Readers' letters - January 4

Ringo doesn't deserve his New Year's Knighthood

Friday, 5th January 2018, 2:11 pm
Updated Friday, 5th January 2018, 3:15 pm
Ringo Starr

It’s that time of year again. Someone has the dubious honour of making a list out of people who “deserve”to be honoured for just about anything they’ve “achieved”in their life. In my opinion, some deserved, some not.But whoever decided Ringo Starr should be given one wants their head looking at. After many years of fans paying for his lifestyle and wealth, he has the cheek to post on his website, on October 17, 2008, the following statement: “Please stop pestering me from Monday as I will no longer be signing autographs because it’s taking up too much of my time. “Any fan mail received after this date will be binned”.Well, thank you Mr Starr for your gratitude to the people who supported you over the years. I presume your time is more precious than all your fans’ time, they queued to see you and to say you will bin all fan mail you received after the deadline, you should be ashamed. It’s a pity you didn’t bin the letter informing you about your honour.Think yourself lucky. You already have one gong. Do us all a favour and refuse this one so we won’t have to see your self-centered smug face on TV and in the press.Perhaps you could let the Queen know it will take up too much of your presumably precious time to attend the ceremony and that any more mail from her will be binned. DMvia email

2018 message for motorists

On New Year’s Eve, as millions of people who can’t afford public transport, let alone a car, cycled to work, many millions more cycled for fun. Some would be parents, with their children on bikes they got for Christmas, some would be new to cycling and aiming to lose weight, and some would be professionals or groups belonging to a cycling club.In some areas of the North West, there are road signs requesting drivers to ‘Pass Safely’ and leave a clear 1.5 metre gap between the nearside of their vehicle and cyclists. They were installed several months ago. But the gap is only advisory.Not so in 28 American states, and significant parts of Europe, Australia, South Africa and Canada, where it’s law. As UK law stands, if the driver of a 40 tonne truck doesn’t want to slow down for oncoming traffic, or can’t use an overtaking lane because of faster moving traffic, he/she can leave any gap they see fit, which could be 1.5 centimetres or less. And, if the speed limit is 50mph, they can pass at 50mph, even in treacherous driving conditions. Hence, when time is money, it means a significant number of drivers might terrify cyclists or horse-riders.To try and avoid such circumstances, my cycling club did its best to avoid busy roads. The downside was that many roads were potholed.Time and again cyclists in the UK are condemned for riding two abreast. If ten riders ride single file, at two seconds apart (a second for thinking, and a second for braking), at 20mph, they could be the length of two articulated wagons. On winding roads, they would be impossible to ‘Pass Safely’. If they ride two abreast, 30cm apart, and 30cm between handlebars, they discourage dangerous passing. They also take up far less room than two 4x4s parked at the roadside. When cyclists have to pass parked cars, they are advised by the Department for Transport (DfT) to “ride a door’s width from parked vehicles”. Invariably, this means riding in the middle of the road. Also, when they ride in country lanes, the DfT advises: “Ride centrally in narrow lanes”. This also applies to narrow city/town centre lanes.Parked vehicles do more to cause gridlock than cyclists. Accordingly, Theresa May’s New Year message for drivers should be: “Stop blaming cyclists for the world’s problems. “And blame over-sized vehicles travelling at excessive/inappropriate speeds for damaging our roads and polluting our planet”.Allan RamsayAddress supplied

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No recognition for 999 crews

Where was the recognition for the emergency services in the New Year Honours? Or were our politicians too busy looking after their own?Andrew MercerAddress supplied

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