Readers' letters - May 8

Cyclists should think more about road safety, says our reader
Cyclists should think more about road safety, says our reader

Self-preservation should be No.1 priority for cyclists

I’m not a cyclist myself, but used to be in my youth and know only too well the benefits of improved health amongst people who do take up the sport.
However, from time to time, I do ask myself the question: Have some cyclists got a death wish whilst riding along the roads of Britain?
I emphasise the word ‘some’ as most seem to realise road safety, especially with regards to themselves, is of primary importance.
High-visibility jackets or waistcoats, along with safety helmets, should be an absolute must for all riders, plus making bikes themselves far more visible.
Perhaps manufacturers could adopt more light colours and not navy blue or black for instance – and perhaps use reflective paint.
Lights on cycles, I also think, could be improved; a measly single flashing light at the back and a relatively feeble one at the front could, I’m sure, be greatly improved and make cycling at night much safer.
Many times I try to negotiate cyclists (safely) on roads and note how many sometimes merge into the background because of the lack of these features.
Do they honestly not think about their own safety?
Motorcyclists have to wear safety helmets by law, why not cyclists? Perhaps various cycling associations could promote such a campaign pointing out that self-preservation is something which should be at the front of their minds.
Come on cyclists!
Graham Hall
Address supplied

Derogatory and inappropriate

I was dismayed and shocked by the use of the wholly inappropriate and pejorative term ‘cretinous’ (to be precise, “completely cretinous”) by MP Jacob Rees-Mogg to describe the Prime Minister’s proposals for trade links with the EU (in the event of the UK leaving it) following the transition period.
I understand that cretinism (congenital hypothyroidism) is a medical condition caused by iodine deficiency and is easily treatable by hormone therapy (thyroxine). Thyroid function is either absent or decreased in the condition of cretinism.
The term ‘cretin’ was once used to describe a person affected by cretinism, because the condition made the person seem mentally impaired, but, as with words such as ‘idiot’, ‘imbecile’, ‘lunatic’ and ‘spastic’, it is derogatory and inappropriate.
Until Jacob Rees-Mogg uttered the term ‘cretinous’, I had never heard the terms ‘cretin’ or ‘cretinous’ in recent times, because I considered them to be abandoned, defunct and completely out of date.
Jacob Rees-Mogg claims to have a religious faith, so I would suggest that he examines his conscience in this regard, whilst he ponders on the implications of the inappropriate and uncharitable term ‘cretinous’
If Jacob Rees Mogg made this comment in Parliament, then the Speaker’s office should intervene and reprimand him for using language inappropriate for Parliament. If, however, it was made outside the House of Commons, then the term ‘cretinous’ should be included in the list of ‘unparliamentary’ language. Just in case he should utter the term again in the House.
Susan Fox
Address supplied

Harry’s just ‘one of the lads’

Looking forward to this month’s Royal wedding, I have always rated Prince Harry. He comes over to me like “one of the lads” enjoying a drink in the local pub and probably playing pool or darts and dominoes.
Not so with he rest of the Royals, though Prince William is, shall I say, a bit more “flexible” but still has half a silver spoon in his mouth. Let us hope things alter later.
Peter J Teal
via email

Victory for mobile phones

A few years ago local newspapers published many reports of mobile phone mast protests. Vociferous protest groups warned of dire consequences to public health, including brain tumours, that would certainly be caused by the masts.
If a phone mast was proposed anywhere near a school, parents, children and possibly teachers turned out in force to protest. Protesters kept in touch with each other by mobile phone to warn of the arrival of a phone mast contractor!
None of these dire warnings of doom and disaster has come to pass. The mobile phone has scored a complete victory.
Ron Smith