Jersey: A low-speed limit island with a high crash casualty rate

Emergency services attend St Helier road traffic incident
Image caption St Helier bears the brunt of the island's road safety problems, says Constable Simon Crowcroft

Figures seen by BBC News suggest death and serious injury rates on Jersey's roads, per head of population, are almost 40% higher than in the UK.

On an island where speeds limits range from 15mph on lanes to 40mph on main roads, the news may surprise mainland motorists accustomed to faster traffic.

The news has provoked a social media road safety debate on the island.

BBC News surveyed parish constables, who are locally elected, to highlight Jersey's biggest road safety worries.

St Helier

Jersey's only town bears the brunt of the island's road safety problems, says Constable Simon Crowcroft.

He entered politics after his son was knocked down by a car in 1994, breaking a leg, and says the situation has improved little since.

"You can drive at 30mph through central St Helier, which is a higher speed limit than you have in many of the rural parishes.

"The States have to put in place a walking and cycling infrastructure, which is lamentably overdue."


"It's bad driving that causes accidents here rather than speed," says Constable John Le Maistre. "The coast road is difficult for pedestrians because it has no pavements.

"You can have a 30mph limit but unless it's heavily policed people ignore it. We have boy racers in the middle of the night and there's no stopping them."


A penalty points system would discourage bad driving, says Constable John Gallichan.

"With road safety, 95% of people are fine but for the remainder, it doesn't matter what the speed limit is, they ignore it.

"I think a points system would definitely be a deterrent."

St Mary

One of Jersey's smallest parishes will introduce a traffic-calming scheme this year.

Constable Juliette Gallichan says: "Traffic volumes and speed make it difficult for pedestrians and cyclists to safely access the amenities in St Mary.

"The junction at St Mary's Church is the scene of numerous shunts and speeding through the existing 20mph stretch near the school is always an issue."

St Peter

Harsher penalties might improve motorist behaviour, says John Refault, Constable of St Peter.

"Unfortunately, speed limits in themselves do not influence those that speed regularly."

"Financial penalties are not habit-changing. Points and licence suspensions that severely inconvenience habitual speeders are more likely to bring about a change of habit."

St Martin

Le Grande Route de Rozel between The Royal pub and Le Clos du Viviers worries Constable Michel Le Trouquer.

"It is a busy main road but narrow. It is used by pedestrians and may be suitable for a 'Pedestrian Road' similar to those at West Hill, La Grande Route de Mont A L'abbe, and Jambart Lane."

He also highlighted rush-hour traffic and said the variety of speed limits is confusing.

St Clement

Safety issues are less of a concern in St Clement, says Constable Leonard Norman.

"It's improved a hell of a lot over the past few years because of the activity of the honorary and states police doing speed checks, but you'll always get the odd ones.

"You could argue that some of the smaller roads could have a lower limit than 30mph but there are very few where you can do more than 20mph so it's not top of our priorities."

St John

"Our biggest problem is the surface of the roads," says Constable Philip Rondel.

"Around the church and school is the most important area. We have thousands of traffic movements a day, even up here in St John's.

"It's quite a considerable number of vehicles, 3,000, and we've already extended 30mph limits and we are looking at putting in a footpath from the village towards the supermarket."

St Lawrence

By some measures, road deaths are rare in Jersey, although St Lawrence witnessed one in December last year.

"Victoria Avenue is part of our parish and there have been fatalities there," says Constable Deidre Mezbourian

"We're looking to make improvements to the historic village centre on the main road. It may not necessarily include traffic calming but I'd be surprised if it didn't include some form of measures to slow traffic down."

St Saviour

Safety of schoolchildren is a recurrent theme in Jersey's road safety debate, although one constable views some pupils as part of the problem.

"Most of the children in the upper sixth have cars or motorcycles and they're all coming through St Saviour," says Constable Sadie Rennard.

"It's a nightmare. I don't have the answers but all I know is that they're riding through my parish and I feel sorry for my parishioners who pay rates in the parish and have to put up with the traffic."

St Ouen

"We're a bit of a leisure parish so we have to accommodate car rallies, horse rallies, cycle races and all sorts," says Chef de Police Roy Le Bas.

"We do have a lot of petty, careless driving. I can see an increase in those numbers over the past 18 months and that concerns me. Eventually someone will get really hurt."

St Brelade

Constable Stephen Pallett says a parish-wide speed limit of 30mph is likely.

"Certainly on Route Orange there have been some quite serious accidents, especially at the bottom corner. It's at school times when young people are cycling and walking to school.

"We'll be looking at an all-parish limit of 30mph with some exceptions. I don't think that's a million miles from what we should be looking at island-wide."

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