§ Dr. Roger Thomas
asked the Minister of Transport, in view of evidence produced by the Help the Aged organisation, if he will increase the "Green Man" road crossing time to at least eight seconds, because the present time is insufficient for the elderly to cross safely; and if he will institute a thorough investigation into the safety of such crossings.
§ Mr. Kenneth Clarke
As I told the hon. Member for Liverpool, Edge Hill (Mr. Alton) in reply to his question of 2 July.—[Vol. 987, c. 616.] I am sure that the report is well intentioned, but I am afraid that in my opinion it attempts to draw some very doubtful conclusions from it is particular interpretation of various statistics.
It adduces in support of its main allegation casualty figures inflated by adding to casualties at pelicans those occurring near but not on the crossings—a particularly high-risk area with any type of crossing. It ignores the fact that several billion safe crossings are made at pelicans every year. The report further proposes new pedestrian priority timings which would enormously increase the frequency of driver hold-ups before completely empty crossings and thus might increase the tendency of some drivers to disregard the signals.
I am satisfied that pelican crossings are a valuable aid to road safety for pedestrians of all ages, but I had authorised, before I received the report, various experiments to see if the timing of phases could be improved to help the elderly and we will continue to search for improvements.