PQs 20th – 23rd

 
PACTS comments: There were many parliamentary questions about cycle safety this week, due to the Westminster Hall debate on cycling and the Times Cities Fit for Cycling campaign. PACTS prepared a policy briefing on this issue which can be read here
During the Westminster Hall debate the topic of cycle safety in rural areas was brought up which introduced an important and often overlooked dimension to the general discussion.
Cycling: Rural Areas
 
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps her Department is taking to improve the safety of cyclists in rural areas. [95213]
Norman Baker [holding answer 20 February 2012]:The Department for Transport provides Integrated Transport Block funding to local transport authorities who have discretion to spend their allocations in line with their own priorities. As well as this, we have allocated £560 million to local authorities through the Local Sustainable Transport Fund in order to support measures that deliver economic growth and cut carbon, and 38 of the 39 projects which were awarded funding contained a cycling element.
In addition, on 7 February 2012 I announced £15 million for cycling projects that will promote economic growth and cut carbon. This will include traffic calmed and traffic free routes linking local communities with employment centres, schools and other facilities, and improving cycle-rail integration at stations.
Local highway authorities already have control of local speed limits, and should take full account of local communities’ views in setting these limits. A key theme in the Government’s Strategic Framework for Road Safety published in May 2011 is the empowerment of local communities, including enabling the public to compare road safety performance in their local area with other similar areas. This will help communities to challenge local service providers on issues such as speed limits. Decisions on speed limits should be based upon comprehensive analysis of all the costs and benefits.
Cycleways
 
Mark Menzies: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations her Department has had on (a) improving the standard of current bridle ways so that they are fit for cycling and (b) increasing the number of dedicated cycle paths on the Fylde coast. [95531]
Norman Baker: The information is as follows:
(a) The Department has had no representations regarding improving the standard of bridleways on the Fylde coast.
(b) The provision of local cycling infrastructure is a matter for the local highway authority. As well as the £1.8 billion capital funding provided through the integrated transport block during this spending review period, we are allocating £560 million to local authorities through the Local Sustainable Transport Fund to support packages of measures that deliver economic growth and cut carbon. Blackpool city council’s bid to Tranche 1 of the fund was rejected. Lancashire county council is expected to submit a bid for Tranche 2, the closing date for which is 24 February.
Cycling
 
