PQs 11th – 14th July 2011

Cycling: Helmets
Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the number of deaths which were prevented by cyclists wearing helmets in each of the last three years. [63040]
Mike Penning: We have not produced an estimate of the number of deaths prevented by cyclists wearing helmets in each of the last three years. However, research undertaken in 2009 by the Transport Research Laboratory for the Department for Transport included a biomechanical assessment of over 100 police forensic reports on cyclist fatalities and estimated that 10% to 16% of the fatalities could have been prevented if the cyclist had worn an appropriate cycle helmet. The research report ‘The Potential for Cycle Helmets to Prevent Injury: A Review of the Evidence’ is available to download for free from:
www.trl.co.uk
Cycling: Helmets
Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he plans to amend guidance in the Highway Code on the wearing of cycle helmets. [63486]
Mike Penning [holding answer 12 July 2011]: No.
PACTS comments: The TRL report Mr Penning refers to is available at: http://bit.ly/65Cdzu.
The prevention of fatalities is indeed a strong argument for wearing cycle helmets. However proposals to make the wearing of them compulsary come up against counter-arguments such as:
– it might put people off cycling
– it places the responsibility of casualty prevention on the vulnerable road user
– it may encourage riskier behaviour in cyclists and other road users.
PACTS would like to see increased numbers of people cycling and doing so in a safe way. This requires better infrastructure, reducing speeds of motor vehicles, and cyclists taking sensible measures to make themselves safer. 
Aviation: Safety
Naomi Long: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will publish the Civil Aviation Authority’s SAFE programme for the evaluation of aircrew fatigue; [64096]
(2) how much the Civil Aviation Authority has spent on the development of the SAFE programme for the evaluation of aircrew fatigue. [64098]
Mrs Villiers: The System for Aircrew Fatigue Evaluation (SAFE) was developed by the Civil Aviation Authority and QinetiQ. They jointly hold the intellectual property rights. The CAA is currently working with QinetiQ to make the SAFE software available for purchase.
The overall cost of the development of the SAFE programme is a matter for the CAA. The hon. Member may wish to write to the Chair of the CAA at CAA House, 45-59 Kingsway London WC2B 6TE.
Invalid Vehicles: Regulation
Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 20 June 2011, Official Report, column 19W, on invalid vehicles: regulation, when he plans to announce the results of his Department’s consultation on proposed changes to legislation governing powered mobility scooters and powered wheelchairs. [63052]
Norman Baker: I will be publishing on the Department for Transport’s website a summary of the responses to the consultation, along with a statement on the way forward, this summer. The Department’s full response to the consultation will be published later this year.
Large Goods Vehicles: EU Action
John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will place in the Library a copy of any correspondence he has received from the European Commission on the subject of increased permitted lengths for semi-trailer HGVs since 1 June 2011. [65254]
Mike Penning: I am placing in the Libraries of the House a copy of a communication from the Commission dated 1 July 2011 which invites the United Kingdom to delay implementing any regulations permitting longer semi-trailers until 2 April 2012, as it is currently considering making its own proposals on masses and dimensions of heavy goods vehicles and trailers.
Passenger Focus
Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department has considered the merits of merging Passenger Focus with the Office of Rail Regulation. [59783]
Mrs Villiers: The Department for Transport considered the future of Passenger Focus as part of the public bodies review and concluded that it should be retained but with substantial reforms to reduce its cost to taxpayers while maintaining its core role as the statutory independent complaints body. The Department has not formally considered the merits of merging Passenger Focus with the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) and has no plans to take such a proposal forward.
Public Transport: Visual Impairment
Mr Offord: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effects of his Department’s Access for All programme in improving accessibility on public transport for visually impaired people. [64801]
Norman Baker: An independent research study into the benefits of the Access for All programme was carried out by Steer Davis Gleave Ltd in 2009 and early 2010.
The study found that 65% of visually impaired passengers were satisfied with station facilities where Access for All work had been completed, compared to only 14% at stations not in the programme. In addition, almost half of visually impaired passengers said they had increased their use of Access for All stations as a result of the work.
A120: Accidents
Mr Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish a table setting out the number of road traffic accidents recorded on the A120 at the junction with Little Bentley Road and Little Bromley Road in each of the last 10 years, indicating the number of (a) fatalities and (b) non-fatal injuries; what safety assessment has been made of the road junction; and what steps his Department is considering to improve the safety of the junction. [65358]
Mike Penning [holding answer 11 July 2011]: All accidents involving a personal injury are recorded. The following table shows validated figures for all fatal and non-fatal injuries for the A120, at the junctions with Little Bentley Road and Little Bromley Road, in each of the last five years for which figures are available.
Fatal Non-fatal Total

