HC Deb 02 July 1980 vol 987 cc616-7W
Mr. Alton

asked the Minister of Transport what is his Department's view on the report of Help the Aged, "Dangers to the Elderly at Pelican Crossings", a copy of which he has received.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke

This report alleges that use of pelicans endangers elderly people.

I am sure that the report is well-intentioned, but I am afraid that in my opinion it attempts to draw some very doubtful conclusions from its particular interpretation of various statistics.

It adduces in support of its main allegation casualty figures inflated by adding to casualties at pelicans those occurring near but not on the crossings —a particularly high-risk area with any type of crossing. It ignores the fact that several billion safe crossings are made at pelicans every year. The report further proposes new pedestrian priority timings which would enormously increase the frequency of driver hold-ups before completely empty crossings and thus might increase the tendency of some drivers to disregard the signals.

I am satisfied that pelican crossings are a valuable aid to road safety for pedestrians of all ages, but I had authorised, before I received the report, various experiments to see if the timing of phases could be improved to help the elderly and we will continue to search for improvements.