Bill Esterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what research her Department has commissioned on the benefits of cycling to the (a) cyclist and (b) wider community in the last three years. [94684]
Norman Baker: The Department has commissioned the following research on the benefits of cycling to the cyclist and wider community in the last three years:
Analysis and synthesis of evidence on the effects of investment in six Cycling Demonstration Towns (Slowman et al, November 2009):
http://assets.dft.gov.uk/publications/analysis-and-synthesis-of-evidence-on-the-effects-of-investment-in-six-cycling-demonstration-towns/cyclingdemotowns.pdf
Valuing increased cycling in the Cycling Demonstration Towns (Sustrans & Cavill Associates, December 2009):
http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20110407094607/http://www.dft.gov.uk/cyclingengland/site/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/valuing-increased-cycling-in-the-cycling-demonstration-towns.pdf
Cycling Demonstration Towns Development of Benefit-Cost Ratios (DfT, February 2010):
http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20110407094607/http://www.dft.gov.uk/cyclingengland/site/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/cdts-development-of-benefit-cost-ratios.pdf
Road Safety Web Publication No. 17: Cycling, Safety and Sharing the Road: Qualitative Research with Cyclists and Other Road Users (Christmas et al, September 2010):
http://assets.dft.gov.uk/publications/safety-cycling-and-sharing-the-road-qualitative-research-with-cyclists-and-other-road-users/rswp17.pdf
Climate Change and Transport Choices: Segmentation Study Interim Report (TNS-BMRB, December 2010):
http://www.dft.gov.uk/publications/climate-change-and-transport-choices/
Research to explore perceptions and experiences of Bikeability training among parents and children (Ipsos MORI, December 2010):
http://assets.dft.gov.uk/publications/research-to-explore-perceptions-and-experiences-of-bikeability-training-amongst-parents-and-children/bikeabilitytraining.pdf
New Ways to Increase Cycling: Lessons from the Finding New Solutions Programme (Arup, April 2011)
We have commissioned research to examine Bikeability delivery data and mode of travel to school data in order to identify any emerging trends. This will be published in spring 2012.
Evaluation of the Cycling City and Towns programme (A consortium led by AECOM working with the University of the West of England and The Tavistock Institute, ongoing). The evaluation will explore the benefits of cycling via a range of research activities which are summarised on the Department’s website:
http://www.dft.gov.uk/publications/cycling-city-and-towns-programme
and include:
An interim evaluation report published January 2010
http://www.dft.gov.uk/publications/cycling-city-and-towns-programme-interim-report
Analysis investigating the potential health benefits of increasing cycling in the Cycling City and Towns, (Cavill Associates, currently being completed and will be published in line with the Government Social Research publication protocol
http://www.dft.gov.Uk/topics/science-research/social/
Further research on the Cycling Demonstration Towns can be found at:
http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20110407094607/http://www.dft.gov.uk/cyclingengland/cycling-cities-towns/results/
David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps she is taking to (a) discourage cyclists from riding on pavements and (b) promote cyclist confidence in respect of cycling on roads. [95482]
Norman Baker: The information is as follows:
(a) The enforcement of cycling offences is an operational matter for the police. A fixed penalty notice (FPN) of £30 was introduced in 1999, which provides the police with a direct means of dealing with illegal cycling on the pavement. The police can issue this fine as appropriate, or prosecute alleged offenders, where the maximum fine is £500.
(b) Bikeability is “cycling proficiency” for the 21st century, and gives people the skills and confidence to cycle safely and well in modern road conditions. The Department has committed to support Bikeability for the remainder of this Parliament and is currently providing grant funding of up to £11 million per year for Bikeability training in schools.
Bikeability is for all ages. There is a range of training available to suit all requirements from the complete beginner wanting to boost their confidence to those
20 Feb 2012 : Column 568W
wanting to develop more advanced skills. The Bikeability website contains further information for those wishing to find a suitable cycle training provider:
http://www.dft.gov.uk/bikeability/the-three-levels/cycling-skills-for-adults/
Driving Offences
Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate she has made of the (a) number and (b) proportion of drivers who had their driving licences revoked within (i) a year and (ii) two years of passing their driving test in each of the last five years. [94008]
Mike Penning: The information requested is not readily available and would incur disproportionate costs to gather.
Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate she has made of the (a) number and (b) proportion of drivers who were issued three penalty points within (i) a year and (ii) two years of passing their driving test in each of the last five years. [94009]
Mike Penning: The information requested is shown in the following table for the last four years. Offences that obtain three penalty points are removed after four years, earlier information is not available. Only partial information is available for the figures highlighted in bold, as offences are still updating the driver’s record.
Number of driving tests passed Number of drivers who incurred three penalty points within one year of passing Percentage Number of drivers who incurred three penalty points within two years of passing Percentage

2008

843,640

38,729

5

73,253

9

2009

748,935

30,521

4

55,058

7

2010

713,170

21,641

3

29,703

4

2011

768,212

8,089

1

n/a

n/a

Roads: Accidents
 
Graham Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many drivers of (a) all ages and (b) over the age of 70 years have died while driving a road vehicle in each year between 2007 and 2010. [93827]
 
Mike Penning: Table 1 shows the number of driver/rider fatalities of motor vehicles in reported road accidents, by driver/rider age, in Great Britain over 2007-10. The fatality figures include all casualties who sustained injuries which caused death within 30 days of the accident.
 
Table 1: Reported road accident driver/rider fatalities of motor vehicles, by driver/rider age GB: 2007-10
Age of driver/rider
(a) All ages (1) (b) Aged over 70 years

2007

1,610

124

2008

1,415

135

2009

1,211

106

2010

1,033

104

(1) Includes cases where age was not reported.

