HL Deb 06 April 1971 vol 317 cc195-6

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 will consider the issue of some form of directive urging upon pedestrians the desirability of observing a rule of the road as they proceed upon their lawful occasions along the crowded pavements of our towns and cities; and whether they will consider the erection of large notices at suitable points displaying the injunction "Keep to the right" (or "Keep to the left" if thought preferable).]


My Lords, in the interests of safety the Highway Code already advises pedestrians not to walk next to the kerb with their backs to the traffic. My right honourable friend sees no justification for attempting to control pedestrians further merely to facilitate their passage along pavements.


My Lords, while thanking my noble friend for his Answer, and for the courtesy and help that he has given me in this matter, may I ask him whether he would not agree that the adoption of my proposal would bring considerable benefit to the urban pedestrian population in this country, and particularly to the blind, the lame and the elderly? Moreover, would it not bring great benefit from the point of view that one would no longer have to weave one's way along the crowded pavements, in imminent danger of headlong collision and consequent loss of temper? Finally, would be not agree that it is time something was done to deal with the congestion that is building up in the streets daily; and that complacency is no answer to the problem?


My Lords, my noble friend's supplementary question, particularly the last part of it, goes a long way outside the terms of his original Question. But I agree with him that the solution to this sort of problem lies in reducing the congestion in our cities, and I assure him that the saving of our cities from the onslaught of the motorcar and heavy lorry is high on the list of priorities in my Department.

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