HC Deb 11 August 1890 vol 348 cc519-20

I beg to ask Mr. Attorney General whether his attention has been called to a recent case before Mr. Plowden, at Hammersmith, on Friday, 1st August, in which the driver of a trap, having been summoned for driving into a cyclist named W. G. Hatton and wrecking his machine and injuring the rider, the Magistrate dismissed the summons on the plea that the horse shied at the machine; and added that so long as cyclists used such crowded thoroughfares as High Street, Kensington, there were sure to be accidents; whether it was proved in evidence that Hatton was riding close into the curb and on his proper side, and that the driver of the trap was guilty of negligence and furious driving; whether cyclists are entitled to the same protection in the construction of the Law requiring riders and drivers in the public thoroughfares to keep to their proper side, and use due care and diligence in avoiding other people as all other citizens; and whether, if a horse shies at and injures another person, his owner is liable in damages to such injured person?


The Magistrate informs me that after careful consideration of the whole evidence he came to the distinct conclusion that the occurrence was the result of pure accident. Hatton was on his right side, but one of four other bicycles in the street at the time turned suddenly in front of the horse, causing it to shy badly, and so cause the accident. The Magistrate was of opinion that the driver was not guilty of negligence or furious driving. Cyclists using the streets are entitled to the same protection as other persons. Whether the owner is liable for injuries occasioned when a horse shies, depends upon the question whether there has been negligence in the driving or use of the horse.


With reference to the statement of the Magistrate that as long as cyclists used such crowded thoroughfares as High Street, Kensington, there were sure to be accidents, are we to understand by it that cyclists are not to use crowded thoroughfares?


Certainly not, Sir. The hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well that no such deduction ought to be drawn.