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Pedestrian Crossings

Volume 463: debated on Monday 11 April 1949

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asked the Minister of Transport if he will make a statement on the results of the Pedestrian Crossing Week.

Preliminary reports on the results of the Pedestrian Crossing Week show that the effort to secure greater use of the crossings gained general public approval. Propaganda was intensive and widespread, and took many novel forms. More than 900 local authorities took part and a great deal of work has been undertaken by the police. Road safety meetings and displays aroused considerable local interest and were well attended. There has been a noticeable increase in the use of the crossing places by pedestrians and motorists have cooperated in a marked degree. It is hardly to be expected that the habits of years can be changed by a seven days' campaign, and to consolidate the results I ask for the continued co-operation of all road users. I am grateful for the support that came from many organised influential bodies of opinion and for considerable publicity by the Press and the B.B.C. I am certain that the results of the week have been well worth the efforts put in by many voluntary workers.

Is the hon. Gentleman satisfied that the conclusions he has drawn from this have not been caused by so many pedestrians crossing over to the other side in the local elections?

Can the hon. Gentleman say whether one of the matters likely to he discussed as a result of the Pedestrian Crossing Week is an increase in the number of pedestrian crossings? In some areas they were found to be insufficient.

The Committee on Road Safety has recommended to the Minister that existing pedestrian crossings shall be reviewed to see if they are sited in the right places.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that I have observed many lone women crossing roads at any old place other than the recognised crossings? Will he do something to stop this?

That is why it is so very important that we should maintain this campaign.

Can my hon. Friend give us some clarification on the question of whether motor-cars or pedestrians take precedence at pedestrian crossings?

New regulations will be laid before the House by my right hon. Friend very shortly.

Has my hon. Friend in mind any organised follow-up of this week's effort, in order to prevent any backsliding?

Yes, Sir. There will be continuing propaganda conducted by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.

Can the hon. Gentleman say why the Pedestrian Crossing Week was held before the regulations clarifying the position about traffic lights were published? Is he aware that a great deal of the valuable propaganda and educational work of this week has been lost because there is still very great confusion where pedestrian crossings coincide with traffic lights?

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will appreciate that the observations which have been made during this week will enable us to make the regulations more perfect when they are issued.

Has my hon. Friend any figures showing whether during this week there was any diminution in the number of accidents occurring on pedestrian crossings compared with recent weeks?

It may be that if we concentrate more pedestrians on crossings, more pedestrians will be injured at those points but fewer on other parts of the roads.