HC Deb 22 October 1990 vol 178 cc6-7
5. Mr. Corbyn

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what are the latest available statistics for traffic accidents involving (a) vehicles and pedestrians and (b) vehicles and cycles for Greater London.

Mr. Chope

In 1989 there were 12,148 personal injury accidents involving motor vehicles and pedestrians, and 4,986 personal injury accidents involving vehicles and pedal cyclists.

Mr. Corbyn

Is the Minister aware that one of the great problems in London is the lack of transport planning because of the abolition of the Greater London council? The Government are calmly presiding over a massive increase in the number of commuter cars in central London, which increases the number of accidents involving cyclists—they went up by nearly 30 per cent. in 1988–89—and the serious number of accidents involving pedestrians. Does not the Minister agree that the time has come to control the growth in commuter car motoring in London, to increase the grants available to public transport, and, in planning red routes and other routes, instead of being obsessed with increasing the number of cars, actually to make life safer for pedestrians and cyclists? Under present plans there is no proposal for cycle routes on major road junctions. We need safety first for pedestrians and cyclists, not an increase in the number of cars.

Mr. Chope

The fact is that there has actually been a reduction in the number of cars commuting into London. There has been an increase in the number of cyclists, and I welcome that. The Government are investing a lot of money in road safety and transport supplementary grant, and we have given local authorities substantial sums to spend on road safety schemes. If the hon. Gentleman encouraged more people to pay the community charge, instead of discouraging them, there would be more money to spend on road safety.

Mr. Bowis

Does my hon. Friend agree that far too many accidents involving pedestrians are caused by rat running and that the welcome news about red routes will go some way to deterring that? Does he further agree that we also need road humps and restricted road widths, and that that should be encouraged by local government? Finally, does he agree that far too many bicycle accidents are caused by cyclists travelling without lights at night?

Mr. Chope

I agree with all my hon. Friend's points. The borough that he is fortunate enough to represent has set a good example and has shown what can be done to improve traffic flow on the roads and road safety and to ensure that there is less rat running.

Mr. Cohen

Is the Minister aware of the early-day motion that I tabled about six months ago about the horrifyingly high number of deaths and injuries on pedestrian crossings? That early-day motion, which was signed by many hon. Members, called on the Department of Transport to take action to try to reduce the number of deaths and injuries. However, we have heard nothing from his Department and very little from the police about prosecuting the motorists who cause those deaths and injuries. When are we going to get some action?

Mr. Chope

There is plenty of action, but there is a limit to what the Government can do because safety depends on pedestrians, cyclists and other road users using their common sense and applying the rules that they should know about. However, we are spending £1.5 million to promote child safety this year and we have encouraged the private sector to contribute £8.5 million towards that same campaign. The Government are not complacent about that, but we look to people such as the hon. Gentleman to support us.