asked Her Majesty's Government:
How many cyclists were killed and how many injured in the United Kingdom in hours of darkness during each of the last three years for which records are available.
My Lords, the numbers of cyclists killed and injured in darkness in Great Britain are as follows: in 2003, 25 were killed and 3,249 injured; in 2004, 40 were killed and 3,282 injured; and in 2005, 38 cyclists were killed and 3,168 injured.
My Lords, I thank my noble friend for his Answer. Does he not agree that the law ought to be enforced against cyclists who ride at their own risk and at the risk of others, who ride at night without crash helmets, reflective clothing or adequate rear lighting? They are a danger to themselves and they create fear among honest, decent, careful drivers like myself, and no doubt like the person who drives the Minister around.
My Lords, certainly, honest, decent drivers such as my noble friend are assisted if cyclists are properly equipped with reflective clothing, and they should wear helmets for their own safety. In law, the only enforcement is having lights at night. We are concerned about cycling safety; that is why we put such a great emphasis on it with regard to school children and young people. The incidence of accidents at night is relatively low compared with accidents in daytime.
My Lords, can the Minister say why his Government do not apparently listen to or act on representations made by responsible bodies such as RoSPA, Age Concern, the motoring organisations and the Police Federation, which maintain that a switch to SDST and lighter evenings could reduce all categories of road accidents and street crime? Can the Government or the noble Lord's office produce one single statistic to show that the present regime of darker evenings reduces road casualties or street crime involving motorists, motorcyclists, cyclists, pedestrians, joggers, school children and pensioners? If no such statistics are forthcoming from the Minister, or elsewhere, will the Government and the Opposition agree to support the Second Reading of the Lighter Evenings (Experiment) Bill, scheduled for
My Lords, like all noble Lords in the House today seeing the noble Lord, Lord Tanlaw, in his place, I was able to anticipate his question. I am able to give him a slightly stronger answer than I have been able to do in the past. He stresses the advantages of double summer time for road safety, and his case is substantiated. The Department for Transport has been aware of these figures for some time, and as far as the department is concerned the case on road safety grounds is made. There are other considerations regarding double summer time beyond the Department for Transport, and that is why I cannot give him a more positive answer than the one that I have given.
My Lords, cycling is green, and some cyclists, particularly in London, are dangerous. As there is no registration scheme for cyclists, could not ASBOs be used to curb bad cycling?
Not ASBOs, my Lords, but we have empowered community officers to issue immediate fines to cyclists who cycle on the pavement. That is a very dangerous practice. It is dangerous to cyclists and dangerous to pedestrians. The officers can levy an instant penalty of £30, which is evidence of our concern that cyclists should be law-abiding.
My Lords, my noble friend gave very interesting statistics on cycling, but as, I believe, a responsible cyclist, I suggest to him that there is just as much fear among cyclists of bad car drivers as the other way round. The difference is that the cyclists and pedestrians are very vulnerable; they are not in a nice tin box with lots of padding. This morning, the Crown Prosecution Service announced a review of charges and penalties against motorists, arising to some extent from the Road Safety Act 2006, which this House debated recently. Does that not provide an opportunity to reflect on the increased vulnerability in accidents of cyclists, particularly the responsible ones, and pedestrians?
My Lords, my noble friend will recognise that during the passage of the Road Traffic Act we were able to identify the necessity for greater constraints on irresponsible motorists. That is why causing death by careless driving is now in a category where a severe penalty could be incurred. My noble friend is right that the number of accidents caused by cyclists is small in comparison to the problems that we have with cars.
My Lords, in addition to the misdemeanours of cyclists to which the noble Lord, Lord Janner, referred, will the Minister note that they also have an unhappy habit of riding the wrong way up a one-way street? I very nearly hit one the other night because not only was he doing that, but he had no lights on. Is that legal?
It is certainly not, my Lords, nor have we any intention of ever creating circumstances in which cyclists will be empowered to ride the wrong way up a one-way street. At times on our busy roads cyclists do indeed take what, in their terms, are defensive measures that lead them to take risks. Where they break the law, they are in fact subject to it. We cannot improve road safety unless all road users follow the Highway Code and obey the law.
My Lords, I declare an interest as a regular and, I hope, fully illuminated and law-abiding cyclist. Does the Minister agree that the provision made for cyclists on this country's roads is hopelessly inadequate compared to the provision made by some of our mainland European neighbours? Indeed, if the Government wish to encourage cycling both for health and for other reasons, serious attention should be paid to that deficiency.
My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord and welcome him as a law-abiding cyclist, of which, I hasten to add, there are many in this House. Of course we want to ensure that cycling on our roads is safe, because we want to encourage cycling for all sorts of obvious reasons—not least with regard to our strategy on climate change. Many of our roads in inner cities are dangerous. We are creating cycle paths where we can, but it will be recognised that in many of our inner cities it can be very difficult to accommodate cyclists and drivers. That is why each has to have respect for the other.
My Lords, we are into the ninth minute, and we must move on.