PQs 25th – 26th March

Home Department Oral Answers to Questions: Topical questions
 
Fiona Bruce (Congleton) (Con): My young constituent, James Harrold, aged 19, from Middlewich, lost both his legs after being hit by a police car travelling at speed. In 2011-12, police vehicles were the cause of 18 deaths and many serious injuries such as those sustained by James. What are the Government doing to ensure that the number of such tragic incidents is reduced?
Mrs May: I thank my hon. Friend for raising this issue, and certainly the case to which she referred is very distressing. While speed limits do not apply to vehicles used for emergency service purposes if observance of the limit is likely to hinder that purpose, I can assure her that emergency services drivers remain subject at all times to the law on careless and dangerous driving, of which exceeding the speed limit may be a component. The Department for Transport has recently consulted on the issue of extending the exemption to other emergency services, but it has also looked at amending road safety legislation so that emergency drivers will be required to complete high speed driving training before they are allowed to exceed the limit, and it proposes to base that training on the code drawn up by the emergency services.
Motorcycles: Driving Tests
 
Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when his Department will publish the results of its review into motorcycle driver testing. [149874]
Stephen Hammond: As part of the motorcycle test review, the Department for Transport is currently undertaking research to see if it is feasible and safe to carry out the module 1 manoeuvres on the road.
The Department expects to receive a final research report in the next few months. Once the report has been received and considered, the Department will make a further statement on the future of the motorcycle test review.
Cyclists: Face Masks
 
Questions
Asked by Baroness King of Bow
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have made any assessment of whether face masks sold to be worn by cyclists are able to intercept particulate matter smaller than 10 micrometres; and, if so, whether they will encourage the use of face masks by cyclists.[HL6367]
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of whether face masks sold to be worn by cyclists offer health benefits to cyclists in urban areas.[HL6368]
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of whether face masks sold to be worn by cyclists offer health benefits to cyclists in London, in particular during rush hour.[HL6369]
Earl Attlee: The Government have made no assessment in relation to the wearing of facemasks by cyclists.
There is strong evidence for the health benefits of cycling as a form of physical activity, notably through associated reductions in all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease and some cancers as well as making contributions to other aspects of health such as weight control and mental health. Regular cycling contributes to an individual’s total physical activity, which is related to reduced risk of mortality.
A number of comprehensive assessments have shown that the health benefits of cycling (through reduced mortality and morbidity as a result of increased energy expenditure) greatly outweigh the risks due to poor air quality and road traffic casualties.
The effectiveness of such masks is a matter for established European product standards.
Driving: Eyesight
 
Sir Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the number of road traffic accidents each year which involve drivers whose eyesight is below the minimum distance eyesight requirement to read a vehicle number plate. [149878]
Stephen Hammond: The following table gives the number of accidents for which the police officer recorded “uncorrected, defective eyesight” as a contributory factor in each of the last five years.
Number of accidents

2007

207

2008

225

2009

191

2010

234

2011

250

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