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Dangerous cycling

Cyclist Kelli Salone’s dismissal of proposed Government plans for a new law to tackle dangerous cycling demonstrates denial of a serious problem, “Cyclist speaks out on new law” (SA September 22).

Ms Salone said, “I’d say around 99.9 per cent of cyclists do behave themselves on the road, and I rarely see any cyclist riding dangerously or doing anything dangerous.”

As I read this statement I couldn’t help wondering whether Ms Salone is bad at arithmetic and has difficultly working out percentages or whether she is just oblivious to what goes on around her.

Her experience is contrary to my own. Almost every time I go out I witness law breaking and bad practices by cyclists. These include cycling on footpaths, ignoring pedestrian crossings, using a mobile phone while cycling, ignoring red traffic lights, cycling against correct traffic flow, riding with their hands off the handlebars, practicing wheelies on roads and footpaths, carrying a passenger, riding without lights when it’s dark and wearing headphones.

Cycling offences are committed by all age groups. There are “grown-ups” who should know better but obviously don’t. It appears there are certain parents who buy their children bikes but don’t care where and how they ride them.

In the wrong hands a bicycle can be dangerous. Physics tells us that momentum equals mass times velocity (p = m x v). A basic calculation using the weight of an average cyclist travelling at 15 or 20mph gives a good indication of just how dangerous it would be for a pedestrian to be hit by the cyclist.

Anyone can get on a bike. They don’t need insurance nor do they need to prove they have any knowledge of the Highway Code.

The government should be commended for addressing the problem of dangerous cycling. However, the real problem is a lack of enforcement of existing legislation.

It seems to me if the relevant authorities took the problem of bad cycling more seriously life would be a lot more pleasant and safer for law abiding members of the public.

MR K KANE, Wharf Road, Wroughton

Much to consider

It will not have escaped readers that we are in the thick of the political conference season, with Labour on now and the Conservatives no doubt also ripping into each other over Brexit this coming weekend.

The Lib Dems had their conference last week in Bournemouth and it was as ever a great chance not just to network, but also to share ideas and reaffirm our comradeship. As a minority party this is vital in the face of the blatant lies that much of the press including the BBC seek to indulge in. One example being Radio 4’s the News Quiz. Suffice to say Conference was buoyant and very well attended. I should know, I was there.

So, what were my high points? First has to be the Liberal Democrats Friends of Palestine and Friends of Israel agreeing to jointly sponsor a motion that was passed by conference for recognising the State of Palestine on the centenary of the Balfour Declaration. Why is this important? Quite simply because Palestine/Israel has been at the centre of the biggest threat to World Peace, and if we can be a part of turning that around then great!

The second high point was the issue of energy storage, discussed at the Green Liberal Democrats Fringe event. With solar parks now covering many fields in Wiltshire, and subsidies being withdrawn for new solar, it is vital that the best use is made of this energy if they are to pay for themselves and to increase in number.

There are four major supply grids in the country: electricity, gas, oil and water. Three of these could be better used to make for a sustainable energy future. When solar parks have had too much energy to put into the grid, as I’m told happened at Lyneham this summer, the simple process of hydrolysis of water should be used to generate hydrogen, which can either be pumped directly into the gas grid, or stored in gasometers on site and then used to power hydrogen cell powered electrical generators to put electricity into the national grid when it is needed.

The Lib Dems seem to have all the best ideas, even on Brexit, for which our new leader Vince Cable made the case clearly for a choice, once the terms are clear, for the British public to either go with it or have an Exit from Brexit. Enough said.

DR BRIAN MATHEW, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for North Wiltshire

This cruelty must stop

I WRITE to dispel the myth that the National Trust have a shiny new licence to solve the cruel ‘accidents’ that is abhorrently cruel death for animals eviscerated by hounds.

The Master of Foxhounds Association insists on fox scent. An artificial fox trail is supposed to be used, but no one monitors what it is. Foxhounds are bred to hunt fox and it would be impossible to change what they have been taught during cubbing season, which is happening now in a wood near you.

Interestingly the Trust ‘review’ began when I first proposed this resolution.

This cruelty will only stop when the Trustees ban it. They told the League in April they had not resources to monitor. By May it became ‘we carefully monitor. Expecting hunters to self report is like asking a motorist to phone the police and report they drank and drove.

Why all this cynical subterfuge to allow 30 or 40 riders, hounds and associated followers to defile Trust land?

We can only guess what is behind all this, but it is certainly not to ensure animals and landscape are protected.


Cutting it a bit fine

I RECEIVED a letter from Swindon Borough Council this morning, the 21st of September. They wanted a reply by the 21st of September or they were threatening a £1000 fine!

It’s a good job I checked my mailbox otherwise I’d have missed their deadline. I think it’s disgraceful they sent it so late. Luckily I was able to do it online.

How many people will get caught out, I wonder? Another way of the council to raise money for their fairy tale town ‘improvements’?


Crazy about football

I ALWAYS watch and hope my adopted town of Swindon, which has served me well, that the town’s football results will be in our favour. Sadly not at the moment in the fourth division.

However if they think they are having a hard time, perhaps I may make them feel better, as a born and bred Glasgow Rangers supporter - at Ibrox with my late father from the age of six.Though to be honest, I have not been at Ibrox for 40 years. But that is where my heart lies. Wives of Swindon football fanatics? At least it gets him out of the house for a short period.Yes ladies ?

Rangers are having a hard time against their arch rivals Celtic.Tell me about it. However in better times an SPL referee who shall be unnamed for obvious reasons informed me of an incident in the last five minutes of a Rangers and Celtic game, when the Gers were 5-1 up. Memories.

The Celtic manager, unnamed for obvious reasons, gestured to the referee he wanted to put on a substitute. As the referee left the manager’s bench he turned back to the Celtic manager and asked “Excuse me Mr ???, who do you want to take off?” The manager replied: “You pick one, they are all rubbish.”

Finally, there is no truth in the rumour that my Westie Cameron wears a Rangers coloured red, white and blue coat, and a Union Flag hat with God Save The Queen printed on the rim, in public. Only in our living room, where I wear similar attire.

BILL WILLIAMS, Merlin Way, Covingham, Swindon

They talk nonsense

Frau Merkel has been returned as German Chancellor, and the leader of the civilized world, as a beacon of hope for all the inhabitants of this planet, promoting ethical standards which are not even understood by the voters of other countries.

For those who value intelligence and compassion in the human race, this is a victory, part of the conflict of principles in every country. Neo-Fascism is on the march, everywhere.

Mrs May’s platitudes satisfy all those who are quite certain there are no complications, just because they personally cannot comprehend them, and repeatedly, she declares how we will cooperate with the EU. The Brexit decision to leave is caused because we do not share those EU principles.

And then she uses Security Cooperation as a bargaining chip in the negotiations, that Britain might withhold information. It is quite impossible that leaving the EU could make any type of cooperation more reliable. That is self-contradictory.

Across the world, powerful politicians, who hold the future in their hands, talk this populist nonsense to engage the emotions of the ill-informed, who look for guidance to the gutter tabloids. And President Trump, Boris Johnson, Farage, extremism, Protectionism and Isolationism is what we get.

The deliberate refusal to cooperate closely is a recipe for eventual annihilation, but Brexit prefers it.

CN WESTERMAN, Meadow Rise, Brynna, South Glamorgan