HC Deb 26 October 1982 vol 29 cc954-5


Lords amendment: No. 77, after clause 52, insert—

" .—(1) The following section shall be inserted after section 33 of the 1972 Act (protective helmets for motor cyclists) immediately before section 33A of that Act (which was inserted by section 27 of the Transport Act 1981)— Authorisation of head-worn appliances for use on motor cycles

33AA.—(1)The Secretary of State may make regulations prescribing (by reference to shape, construction or any other quality) types of appliance of any description to which this section applies as authorised for use by persons driving or riding (otherwise than in sidecars) on motor cycles of any class specified in the regulations.

(2) Regulations under this section—

  1. (a)may impose restrictions or requirements with respect to the circumstances in which appliances of any type prescribed by the regulations may be used; and
  2. (b)may make different provision in relation to different circumstances.

(3) If a person driving or riding on a motor cycle on a road uses an appliance of any description for which a type is prescribed under this section he shall be guilty of an offence if that appliance is not of a type so prescribed or is otherwise used in contravention of regulations under this section.

(4) If a person sells, or offers for sale, an appliance of any such description as authorised for use by persons on or in motor cycles, or motor cycles of any class, and that appliance is not of a type prescribed under this section as authorised for such use, he shall, subject to subsection (5) below, be guilty of an offence.

(5) A person shall not be convicted of an offence under this section in respect of the sale or offer for sale of an appliance if he proves that it was sold or, as the case may be, offered for sale for export from Great Britain.

(6) In England or Wales the council of a county or of a London borough, the Greater London Council or the Common Council of the City of London may institute proceedings for an offence under this section.

(7) The provisions of Schedule 1 to this Act shall have effect in relation to contraventions of subsection (4) of this section as they have effect in relation to contraventions of section 33 of this Act; and in that Schedule, as it has effect by virtue of this subsection—

  1. (a)references to helmets shall be read as references to appliances to which this section applies; and
  2. (b)the reference in paragraph 4(1)(a) to a type which under the principal section could be lawfully sold or offered for sale shall be read as a reference to a type which under this section could be lawfully sold or offered for sale as authorised for use in the manner in question.

(8) This section applies to appliances of any description designed or adapted for use—

  1. (a)with any headgear; or
  2. (b)by being attached to or placed upon the head; (as, for example, eye protectors or earphones).

(9) References in this section to selling or offering for sale includes respectively references to letting on hire and offering to let on hire."

(2) The following entries shall be inserted in Part I of Schedule 4 to the 1972 Act (prosecution and punishment of offences) immediately after the entry relating to section 33—

"33AA(3) Contravention of regulations with respect to use of headworn appliances on motor cycles Summarily. £50 - - -
33AA(4) Selling, etc., appliance not of prescribed type as approved for use on motor cycles. Summarily. £200. - - –."."
Mrs. Chalker

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

The amendment concerns visors that might be sold separately from crash helmets rather than as an integral part of the helmet. It does not concern the vexed question of types of helmets or approval for helmets, which has to be dealt with separately and not within the new clause. The Government's proposal has been thoroughly considered in another place. Lords amendment No. 77 would enable the Secretary of State to make regulations requiring visors or other head-worn appliances to meet specific standards when offered for sale for use while driving or riding a motor cycle on a road.

Additionally, the clause will enable my right hon. Friend, if he so wishes, to ban the use of any head-worn appliances that did not comply with the required standards. Further, it will enable him to restrict or impose conditions on the use of those appliances that he has prescribed. Hon. Members will recall the publicity in August about the use of tinted visors and scratched visors at night. I thought it right to amend the Bill. We now have powers that prescribe that appliances will be restricted not solely to those for use in connection with a helmet, but to those devices on which so much safety depends.

Mr. Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield, East)

Labour Members will welcome the acceptance of the Lords amendment. I hope that the Minister will bear in mind that some of us are concerned that the regulations for visors—detachable visors—should be of the same standard as those that are part of an original, manufactured helmet. Some suggestions have been made that the standards should be somewhat lower than the Department of Transport's suggestion for the level of visibility of these scratched or tinted visors, which would be less for detachable or replaceable visors than the ones attached to the original helmet.

I know that the Minister is aware of this problem, as I have a letter from her. At the moment, unapproved visors that restrict the light to 55 per cent. are available. I am concerned that if the level of visibility through these visors at night is set at one standard, and the day level is set at another, we shall have the nonsense that we expect motor cyclists to change their visors at night. That is nonsense, and those who are used to British weather conditions know that. On a stormy, thundery day at 2 o'clock in the afternoon it can be as dark as it is at dusk, or after even 6, 7, or 8 o'clock in the summer. The regulations will have to be carefully examined. They cannot be separated. Day and night regulations must be the same. There must be 80 per cent. light transmission for all types of visor, whether sold with the crash helmet or sold later.

Lords amendment agreed to.

Lords amendment No. 78 agreed to.

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