Posts Tagged ‘cyclists’

medals need a more tangible measure of gratitude attached.

September 1, 2016

Sent to Daily Mirror 29/8/16
I understand the Prince’s intent with the Purple Heart recommendation but its value is minimal.
I’ve heard it joked that G.I.’s could get one if they cut themselves shaving.
It would be a mockery to award one to those, who’ve lost limbs etc.
If we are to grant recognition. it needs to be more than just a badge/medal.
I would suggest that a pension and some kind of special pass, or concession, would be a better. more tangible and daily reminder of our gratitude.

As published (near enough the same)
I understand the Princes intent with the Purple Heart recommendation, but its value is minimal.
I’ve heard it joked that G.I.’s could get one if they cut themselves shaving.
It would be a mockery to award one to those who have lost limbs and suffered other injuries.
If we are to grant recognition, it needs to be more than just a badge.
I’d suggest that a pension and some kind of special pass or concession would be a better reminder of our gratitude

Other letters to Daily Mirror;  not published

Your editorial takes issue with Michael Caine for advocating National Service, with a comment about the young needing jobs not being trained to march and shoot.
However, the article referenced makes it clear that Michael Caine doesn’t advocate using them to be sent off to fight but rather that he feels it turned him and his generation into men.
I’ve seen how former pupils can be transformed into proud, self-confident adults, by a few years of Army life.
The point is that National Service doesn’t have to be about being trained to kill but rather being trained skills that transfer to being useful citizens.
At present, we have young men, testosterone surging, being tied to school desks, instead of being given an opportunity to release their energy in a productive way.
The recent water fight that ended in violence, the young muslims going off to join ISIS, the wanton vandalism and gang warfare could all be reduced by removing boys in years 10 and 11 from school and setting them challenges that let them test theirselves against common standards of self-discipline and fortitude found in Army training.
Maybe the Generals don’t want this role but their jobs isn’t to play soldiers, it’s to serve us in whatever capacity we demand of them and what better than a generation of fit confident young men with skills that can be used to help others and find future careers.
In times of Emergency, we call on the Army to deal with floods, train crashes, epidemics etc. What better, if people on the scene already have the training to cope.
Whilst I agree with Frances O’Grady about growing the economy by public spending on social housing, I can’t see how spending on HS2 will help.
Paying builder’s a bounty (or a tax break?) for new terraced houses will feed straight back into the domestic economy through British companies, supplier’s and employee’s.
The same can not be said of HS2.
HS2 is to be built by multi-nationals, using heavy machinery.
Some local employment will occur but it seems apparent that most of our tax money will filter abroad, possibly the USA, where only Uncle Sam and Wall Street will benefit.
All HS2 was ever intended to be was a vanity project, whether for Osborne, or for the EU, as some have claimed.
Who really needs to get from Central London to Central Manchester in 1 hour instead of 2?
If passengers need to travel from suburb to suburb, the trip would be cut from 4hours to 3hours.
Is that really the best way of using £1,000-£2,000 per head of population?
No doubt the Parliamentary Labour Party will be celebrating their victory in preventing genuine Labour party supporter’s from being able to vote for Jeremy Corbyn but it would have better validated
their position, if they hadn’t and Labour had then lost the next G.E.
As it stands if Jeremy Corbyn may be supplanted and Labour still lose the next G.E,.,
it will mean the extinction of Labour in Northerb England, as the popular vote flee’s the PLP , and the SNP consolidates its role in Scotland.
Politicians are citing Radical Islamic preacher Anjem Choudary as an example of the need for Social Media to censor its users.
In a perfect World this would seem to be a very simple solution but this is not a perfect World and this is asking some anonymous figure to be judge and jury on a public freedom.
Politicians shouldn’t be handing such a huge power into the hands of the rich and powerful.
If the likes of Choudhary are to be gagged, then it should be on the basis of criteria, which can be placed before a judge to obtain a court order.
It is alarming that highly rewarded politicians are asking for such a reckless attack on civil rights.
Jeremy Paxman was correct in his description of old age.
Everyone knows it. Dad’s Army was based around it.
When you get older, you learn to place each step and, as Billy Connoly said, you never miss a chance to go to the toilet, when you’re out.
The phrase “what did I come in here for?” is a standing joke for us old’uns.
Like too many, nowadays, Andrew Silk is overly sensitive about imagined slights.
Both the arrogant Jeremy Vine and the ranting motorist are in the right and both know their rights.
Further confrontations of these two groups is bound to happen, whilst they use the same roads.
The introduction of painted on cycle paths only adds to the problem.
I’d would love to buy a bicycle but as a motorist, I can see how dangerous it would be, especially during the rush hour, when people are focussed on getting there fast.
Motorists are constantly baulked by obstructions and many cyclists take extraordinary risks.
Local councils etc. need to look into how to separate not just these two groups but bikers, pedestrians, HGV’s and motability chairs.
Signs, fines and speed camera’s are no solution.


roads are often only just wide enough for a bus, fining motorists for driving too close to cyclists, is bad law.

