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The British road safety statement, published in December 2015, sets out the Government’s priorities for action, including measures to help vulnerable groups to stay safe on roads, extra money to crack down on drug-affected drivers, and tougher penalties for using mobile phones while driving.
Is the Minister of State aware that the King’s Lynn guide dogs forum is campaigning hard to highlight the impact of selfish pavement parking on blind and visually impaired people? It also recently took me on a blindfolded walk through the centre of King’s Lynn, which brought home to me the scale of this problem, and I highly recommend that the Minister of State and Secretary of State do such a blindfolded walk with the guide dogs organisations in their constituencies.
I went on such a walk a few weeks ago in Spalding town centre, and I recommend it to hon. Members; I know many will have done it. It gives an entirely different insight into the struggle that people have getting around town centres when others have inconsiderately parked and there are many obstacles in their way. It also gives a real understanding of how wonderful our guide dogs are. It is important that the Government do their bit. Of course the charitable sector does an immense amount, too. I certainly take my hon. Friend’s remarks seriously. We will look closely at what more can be done, but he can be absolutely certain that I and my colleagues in the Department will be champions of the interests of people who are visually impaired and use guide dogs.
The Minister will know that one of the biggest obstacles to the take-up of cycling is people’s fears about safety. Has he done an assessment of whether the necessary resources are in place to implement the cycling, walking and investment strategy, and if he has, could he publish it?
As the hon. Gentleman implies, we do have such a strategy. He is also right that cyclists need the same kind of attention that I mentioned in my previous answer. They can be put into hazardous circumstances by a range of different obstacles that they encounter as they go about their business. The Government are strongly committed to cycling, as I think he knows, but he is right that we must look closely at the hazards cyclists face, and that will be included in the strategy.