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Road Harmony: “Caring about road safety is a no brainer”

Road Harmony: “Caring about road safety is a no brainer”

Tuesday 12 July 2022

Road Harmony: “Caring about road safety is a no brainer”

Tuesday 12 July 2022


“Road harmony” was the subject of Law Enforcement’s most recent Bailiwick Law Enforcement Community Advisory Group meeting.

The group, led by Deputy Chief Officer, Ian Scholes, included discussions on topics such as road use for the visually impaired, passing horses, road patience and the consequences of unsafe overtaking.

Guernsey Road Users Network (GRUN) Chair, Jennifer Merrett, welcomed the focus on road harmony. The mission statement of the group is “to work together to enhance, encourage and promote safe travel on our island”.

“By working together, we can try to understand each represented groups aims, objectives, frustrations, and experience so that we can learn from each other,” she said.

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Pictured: Traffic congestion is an issue the Guernsey Road Users Network hopes to address.

Ms Merrett continued: “The ultimate aim is to improve our travel choices and make our everyday lives a little bit easier, safer and more enjoyable in how we negotiate getting from A to B on our beautiful island.”

Ms Merrett said that GRUN is in the final phases of debating and determining its objectives and has invited “all known community groups and relevant government bodies” to discuss safe travel. 

Invited groups include Living Streets, Guernsey Bicycle Group, the Velo Club, CT Plus, Island Coachways, The Health Improvement Commission, the Taxi Federation, HGV representatives and the Guernsey Motor Trade Association. 

“We have many committed, experienced and dedicated community groups in Guernsey, perhaps because the challenges of how we get from A to B can often incite passionate debate,” said Ms Merrett. 

“Bringing these groups together to try to find common ground and understand the opportunities and challenges of each group in have better, safer and quicker ways of getting from A to B is at the heart of what we are trying to do.” 

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Pictured: Road safety groups said that there is an issue relating to pedestrians being unsafe on narrow pavements with large vehicles passing.

The Community Advisory Group meeting included a representative from the Guernsey Blind Association who presented media work they are developing with the help of Specsavers. Group members agreed to share the campaign on their social media channels. 

Several action points were established at the meeting, including groups submitting any relevant information/statistics they have collated and Law Enforcement committing to work on media campaigns on the topic of good road use.

More information about the advisory group meeting can be found HERE

Ms Merrett collated responses from other road groups at a recent GRUN meeting and said members were united on their opinions about road safety in Guernsey. 

Responses included concerns that road safety issues may deter islanders from walking or cycling short journeys. Reference was also made to cars driving on pavements along school walking routes. 

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Pictured: GRUN wants it to be "better, safer and quicker" ways for islanders to get from A to B. 

Living Streets Founder and Secretary, Pat Wisher, commented: “Guernsey’s roads were never designed to take so much traffic and, because of our ribbon development, it is not easy to make improvements to our road infrastructure to accommodate the volume of traffic and increasing size of vehicles. 

“As a result, pedestrians in particular are being squeezed out and there is a perception that it is too dangerous for children to walk to school, so they are driven, thus adding to the dangers.”

A representative from the Guernsey Bicycle Group said that “on-island road infrastructure isn’t working well for anyone”.

“Immediate priorities are safe walking and cycling to schools, a segregated cycling route from St Sampsons to town, and an East to West segregated walking and cycling route. 

“This needs to be overlaid with a properly designed active travel network for the North of the island and then island- wide. Once this is delivered, we will start to free significant numbers of people to choose active travel, which starts to break the cycle of car dependency and congestion Guernsey faces today.”

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Pictured: The "Road Harmony" meeting was organised by Bailiwick Law Enforcement and led by Deputy Chief Officer, Ian Scholes. 

Ms Wisher added that "creative" thinking was needed to help resolve the issues. 

“I believe we should consider one way systems, contra-flows and road crossing infrastructure. We should also encourage other measures such as increased number of bicycle parks, bus shelters and electric car charging points so that the island feels as though it is celebrating active travel at every opportunity,” she said. 

“Consideration should also be given to making bus travel free as this kind of initiative changes behaviours even when a charge can then be introduced in the years to come. 

“Paid parking is a hot topic in Guernsey however this would be a way of raising funds that could be targeted towards some of the other initiatives.”

Ms Wisher said other options to consider could include a car sharing data base, shared taxis, and an awards scheme to encourage businesses and schools to develop workplace travel plans. 

“Caring about road safety is a no brainer as it affects every single one of us regardless of whichever mode of transport we choose,” she said. 

“Road congestion and traffic accidents cause stress, human and economic costs and heartache.”

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