HC Deb 16 March 1983 vol 39 cc227-8
10. Mr. Dormand

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will convene a meeting of interested organisations to discuss the Government's cycling policies.

Mrs. Chalker

There was an extensive round of consultation prior to the publication of our cycling policy statement in January of last year. Since then there have been frequent and continuing discussions about those policies with interested organisations. For the time being I wish to concentrate all available effort on producing actual schemes and leave a meeting of organisations until there are new matters for wider debate.

Mr. Dormand

Is the Minister aware that, although cyclists generally welcome the Government's proposals, many are becoming worried about their implementation? Will she pay closer attention to three things: first, the role of the regional cycling officer, who has a vital part to play in the implementation of the plans; secondly, safety factors in the construction of bicycles; and, thirdly, better roads for cyclists? Finally, will she remember that we are talking not just about leisure and pleasure, bur about the thousands of jobs that the industry provides?

Mrs. Chalker

I and the regional cycling officers are well aware of the attention that must be given not only to cycling matters, but to encouraging other members of the Department in cycling matters. We are well aware of safety needs and the Department is having consultations on new construction and use standards in bikes. I am also well aware of the need for better facilities and the enormous number of jobs that an increase in cycling could bring to Britain.

Mr. Higgins

In view of the anxiety about the increasing failure of cyclists to stick to traffic regulations, at traffic lights and in the lighting of their bikes, will my hon. Friend consult the Home Office and place in the Library statistics showing how many prosecutions for such offences have taken place recently?

Mrs. Chalker

I shall ask my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether there are such statistics and we shall do our best to make cyclists aware of their responsibilities.