Roads: Accidents
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate she has made of the number of (a) accidents and (b) deaths in road traffic collisions involving cyclists in (i) England, (ii) the North West, (iii) Cumbria and (iv) South Lakeland in each of the last five years. [95214]
Mike Penning [holding answer 20 February 2012]: The information requested is given in the following tables:
(a) Reported personal injury road traffic accidents involving a pedal cyclist
Area
England North west Cumbria South Lakeland

2006

15,167

1,913

116

25

2007

15,281

1,889

134

33

2008

15,410

1,862

113

27

2009

16,157

1,934

121

29

2010

16,355

1,953

109

27

(b) All reported deaths resulting from these accidents
Area
England North west Cumbria South Lakeland

2006

133

15

2

0

2007

135

15

3

0

2008

106

13

0

0

2009

98

8

2

0

2010

109

14

3

0

(c) Pedal cyclist deaths resulting from these accidents
Area
England North west Cumbria South Lakeland

2006

127

14

2

0

2007

129

15

3

0

2008

102

13

0

0

2009

93

8

2

0

2010

102

12

3

0

Roads: Accidents
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate she has made of the number of accidents in (a) England, (b) the North West, (c) Cumbria and (d) Westmorland and Londsdale constituency caused by ice and snow in each of the last five years. [95720]
Mike Penning: The number of reported personal injury road accidents where the road surface condition was recorded as snow, ice or frost and where “slippery road (due to weather)” was recorded as a contributory factor is given in the following table:
Number of accidents
England North West

2006

1,129

193

2007

1,461

193

2008

2,37.0

333

2009

3,827

413

2010

5,562

731

Note: Based on 2010 parliamentary boundaries.
Information relating to contributory factors are not available below regional level.
The contributory factors reflect the reporting officer’s opinion at the time of reporting and are not necessarily the result of extensive investigation. Moreover it is recognised that subsequent inquires could lead to the reporting officer changing his opinion. It is important to note where some factors may have contributed to a cause of an accident it may be difficult for a police officer attending the scene after the accident has occurred to identify these factors.
Jonathan Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps she is taking to reduce road casualties among people aged between 17 and 24 years; and if she will make a statement. [96211]
Mike Penning: We recognise the higher risks posed by younger and less experienced drivers and are taking steps to reduce these risks. However, I would also note the improvements that have been made between 2007-10 with a 25% fall in all car driver ages killed and seriously injured (KSIs) and a 35% reduction for 17 to 24-year-old car drivers killed and seriously injured.
I have had a number of meetings with the driver training and insurance industries to explore how we can encourage and properly train people to become lifelong, safe and responsible drivers. We will examine a range of proposals for consideration prior to formal consultation later in 2012.
We have already made improvements to the driving test to help reduce casualties in this age group such as not publishing test routes or answers to theory test questions and reducing the number of manoeuvres in the practical test, so test routes can be opened out and be more representative of real driving.
Jonathan Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate she has made of the proportion of road accidents caused by drivers between 17 and 24 years of age; what comparative assessment she has made of these figures and the proportion of driving licence holders accounted for by that age group; and if she will make a statement. [96213]
Mike Penning: Information that explicitly identifies the cause of accidents is not held by the Department. However information on factors which, in the opinion of the reporting police officer at the time of attendance, may have contributed to the accident is held by the Department and are available from the following address:
http://www.dft.gov.uk/statistics/releases/road-accidents-and-safety-annual-report-2010
The following table shows the number of reported personal injury road accidents involving a motor vehicle driver, by driver age band, and the estimated rate of involvement, for drivers within these age bands in Great Britain for 2010.
Driver age (years)
17-24 25-29 30-34 35-39 40-49 50-59 60-69 70 +

Reported road accidents involving a motor vehicle driver, in 2010

42,792

25,373

23,787

23,304

43,994

29,049

16,038

10,683

Estimated number of motor vehicle drivers involved in a reported road accidents per 100,000 driving licence holders, in 2010

