HL Deb 12 December 1963 vol 253 cc1319-20

3.7 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have seen an article in the Press urging motorcyclists to drive along footpaths and bridleways; and what steps they are taking to prevent such abuse and to safeguard the interests of walkers and riders.]


Yes, my Lords; and I therefore take this opportunity of pointing out that it is an offence under Section 18 of the Road Traffic Act, 1960, to drive a motor vehicle without lawful authority on any land being a footpath or bridleway. The writer of the article is also wrong in suggesting that "lawful authority" for driving on a footpath or bridleway can be given by oral permission from the nearest farmer or landowner.


My Lords, may I thank my noble friend for his excellent Answer? Did he notice that the article in question advised motorcyclists to seek, on the ordnance survey maps, the dotted lines of footpaths and bridleways", and recommended motorcyclists to use them, since, for the adventurous motorcyclist, they are immeasurably more exciting than to-day's highways? Further, as my noble friend said, the article goes on to treat with contempt the legal prohibition imposed by the Statute. May I take it from his Answer, therefore, that Her Majesty's Government will do all that they can to enforce the law and to protect the public?


My Lords, before the noble Lord answers, may I ask him whether he is aware that this sort of thing has become a real nuisance, and a dangerous nuisance, in the Peak District and also in the Lake District during these last years, and will he have steps taken to see that it is stopped and the police alerted to take action against it?


My Lords, I think the law on the matter is perfectly clear. Primarily, the enforcement thereof is in the hands of the police, and I am sure that they will take all reasonable steps that they can to enforce it.


My Lords, will the Minister draw the attention of the Press Council to this blatantly inaccurate article in the Press?


My Lords, Her Majesty's Government are not responsible for the views and the opinions of contributors to the Press. I do not think it would be for me to draw the attention of the Press Council to this matter or, indeed, that the inaccuracies are so flagrant as to warrant that.

Back to