I THINK the majority of people who watched last year’s “Le Tour” were impressed with the racing spectacle, along routes which provided a magnificent backdrop of Yorkshire countryside. The fact that this racing took place on temporarily closed roads – and was efficiently organised, advertised and marshalled – ensured that the general public, and those who lined the route, were kept safe.
But it beggars belief that the authorities routinely allow amateur cycle races to be conducted on roads in use by the general public. They can be on busy main roads as well as narrow twisting country routes – often busy with farm traffic and tourists’ cars at this time of year.
Drivers in our locality constantly see cyclists in full kit and mounted on racing cycles riding recklessly or without due care and consideration for other road users. Examples are legion, such as riding three abreast when rounding bends on narrow country roads, speeding out from a road junction in front of passing traffic and often appearing not even to bother to glance in the direction of oncoming traffic.
Often riding two or more abreast on a narrow country road, they refuse to allow a held- up vehicle or tractor room to pass safely by dropping back into single file. A gentle pip on a horn is usually the cue for rude gestures or verbal abuse.
I am often struck by the comparison in attitude of the family groups out for a pleasant cycle ride on these same roads. Without any prompting they will drop back into single file to let other road traffic pass and rarely exhibit any reckless or inconsiderate behaviour.
Cycling accidents continue to rise (in many cases with only the cyclists themselves involved) and often on fast downhill sections, but generally other road users get the blame for any accidents involving cyclists – regardless of any contribution from the riders themselves.
Such accident statistics will continue to worsen as long as the authorities continue to condone competition cycle racing on busy public roads.
Careers in Parliament
From: C Duffett, Rosedale Avenue, Hartshead
THE release of the GCSE and A-level results will have left some school leavers disappointed or despondent, but even though they may be frustrated in their attempts at an academic career there are other opportunities for a comfortable lifestyle.
A political career is a notable case in point, offering a starting salary of £74,000 plus benefit in kind from the generous tax free expense allowances, yet requires no academic qualifications for entry nor knowledge of how Parliament works.
Some find it a dead end job, of course, if they are overlooked for preferment for Ministerial appointments, but on the other hand there is flexibility over attendance – some not attending Parliament at all yet still drawing Parliamentary salaries and expenses, apparently.
Apart from Westminster’s paid political opportunities, we have seats in the European Parliament (MEP), the Scottish Parliament (SMP) and the Welsh Assembly and moves are afoot but not yet adopted for Regional Assemblies as well as creating salaried positions in what is currently the House of Lords. Good family and social connections are an advantage, of course.
Parliamentary seats give the opportunity to audition for the media and TV; Prime Minister’s Questions, for example, supplies the opportunity for the aspirant clowns and comedians.
So young people should not over react to disappointment over examinations; opportunities still exist to rise above those whose average salaries produce the taxes to pay for the amenable lifestyle of those who use the route of not what you know but who you know.
Labour’s poll fiasco
From: Hilary Andrews, Nursery Lane, Leeds.
PAULA Sherriff, Labour MP for Dewsbury, was asked on Radio Leeds who she would be supporting for the Labour leadership. She thought Yvette Cooper, because a woman leader would be “one in the eye for David Cameron”. With such puerile reasoning, how can the general public take this contest seriously?
The evils of euthanasia
From: I M Asquith, Sunnyhill Croft, Wrenthorpe, Wakefield.
IN response to the letter by Peter Hyde on the subject of Dignitas (The Yorkshire Post, August 19) , I am very sorry that his parents were such an inconvenience for him. There is no mention of how his parents would have felt about being “put to sleep”. If ever a letter was designed to show the evils of euthanasia, this was it.
Lording it at public expense
From: Terry Palmer, South Lea Avenue, Barnsley.
NO wonder ‘worn out’ Establishment figures can’t wait to get into the Lords. Some peers have not even registered a single vote yet have trousered £100,000 in expenses. No matter, David Cameron is to announce a further 50 peers, mostly Tory, costing the taxpayer at least a further extra £1.3m annually in expenses. Austerity? Never heard of on this gravy train.