969

792

770

674

616

492

319

266

Proportion of individuals with a full or provisional driving licence, accounted for by age group (percentage)

12

9

9

10

21

17

14

10

Driving under Influence: Rehabilitation
Paul Blomfield: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 17 January 2012, Official Report, column 638W, on driving under the influence: rehabilitation, what meetings (a) she, (b) Ministers and (c) officials in her Department have had with all potential providers of drink drive rehabilitation courses who (i) do and (ii) do not currently operate in the sector. [95155]
Mike Penning: Driving Standards Agency (DSA) officials have conducted routine inspection visits to 20 of the 21 existing Drink Drive Rehabilitation (DDR) course providers since July 2009. The remaining provider will be visited later this year.
Agency officials have also attended regular Association of Drink Drive Providers of Training (ADDAPT) management meetings, and quarterly ADDAPT ‘full members’ meetings to update them on DDR developments, and to resolve business as usual DDR matters.
A total of 40 expressions of interest in providing DDR courses under the new arrangement have been received since the launch of the “New Approval Arrangements for Drink-Drive Rehabilitation Courses” consultation was launched on 9 November 2011. These include expressions of interest submitted by existing course providers.
DSA officials attended a meeting with AA Drivetech in January 2011 where DDR was a scheduled agenda item.
Large Goods Vehicles: Sleep Apnoea
Meg Munn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps her Department is taking to raise awareness of obstructive sleep apnoea among lorry drivers. [93925]
Mike Penning: The Department is committed to identifying opportunities to raise awareness of obstructive sleep apnoea. A number of initiatives are
ongoing with commercial drivers including questioning them directly about it as part of the compulsory medicals they undergo for driver licensing purposes and sending our ‘Tiredness Can Kill’ leaflet to them and their employers.
Railways: Accidents
 
Rebecca Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many incidents of trains colliding with hanging wire as a result of overhead cable theft on railway lines were recorded in 2011. [95477]
Norman Baker: This information is collected by Network Rail, the infrastructure manager, and not the Department for Transport.
Rebecca Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many incidents of train drivers injured as a result of trains colliding with hanging wire on railway lines were recorded in 2011. [95478]
Mrs Villiers: The Office of Rail Regulation and the RSSB collate figures of incidents and accidents on the railway that are reported under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases, and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995.
Both these bodies publish annual reports in which such rail safety statistics are set out. Page 101 to 103 of the RSSB Annual Safety Report for 2010-11 provides data on the number incidents occurring to train drivers that resulted in injury or fatality during that period. This can be found at the following link:
www.rssb.co.uk/SPR/REPORTS/Pages/default.aspx
However, these statistics do not specifically reference wire related injuries. The hon. Member might wish to contact the organisations direct to discuss figures applicable to this specific injury type.
Cycling: Training
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans her Department has to increase the number of students taking cycling proficiency courses in schools. [95212]
Norman Baker [holding answer 20 February 2012]:Bikeability is ‘cycling proficiency’ for the 21st century and gives people the skills and confidence to cycle safely in modern road conditions.
The Department currently provides grant funding of up to £11 million per financial year from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund. This funding level will continue until at least March 2015.
This funding is available to local highway authorities and School Games Organiser Host Schools who bid for a contribution of up to £40 per training place. This provides for up to 275,000 school children to take part in on-road cycle training every year.
Previously grants were for level 2 training only, aimed at year 6 school children. From 2012-13 grant funding is available to train school children between school years 5-9 on either level 1 and 2 combined, level 2 or level 3 courses. This will allow for a greater number of children to be eligible for training, as well as providing them with access to the level of training most appropriate for their needs.
Roads: Accidents
 
