the UK’s for vulnerable users such as pedestrians, cyclists and horse-riders, campaigners have said.

The Island Road Safety Review has revealed that there were 283 injuries as a result of road accidents in 2019, and 82% of those killed or seriously injured were vulnerable users, with cyclists and motorcyclists each accounting for about a third of these most serious incidents.

In the UK, 57% of serious injuries or deaths were vulnerable users, while cyclists and motorcyclists each made up about a fifth of these cases.

The report also highlighted that there was a higher proportion of road casualties in Jersey overall.

Road safety campaigner Joanna Dentskevich, whose son Freddie was seriously injured while cycling last year, welcomed the report but called for action to be taken.

She said: ‘The review sadly highlights the very high number of collisions and casualties on Jersey roads, especially those involving vulnerable road users. I was shocked to read that per capita casualties are higher than in the UK.

‘Fundamental to any approach though, is road-user attitude and behaviour and respect for another. In every other walk of life this is expected but it doesn’t seem to apply on the roads, whether it is because the rules are not enforced or the punishment is not enough to act as a deterrent, who knows? But this needs to established.

‘The fact that for the last three years in question, on average, one person per week was seriously injured as a result of a road-traffic collision [in Jersey] yet there seems to have been virtually no prosecutions perhaps shines a light on where the issue is.

‘I am really hoping that the government will now take this forward, with the support and enforcement by the Attorney General and police and do what is needed to make Jersey’s roads safe for us all to use.’

The report says that more research needs to be done to establish why the proportion of vulnerable users involved in accidents was ‘significantly higher’ in Jersey than in the UK.

‘Further in-depth analysis of the data is beyond the scope of this review, but will be an interim step before the development of the Road Safety Strategy,’ it says.

It adds: ‘This review has quantified the magnitude of the road-traffic collision and casualty problem in Jersey, and established that casualty rates are slightly higher than Great Britain, with the high proportion of vulnerable road users a magnitude higher.

‘Being data-led is crucial to succeeding, with a need for data collected at the scene of collisions to be more comprehensive and the need for a versatile collision and casualty database.’

A spokesman for cycle advocacy group Cycle4Jersey said, however, that the report was ‘very disappointing’ and had not detailed sufficient action being taken.

He said: ‘Really it’s a cut and paste job and there’s not a lot in there which is really relevant to Jersey.

‘The report failed to discuss the introduction of the amended highway code in the UK in early 2022, which is giving vulnerable road users the greatest level of protection.

‘All it does is talk about future reports and once again the Infrastructure Minister is kicking the can down the road.’

Mark Pickford, the owner of Mark Pickford’s Cycle Shop, said that he was ‘not surprised’ by the high level of accidents involving ‘vulnerable road users’ due to the high number of cars in the Island.

‘There are lot of cars in Jersey – about three per household – so it’s not surprising,’ he said. ‘Obviously you have to be careful on the roads here. Cyclists need to be really aware of the motorists around them and there needs to be courtesy on both sides.’

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