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Lord Faulkner of Worcester: I take almost exactly the same view of the amendment as the noble Viscount. My noble friend said that cyclists had not been referred to very much in the Bill. There is another group of people who have not been referred to much; that is, pedestrians. It strikes me that if we are to pass laws which make life easier for cyclists, there needs to be rigorous enforcement of the road traffic laws which apply to the relationship between cyclists and pedestrians.
The most dangerous road crossing that I know is a few yards from where we are holding this Committee, where cars, vans and other road vehicles religiously stop at the red light to let noble Lords and other members of the public cross the road. The one group which ignores the instruction from hour to hour, day to day, almost universally are the cyclists, in particular those who whiz through red lights at the kind of speeds to which the noble Viscount referred. If there is to be protection for cyclists from motorists, I want protection for pedestrians from cyclists.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I shall not take sides between motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. I am far too chicken to cycle in London or anywhere else. But I do have a very profound objection to the amendment, and to any amendment which would make a fundamental change to the civil law on negligence.
The principle of the civil law on negligence in this country is that it is for the courts to decide on costs in relation to the circumstances of the particular case. To restrict the ability of the courts to make a proper decision in a particular case is quite unacceptable. At the very worst, the amendment could have the result that a drunken cyclist who collides with a stationary
Lord Berkeley: I think I am grateful to all noble Lords who contributed. It has been an interesting debate. My noble friend Lord Faulkner raised the subject of pedestrians, which is another interesting subject. On that happy note, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
The Deputy Chairman of Committees: For courtesy, may I put it to the Committee? If the noble Lord does not want to move his amendment, he should simply say, "Not moved". If he wants to provide an explanation, for the courtesy of the Committee, other Members of the Committee may wish to speak.
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