HC Deb 30 July 1896 vol 43 cc1112-6

"No light locomotive shall travel along a public highway at a greater speed than 14 miles an hour."

He said he thought it necessary that there should be some limit of speed. Unless there were some limit these carriages might travel at a speed dangerous to the public. For they would only come under the provisions against furious driving—and this law-was extremely difficult to carry out. Policemen were now largely influenced in their idea of furious driving by the amount of exertion a horse was making. It would be quite possible to drive a rapid horse at ten or twelve miles an hour without being had up for furious driving, while to whip a slow horse into ten miles an hour would very likely appear as furious driving. These carriages would go as smoothly at one rate as at another, and it would therefore be extremely difficult to say what was furious driving. For these reasons he contended for a limit of speed, and he thought 14 miles an hour a reasonable maximum.


considered that 10 miles an hour would be sufficient.


thought that the powers already possessed provided against furious driving, and it was for that reason, and because the Standing Committee were almost unanimously of opinion that these regulations had better be made by the Local Government Board, that he felt disposed to ask the hon. Member not to press his proposal. On the other hand, 14 miles as a maximum he did not think was at all unreasonable. [Cries of "Oh!"] There was some objection to drawing a hard and fast line, because what should be the maximum speed in the Strand or in any crowded street would not be equally suitable in the country.


said the conclusion arrived at by the Central Chamber of Agriculture was that 10 miles was enough. ["Hear, hear!"]


suggested that if the clause were adopted these words should be added, "or than such lesser rate as may be prescribed by the regulations of the Local Government Board." ["Hear, hear!"]

CAPTAIN BETHELL (York, E. R., Holderness)

held that it would be a mistake to lay down a limit of sped. These machines were not always going to weigh three tons, in the course of time they would be improved and made lighter, and he was strongly of opinion that the regulation of speed ought to be left to the authorities.


hoped his right hon. Friend would not fix the limit at more than ten miles, and that if it were fixed by the Local Government Board they should have a pledge that that limit should not be exceeded.

MR. J. PARKER SMITH (Lanark, Partick)

thought that a fixed limit would be dangerous, and that it would be safer to go on the principle of furious driving.

MR. B. L. COHEN (Islington, E.)

thought the Local Government Board should be directed to fix a Less rate of speed.


contended that there ought to be a maximum in the Bill.


Does the hon. Member accept the suggestion of the Solicitor-General?



Clause read a Second time.

MR. T. W. RUSSELL moved to insert at the end of the clause the words:— or at such lesser rate as may be prescribed by the regulations of the Local Government Board.

Amendment agreed to.

SIR JOHN DORING TON (Gloucester, Tewkesbury) moved to leave out the word "fourteen," and to insert instead thereof the word "ten."


said they were discussing a new subject, on which, perhaps, more experience would be beneficial. He hoped his hon. Friend would not press the Amendment. These vehicles were of very different descriptions; some were very light and calculated to go faster than others, while some should not go at a greater rate than ten miles an hour. He knew carriages which in these days went at a rate of more than 10 miles an hour, and he remembered the time when be should have thought that rather a slow rate of progress. [Laughter.] He thought it might be safely left to the discretion of the Local Government Board to make regulations suited to the various requirements of the case.

MR. F. G. BANBURY (Camberwell, Beckham)

reminded hon. Members that country roads had sharp corners.


said he was quite certain, they used in coaches to travel at a faster rate than 10 miles an hour, and these vehicles could be pulled up with greater-facility than could a heavy coach drawn by four horses with no brake. He thought the House would make a mistake to lay down a hard and fast rule on the point. It would be better to leave the maximum as proposed in the clause, and allow the Local Government Board to make such regulations as they might from time to time think proper.


insisted that locomotives, three tons weight, going at such a speed would cause great injury to the roads.

MR. P. A. MUNTZ (Warwickshire, Tamworth)

supported the suggestion of leaving to the Local Government Board the fixing of regulations, as necessity required.


thought the House would do well to accept an Irish maxim, and split the difference as between 10 miles and 14 miles.


hoped the right hon. Gentleman would adhere to the clause as it stood. Vehicles ought to be allowed to travel on quiet country roads at a maximum of 14 miles.


suggested that 14 miles should be allowed to stand as the maximum, and the words, "or than any less speed which may be prescribed by the Local Government Board," be added at the end of the clause.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


proposed the addition of the words, "or than any less speed which may be prescribed by the Local Government Board."

* MR. F. A. CHANNIKG (Northampton, E.)

asked whether the Local Government Board would prescribe different rules for different parts of the country?


replied that the regulations would be framed by the Local Government Board in accordance with local needs.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause, as amended, ordered in stand part of the Bill.

Clause 1,—