Jersey minister says tolerance needed on the roads

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Greater tolerance is needed between drivers and cyclists on Jersey's roads according to the transport minister.

Deputy Kevin Lewis said there were about 50 serious injuries on island roads each year, costing the island about £18m.

The transport authorities are developing a strategy they hope will prevent accidents and deaths.

This has been delayed by staff shortages as it was originally due to be published in 2011.

Deputy Lewis said the cost of injuries on the road included the cost of hospital treatment as well as police and ambulance service time.

He said of the road safety report: "Road markings and signage are crucial, people need to slow down. We are nine miles by five and I don't understand the rush to get around.

"It is awareness on both sides, there is good or bad on both sides. I have seen cyclists use traffic lights as optional extras, it is illegal so don't. I have also seen drivers have a disrespect for cyclists, we need to be drive friendly."

Dave St George, head of Transport Policy in Jersey, previously said between 2009 and 2011, the most recent period of study, the number of people killed or seriously injured in road crashes in Jersey was 39% higher than in the UK.

In the UK it was 4.21 per 10,000 people and in Jersey it was 5.85 in every 10,000 of the population.

Mr St George said Jersey's accident rate dropped significantly in the 70s and 80s but for the last decade it had not improved. However, in the UK and France it had been "dramatically improving".

Steve Lowthorpe, head of Jersey's cycling association says the number of injuries on Jersey's roads could be reduced if more people were properly trained.

He said: "I am a motorist, I am a cyclist and a pedestrian. The best motorists are those that have experienced life on a bicycle. I think it is a far worse experience in South London and commuting on a bicycle became far too hazardous for me.

"It goes back to training, if we can start off getting people young and training them properly. I have concerns about cycling proficiency, it is down to the schools but it is very patchy."

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