HL Deb 14 June 1880 vol 252 cc1888-90

asked Her Majesty's Government, Whether their attention has been called to the number of accidents caused by vehicles in the streets of the Metropolis, as given in a Return for the month of May from the Metropolitan hospitals? He did not bring this matter forward for the purpose of blaming the police, because he thought they discharged their difficult duties admirably, and took every possible care of unwary foot passengers, but because he thought the attention of the Government ought to be directed to the large number of street accidents. It appeared from the Return in question that in May 1879, 17 people had been killed in the Metropolis by street accidents, while a large number of others had been more or less injured. During the last year, 1879, 236 persons had been killed and 3,399 injured. It did not appear to him that many accidents were caused by hansom cabs going slowly; but they were attributable, as their chief cause, to light carts and vans. He believed that our Returns contrasted unfavourably with those of the Continental cities, such as Paris and Berlin. He recommended that lamps should be required to be carried by all vehicles travelling in the streets of the Metropolis after dark, and that an additional number of refuges should be erected for the protection of the public at the several main crossings.


expressed his gratification that since the question was last before their Lordships' House the number of street accidents had considerably diminished; but, at the same time, he recommended the establishment of more protected crossings, and still greater vigilance on the part of the police, whose numbers might be increased for the purpose. He trusted that the Government would endeavour through the Home Office to influence the Vestries in regard to the necessary measures, so that street accidents by passing vehicles might be avoided as far as possible.


supported the views advanced by his noble Friends, and hoped that the Government would take the matter into consideration.


on behalf of the Government, said, there were no Returns from the hospitals of the number of accidents in the streets. It would hardly be possible, indeed, for them to make such Returns, as many of the persons injured were not taken to the hospitals at all. Nor were there any Returns at Somerset House. He had, however, received a Return from the police authorities, and from that Return he found on inquiry that the number of deaths from street accidents in the past month was 22 in the Metropolitan and City areas, and the gross number of accidents was 321. This gave an average number of 5. deaths and 80 cases of injury, which was a slight increase over the number in the corresponding month of last year. While it was scarcely fair to take the month of May, when London was more full than, perhaps, any other month of the year, as a sample, he was compelled to do so because the figures in reference to May were the only ones available. Their Lordships would agree that the police arrangements at the crossings in London were far better than they were in Continental cities. Great credit was due to the police authorities for the excellent arrangements they made, and to the parish authorities for erecting places where passengers could take refuge. Nothing could really be done by the central authority to protect those who, with a little care and caution, might readily protect themselves and prevent accidents from occurring to them in the streets.