HC Deb 14 November 1956 vol 560 cc935-6
25. Mr. Crouch

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation if he will introduce legislation to make the use of crash helmets compulsory on all motor cyclists.

Mr. Watkinson

No, Sir. This matter was considered during the passage of the Road Traffic Act, 1956, and the eventual decision was against compulsion. But the Act gives me power to prescribe the types of helmet considered satisfactory and makes it an offence to sell or offer for sale any helmet not complying with the prescribed requirements. Draft regulations have been circulated to the parties interested for comment.

Mr. Crouch

Is my right hon. Friend not aware that a large number of fatal motor cycle accidents occur as a result of no crash helmet being worn? Is he not aware of the number of riders which he must have received from coroners' juries asking that he should make the wearing of crash helmets compulsory? Has not the time arrived when the right hon. Gentleman should preserve the lives of these people, who apparently do not worry about them themselves?

Mr. Watkinson

I am well aware of the point, and my hon. Friend knows that we have been corresponding on the matter. The House decided that it was better to make compulsory a proper standard of helmet and then rely upon the normal processes of publicity, etc., to ensure the use of them.

Captain Duncan

Has my right hon. Friend prescribed regulations with regard to standards?

Mr. Watkinson

Yes, Sir, and they are being circulated for comment. As soon as I have that, I will implement them.

Mr. Grant-Ferris

Would it not be a good thing to abolish Purchase Tax on those helmets?