Jersey could go Dutch and extend its cycle network

Infrastructure Minister Andy Jehan with the Ambassador of the Netherlands to the United Kingdom, His Excellency Mr Karel van Oosterom Picture: James Jeune (37543566)

“OPPORTUNITIES” for Jersey to expand its cycling infrastructure – following the example set by the Netherlands – are to be explored by the government following a visit from a Dutch diplomat.

Infrastructure Minister Andy Jehan said this could include investment in the eastern cycling network, where there is “a lot of work to do” in comparison to the western routes.

Mr Jehan made the comments after the arrival of Karel van Oosterom, the Ambassador of the Netherlands to the United Kingdom, who came to the Island to strengthen diplomatic ties.

The ambassador viewed parts of Jersey’s cycling infrastructure and took part in a ride with Mr Jehan on the St Peter’s Valley cycle link.

The Netherlands is well known for widespread bicycle usage, which accounts for more than a quarter of all journeys.

Mr van Oosterom said: “At the moment there are so many cars that you will have what you call here a traffic jam, which in the Netherlands we would call a slight hiccup.”

He added: “You have to create an infrastructure which will make sure people will use their bicycles.

“Because of electric bikes it is really easy now to go all over the Island. The only problem is there are too many cars. There are the beginnings of cycling infrastructure, but build more and it is much better for the people.

“You will get many more tourists – certainly from the Netherlands.”

Mr Jehan said: “There is a whole range of solutions – cycling, walking, bus use. We have to give people choice.”

Commenting on whether Jersey could follow the example set by the Netherlands, he continued: “There are opportunities.

“We see twice as many people cycling in from the west of the Island, so clearly we have a lot of work to do in the east.”

He added: “We can’t make any great promises but we will find some solutions.”

Alistair Mitchell, a member of the Cycle4Jersey advocacy group, said: “Jersey has close links with the Dutch cycling community, who have sent over representatives on multiple occasions and met government, met ministers, giving advice on sustainable transport.”

He continued: “It’s a case now of us needing to make decisions and do things,” although he noted that the group felt “positive” about Mr Jehan as Infrastructure Minister.

“There is great potential to get things done. If we can’t get sustainable transport to work in our little nine-by-five Island, then nowhere can – we should be leading the way.”

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