in which the member for Gateshead West is sarcastic

From the brief discussion on 17 May 1978 of “cycle tracks” — shared pavements — in the Transport Bill debate. This became the 1980 Transport Act, which enabled both proper cycle tracks and crappy pavement conversions. John Horam had a junior position at DoT. I’ll do a proper blog on this topic later.

Mr Nigel Forman (Sutton Carshalton)
The question of cycle tracks was dealt with at some length in Committee. We hope that in the technical note there will be a clear statement about these tracks and their desirability. If not, there is the danger that local authorities will be left in doubt about what they are supposed to do in law in order to establish that they have removed the footways, which is the technical word, and have constructed cycle tracks in their place. There will be the need for clarity about what such terms mean in law and about how much local authorities will be expected to do in order to satisfy what might be called the legal niceties of the situation. For example, would the painting of a white line be enough to establish the transformation from a footway to a cycle path, or would the construction in concrete or stone of some form of kerb separation between the areas reserved for cyclists and pedestrians be entailed?

Mr John Horam (Gateshead West)
On the question of cycle tracks and the clarity of the legislation, I again give the commitment that I gave in Committee, that we shall make perfectly plain what is the law on this matter. It is within the powers of local authorities simply to draw a white line on a footway and turn at least part of it into a cycle track. We shall spell out all these details in an appropriate way in the technical note.

Mr Dennis Skinner (Bolsover)
Worse than skateboarding.

Mr John Horam (Gateshead West)
I fear that we may be getting some dissension from my hon. Friend the Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner), but I do not think that I shall draw him into the debate, because I know that he is strongly in support of this broad principle.

Mr Dennis Skinner (Bolsover)

I support these principles, as one who owns a Raleigh with five gears… I am intrigued about the business of having a white line down a footpath, with cyclists on one side. I can visualise myself travelling at 35 mph—when I am at my best—and a poor old lady walking down the other side of the white line.
It seems to me that we need to look back a bit. Before the war, when we had other job creation schemes in hand not far from Clay Cross, the Government of the day—they were not of the present type, though I suppose that they were not all that much different—put forward a scheme for a cycle track between Clay Cross and Chesterfield, which stood on its own.
If we are to launch out, I, as one who is not afraid to talk about public expenditure and mopping up some of the unemployed, am happy about advancing the case for proper cycle tracks at the side of the pavement, or somewhat removed from it, with none of this white line nonsense.

Mr John Horam (Gateshead West)
I take it that Clay Cross will be building large, expensive kerbs between cycle tracks and pedestrian facilities when it gets round to this, as no doubt it will. Everything happens in Clay Cross. No doubt the council will notice this new legislation and be eager to implement it at the first opportunity, so that the hon. Member for Acton and my hon. Friend can use the cycle track at Clay Cross when it comes into being.

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