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Bully Bars - banned at last


Hansard records this from February 1996

Helen Bags from Melksham in Wiltshire was 10 on the last day of school and was excitedly rushing home with her sister, Elizabeth for her party in July 1995. She ran into the path of a bull-barred four by four and was hit. She did not die immediately, but lived for 10 days. The injury caused by the bull bar was at the level of her lungs. The bracket of the bar broke in the accident and it is clear that the child was injured because of the multiplication of the force caused by the bar. The bar with the weight of a four by four behind it is concentrated in a tiny area.. The theory is that those bars will kill a child if it is hit on a vital area, even if the vehicle is travelling at only 12 mph.

Helen's mother has been campaigning with great dignity and restraint in a non-emotional way, but with great effectiveness. She does not blame the driver of the car. However, she blames those of us in this place who have reacted rapidly to introduce legislation after other tragic deaths, but not against bull bars.”

The debate was on the second reading of a bill that was later blocked. This has been a very long campaign involving a series of parliamentary bills and pressure through the Council of Europe. These macho fashion accessories have killed up to 70 people a year in the UK.

They concentrate and multiply the force of a collision at the level of a child’s head and vital organs. My first bill enjoyed wide support among MPs but ran out of parliamentary time. A ban was only acceptable on an all-Europe basis where I have concentrated my campaigning in recent years. Neil Kinnock was very supportive when he was the European Commissioner for Transport. there was a voluntary ban in 2002. this was partly effective and bull have become‘naff”.

It is demonstration of the impotence of Westminster that we failed to act unilaterally in 1996. The pr sent ban does not apply to the use of bars - only sale and manufacture. So there is still room for improvement.

Early Day Motion 1696 BAN ON BULL BARS 14.06.2007


That this House warmly welcomes the ban on the manufacture and sale of bull bars from 25th May 2007 punishable by a maximum fine of £20,000 or 12 months' imprisonment; recalls with sorrow the loss of lives and the serious injuries inflicted by bull bars; urges the use of improved non-rigid frontal protection systems; and hopes that manufacturers will never again sacrifice pedestrian safety to the demands of macho fashion.