For example, in spite of reaping the benefits of green lanes and some dedicated tracks, cyclists are second-class travellers on the vast majority of our roads.
A significant effort has, however, been made in the west of the Island to allow cyclists to enjoy two-wheel travel in peace and in safety. The cycle track which now links Corbière and St Helier is just what was needed to keep cycle users of all ages out of harm’s way and to make cycling a truly enjoyable experience.
Against the background of the success of the western route, Deputy Caroline Labey’s appeal for a similar track in the east, linking Gorey and St Helier, deserves maximum support.
Deputy Labey has already identified a possible source of funding – car parking revenue – and material help for the creation of the track has been offered by the Jersey Field Squadron and visiting British Army units.
But there is more to the proposed eastern track than the practicalities of creating it. The principle of encouraging more Islanders to adopt a truly green mode of transport is fundamentally sound. So, too, is the principle of ensuring that cyclists can make substantial journeys without mingling dangerously with motorised traffic.
Jersey geography, with its numerous hills, and the difficulty of driving a comprehensive network of tracks across who knows how many parcels of private land probably mean that this Island will never become a cyclist’s paradise. In spite of this, an eastern cycle track would be beneficial in so many respects that it richly deserves backing at a political and popular level.
Unfortunately, there is one category of cycle user who is unlikely – albeit for the soundest of reasons – to spend much time on even the best cycle paths. Competitive cyclists need to train on the roads and that is where they are likely to continue their activities.
This is fair enough. Racers have rights comparable with those of other road users, though they, too, must realise that they are bound by rules defined by law and common courtesy.
Therefore, no matter how convinced parties of cyclists are that the mantra ‘two wheels good, four wheels bad’ is one to live by, they should refrain from forming packs that block the road, forcing following motorists to crawl painfully along until a safe opportunity to overtake occurs.