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Viscount Falkland: My Lords, as another motorcyclist--I park my motorcycle next to that of the noble Lord, Lord Rotherwick--I support everything he said. I congratulate him on introducing the amendment and explaining the background to it so clearly. I do not have much sympathy with him as regards his socks: nowadays anyone who rides a motorcycle every day need not get wet. The two things that motorcyclists have now are adequate clothing and good machines. What they do not have is adequate parking. If motorcyclists find adequate parking, they require the means to protect their motorcycle from theft. It is essential to provide suitable, solid stands to which a strong chain can be attached in order to make it difficult for criminals to take away the bike.

The noble Lord referred to a figure of 25,000 motorcycles being stolen a year. The figure is rising. Most thefts are of scooters, the use of which is proliferating because of congestion and so on. That is against a background of reduced numbers of parking spaces in some local authorities. For reasons which are not clear--the matter has been given much publicity--Westminster has decided to provide some parking for motorcycles with stands, but it will introduce charges of, I understand, about £2 per hour.

The situation is the same for cycles. They are subject to theft. I recently lost a bicycle in the space of one and a half minutes. It was silly of me: it was a folding bike which I could have taken inside with me. I now take my folding bicycle everywhere with me, even into supermarkets at great inconvenience to myself and others. But that is the only way I can protect a £500 investment. Cycles being light in weight, the stands for cycles require to be considerably less substantial, but they are essential.

Motorcycles need substantial investment. That is recognised. It has been suggested by motorcycling bodies to which the noble Lord and I belong that local authorities could fund such stands by introducing advertising on them. We have made many suggestions. But none is any good because there is an anti-motorcycle culture in this country which does not exist in France, Germany, Holland, Spain or Italy. In Westminster, and to a degree in the Corporation of London area, motorcycles are deemed to be as polluting as motor cars. When we were an unreformed House, a Peer using a motorcycle used to be deemed to be eccentric. I do not think that that applies any longer. One is deemed to be some kind of yahoo.

Lord Berkeley: My Lords, I cannot resist asking the noble Viscount whether he puts his eccentric folding bicycle on top of the vegetables in the supermarket trolley or underneath.

Viscount Falkland: My Lords, I am talking about being an eccentric motorcyclist. I do not think that Peers riding bicycles have ever been deemed eccentric, unless they have enormous baskets and make a point

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of going the wrong way down one-way streets, rather like the noble Lord, Lord Marlesford, who tells us all about it from time to time but who is not in his place at the moment.

Motorcyclists are generally seen as hobbledehoys and yahoos, unless they are Peers, in which case they are deemed eccentric. That attitude, which is not present in other countries, is behind the absence of racks for motorcycles. Provision is very patchy. Some local authorities with chief engineers who ride motorcycles or who are favourable to them have reasonable provision for motorcycle parking. In Wandsworth, for example, there are substantial stands for parking motorcycles.

The noble Lord, Lord Whitty, has done a great deal of work with his committee to examine provision for motorcyclists. We are optimistic about the outcome of those discussions and deliberations, but unless the anti-motorcycle attitude is dealt with head-on, we shall not get the co-operation that the noble Lord, Lord Rotherwick, and I--and, I hope, the Minister--want to encourage better provision for motorcycles.

If that does not happen, current levels of motorcycle theft will continue or even increase. The criminal organisations that steal motorcycles know that for technical reasons it is currently very difficult to secure a conviction. The Crown Prosecution Service is unwilling to allow prosecutions for organised motorcycle theft unless it thinks that a conviction is likely. The problems of gathering evidence and matching the numbers on frames and engines to their rightful owners, as well as other complicated technical issues, make it very difficult to get hold of the criminals, who make a good living out of the practice.

I support the amendment wholeheartedly and I hope that the Minister will do the same, as well as perhaps hinting at further support for motorcycling.

Viscount Craigavon: My Lords, as a fellow motorcyclist and cyclist, I am happy to support the amendment. It is useful to remind the House of motorcycles and cycles. I also congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Rotherwick, on the work that he has done on an apparently small amendment to the Bill. He did a great deal of preparatory work on his Bill last year.

