HC Deb 25 May 1960 vol 624 cc44-6W
54. Dame Irene Ward

asked the Minister of Transport whether he is aware of the public concern that no comprehensive analysis of road accidents is available; and if he will defer decisions on advice tendered on road safety measures until his own analysis is completed.

Mr. Marples

Analyses of road accidents in their various aspects are constantly being carried out, and their results are taken into account in the formulation of road safety measures.

Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett

asked the Minister of Transport what information the now has showing the results of the survey of accidents to young motorcyclists during the summer of 1958.

Mr. Marples

Figures showing the main results of the survey of accidents to motor cyclists under 21 years of age during three months in the summer of 1958 have been made available to me. This intricate research task was undertaken by the Social Survey Division of the Central Office of Information on behalf of the Road Research Laboratory, with assistance from local taxation authorities, the police and my Department. A complete report, containing considerable incidental information about motor cyclists of all ages, will be published as soon as possible.

Information was collected during the summer of 1958 relating to the use which 10,000 motor cyclists of all ages made of their machines, and about accidents causing injury in which 5,000 motor cyclists aged less than 21 years were involved. This information has been analysed with regard to three main factors in order to determine what effect each factor on its own appears to have had on the accident rate of these young motor cyclists. The three factors were the age of the rider, the size of his motor cycle, and the period for which he had been licensed to ride.

The Effect of Age

No evidence was found that age as such between the ages of over 16 years and under 21 years had any effect upon accident rates. Riders aged 16 years were naturally less experienced but, when the figures had been adjusted to eliminate the effect of the experience factors, riders of this age were not found to have been different from other riders under the age of 21 years.

The Effect of the Size of the Motor Cycle

The evidence suggested that the lighter, less powerful machines were less likely to become involved in accidents than were heavier machines. In particular, the moped, which for survey purposes was taken to be a machine with an engine capacity not exceeding 60 cubic centimetres, was apparently able to cover greater mileage than even the smallest orthodox motor cycle for the same accident risk. Furthermore, mopeds were normally found to have covered less than half the mileage which the smallest orthodox motor cycle covered in a given period. Scooters were not found to have been different from light motor cycles. Light motor cycles were found to have been only slightly less likely to be involved in accidents causing injury than were heavy motor cycles, when the greater mileage which these larger types normally covered was taken into account.

The Effect of Experience

There was evidence that a young rider, after he had held a provisional licence for six months, was able to cover considerably greater mileage for the same accident risk than he could previously. There was no appreciable sign of a continuing fall thereafter in the accident rate for riders aged under 21 years.

These main findings are being considered in the light of all other information bearing on the problem of the high accident rates shown by motor cycles compared to other vehicles.

Lieut.-Commander Maydon

asked the Minister of Transport what were the numbers of deaths due to accidents on the roads during 1959 in England and Wales, respectively.

Mr. Marples

5,627 in England and 289 in Wales and Monmouthshire.