Bicycles: Safety Measures

Department for Transport written question – answered on 9th July 2018.

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Photo of Julian Lewis Julian Lewis Chair, Defence Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will conduct a public consultation on the (a) advantages and (b) disadvantages of making compulsory the equipping of bicycles with an effective auditory warning device whenever ridden on public roads or paths.

Photo of Julian Lewis Julian Lewis Chair, Defence Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the reasons were for the policy decisions that led to it being illegal for a new bicycle to be sold without an auditory warning device but not illegal for the purchaser of a new bicycle to remove such a device after purchase.

Photo of Julian Lewis Julian Lewis Chair, Defence Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of (a) bells and (b) alternative auditory warning devices on bicycles as an aid to the avoidance of collisions with pedestrians.

Photo of Julian Lewis Julian Lewis Chair, Defence Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, for what reason his Department has decided that it would be too difficult to enforce a requirement, if enacted, for all bicycles to have an effective auditory warning device fitted, whenever ridden, when it has decided that it is not too difficult to enforce the current requirement that all bicycles must have lights, in working order, fitted whenever ridden at night.

Photo of Julian Lewis Julian Lewis Chair, Defence Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has received representations from or on behalf of (a) partially sighted pedestrians and (b) other pedestrians on requirements for bicycles to be fitted with effective auditory warning devices whenever ridden on public roads or paths; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Jesse Norman Jesse Norman Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

The Pedal Bicycles (Safety) Regulations 2010 require a bell to be fitted to an assembled bicycle at the point of sale, but there is currently no legal requirement for bicycles to be fitted with bells when in use on public roads or paths. Rule 66 of the Highway Code recommends that a bell should be fitted to all bicycles, and advises cyclists to be considerate of other road users, particularly blind and partially sighted pedestrians, and to use the bell where appropriate to signal to others that they are nearby.

The Department has received representations from various stakeholders on this matter as part of the recent wide-ranging Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy Safety Review call for evidence. Some respondents have suggested changing the current legislation to require all bikes to be fitted with bells when in use. The Department is currently analysing the 13,000 or so responses to the call for evidence, and will announce next steps later this year. In considering the case for any change to the current legislation on bike bells, the Department will consider matters such as how effectively any new requirement could be enforced.

The Pedal Bicycles (Safety) Regulations 2010 are primarily designed to ensure consumer protection at the point of sale, and they do not cover the use of bicycles. They were introduced following a consultation in 2009.

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