June 3, 2016
The call to fine motorists, who drive too close to cyclists will only serve to antagonise both groups.
As with the use of mobile phones, most prosecutions will only occur after an accident, when it is too late to benefit anyone.
At least with mobile phones, the culprit has a choice, whereas, at times, the only choice possible with cyclists (and horses) is to sit behind them and wait for a chance to accelerate past them.
Of course I’m assuming that the cyclist is solo, hugging the verge and not having to dodge potholes etc.
I’d love to get on a bike and get some exercise but as a motorist I’m too aware of how dangerous it can be.
The correct action would be to build separate road networks, for bicycles, motorists and pedestrians.
The present mish-mash of pedestrian precincts, cycle lanes and now this threatened fine doesn’t even paper over the cracks.
Instead of spending £60Bn on HS2 to get a few VIP’s from London to Manchester in 1 hour, rather than 2 hours, why not examine the old footpaths, Beeching axed railway lines and canal towpaths to see if they can be utilised?
Separating different forms of traffic doesn’t have to be one-dimensional, either, major towns often have underground trains and overhead walkways.
If we are going to Victorianise Britain, let’s have politicians capable of taking Ministerial office and using it to achieve something more than the advancement of their own political career by enacting poorly thought out stop-gap laws.


@guardian Politicians are creating the war between cyclists and motorists

July 4, 2015

I despair of the hypcrisy of our political leaders, over cyclists.
Every so often, some sycophantic MP gets on his hind legs, at PMQ’s, and reads out a prepared question about safe-guarding the lives of cyclists.

The P.M., of the day, responds with clucks of sympathy and a stated determination to try to improve the situation.

So far the consequence of this pantomime has been painting bicycle lanes on the roads; mostly cosmetic in nature. Some are a mere few yards long. Some switch between road and pavement. Some occur over long stretches, then disappear at points where there is a pinch in the road.

In a few cases pedestrian pathways have been widened and given over to cyclists, on the assumption that no-one hikes anymore.

The placement of bicycle sections at traffic lights is annoying, dangerous and in some cases downright ridiculous. I’ve seen cases where on the lights changing, cyclists have needed the whole duration of the green light, to traverse the junction, frustrating motorists, unable to proceed and having to miss a change of lights. Alternatively frustrated motorists, especially professional drivers, risk pushing past the cyclists.

I understand the case for more journey’s being taken by bicycle. The arguments have merit but they seem to be outweighed by the cost of an effective solution.

I look at cyclists and, apart from the older guys, who think they look good in Lurex, most are young men (and some young women), who are fit and quick-witted enough to dodge serious injury.
I have avoided cyclists on the road, so far, always slowing and waiting to give them a wide berth, despite tailgaters wanting me to push past.

I’ve had many near heart attacks, as older cyclists have wobbled out into the road to avoid a road-grid, or pot-hole, oblivious to my situation, which may include, on narrow roads, an oncoming vehicle, which has to swerve into the gutter to avoid me.

I notice cyclists, caught in heavy rain, head down, eyes on just the few feet of road immediately in front of them.

I notice Lurex clad demon racers, who ignore any concern for following traffic in their determination to win an imaginary yellow jersey. A parked car will not delay them, whether legally parked, or parked on an illusory bicycle lane.

I notice fewer cyclists on Winter roads and fully appreciate why.

This sounds simply like a rant against cyclists. It’s not. I’d join them, if I wasn’t old and fat and didn’t consider the dangers, outlined, to be too high a risk.

I blame the politicians, who think it’s sufficient to throw out caveats and dictats, without actually studying the problems and honestly facing up to them.

There needs to be a completely separate network for bicycle users, not a virtual one.
There shouldn’t be any possibility of a lorry sideswiping an adventurous cyclist, or a car rounding a bend to find a cyclist occupying the same piece of road that his vehicle must, by the laws of Physics, occupy in the next few seconds.

In cities, it’s possible to think three-dimensionally, with trains below ground, vehicles and pedestrians at ground level and bicycles on an upper level.

In the Suburbs, canal tow paths, defunct rail cuttingss and dedicated side streets could be drawn together as bicycle highways. Between Cities; new, straight bicycle roads could be imposed using the same compulsory purchasing powers that HS2 is demanding. Thinking on that, why not insist that all new major transport roads, tracks etc. have a co-linear bicycle highway?

Not all has to be built tomorrow but the plans can be drawn up and pieces put in place, as the opportunity arises.
After all, in this region, plans were drawn up for the A5225 in the 1950’s ( and are only now being partially implemented.