At a previous stage I said that I hoped that we were pushing at an open door. I believe that we are, so I shall not be long. However, I should like to add one statistic to what has already been said. Unfortunately, the recovery rate of stolen motorcycles is only about 16 per cent. One can imagine the difficulties that that causes for some people.

I hope that the Government will strenuously encourage pilot schemes if the amendment is accepted so that people can see the success of that mode of parking. Once it is proved to be a success, I hope that we can find other ways of encouraging local authorities to take it up as soon as possible. The only proper trial scheme with secure parking that I recall had a 100 per cent success rate. If the Government are

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encouraging, I hope that the motorcycle industry, enthusiasts and the police will encourage secure parking.

I am slightly worried by the reference of the noble Viscount, Lord Falkland, to charges for secure motorcycle parking. I hope that it does not become a source of revenue for local authorities. I hope that the Government will keep an eye on that. We need to reduce the ridiculously high rate of motorcycle theft.

6.45 p.m.

Earl Attlee: My Lords, my noble friend Lord Rotherwick has been working on the issue for some time. If he is successful, as I am sure that he will be, I congratulate him on his efforts and I thank the Minister for looking favourably on yet another excellent suggestion.

Lord Whitty: My Lords, the noble Earl pre-empts me effectively. I can hardly say no now.

As the noble Lord, Lord Rotherwick, knows, I strongly supported his Private Member's Bill last year. We recognise that motorcycle theft is a serious problem for motorcycle riders and society as a whole. Anything that we can do to improve the security of motorcycles must be a good thing. The amendment is pitched just right and it is important that central and local government support it.

The Government do not share the alleged anti-motorcyclist culture that the noble Viscount, Lord Falkland, referred to. We have a constructive relationship with motorcycling organisations. They support the amendment and we support their contribution to an effective transport policy. For law and order and transport policy reasons, we consider the amendment appropriate and I accept it as it stands.

Lord Rotherwick: My Lords, on behalf of all bikers, I thank the Minister for his kindness. I hope that the amendment will result in the creation of a large number of secure places on the streets.

Most motorcyclists have one other serious concern: the lack of motorcycle places is leading to the parking of a large number of motorcycles on the pavements next to street lights. That is not a safe place to park them. That is the only downside that I can see. I repeat my thanks and that of a large number of bikers for the Government's support for the amendment.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Earl Attlee moved Amendment No. 322:

    After Clause 258, insert the following new clause--


(" .--(1) The Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 is amended as follows.
(2) In section 3 (what a road traffic regulation order may provide), at end insert--
"(5) No traffic regulation order shall apply to the use of a two-wheeled motor cycle in a bus lane unless specifically authorised by an order made by the Secretary of State."
(3) In section 6(1) (orders similar to traffic regulation orders), leave out "and (5)" and insert ", (5) and (7)".

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(4) In section 6, at end insert--
"(7) No traffic regulation order made under this section shall apply to the use of a two-wheeled motor cycle in a bus lane unless specifically authorised by an order made by the Secretary of State.").
(5) In section 142 (general interpretation of Act), insert in the appropriate place--
""bus lane" means that part of the road which is restricted to public service vehicles and other vehicles in accordance with a traffic regulation order made under section 1 or 6 of this Act,
"motor cycle" means a mechanically propelled vehicle, not being an invalid carriage, with less than four wheels and the weight of which does not exceed 410 kilograms,"").

The noble Earl said: My Lords, the amendment would allow motorcycles to use bus lanes. I was surprised to learn that they cannot. The Minister will have given the matter much thought. I imagine that there are advantages and disadvantages to the proposal, which I am sure that he will explain to us.

Amendments Nos. 323 and 324 are about collapsible warning triangles used in the event of breakdowns. The hard shoulder is the most dangerous part of a motorway. After a breakdown, safety can be enhanced by placing a warning triangle at least 100 metres behind the broken down vehicle. Unfortunately, motorists have always been very poor at doing that.

The latest Highway Code appears to discourage the use of warning triangles on a motorway. Am I correct in my reading of that? Does UK advice differ from continental practice, advice and law? I beg to move.

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