HC Deb 25 October 1960 vol 627 cc2242-3

Lords Amendment: In page 1, line 9, leave out from "words" to the end of line 10 and insert: 'such minimum age, not being less than sixteen years, as may be so prescribed' there were substituted the words 'such minimum age as may be so prescribed, not being less than—

  1. (a) sixteen years, in the case of motor cycles other than those of the class or description specified in the following paragraph;
  2. (b) fifteen years, in the case of motor cycles whereof the cylinder capacity of the engine does not exceed fifty cubic centimetres, being cycles equipped with pedals by means whereof they are capable of being propelled'"

7.37 p.m.

Vice-Admiral John Hughes Hallett (Croydon, North-East)

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment.

The House will recall that when the Bill was first introduced it opened with a Clause which sought to define and to classify the various kinds of motor cycle affected by its subsequent provisions. At the request of the Government, however, this Clause was dropped in Committee because we were told that the Minister had power to achieve precisely the same object by regulation and that that was the manner in which affairs had been conducted in the past.

The Committee accepted the Government's view in the main, but with one important exception. I think that the Committee was unanimous in its opposition to leaving it to the Government to decide which categories of motor cycle could benefit from the power given in Clause 1 to lower the age of the rider to 15. We all felt that this power must apply only to what are popularly called mopeds, motorised bicycles more akin to a pedal cycle than a motor cycle.

After a prolonged discussion in Committee, my hon. Friend the Joint Parliamentary Secretary undertook to seek a suitable legal definition of this class of motor cycle or motorised bicycle and to write it in to Clause 1 as it now is at a later stage. It was on this understanding that the Committee accepted the Clause, and it was on this understanding that, two days later, the House gave the Bill an unopposed Third Reading.

The Lords Amendment to which I am asking the House to agree fulfils the undertaking then given. It limits the power to lower the riding age to 15 to the category of machine popularly called the moped. I daresay that some hon. Members may think that the definition in the Amendment is somewhat cumbrous and long-winded. In that case, I can only refer them to hon. Members who are "learned" as well as "honourable". For myself, I am satisfied that the Amendment will achieve the purpose and intention behind the Bill when it received its Second Reading.

Question put and agreed to.