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23 May 2007 : Column 499WH—continued

Mr. Harris: The hon. Gentleman may inform his constituents that the Department is confident that in the very near future we will arrive at a form of words that is less unacceptable to cycling interests than the current draft. However, we will not move from the principle that “The Highway Code” will continue to be advisory to cyclists on this matter, and that where it contains legal information, it will clearly specify that it
23 May 2007 : Column 500WH
is legal advice and a legal requirement. This unexpectedly controversial passage in “The Highway Code” is clearly advisory.

The hon. Member for Dunfermline and West Fife said that there had been a prosecution. He knows—he said so himself—that it was overturned, so the principle that this is advice and not a statutory measure was upheld in court. [Interruption.]Does the hon. Gentleman want to intervene again? As it is his debate, I am happy to give way if he wishes.

Willie Rennie indicated dissent.

Mr. Harris: I have little time left, so I shall try to make some progress. The train operating companies are best placed to know where and when pressure on services exists and they must be free to impose accordingly. However, I very much hope that any such restrictions will be carefully considered and kept to a minimum.

Last year, we gave Cycling England a remit to investigate what else we can do to investigate bike and rail journeys, and I look forward to seeing its report later this year. Part of the CTC campaign is to encourage me to include a section on cycling in our 30-year strategy for the railways. I confirm that such a passage will be included.

Question put and agreed to.

Adjourned accordingly at eleven minutes past Five o’clock.

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