§ Mr. Lewis
asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation if he is aware that on 15th July there was a breakdown in the electricity supply in West Ham, which caused the cessation of the flashing beacons; that, under the new regulations operating from 1st July, if the beacons cease to flash and there are not two other beacons lit on a central refuge the crossings are deemed not to be crossings and provide no protection for pedestrians; what steps he is taking to meet such eventualities; whether he has considered the letter from the hon. Member for West Ham, North, on this subject; and whether he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Molson
I am aware that on 15th July there was a failure of electricity supply at West Ham, one consequence of which was that the flashing beacons at zebra crossings were temporarily extinguished. Occurrences of this kind are fortunately rare, and no special steps seem necessary to deal with them.
The object of the provision in the new Pedestrian Crossing Regulations concerning flashing beacons is to give a definite indication to motorists of the legal position, namely that, when they see two or more flashing beacons, they are approaching a zebra, on which pedestrians have the right of way. When, owing to failure of current or for some other reason, the beacons are not flashing, a motorist is deprived of the warning to which he is accustomed that he is approaching a zebra crossing. It is important therefore that pedestrians should not assume that the motorist has seen the zebra crossing, particularly in fog or at night. Motorists are always under a duty of care and this duty is in no way diminished by the regulations.