|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
Viscount Simon: My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Rotherwick, referred to cyclists going through red lights. If one did a survey of traffic lights, one would find that probably nine out of 10 cyclists go through red lights. I assume that the tenth one is a Member of your Lordships' House. Bearing in mind the fact that
Viscount Simon: Not at all, my Lordscompletely the opposite. If one bears in mind the infringements, is not combining a carriageway for pedestrians and cyclists together a possible recipe for disaster? Is there any intention to separate those routes so that collisions will not occur?
Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend Lord Berkeley for the way in which he spoke to Amendment No. 105 and his other amendment, and I appreciate this short debate. I reassure the noble Lord, Lord Rotherwick, that I understood my noble friend Lord Simon to be
29 Jun 2004 : Column 236
identifying that there might be nine offending cyclists out of 10, but that the 10th would be a Member of this Houseso either the noble Lord, Lord Rotherwick, or myself. I am sure that my noble friend has carried out that statistical survey with great accuracy. The only way in which I succeed in protecting myself against traffic-light infringements is by making sure that I spend most of my time on the towpath, where there are not too many traffic lights. I understand what the noble Lord said, however.
A side issuea balancing issue, I supposehas emerged about what we will do about cyclists who do not behave themselves. Such cyclists are a menace, first, to themselves. It is risky under any circumstances to jump a red light, and it is certainly risky when one has the limited protection of a cycle. They are of course a danger to other people. When they carry out the other offence to which the noble Lord referredcycling on the pavementthere are people even more vulnerable to injury than the cyclists, and it is right that we pay due regard to making sure that all road users comply with the law. In circumstances in which we are making increasing provision of cycle lanes and proper provision for cyclists, we ought to be intolerant of those who use the pavement.
Viscount Astor: My Lords, under the Government's proposals, would civil enforcement officers have the power to stop cyclists cycling on the pavement, or is that something with which only the police can deal?
Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, we are extremely wary of the officers being involved in any moving traffic, for obvious reasons. They are merely pedestrians, and although a cyclist is a jolly sight easier to arrest than a car driver I can think of some circumstances where that might not necessarily be so. The issue is certainly not straightforward. I stand by my earlier pointwe do not regard the officers as being engaged as police officers in summary charge against people who misbehave. Frankly, such matters are for the police; they are the enforcing agency, as the noble Viscount will acknowledge. It is right that that be so, as everyone recognises the particular and exceptional powers of the police in respect of such offences.
I shall turn to the main amendment, as I seem to have been sidetracked by the other elements that cropped up in the debate. There is no need to add to Schedule 7 a definition of a contravention of a cycle lane or cycle track, as proposed by my noble friend in Amendment No. 105. That is because government Amendment No. 107 will enable enforcement of driving in a mandatory cycle lane or on a cycle track as moving contraventions under part 4 of Schedule 7. The provisions of part 1 of Schedule 7 already cover civil enforcement of parking in cycle lanes or on cycle tracks. So my noble friend was generous enough to recognise that the Government's Amendment No. 107 covers such issues.
Amendments Nos. 106 and 107 add six additional signs to the table at paragraph 9 of Schedule 7. This will enable a moving contravention of these signs to be
29 Jun 2004 : Column 237
subject to civil enforcement. The addition of the "buses prohibited" sign 952 is being made in response to a request from Westminster City Council. They have a particular problem with enforcing coach bans on residential roads around Victoria Coach Station. The inclusion of this sign will also be helpful for the enforcement of coach bans elsewhere, but that is the problem that Amendment No. 106 addresses.
The five signs added by Amendment No. 107 will enable the civil enforcement of the prohibition against driving in mandatory cycle lanes or on cycle tracks. We undertook in Committee to consider adding signs to Schedule 7 that would enable civil enforcement of driving in a mandatory cycle lane. Since then we have also had discussions with representatives of the London Cycling Campaign and the National Cycling Strategy Boardmy noble friend Lord Berkeley indicated that he was aware of those discussions. This led us to conclude that we should add the five cycling related signs included in Amendment No. 107. We do not need to add to Schedule 7 the sign 960 for a contra-flow bus lane as bus lane contraventions are already covered in part 2 of the schedule.
I acknowledge the comment made by the noble Lord, Lord Rotherwick, in Committee that he would be worried if car drivers were persecuted in a draconian way that set them against cyclists. He has reflected on that again this evening. We are aware of the fact that a crucial aspect of road safety is mutual respect between different forms of traffic and anything that causes significant irritation and leads to bad relationships between different forms of traffic affect road safety adversely. This is a matter that we can address in guidance, but it is important to ensure that there are appropriate powers to increase the safety of cyclists using dedicated cycle lanes and routes. Regarding driving on cycle tracks the main culprits are, I understand, not motor cars but motor scooters. That is another dimension to the difficulty with the segregation of traffic.
The noble Lord, Lord Rotherwick, asked me for some estimates of the cost of cycle lane measures and who would be responsible for their enforcement. That would rest with local authorities. In terms of other contraventions in Schedule 7, we have not made any estimates of costs at this stage.
Noble Lords would recognise that cycling on a footway and cycling through a red light are offences which should be deplored. I know the self-justification that cyclists use from time to time isI am not referring to any noble Lordsfirst, that the pavement is the only safe place because the roadway is so frighteningly dangerous and, secondly, that jumping the red light gives cyclists a head start on the rest of the traffic which avoids that traffic doing dangerous things, particularly if it is turning left and the cyclist is seeking to go straight ahead. All that I can say is that seeking to re-interpret the law in those terms when everyone else is obeying the law and following the red light practice is extremely dangerous. Cyclists would be putting themselves in jeopardy and would not improve matters.
29 Jun 2004 : Column 238
Lord Berkeley: My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend, not only for his explanation, but, as I have said before, for the work that he has undertaken with the cycling groups. In Grand Committee I tried to include another sign, the advanced stop line for cyclists, but I received a long and interesting explanation about why that was not possible. I accept that.
Noble Lords opposite commented on cyclists going through red lights. During the past week, I witnessed two casesone in Oxford and one in Londonof police stopping cyclists doing that. It is to be welcomed, and let us hope that they do more of that. On that basis, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
|"Route for use by pedal cycles only||955|
|Route for use by pedal cycles and pedestrians only||956|
|Route comprising two ways, for use by pedal cycles only and by pedestrians only||957|
|With-flow cycle lane||959.1|
|Contra-flow cycle lane||960.1"|
|Next Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|