On Thursday a petition was launched by Joanna Dentskevich, calling on the States to evaluation legal guidelines, with a view to creating it safer to cycle, stroll and horse-ride on Jersey’s roads.
The initiative comes after Mrs Dentskevich’s 14-year-old son Freddie was struck by a car whereas biking in March final yr.
Mrs Dentskevich says that the household has been instructed by prosecuting authorities that the choice was taken to not cost anyone as a result of the motive force had claimed that they didn’t realise they’d hit and brought on damage to an individual and that due to this fact, within the act of driving away, there was no intention of doing something illegal.
Merely driving away, Mrs Dentskevich was instructed, didn’t in itself represent a criminal offense and, as there have been no witnesses to the collision, it couldn’t be decided whether or not the motive force had been driving carelessly.
The petition reads: ‘Our 14-year-old son Freddie was left for lifeless following a horrific hit-and-run cycle collision … This is only one instance of an extended historical past of street visitors collisions the place, below the present Jersey legislation, the susceptible street consumer has had little to no safety, which regularly permits perpetrators to keep away from any accountability and proceed to drive carefree on our Island roads.’
Mrs Dentskevich mentioned that she had launched her petition as a result of she believed all Islanders ought to be capable of use the street safely.
‘If some unlucky accident does occur, there ought to be some kind of accountability,’ she mentioned. ‘There are initiatives in place to encourage kids to remain lively by strolling and biking, but when that’s going to occur the roads should be safer.’
The petition had already gained greater than 1,400 signatures in somewhat over 24 hours after it was launched, triggering a ministerial response.
‘We’ve had monumental help from so many people who find themselves discovering the petition,’ mentioned Mrs Dentskevich. ‘The way it’s been accepted is unimaginable.’
Ian Williams – proprietor of The Cog and Sprocket cycle store and head of Jersey Rouleurs cycle group – mentioned he didn’t imagine Jersey was doing sufficient to guard susceptible street customers and outlined his help for the petition.
‘I feel [the petition] is implausible. In Europe, and in Holland significantly, if there’s a collision with a motorcycle it’s instantly regarded as the car driver’s fault till confirmed in any other case. In Jersey, it’s the different means spherical. The street is a shared-use pathway and we want a legislation or governance whereby fault is robotically established to be on the bigger car.’
Mr Williams mentioned he was struck final weekend by a motorcycle rider who handed near him and mentioned that he obtained frequent complaints from fellow riders who had had comparable experiences.
‘The bike rider determined I’d been holding him up, so determined to kick me as he went previous. It occurs every day. The Rouleurs is a membership that’s over 200 members robust and there are frequent reviews of incidents the place vehicles, tractors or motorbikes are available in too shut. I and my colleague, James, take calls a minimum of three or 4 occasions every week from individuals who have had shut passes.
‘On the finish of the day, it doesn’t matter who’s holding you up – it is just a matter of seconds. If the lifetime of a walker or an individual using their bike is price much less to you, as a car driver, than being held up, you want to see a psychologist.’
Jersey Sport added in an announcement that any initiative which improved security on the roads for all customers ‘has received to be a superb factor’.
‘Our imaginative and prescient for Transfer Extra Journey, throughout the Inspiring an Lively Jersey Technique, is an island the place lively journey – strolling, working or biking – is prioritised over motorised journey, with excessive requirements of security and accessibility,’ the assertion mentioned.
Almost about protecting secure on the roads, Jersey Sport suggested Islanders to observe the Freeway Code and put on acceptable clothes when exercising, together with a cycle helmet if using a motorcycle.
‘Ensure you have lights in your bike and are carrying a head torch if out after darkish,’ they mentioned. ‘All the time put on vibrant clothes, together with some kind of reflective put on, so that you might be seen on the roads by different street customers. Inform somebody if you end up going out, which route you’re taking and if you count on to be dwelling. Take your cell phone with you.’
Alistair Mitchell, who’s a member of the Jersey Cycle group and sits on the Jersey Street Security Panel, emphasised that ‘all of us must look out for one another’.
‘When you’re driving a automobile, you need to be on the look-out for extra susceptible individuals like cyclists, horse riders and pedestrians, as you’re within the extra dominant street place in a heavy car and might do extra harm.’
‘Notably over the past six months, with the pandemic and lockdown, we’ve seen many extra individuals taking to the roads as pedestrians, on bikes and on skateboards. We’re a really crowded island with crowded roads and I feel there’s a critical name now that we should be searching for one another way more than we have now executed prior to now.’
Mr Mitchell mentioned that the UK had been presently reviewing their freeway code, to place in place a hierarchy of street customers and street vulnerability.
‘What they’re erring in direction of is presumed legal responsibility, whereby the extra susceptible street consumer is protected,’ he mentioned. ‘If a bicycle owner hits the pedestrian, within the first occasion the bicycle owner is held accountable except proved in any other case. It’s a rule that’s held in lots of international locations in Europe.
‘The UK are taking a look at placing this into the Freeway Code, however then it could possibly be prolonged additional to carry into legislation. A number of cyclists would welcome that legislation being introduced in, because it does supply a bit extra safeguarding.’
‘What we have to develop in Jersey is extra empathy and understanding of one another. What we don’t need are extra incidents just like the one together with that boy. Notably seeing extra kids out on the street, we would like it to be secure for them. It’s in everybody’s pursuits in the long run.’