We continue to encourage local highway authorities to make appropriate safe cycling provision in inner city areas as elsewhere. Whether to provide individual cycleways or other arrangements is generally a matter for the local authorities concerned with, and knowledgeable about, the local area.
That was a rather disappointing answer. Does the Minister agree that the provision of cycleways should be a high priority because of their benefits, not only to cyclists, but to other traffic? Although I recognise that some local authorities have done splendid work, does the Minister not accept that there has been a decline in interest in providing cycleways? Will the hon. Lady expand a little more on what the Government are doing? In particular, what are the regional cycling officers doing to stir up more enthusiasm among inner city authorities?
I continue to give high priority to the provision of specialist cycleways where possible. I do not agree with the hon. Gentleman that there has been a decline in interest. In every transport policy and programme invitation we have, through the guidelines, reiterated our willingness to support the programmes that come forward. We have done so wherever we have been able to. The hon. Gentleman well knows that the Canterbury scheme, and the Stockton scheme in his area, towards which the Department is paying a large amount, are progressing well. The regional cycling officers are as active as ever and are encouraging the local authorities to bring schemes forward.
With regard to the provision of special facilities for two-wheeled traffic, has my hon. Friend considered setting up motor cycle scramble circuits in our city centres so that those who wish to take part in dodging and weaving in and out of traffic and take horrible risks with other drivers will not feel compelled to become motor cycle dispatch riders?
I well understand what my hon. Friend is saying, but I think that it is for the local authorities to provide those sorts of recreational facilities. It is high time that all two-wheeled and four-wheeled road users learned to tolerate one another and to obey the "Highway Code". I say to every cyclist and motorist that to cycle or to drive with inadequate lights is sheer craziness, and I hope that everyone, by whatever vehicle they travel will check their lights regularly.