Lilian Greenwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps her Department is taking to assist local authorities to set meaningful local targets for road safety. [94888]
Mike Penning [holding answer 20 February 2012]:The Strategic Framework for Road Safety, published 11 May 2011, sets out our vision for road safety in Great Britain and the measures and actions that we will take to achieve this. It aims to provide clarity to local authorities on their roles and responsibilities in road safety and the increased freedom to assess and act on their own priorities.
As part of this we have provided the Road Safety Outcomes Framework to monitor progress in reducing casualties as well as how we are reducing the risk for different road user groups.
Local authorities are free to set their own targets if they find this useful. Ultimately, it is for citizens to judge if both local and central Government are successful in reducing deaths and injuries on British roads. To support this, we will be introducing an online comparison tool that would allow local people, lobby groups, practitioners, and LA officers to compare local performance information in their area against other areas, while comparing improvement rates. This will increase transparency and build capability to help people solve problems in their areas.
Roads: Lighting
 
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans she has to revise guidance on the minimum amount of lighting required on A roads. [95869]
Norman Baker: The Department for Transport endorses Well-Lit Highways, the Code of Practice on highway lighting management published by the UK Lighting Board. This is updated periodically and is available at the following weblink:
http://www.ukroadsliaisongroup.org/lighting/well_lit.htm
The code provides a link to further guidance for local highway authorities to consider prior to deciding whether to introduce dimming, reduce operating hours or switch off lights for part of the night.
The Highways Agency has plans to reduce the level of lighting on A roads when traffic levels are significantly below road capacity. Research, including assessment installations will take place in the next financial year. The agency has no plans to reduce the level of lighting on A roads during the peak periods that occur during the hours of darkness or to temporarily switch A road lighting off when traffic flows are low. The level of light reduction will be based upon internationally agreed standards and made in consultation with the UK’s Institute of Lighting Professionals.
It is right that lighting authorities consider, in the interests of cost-saving and the environment, whether lighting can be sensibly dimmed or turned off, consistent with proper safety assessments.
Cycling
 
11. Tim Farron (Westmorland and Lonsdale) (LD): How much of the local sustainable transport fund and the funding for the growth strategy for cycling and walking will be spent on cycle safety in the next financial year. [95959]
Norman Baker: During 2012-13, £11 million pounds will be spent on Bikeability and £8 million will be spent through the growth strategy on off-road infrastructure for cyclists. Funding to local authorities for cycling through successful local sustainable transport fund projects is at least £15 million in the forthcoming year. Approximately 40% of the measures funded relate to infrastructure or training, both of which will help cycle safety.
Tim Farron: With the recent deaths of several cyclists in south Lakeland, especially along the A590 and A591, which are managed by the Highways Agency, what can the Government do to improve safety for cyclists in rural areas and especially on those roads?
Norman Baker: I am obviously conscious that any death involving a cyclist on the roads is one too many. It is fair to put these matters in context, however. The number of cyclists killed on the roads has declined by 40%, or thereabouts, over the past 15 years. My hon. Friend is right, though, to raise the particular issue of the A590 and the A591, which is a county road. I have asked the Highways Agency and Cumbria county council to work together on this matter and to let me know what steps they intend to take to improve cycle safety there.
Drink-drive Rehabilitation Scheme
12. Paul Blomfield (Sheffield Central) (Lab): What assessment she has made of the likely effect of proposed changes to the drink-drive rehabilitation scheme. [95960]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Mike Penning): The consultation document, “New Approval Arrangements for Drink-Drive Rehabilitation Courses”, published in November 2011, contained an initial impact assessment outlining the costs and benefits of the proposals.
Paul Blomfield: Does the Minister accept that there is real concern among those interested in reducing reoffending, including the Justices’ Clerks’ Society, which provides legal advice to magistrates, that introducing multiple providers in an area will lead to a price-driven race to the bottom, with a consequent impact on reoffending rates? Would not a better solution be to have competitive tendering for a single provider in an area to ensure quality and effectiveness of the services?
Mike Penning: This matter has been raised with me privately in the past couple of days by several hon. Members in exactly the way the hon. Gentleman asked his question. I will be looking at the matter. The principle of drink-drive rehabilitation schemes is important. Evidence shows that those who take the schemes are more than two and a half times less likely to reoffend—or at least to be caught reoffending; we do not actually know whether they are reoffending, of course. However, we will consider his point.
T5. [95970] Seema Malhotra (Feltham and Heston) (Lab/Co-op): Lorries are involved in 19% of cyclist fatalities. Does the Minister support the call by The Times cycling campaign to require lorries entering city centres to have sensors and mirrors by law to reduce cycling fatalities?
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Mike Penning): This is an important piece of work that needs to be done. We are looking closely at how sensors and mirrors will work, and working with our European partners on mirrors in particular. Sensors are a big issue, and only the other day I met the family of someone who had been killed by a lorry driver turning left at a red light. The conclusion of that discussion was that sensors would not necessarily have helped in that case. In other cases, if the sensor is set off by bollards or traffic lights, and so on, drivers will ignore the beeping and not do what they should, which is to see whether there is a cyclist. However, we are looking closely at this issue, and we will work closely with everybody in this House and in the cycling fraternity to ensure that we make it as safe as possible for cyclists.
T9. [95974] Paul Maynard (Blackpool North and Cleveleys) (Con): I am sure that Ministers are all welcoming The Times campaign for safer cycling. What steps does the Department think it can take to ensure that cyclists join with motorists in taking responsibility for ensuring their own safety while cycling, for example by ensuring that their bicycles have bells attached and that they are not listening to music while cycling?
Mike Penning: It is the responsibility of everybody on the highway to ensure that they are aware of what their situation is, alert to what is going on around them—particularly if they are cyclists—and, at the same time, visible to other road users. At the same time, however, they need to be protected as well.
Mr John Leech (Manchester, Withington) (LD): Given the recent disappointing Christmas drink-drive statistics, is it now time to revisit the decision not to accept the North review’s recommendation to reduce the drink-drive limit?
Mike Penning: I was not as disappointed by the Christmas drink-drive campaign as the hon. Gentleman was. Any drink-driving is wrong, and it should not happen, but we targeted specific areas—namely, those who drink excessively and younger drivers—and that campaign was successful. We will continue to push to
ensure that people understand that they should not drink and drive, and that if they do, they will be prosecuted.
A49: Shropshire
 
