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Lord Hacking: My Lords, I greatly welcome my noble friend's Answer, but does he agree that the heart of the problem is that too many private cars are permitted to enter central London? Does my noble friend further agree that until that problem is addressed there can be no reasonable prospect of having safe bicycle lanes and no reasonable prospect of London Transport being able to operate an efficient bus service?

Lord Whitty: My Lords, that is why I believe that the London Cycle Network and cycling generally must

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be part of an integrated transport policy for London. The Government are engaged in that. It will eventually become the responsibility of the mayor of London and of the Greater London Authority. Improvements to public transport and restrictions on private traffic flows during key periods and in key areas of London would together make a better transport environment and make travel to work, for business and for leisure, more reliable.

Lord Brabazon of Tara: My Lords, before the Government encourage any more cyclists on to the streets of London, will they try to ensure that a significant minority of existing cyclists at least obey the provisions of the Highway Code? Is the Minister aware that the enemy of pedestrians in London is not the motorist, but the cyclist because very few motorists drive on the pavements? Most motorists obey traffic lights, do not go the wrong way down one-way streets and behave correctly at pedestrian crossings. Will the Minister do something to enforce on cyclists the provisions of the Highway Code?

Noble Lords: Hear, hear!

Lord Whitty: My Lords, I accept that a minority of cyclists flout the existing laws. Noble Lords are clearly familiar with them! This raises an issue of enforcement, but I underline the fact that in London, as elsewhere, most serious injuries to pedestrians are not caused by bicycles or by public transport, but by the drivers of private motor cars. The problem is how to control the amount of private car use in the London area.

Lord McCarthy: My Lords, although agreeing--

Lord Clark of Kempston: My Lords--

Noble Lords: Lord McCarthy!

The Lord Privy Seal (Baroness Jay of Paddington): My Lords, I think it is the turn of this side to ask a question.

Lord McCarthy: My Lords, although agreeing with what has been said about the need to protect cyclists, I feel like declaring an interest with regard to pedestrians. Is it not the case that the police no longer prosecute cyclists who knock down pedestrians on pedestrian crossings? Is not that so?

Lord Whitty: My Lords, prosecutions are, of course, matters for the police authorities. However, I do not believe that what my noble friend said is generally the case. As I said, the more serious injuries are not caused by cyclists. I accept my noble friend's commitment to pedestrianism. Personally, I am much more committed to walking than to cycling, but both should play a part in having a healthy and safe transport system in our metropolis.

Lord Clark of Kempston: My Lords, can the Minister say what the Government intend to do to

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protect pedestrians? Cyclists flout the law. I refer to the fact that they ride without lamps in the dark, jump traffic lights and ride on pavements. Is it not time that we considered registering cyclists? There is no question but that the police are not protecting pedestrians.

Lord Whitty: My Lords, I do not know whether I can add much to my answer to my noble friend Lord McCarthy. Clearly, it is important that cyclists obey the rules. However, more pedestrians are injured by cars than by cyclists. Perhaps Members of your Lordships' House have a slightly distorted view of cycling--

Noble Lords: Hear, hear!

Lord Whitty: My Lords, cycling has a major contribution to make in our urban areas.

Lord Elis-Thomas: My Lords--

Baroness Thomas of Walliswood: My Lords, does the Minister agree that cycle paths--

Noble Lords: Cross Benches!

Baroness Jay of Paddington: My Lords, perhaps the noble Baroness will agree to ask her question next. I think that the noble Lord on the Cross Benches should ask the next question.

Lord Elis-Thomas: My Lords, I thank the Leader of the House for that. Does the Minister agree that the Road Traffic Reduction Acts of 1997 and 1998 provide a framework for the reduction of car movements in London and other great cities? What progress is being made in implementing those Acts? Is it not a fact that cyclists mount pavements because of the lack of adequate cycleways here, unlike in the great city of Copenhagen, which has wonderful cycleways?

Lord Whitty: My Lords, I largely agree with the noble Lord. The provisions of the Road Traffic Reduction Acts are being pursued in the London boroughs and will, I believe, be pursued energetically by the coming new administration for London. It is true that many of the problems of cycling which have been identified by noble Lords arise from the lack of space and lack of provision for dedicated or even designated cycle tracks in London. The London Cycle Network is currently addressing that issue. In the next three years it intends to provide 2,900 kilometres of designated cycle routes throughout London.

Baroness Thomas of Walliswood: My Lords, does the Minister accept that many of us welcome the promotion of a cycle network in London because networks provide a basis for decent cycling provision? Does he agree that decent cycle paths need to be sufficiently wide and sufficiently continuous to enable a proper sharing of road space between cyclists and the users of other motor vehicles and to ensure greater

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safety for cyclists? What are the Government, or the noble Lord's department, doing to promote the proper design of cycleways?

Lord Whitty: My Lords, I have brought with me a London Cycle Network Design manual which I am happy for the noble Baroness to see. There are many different ways of providing for cyclists. It will not always be possible to have dedicated cycle lanes to any great extent, especially in the City of London and in Westminster. Therefore, we are looking at other engineering solutions to ensure that cyclists have a safe way of proceeding through London, although that will not necessarily be on designated routes in all cases. We regard this as an important issue and I hope that the House will regard it in that way--although I could have been misled by the reactions and controversy caused earlier on this Question.

Lord Renton: My Lords--

Lord Avebury: My Lords, is the Minister aware that the only relatively safe part of the journey between Camberwell and Westminster is through--

Noble Lords: Lord Renton!

Baroness Jay of Paddington: My Lords, I hesitate to intervene again. This is obviously a subject of enormous interest to your Lordships. I think that the noble Lord, Lord Renton, is probably due to ask the next question.

Lord Renton: My Lords, can the Minister give your Lordships some idea of the age up to which people are expected to ride bicycles rather than use their motor cars, especially when the weather is very bad?

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Ninety-two!

Lord Whitty: My Lords, my noble friend Lord McIntosh suggests 92. I would be slightly more modest than that. Nobody is being compelled to use a bicycle. We want to provide everybody with a choice so that they can safely take their bicycles through London on journeys which are often eminently suitable for cycle trips instead of using either taxis or motor cars. Unless we see cycling as part of the solution to our inner London congestion, we shall continue to have the current congestion, pollution and unsafe roads in London. This Government are determined to tackle that problem.


3.18 p.m.

Lord Carter: My Lords, the usual channels have agreed that I should outline the arrangements being made for the two-day debate on reform of the House of Lords which is to take place tomorrow and Thursday. The House will sit for Questions at the normal times tomorrow and on Thursday. No other business will be taken on either day. I should stress that it will be a single debate and that the Companion indicates that Peers

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should be present for the opening speeches tomorrow and for the closing speeches on Thursday, at least. At noon today there were 106 speakers on the list. I should point out that if all Back-Benchers were to speak for an average of eight minutes the debate would last for at least 14 hours. This self-denying ordinance of eight minutes would allow the House to rise at a reasonable hour on both days.

The draft of the list of speakers will be available in the Government Whips' Office at half-past four this afternoon. It will reflect the list of speakers at that time. The list of speakers will close in the normal way at noon tomorrow. Any Peers who wish to add, or indeed remove, their names should do so as soon as possible so that the arrangements for tomorrow can proceed in good time.

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