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Proposal to create a 'hierarchy of responsibility' for road users

Proposal to create a 'hierarchy of responsibility' for road users

Wednesday 27 January 2021

Proposal to create a 'hierarchy of responsibility' for road users

A Constable is calling for the creation of a ‘hierarchy of responsibility’ for Jersey’s road users, following public outcry around a driver not being prosecuted for injuring a 14-year-old cyclist.

The proposals, put forward by St. Martin's Karen Shenton-Stone, raise the idea of a hierarchy placing the responsibility for an accident on those driving the vehicles most likely to cause harm.

In a report explaining her proposition, Constable Shenton-Stone says this ranking system, inspired by a proposal in the UK, would be “based on the level of risk” putting vulnerable people such as children, disabled people and the elderly at the top, followed by cyclists, horse riders and motorcyclists.

In contrast, those driving the largest vehicles with the most potential to cause harm would carry a greater responsibility than these vulnerable citizens.


Pictured: The proposed changes would put the onus on drivers of vehicles rather than 'vulnerable' road users like the elderly and children.

“A lorry driver would have greater responsibility than someone in a car, as would a cyclist over a pedestrian," the Constable explained.

The plans also suggest that the Government “establish a body to review how… current road safety arrangements in Jersey can be further improved”, and to have them report their findings for the end of 2021.

On what this group would look like, the Constable put forward ideas like a Policy Development Board, a Citizen’s Panel, or a working group. However, she said that, if States Members approved the idea, it would ultimately be for Infrastructure Minister Deputy Kevin Lewis to decide.

The proposed plans come following the public outcry around Freddie Dentskevich, a 14-year-old cyclist who was hospitalised after being struck by a van.


Pictured: The proposition was put forward by Constable Karen Shenton-Stone.

Though it took over 20 minutes for the driver to return to the scene following the incident, they were not prosecuted, with police deeming it “an unfortunate accident.”

Freddie's mother subsequently launched a petition calling for the law to be reviewed to better protect vulnerable road users. More than 3,600 islanders have since given their backing to it.

Constable Shenton-Stone said that her proposition “attempts to help further the cause taken up by the Dentskevich family, and develop a culture of safe and effective road use across the island.”

The proposition is due to be debated in the States Assembly on 2 March.

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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 Peter Townend on
If this is going to result in the motor vehicle being guilty until proven not guilty - I suggest all drivers acquire a dash cam to record what is going on around them and thereby visual evidence when it comes to proving their case in court!
Posted by IanSmith97 on
This is monstrous, a complete inversion of natural justice. Some people presumed more guilty even before facts (yes, you do need those to be presented before conviction) are heard. There are dreadful cyclists, motorcyclists, car drivers. All cases must be based on facts not some algorithm of presumed hierarchical presumed guilt.
Posted by Peter Garrett on
All road users should have equal responsibility when it comes to avoiding accidents
Posted by Peter Garrett on
All road users should have equal responsibility when it comes to avoiding accidents
Posted by Scott Mills on
You simply can't script it. There must be absolutely nothing going on in St.Martin's pre or during these times, to come up with this notion. Was it created out of tea and rich tea digestives? Unbelievable....does she not realise that these lorry driver's have had extensive tuition, courses and tests in order to be able to drive these kind of vehicles. Yet anyone can pop into a shop and buy a bike for anyone, any age, no experience you go. Just saying. The slogan could be "The Bigger the Badder!.
Posted by John Smith on
The decision not to prosecute the driver in this case seems bonkers but this proposition is even more bonkers! Every incident has to be judged on the evidence - as long as someone sensible and credible is judging it.
Posted by Peter Richardson on
I cycled to work and back for decades and was hit by the odd car or two and almost hit many times by the, didn't see you mate, types but I cannot accept a law of presumed guilt. We need to strengthen the existing laws but guilty till presumed innocent and entering roads with out looking should not be acceptable. We will all need dash, helmet cameras etc before we venture out. Will anyone be stupid enough to drive an HGV after this?
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