Letters September 17: Bells not the answer for safe cycling

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From: Mr E Grainger, Botany Way, Nunthorpe.

Not for the first time the question of a bicycle being equipped with a bell (The Yorkshire Post, September 12) has been raised in your correspondent columns, this time by Geoff North of Leeds.

Personally, as an active everyday cyclist well used to riding walkways shared equally between cyclist and walkers, I long dispensed with a bell.

Where my way ahead is restricted by pedestrians I have taken to shouting the word “bicycle” and that has proved more than adequate, as quite often the sound of a bell doesn’t travel as well as the human voice.

To date this has worked and the pedestrians open a way for me to pass by and are rewarded with a “thank you”.

The only way that all cyclists will voluntarily fit a bell to their machines (assuming they can buy one in a cycle shop, which isn’t always possible) would be for riders in the Tour de France to be made to carry one.

This is because today’s cyclists seem obsessed with being compared favourably with these professional riders, sporting no reflectors, mudguards, or anything that demonstrates a willingness to either keep warm or dry according to the weather.

Geoff mentions walking with his wife along the riverside at Knaresborough. This is a particular favourite of mine as the riverside cafes are a favourite with Yorkshire cyclists and especially those of the York-based Wednesday Wheelers of which I am a member.

As far as I can recall the riverside walk is just under a mile with a car park about half way along and isn’t marked out as a shared route for both cyclists and pedestrians.

Being wide in places, this merely encourages walkers and pedestrians to make full use of the width so that often a party of walkers will be spread across the walkway, when in fact if half were given over to walkers and half to cyclists and if both would adhere to their side at all times the potential areas of conflict could be avoided.

But as this isn’t always possible, Geoff and his wife will, by necessity have to continually look out for cyclists, the vast majority of whom will show respect and courtesy for all who use the riverside and give adequate verbal warning.

Cameron’s ignorant jibe

From: Paul Spivey, Church Street, Jump, Barnsley.

So it was a joke – the slur on Yorkshire people that was conferred upon us by our ever so humble Prime Minister (The Yorkshire Post, September 12).

There may be some people who actually believe this but I would expect most readers of The Yorkshire Post, regardless of political affiliation, will not be so gullible.

The arrogance of the man is one thing, his ignorance of the actual stereotypical Yorkshire person another. We are supposedly renowned for being forthright, taciturn, a bit tight with our brass and consider Yorkshire the best county in England.

I have never read or heard any one accuse us of hating “everyone else” and for a southern home counties elitist to say this speaks volumes for how our region and its people are perceived in the corridors of power in Westminster. Those who think it a trivial matter miss the point that funding for the region and its inhabitants is in the control of such people.

Why he found it hard to understand a county as large and diverse as Yorkshire would find it difficult to reconcile the differing priorities across its borders when it comes to putting forward a devolution plan is a major worry.

From: Keith Robinson, York.

I AM sure Mr Cameron is as frustrated as I and others are at the inability of our elected councillors to get together and come up with a solution that will work for all as they have done on the other side of the Pennines.

It just seems that they are all trying to protect their positions rather than get together for the greater good. If I was the government, I would wonder if Yorkshire really had its heart in devolution.

Merkel move on borders

From: Brian H Sheridan, Redmires Road, Sheffield.

I BELIEVE it was with a heavy heart that Angela Merkel finally imposed border controls on Syrian refugees.

Her previous stance had been both moral and rational. She could not be seen to be banging the same drum as fascist Hungary after successive generations had transformed former Nazi Germany into probably the most civilised and respected nation on the planet.

She is also aware that Germany has relied heavily on immigrant labour for many years. My guess is that with an ageing population she also believes that educated and aspiring migrants could be a great asset to her country.

Matters of life and death

From: Dennis Whitaker, Baildon, Shipley.

Assisted dying is not a topic on which politicians can represent their constituents. If we can have a referendum on how we live, then why not on how we die?

There will never be consensus on this issue but we do live in a democracy and the right to vote on the issue means we accept responsibility for the outcome.