2009(1)

1

3

4

2008

1

0

1

2007

0

2

2

2006

0

2

2

2005

0

3

3

(1) Validated data are only available up to 31 December 2009.
The Highways Agency has a comprehensive process for monitoring safety on the A120. This includes but is not limited to, a rolling three year accident analysis for each route, weekly safety inspections, fatal accident reviews and various asset condition surveys.
The Highways Agency has developed a number of options, both long and short term to reduce the number of accidents at these junctions. The Agency is currently reviewing its capital programme in response to the spending review, to identify if a short term option can be delivered this financial year.
Driving Offences: Foreign Nationals
Gordon Henderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has undertaken an assessment of the effects on road safety of introducing a power to issue on-the-spot fines to the drivers of foreign vehicles that break UK traffic laws. [65267]
Mike Penning: No assessment has been undertaken on the effects of road safety since the introduction of on-the-spot fines to the drivers of foreign vehicles that break UK traffic laws.
However, we believe that the financial penalty deposit requirement (on the spot fines) provides an effective enforcement mechanism to deal with non-UK resident offenders who do not comply with GB road traffic rules. It has helped to alleviate a public concern about the variation in enforcement against UK and non-UK resident hauliers and we have seen a reduction in personal injury collisions involving foreign HGVs, although it is too early to establish any direct and significant link with the deposit scheme.
Motor Vehicles: Insurance
Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is in respect of people who have an illness that has prevented them from (a) making a statutory off-road notice and (b) insuring their vehicle; and if he will make a statement. [65790]
Mike Penning: The keeper of a vehicle is required to insure their vehicle or notify that the vehicle is off the road. If the keeper fails to do either of these options the enforcement process is started automatically. Mitigating circumstances, including medical information, can be put forward and will be taken into account to decide if the enforcement should proceed.
It should be noted that enforcement action is only started after a reasonable period of time has elapsed. Also, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency will accept a statutory off-road notification made on the keeper’s behalf by a spouse or next of kin.
Air Misses
Simon Hart: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) collisions and (b) near-misses of aircraft above London there were in (i) 2009 and (ii) 2010. [65236]
Mrs Villiers: There were nil collisions and four near-misses above London investigated by the AAIB in 2009. There were nil collisions and two near-misses above London investigated by the AAIB in 2010.
Cycling
Karl McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to promote the Cycle to Work Scheme in (a) Lincoln constituency, (b) Lincolnshire and (c) the UK. [66148]
Norman Baker: The Department has traditionally promoted both the Cycle to Work Scheme and the Cycle to Work Guarantee to employers, employees and other Government Departments across the country through a number of Departmental led promotions and projects. The Department also funds the National Business Travel Network (NBTN). NBTN launched a DFT part funded ‘ways2work’ tool kit in November 2010 to help people and businesses work more efficiently. The tool kit includes a section on encouraging cycling to work.
Most recently the Cycle to Work Scheme has been promoted through guidance to the members of the Physical Activity Network which is part of the Department for Health led Public Health Responsibility Deal. I have also provided a foreword in support of the Cycle to Work-Alliance’s Behavioural Impact Analysis.
Finally, the results of bids for Tranche 1 of the Local Sustainable Transport Fund were released on 5 July 2011, many of which included elements relating to cycling to work.
Lord Laird (Crossbench)
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to encourage motor cyclists to comply with the speed limit in built-up areas.
Earl Attlee (Whip, House of Lords; Conservative)
All road users must comply with speed limits. The setting of speed limits on local roads is the responsibility of local highway authorities and the enforcement of these is for local police forces. In line with the localism agenda, all local authorities have the autonomy to decide whether to introduce traffic-calming measures such as speed humps or shared space to reduce all vehicle speeds, including motor cyclists. The Government THINK! Campaign on motor cycle safety includes messages to motor cyclists encouraging further training and responsible riding: http://think. direct.gov.uk/motorcycles.html.
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