on the origins of cycling’s bogeyman

These have to be read in the context of the introduction of the first dual carriageway roads. Amazingly, in 75 years, some folk still haven't noticed that the context has moved on a bit…

29 April 1937:

Mr William Craven-Ellis (Southampton)
asked the Minister of Transport whether it is his intention to make it compulsory for pedal cyclists to use the special cycle tracks now provided on the Great West Road and other similar roads with the object of reducing the present high rate of casualties?

Sir Austin Hudson (Hackney North)
It is not my right hon. Friend's intention. Observation shows that it is exceptional for cyclists not to use these tracks.

Mr William Craven-Ellis (Southampton)
In view of the extraordinary reply, it is my intention to raise this matter on the Adjournment at the earliest possible moment.

6 May 1937:

Sir Patrick Donner (Basingstoke)
asked the Minister of Transport whether his attention has been drawn to the use of main roads by bicyclists where separate tracks have been constructed for their special benefit and to the extent of such misuse, particularly on the Great West Road and the Western Avenue; and whether, consequently, he will take suitable measures to discourage bicyclists in this respect?

Sir Austin Hudson (Hackney North)
These tracks were constructed for the special convenience of cyclists, in order that they might travel free from constant apprehension and anxiety, and also in fulfilment of the principle that there should be different tracks for different classes of vehicles travelling at different speeds and by different methods of propulsion. Observation shows that these tracks are appreciated by the overwhelming majority of cyclists, and my right hon. Friend hopes that the minority will, to the general and individual advantage of all road users, use the facilities provided.

9 June 1937:

Sir Alfred Beit (St Pancras South East)
asked the Minister of Transport whether he will take steps to make compulsory the use by bicyclists of special cycling tracks where provided; but whether, before doing so, he will see that those tracks are in every way safe and suitable for the purpose?

Mr Edward Burgin (Luton)
With regard to the first part of the question, I have no present intention of taking the course suggested. As to the second part, so far as it arises, my Department has recently drawn the attention of all highway authorities to the importance of providing satisfactory cycle tracks.

Sir Alfred Beit (St Pancras South East)
What is the use of providing these cycle tracks if they need not be used by cyclists?

Mr Edward Burgin (Luton)
I think the House will appreciate that there must be a considerable length of cycle tracks before any question of this kind can arise. I sincerely hope that cyclists will progressively use the facilities which are provided for them.

16 June 1937:

Sir Charles MacAndrew (Bute and Northern)
Does the right hon. Gentleman not think that when these cycle tracks are made some steps should be taken to make the cyclists use them?

Mr Edward Burgin (Luton)
In regard to cycle tracks, I think we must wait until we have a considerable continuous length of tracks before we talk about the obligation to use the track.

Sir Charles MacAndrew (Bute and Northern)
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that where there are cycle tracks they are very largely not used by cyclists?

Mr Edward Burgin (Luton)
That is so, but there are not yet continuous cycle tracks which will permit of the matter being dealt with comprehensively. I hope that every encouragement will be given to cyclists to use the cycle tracks, and I am anxious that long and continuous cycle tracks should be made available before we go into the matter on a large scale.

Mr Reginald Sorensen (Leyton West)
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that intense resentment will be expressed at any attempt being made to use compulsion?

Mr James Maxton (Glasgow Bridgeton)
Has the right hon. Gentleman received representations from cyclist organisations on this matter? If he has not, is he prepared to meet them and to discuss the whole question?

Mr Edward Burgin (Luton)
Deputations have been received, and the views of the cyclists are perfectly well known. I wish to encourage cyclists to use these tracks. I am anxious to get more long and continuous tracks before we deal with the matter comprehensively.

23 June 1937:

Sir Philip Colfox (Dorset Western)
Is it the intention to make it obligatory on all cyclists to use cycle tracks where such exist?

Mr Edward Burgin (Luton)
In my view, no such question would even arise for consideration until the lengths of cycle tracks were sufficiently continuous and sufficiently great to make them really a proper alternative.


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