HC Deb 30 March 1955 vol 539 cc358-9
8. Mr. Page

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether he will promote propaganda to encourage pedestrians to signal their intention to cross before they proceed across an uncontrolled pedestrian crossing.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

While such signals, if given clearly and in good time, are most helpful, I do not think, for the reasons given by my hon. Friend the Joint Parliamentary Secretary, on 8th November last, that it would be wise to carry out my hon. Friend's suggestion.

Mr. Page

While appreciating what my right hon. Friend and his Department have done in considering this question, may I ask whether he is aware that in a recent poll taken among 179 local authorities, in whose areas about two-thirds of the pedestrian crossings in this country exist, 112 of those local authorities were in favour of propaganda advising the pedestrian to signal before proceeding over an uncontrolled crossing?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I did not know of that, but I am bound to say that, on the merits of the matter, it appears to me that there might be some danger, if this proposal were carried out, of making it seem that the priority which the pedestrian has on uncontrolled crossings depended on him giving an adequate signal.

Mr. Keenan

Will the Minister give very serious consideration to the important matter raised by the hon. Gentleman opposite, in view of what has happened on these crossings in the last two years? There have been 80 deaths and about 800 accidents on them. Surely something better than the present system is required on these uncontrolled crossings?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I am prepared to consider any proposal which I think would help in dealing with this serious problem, but, for the reasons which I and my hon. Friend have given, I do not think that my hon. Friend's suggestion would contribute to safety.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

Is the Minister aware that many hundreds of pedestrians do not know their rights in regard to these crossings? On the contrary, they stand on the crossings, half way across the road, looking pleadingly and pathetically at the oncoming traffic. Will my right hon. Friend look into the matter again to see whether this danger of accidents to pedestrians cannot be avoided?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

My noble Friend is quite right in his diagnosis of the situation that sometimes arises, but I do not think that the suggestion contained in this Question would help to avoid that state of affairs.

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