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will ensure road safety measures to protect pedestrians crossing the road are put in place on the A49 in the village of Dorrington. [95864]
Mike Penning: As part of a national target to reduce injury collisions, the Highways Agency operates a value management process to target available resources to areas of greatest need.
Safety measures had previously been considered for the A49 at Dorrington but, when compared against other priority areas, the agency was unable to justify a scheme at this location.
However, following recent changes to the value management process, the agency is reassessing options for the A49, including the provision of a pedestrian crossing at Dorrington. Until the process is complete, the agency cannot guarantee the proposal will be prioritised for funding.
Cycling: Safety
 
Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions she has had with the Driving Standards Agency on the Pass Plus Programme in respect of the safety of cyclists; and if she will make a statement. [95908]
Mike Penning: Pass Plus is a non-statutory, voluntary, training scheme for newly qualified drivers that aims to improve their skills and experience. It prepares them for driving on different types of road (eg motorways which learners cannot use) and provide them with experience of a number of different types of driving conditions.
The Secretary of State for Transport has had no specific discussions with the Driving Standards Agency on the Pass Plus Programme in respect of the safety of cyclists.
Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions she has with the Driving Standards Agency on (a) theory and (b) practical driving tests in respect of the safety of cyclists. [95913]
Mike Penning: We continue to consider how to improve driver training to ensure that learner drivers have the knowledge, skills and attitudes to be safe and responsible on our roads. The Secretary of State for Transport has, however, had no specific discussions with the Driving Standards Agency on (a) theory and (b) practical driving tests in respect of the safety of cyclists. Every driving theory test includes six questions relating to vulnerable road users, including cyclists, and the Highway Code includes strong advice to drivers on the need to give cyclists enough space. We have made the practical driving test more realistic with candidates now needing to show that they can interact safely with others on the road without detailed instruction from the examiner.
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