Act now on road safety, urges Jersey cycling campaigner

Cycle lane marking with cyclist. (38226706)

ACTION needs to be taken now to make Jersey’s roads safer, a cycling campaigner has said after a report revealed that two-thirds of all incidents involved cyclists and other “vulnerable road users”.

Alistair Mitchell, of advocacy group Cycle4Jersey, believes “a cultural change” is needed in the Island where roads become regarded as shared and not the preserve of motorists. He has called for a long-awaited eastern cycle path to be created, more pedestrianisation in town and for some speed limits to be dropped from 30mph to 20mph.

Mr Mitchell spoke to the JEP following the release of an Infrastructure report on road-collision levels in the Island last year.

Among its findings were that 67% of all incidents involved “vulnerable road users” – cyclists and pedestrians.

The report also found that vulnerable road users were “over-represented” in collision and casualty data, “especially cyclists and motorcyclists”.

Mr Mitchell said this was the hard evidence that showed changes were urgently needed.

He said: “Now we have solid data that proves what we’ve been saying for a long time.

“We are trying to get more children cycling to school, more people being active, but there’s an issue because of the danger. It’s quite disturbing.”

Alistair Mitchell, member of Cycle for Jersey Group and the Road Safety Panel Picture: JON GUEGAN. (38226592)

Mr Mitchell said changes should include more dedicated cycling routes, including one from Gorey to the centre of town, which could then link up with the Avenue and Railway Walk.

“The eastern cycle route has been talked about for decades,” he said, but he added: “We are fully aware that we can’t have dedicated cycle tracks everywhere.”

Following the release of the government report, Infrastructure Minister Andy Jehan cited safer cycle routes as changes that needed to be made, especially in the east of the Island.

Mr Mitchell also said speed was an issue. “We really need to look at road speed, especially in residential areas and outside schools. There are too many little lanes where 30mph is just too fast.”

He recommended more routes with speed limits of 20mph and ideas such as banning cars from outside schools when children are arriving or leaving.

He said: “St Luke’s School has that. It could be introduced at other schools.”

A road outside St Luke’s Primary School was closed to traffic last summer as part of a government pilot scheme to encourage children to walk and cycle to school.

Mr Mitchell also said he would like to see further pedestrianisation within St Helier, where roads are open to cyclists as well as walkers, but cars are excluded.

But he added: “There needs to be a cultural change, where roads are seen as shared, whether you are using them in a car, or on a horse, or on a bike or walking.

“Nobody has ownership of the roads. Everybody has a responsibility to everybody else.

“Cars don’t hit cyclists. There are drivers driving the cars.”

Eastern cycle paths

A cycle route in the east has been floated for more than a decade, but has yet to materialise.

In 2009, Grouville Deputy Carolyn Labey, now International Development Minister, called for £500,000 to be used to pay for a cycle path from Gorey to town.

In August 2022, Deputy Steve Ahier, who was then Assistant Infrastructure Minister, insisted that the path remained on the government agenda.

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