Shocked at attitude
In the 1950s, I was forever on my bicycle. During one summer holiday, I set off for Blackpool with two pals on 3-speed Sturmey Archer’s, I was on my little single-geared bike. My best summer hols though, was as a 10-year-old. With my family, we spent two weeks touring Scotland, only this time – given two years’ progress – my bike had five-gears. Today, my bikes have 20-gears.
Sadly, a significant number of drivers, and indeed politicians, don’t see progress in bicycles – just pain. I trust anyone my age, 68, with a passion for cycling, will know that, in 1902, Sturmey-Archer invented the world’s first 3-speed internal gear hub for bicycles. Incidentally, the first Tour de France was raced in 1903.
Now, thanks to progress, it’s loved the world over!
Accordingly, given global warming, gridlock and obesity, how can anyone not see bicycles as progress? A coach-driver I spoke to recently doesn’t.
After a 60-mile ride, I returned to the leisure centre for my car. In cycling on to the car park, I couldn’t help noticing a large coach, with engine running and its driver ‘playing’ with his smartphone.
I was ‘driven’, to have a friendly chat with said driver.
Having suffered brain-injury some years earlier, at the hands of a negligent driver, it’s something I can’t help doing – trying to show as many drivers as possible that cyclists are little different than drivers. We all bleed and cry, and have hearts and loved ones.
With a friendly ‘hiya’, I asked if he’d seen the news about the lorry driver who was distracted by phone and jailed for 10-years for killing a mother and three children.
He told me of the countless drivers he sees from his position as a coach driver. He also told me he was an ex-police officer. I told I had been knocked off my bicycle 12 times, and was lucky to be alive, and also had five pals who hadn’t been so lucky.
I wasn’t too impressed by his reply: “Well, from what I’ve seen, it’s six-of-one, and half-a-dozen of the other.”
He recounted the number of cyclists who’d “come up on his inside” and gone through red-lights. He said: “They deserve to be run over!”
A class of children walked towards the coach. Might I ask how their parents, and indeed their teachers, trust the lives of their little ones to a coach driver like this?
Spend aid cash on NHS
I welcome the Government’s proposals to offer pregnant women the new non-invasive prenatal test (NIPT) on the NHS.
This test is a safer and more accurate test for genetic disorders than amniocentesis, but is currently only available in the UK if mothers pay for it, which can run into hundreds of pounds.
With this new non-invasive test, parents will be provided with more detailed information during pregnancy and fewer women will have to suffer miscarriages.
Sadly, this new test will only be available on the NHS from 2018. Perhaps if the Government wasn’t spending billions on foreign aid each year it could afford to introduce the test earlier.
North West MEP
I wonder if readers agree that we should give our ex-MPs a decent pension in order to save humiliating themselves and us on TV dancing and other silly game shows, or give them a seat with the other pensioners in the Lords.
Robert Holman via email