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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