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New rules for road users now in force

New rules for road users now in force

Saturday 29 January 2022

New rules for road users now in force

Saturday 29 January 2022


Jersey has officially adopted a new Highway Code that prioritises the safety of pedestrians and cyclists over cars in a hierarchy of road users.

The code is being updated in the UK, which means that Jersey will follow, with their Government saying it will make “roads safer, particularly for the most vulnerable road users.” It officially comes into force today (Saturday 29 January).

No direct financial penalties will apply for breaches of the code, but whether drivers' have abided by the code will be taken into consideration in prosecution of motoring offences. 

Earlier this month, Express outlined some of the key changes, which revolve around a 'hierarchy of road users,' and are structured under the following principles:

H1 - The Hierarchy

  • The underlying principle, and first rule of the new code from the UK, is a hierarchy that puts "road users most at risk in the event of a collision at the top."
  • It classifies those most at risk as pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders and motorcyclists, with children, older adults and disabled people being more at risk.
  • It says that those in charge of vehicles "that can cause the greatest harm" bear the greatest responsibility for danger to others - in particular, it namechecks drivers of large goods and passenger vehicles, vans/minibuses, cars/taxis and motorcycles.

H2 - Vehicles must give way to pedestrians crossing at a junction

  • Drivers, motorcyclists, horse drawn vehicles, horse riders and cyclists must give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross at a junction.
  • Cyclists should also give way to pedestrians on shared use cycle tracks.

H3 - Cyclist and horse priority at junctions

    • Drivers should not cut across “cyclists, horse riders or horse drawn vehicles going ahead when [they] are turning into or out of a junction or changing direction of lane, just as [they] would not turn across the path of another motor vehicle” or if it looks like it will make them swerve.
    • They add that, instead, they should wait for a safe gap if necessary, at times such as when cyclists are: approaching, passing or moving off from a junction;
      moving past or waiting alongside stationary or slow-moving traffic; or moving round a roundabout.

Cars.jpeg

Pictured: As part of the new rules, drivers should not cut across cyclists, horse riders or horse drawn vehicles going ahead when they are turning into or out of a junction or changing direction of lane, just as [they] would not turn across the path of another motor vehicle.

As well as these rules, road users should also be advised that:

      • When sharing space with them, cyclists should not pass pedestrians, horse riders or horse drawn vehicles closely or at high speed, particularly from behind, or a horse from its left.
      • If a cyclist is going straight ahead at a junction, they have priority over those turning in or out of the side of the road, unless road signs or makings indicate otherwise.
      • Drivers should leave at least 1.5 metres of space when overtaking cyclists at speeds of up to 30mph.
      • Drivers should pass horse riders and horse-drawn vehicles at speeds under 10mph and allow at least 2 metres of space.
      • Cyclists will now be allowed to cycle two abreast on the road, with the advice go into single file let drivers behind overtake when it is safe to do so.
      • Where possible, drivers should open the door using the 'dutch method,' meaning to open the door using your hand on the opposite side to the door you are opening - this will make drivers turn their head to look over their shoulder.

The Government say that they will not be introducing any new penalties alongside the code, and that it will be up to the judiciary to include it in their judgements for any road offences.

When asked by Express how the code will be used for enforcement and what penalties there will be for breaking it, a spokesperson for the Law Officers' Department explained that it will be used in the prosecution of crimes committed under Jersey Law.

"Breaches of the Highway Code by a road user can be relevant to proving that the road user has committed an offence under the Road Traffic (Jersey) Law 1956," they said.

"The Highway Code, as updated, will continue to be used where appropriate in the prosecution of offences under the Road Traffic (Jersey) Law 1956."

kevin-lewis2.jpg

Pictured: Some criticism has been levelled at Infrastructure Minister Deputy Kevin Lewis for not outlining his plans for the new code sooner, and only telling people this month that he would be making no amendments.

It comes after some frustration that there has not been enough preparation for the updated code from the Government.

St. Helier Roads Committee member Geraint Jennings said: "It would have been much better to have prepared everyone earlier, to talk with the Roads Committees, with the parishes, to have talked with the Honorary Police... so there was wider understanding of the changes that the UK were proposing through their long consultation of this."

He added he would have liked people to have been informed that Infrastructure Minister Kevin Lewis did not mean to make any changes to how the code is applied in Jersey to suit the island's context earlier than the same month the rules were coming in.

The Government says that a campaign informing islanders of the changes in detail will be coming next month.

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Comments

Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.

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Posted by Jon Jon on
Should of gone much further and had cyclists sit a riding exam,included the tax plate return for cyclists, and made them have at least third party insurance !
Posted by Paul Acton-Phillips on
I look forward to the cyclists who seem to think they are on the Tour de France passing pedestrians at 1.5m, after trilling their bell in warning, instead of flashing past at your shoulder at La Haule shared space. That is supposing that they actually have a bell of course!
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