Road Safety Bill [HL]

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:00 pm on 22nd November 2005.

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Photo of Lord Berkeley Lord Berkeley Labour 4:00 pm, 22nd November 2005

My Lords, I cannot support this amendment. It seems to me that this is the ultimate taxi driver's revenge, as my noble friend Lord Borrie has hinted. The only time I have used one of these things was about six years ago when I got married, to come from the register office in Marylebone down to your Lordships' House. It was great fun with my wife. These things may be irritating to other people, but that is not a reason per se for saying that they should be banned or controlled.

The noble Baroness, Lady Hanham, said that they sometimes park on the footpaths and they park on carriageways. So do cars, all the time. They get in the way of buses and bus lanes. So do bicycles and motor cycles. They are not allowed in there but they still do. And they block routes of ambulances. Well, so do cars and bicycles. They are at least environmentally friendly. I suspect that there is a problem of insurance as my noble friend has indicated. There does not seem to be much competition in the charges that they charge. But I am not persuaded that that is a good enough reason to try to regulate them. We have not heard from any noble Lord what number of accidents they are reported to have caused, or how many people have been killed, if any, or seriously injured. I tend to agree with my noble friend Lord Borrie: I think that this is the taxi drivers having a jolly good go at getting the competition off the streets.