Accidents, Parliament Square

Oral Answers to Questions — Roads – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 1st July 1964.

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Photo of Mr Jon Rankin Mr Jon Rankin , Glasgow Govan 12:00 am, 1st July 1964

asked the Minister of Transport (1) if he will make a statement on the causes of the accident which occurred at 11 p.m. on Monday 7th June at the junction of Bridge Street and Whitehall involving three persons, one of whom was killed;

(2) how many accidents have occurred at the junction of Parliament Street, Bridge Street, and Parliament Square, during the past two years; how many were fatal; how many involved diplomats and their staff who claimed diplomatic privilege; and what new signs and precautions, such as speed limits, he has in view to prevent these accidents.

Photo of Mr Jon Rankin Mr Jon Rankin , Glasgow Govan

On a point of Order, Mr. Speaker. Would the right hon. Gentleman care to answer Questions Nos. 33 and 37 together, with my permission?

Photo of Mr Ernest Marples Mr Ernest Marples , Wallasey

Mr. Speaker, I am always so anxious to oblige the hon. Gentleman that I will certainly do so. I will answer Questions Nos. 33 and 37 together.

There was an accident on Monday, 8th June at 10.50 p.m. in Parliament Square just south of its junction with Parliament Street, when a collision occurred between a motor van emerging from Parliament Street and two vehicles, one a private car and the other a motor scooter, moving from Great George Street towards Bridge Street. Fortunately no one was killed, but the driver of the scooter and his passenger were seriously injured.

During the past two years there have been 25 personal injury accidents at this junction. None was fatal. There were two cases of serious injury and 23 of slight injury. In no case was diplomatic immunity claimed.

This accident record is a great improvement over that for the previous two years and is not exceptional for so busy a junction. The junction is controlled at all times by traffic signals or by the police, and I see no other traffic measures I could usefully introduce.

Photo of Mr Jon Rankin Mr Jon Rankin , Glasgow Govan

I am pleased to hear that the cyclist was not killed. My information was that he was projected into the air to a sufficient height to kill most men when they returned again to earth. Can the Minister say whether the cyclist has now recovered from his injuries? Does the Minister realise that there is a great deal of concern about the number of accidents that have occurred at this corner, and also about the speed at which motor car drivers come down and go up Whitehall? Not only are road users and pedestrians gravely concerned about this matter, but those charged with the duty of controlling traffic speed are also concerned. Would not the Minister consider the suggestion that I made that he should take some special precautions with regard to this particular crossing?

Photo of Mr Ernest Marples Mr Ernest Marples , Wallasey

I am afraid I cannot give any information about the health of the person who was injured. I think that the less I say about this the better, because I understand that court proceedings are at any rate being considered. In 1961 we took certain measures which reduced the number of accidents at this junction, which had been 50 in the preceding two years, to 25 in the last two years. So we have halved the number of accidents by the measures we have taken. The accidents that have occurred in the last two years have been mostly of the nose-to-tail collision type, which, unfortunately, are not uncommon at signals.

Photo of Mr Robert Cooke Mr Robert Cooke , Bristol West

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that, if the House chooses to accept the recommendation of the Committee on Accommodation, this dangerous crossroads at Bridge Street will be removed altogether?