Barry Sheerman on widow makers

By andyinvienna -

 24 March 2010 14:00

Approximately two thirds of motorcycle deaths, are because a car driver has impeded the right of way of a motorcyclist, most are caused by pulling out on a straight road in front of the motorbike.

There were 493 motorcycle user fatalities in accidents reported to the police in 2008 There were 572 pedestrian deaths. The number of pedal cyclists killed 115 in 2008.

If we use a rule of thumb that would be 786 people killed in 2008, by car drivers impeding the right of way of other road users, I have to ask why is this or any Government not pursuing this amazing death rate, purely the responsibility of car drivers, its time that, motorbikes, pedestrians and cyclists stop being persecuted, and the real culprits being blamed, The car driver.

Barry Sheerman attacked motorcyclists in the House of Parliament saying we were widow makers, this uninformed rhetoric has to be challenged and the real truth be spoken 8 Mar 2010 : Column 961 Cycling and Motorcycling Accidents 12.

Mr. Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield) (Lab/Co-op): What steps his Department is taking to reduce the number of deaths of, and serious accidents involving, motorcyclists and cyclists. [322763]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Paul Clark): Specific road safety initiatives aimed at motorcyclists and cyclists include a new Think! campaign on motorcycle safety, training for young cyclists via Bikeability, and the enhanced rider scheme for post-test training for motorcyclists.

Last year, we published proposals to improve road safety in the consultation document, "A Safer Way". That included proposals for new guidance on encouraging more 20 miles per hour zones.

Mr. Sheerman: Does my hon. Friend agree that we are perhaps becoming a little complacent about the number of deaths on two-wheeled vehicles? I checked the figures recently: in two years, deaths among motorcyclists equal the number lost in our armed services on active service in 40 years.

The widow-makers and orphan-makers are the people who drive such vehicles and are killed. That is disgraceful in a civilised society.

Paul Clark: My hon. Friend makes an important point about the number of people who die or are seriously injured on our roads, but I am pleased that all those involved in road safety have been able to achieve substantial reductions in the number of deaths and serious injuries among both cyclists and motorcyclists.

However, we recognise that there is further work still to do, and we will continue to take that forward in the new road safety strategy.

Michael Fabricant (Lichfield) (Con): Often, it is the drivers of four-wheeled vehicles who cause the harm. But, what steps is the Minister taking to try to stop ordinary pedal cyclists going through red lights, cycling the wrong way and endangering pedestrians-

[ Interruption. ] Paul Clark: I will not mention the Mayor of London; that would not be right. I will say, however, that the hon. Gentleman raises an important point. Everyone who uses the road, whether they are cyclists, drivers of four-wheeled vehicles, lorry drivers, bus drivers or pedestrians, needs to respect the rules of the road and operate accordingly. I agree entirely.