Update - Cycling and Cycling Safety
Monday 06 August 2012
Environment Department response to media enquiry from Guernsey Press.
Guernsey Press Enquiry:
Could the department explain what work is done to promote cycle safety in general?
What happens within primary schools, secondary schools and is anything done with students leaving to go to university given the different conditions they will face away and why?
Can you explain what is done during the driving tests and written exams with regard to motorists being aware of the vulnerability of cyclists?
Since 2006 and the introduction of the current road transport strategy, what has been done to promote cycling in Guernsey and how much has been spent on improved infrastructure for cyclists, what % of the transport budget is this? - in the update report submitted in the November 2011 billet it lists the cycle contraflows around Baubigny schools and new cycle stands at the Town bus terminus, we know that new stands have been built in North Beach, is there any more? Is enough of the budget being spent to promote cycling and improve safety and why?
In its new transport strategy vision the previous department backed two options to increase cycling, at a capital cost of £250,000. One was cycle stands, the other about creating a cycle safe network. Will the department release what its ultimate vision for the cycle safe network was? Has the new department explored these options yet and can it give any indication of what it sees as the future of promoting cycling?
What is the department's opinion on making it a law that lorries operating in Guernsey should it sensors, audible turning alarms, extra mirrors and safety bars to help protect cyclists?
What is the department's opinion on making cycle helmets compulsory?
Does the department have, or intend to collect data on how many people cycle and how many are injured or killed to underpin any policy decisions?
Will the department consider appointing one of its members as a 'cycling tsar' to promote cycling, identify any opportunities to change things for the better?
Does the department have anything else to add?
Environment Department Response:
The Education Department works closely with the Police to encourage cycle safety training for Primary school aged children. The vast majority of the schools offer a cycling proficiency course for their pupils, typically in Years 5 or 6. The Police are responsible for undertaking the training of staff and parent volunteers who can then deliver a course to the children that normally takes place over 6 sessions, each lasting between 45 minutes and an hour. A training session for teachers and parents was last delivered in November 2011. The States does not offer any further structured training for cyclists past this point.
All driving licence holders must sign a declaration that they have read and understood the Highway Code when applying for a first time or renewal driving licence. The Code contains information for both cyclists and motorists about safe use of the public highway and circumstances when motorists should pay particular attention to cycles. The Department also encourages provisional licence holders preparing for a driving test to read materials published by the Driving Standards Agency which cover the importance of motorists paying particular attention to vulnerable road users. There are specific questions in the driving theory test database that cover awareness of cyclists.
Encouraging cycling has consistently formed part of successive road transport strategies. Since 2006 new covered cycle stands have been installed at North Beach and on the Crown Pier at a cost of approximately £16,000. New stands have also been installed by the Bus Terminus and in Church Square. In addition, extensive works were carried out on the roads in the vicinity of St. Sampson's High School to be able to introduce cycle contraflows as part of a new one-way system which cost approximately £180,000. This was funded through the Department's capital allocation as opposed to road transport strategy funding.
The Department has recently set up a project group to bring to the Board detailed proposals to enable the drafting and implementation of an On-Island Transport Strategy. This group includes representation from the Police and road safety and cycling will inevitably form part of its considerations.
The encouragement of cycling is likely to form part of the strategy options and ideas such as providing a cycle safe network could reasonably form part of the plan. There were no firm proposals in place that underpinned this aspect of the 2011 States report , although the possibility of introducing cycle networks and more cycle parking was supported by the previous Board.
With regards to the issue of cycle helmets and whether the wearing of them should be made compulsory, the Department's current stance is that they clearly should be worn given the obvious safety benefits arising from such a practice. However, at this stage, the Department does not have any plans to make the use of cycle helmets compulsory. This is one of a number of issues that could be considered as part of the aforementioned Traffic Strategy.
Similarly, the issue of lorries being required to be fitted with sensors, audible turning alarms, extra mirrors or safety bars to help protect cyclists, is not a matter that has been considered by the Department at this time. There are many local factors that might influence any view in this regard but this is something that could also be investigated in due course.
I can advise that the Department does not hold accident statistics regarding cycle injuries or deaths but is able to obtain reported accident data from the Guernsey Police and also has contacts at the Health and Social Services who have provided information in the past regarding attendances at A&E (although not specifically related to cycle injuries).
Irrespective of anything that the Department might do, it is of paramount importance that drivers and riders acknowledge that Guernsey only has limited road space and it is important that both parties recognise each others' needs in order to minimise the risk of conflict.
Karl Guille, Traffic and Transport Services Manager
Tel: 01481 243 400