An alternative to HS2 @richard_branson @TheGreenParty @AtkinsCareersUK @balfourbeatty @kiergroup @David_Cameron

September 9, 2013

If HS2 is really about capacity, then I’d like to advocate my idea of guided dirigibles for freight.
In fact, I’d like to expand it to a second network of transport.
As an analogy, consider how the body has two vascular systems; one is for transport of red blood cells and the other is for white blood cells.

I would have:

Trains being used almost entirely for pedestrians.

Motorways for cars.

And the new network doubling up for container freight and cyclists.

As with the vascular systems of the body, there would be region’s, where the various travellers would necessarily cross over but the intention would be to minimise this, especially long distance sections, where speed would be key.

The new network could, to a large extent, exploit the existing canal system but would also require new bridges and roadways. Their nature would, however, require less land surface than motorways or railways.

So a re-cap of dirigible freight.
Essentially it is based on cable car technology, which has proven very reliable. The erection of such a network would be a lot less problematic than building railways or motorways.

Like motorways, there could be three lane traffic, depending on the nature of the loads to be transported.

Access would be required for maintenance, so B-grade roads would need to be built, with the advantage that these could double up as highways for cyclists.
The dirigibles would be tied to the cable ways, picking up and depositing container loads at marshalling yards, where the containers can be transferred to trucks, trains and boats, as required, near cities and ports.
Because the dirigibles can be adjusted to give neutral buoyancy to the containers, the cable network would have minimum wear, reducing maintenance costs.
By taking freight off roads, Motorway maintenance would be reduced, meaning less traffic queues and therefore lower fuel imports. Most problems on motorways are caused by trucks leap-frogging each other. This would be reduced. there would be less soot particulates from their diesel engines and fewer truckers dying of associated lung damage/cancer.
Cyclists would be freer to travel between towns, especially if those towns constructed networks minimising the risks created by mixing cyclists with cars and buses.
One other aspect, which might be of greater concern to those outside London, is that this network would be less problematic than conventional freight, when considering hilly terrain.
This is particularly the case, when considering the limited routes East-West across the backbone of the country. i.e. The Pennines


Express: High Street demise

July 31, 2011

Mr. Pickles lives more in hope than in any real chance of seeing City Centres revitalised.

Labour dominated Councils, such as we have in Wigan, are five years into the processes that will starve City Centres of customers.
Releasing Councils from the directives set down by John Prescott can’t head off the cumbersome machinery that has been created.
Wigan has a new document, inappropriately named “Wigan on the move”. Created by a highly paid officer, appointed for the purpose of effectuating Prescott’s transport policies, and nursed by a doctrinaire Labour leader, Baron Smith of Leigh, its sole aim is to deter motorists from entering the town.
Essentially, it will use its revenue to create pedestrian routes, cycle routes/lanes and bus/lorry lanes into town. Advertising will be used to promote the “healthier” options of walking and cycling, whilst out of town visitors will have a new transport hub, with a park and ride scheme. All arguably praiseworthy.
In the meantime, commuters from Wigan to Liverpool, Manchester etc. will find their congestion problems unresolved, as there will be insufficient funds to create new internal roads to relieve the bottlenecks created centuries back in the days of horse and cart.
Similar situations will be found throughout the old Labour dominated regions, where only public transport, which includes mayoral cars, is deemed socially acceptable and local residents, who work outside the town, are a tiresome irritant, who don’t fit in with Council plans.
With out of town Hypermarkets catering for most shopping needs, with no need to struggle on to public transport, carrying bulky purchases and no preposterously high parking charges (soon to be extended to Sunday’s, to foil those High Street shopkeepers relying on Sunday shopping), why would anyone, who can still afford to run a car, go elsewhere?

7/1/10 struggling through the snow

January 8, 2010
The thought of doughty Britishers struggling into work, despite the present adverse conditions is admirable and reminiscent of a bygone age.
However; in that bygone age our highly paid “betters” had a sense of duty themselves. They understood and prepared for Seasonal problems, even for severe Winters that arrive on a thirty year cycle.
Getting to work is fine for those working in the City centres, or driving Chelsea Tractors.
For those trapped in the countryside or on a suburban estate,it’s not so easy.
Cyclists etc. are noticeably absent, everywhere.
Consideration needs to be taken of injuries from slipping (one such, landing on my knee, has kept me struggling to move, for several days). Those, who are using their cars may, even driving at walking pace, slide into parked cars, or worse, oncoming traffic.
When whingeing about sales and production, one needs to consider the cost of physical pain, the extra loading on the NHS and the cost of increased car Insurance premiums.
If Government actually governed, these problems would not be an issue.
In the present situation, adequate stockpiles of grit should have been available.
A Government, fit for purpose, would also see that Houses were not be built on flood plains, River courses were engineered to cope with freak rainfalls, Sea barriers would be maintained and someone would have responsibility for overseeing that this was so.
Instead we have a record number ministers in charge of various minutiae, with none of them responsible for anything that actually matters.