Clause 22 - Breach of requirements as to control of vehicle, mobile telephones etc.

Part of Road Safety Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:45 am on 27th January 2005.

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Photo of David Wilshire David Wilshire Assistant Chief Whip, Whips 10:45 am, 27th January 2005

It gives me very great pleasure to support the Stanley Johnson amendment. It is not given to many people—assuming that the amendment is accepted—to change legislation before they become a Member of Parliament. I say that because I have little doubt that Stanley Johnson will be the next hon. Member for Teignbridge on 5 May, although what he says to his son when he gets here is another matter. I notice that the hon. Member for Teignbridge (Richard Younger-Ross)—these are his last few weeks in the House before we replace him—is not in his seat. It would be good if the person who currently represents Teignbridge indicated that he had full confidence in his successor.

That said, there is a crucial issue here. I appreciate that some cyclists have the view that their conduct is not, in itself, a particular problem. You may sometimes hear that pedestrians on pavements ought to get out of the way of cyclists. That sort of issue crops up from time to time.

We have to be clear that, although the cyclist himself may not come to much harm if he does something stupid, the capacity for a stupid cyclist to cause mayhem among other people minding their own business is very great. It is not in the least unreasonable to say that they should be brought within the ambit of this regulation. If the argument runs that somebody driving a car while holding a telephone in their hands is a danger, then it ought to follow that a cyclist doing exactly the same thing is also a danger. I have no difficulty in supporting this amendment.