Monday's Letters: Mobility scooter menace from irresponsible riders

THE increasing number of accidents, some very serious, involving mobility scooters is no doubt relative to their rapidly- increasing use.

While I have no wish to demonise those whose misfortune is to have to depend on them, it is sadly becoming clear that some of these machines fall into the hands of those who, perhaps due to frustration at their disabilities, have become terribly self-centred.

This was clearly demonstrated by the recent nasty accident in Mexborough (Yorkshire Post, November 5) and another recent incident where a toddler on the pavement with its parents was knocked down and run over and the rider was reported to have driven away shouting: "The kid should have looked where it was going."

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I have often seen them driven at unsafe speeds up and down the aisles of supermarkets and my wife witnessed an incident where a woman's legs were run into from behind at a check-out, leaving her in considerable pain. Of course, they are silent in their approach which, along with their weight and speed, increases their potential for danger.

While some instruction and a simple test of competence at the point of purchase may be desirable, difficulties arise

in the private sale of used machines, so such a scheme would have to be voluntary and I would not anticipate queues of volunteers.

However, mobility scooter riders must bear the responsibility and cost of their actions as do owners of other self-propelled vehicles and some simple legislation is called for to bring them into line, never mind: "I can't stop, I've got to get to Tesco!" Every machine should carry a registration number, painted on and traceable to the owner and perhaps it should be an offence in law, as it is to motorists, to fail to stop after a serious incident where people are obviously hurt. Third party insurance should be compulsory, and should not be very expensive for vehicles of this type, given the relatively low number of likely serious claims.

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If anyone, in authority or not, thinks that this is using a sledgehammer to crack a nut, perhaps they should talk to the elderly woman with the fractured pelvis in Mexborough. It is a serious problem which can only worsen over time and must be tackled.

From: Brian V Large, St Wilfred's Close, North Muskham, Newark, Nottinghamshire.

Time for a new breed of politician

From: Arthur Marson, Mountjoy Road, Huddersfield.

WE, the electorate, must do something to change the people who govern us.

Most of the present incumbents, at local and national level have been tried and found wanting. Many of them, having availed themselves of the various advantages to be had during their adult lives, now propose to limit them, while leaving untouched the pay of the hierarchy.

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The need is for candidates who will stand for the well-being of the community, not for the perks of the position that in some cases they have awarded themselves.

We have had more than enough of the "professional politicians" whose only experience is how to work in the system, and who have turned a decision-making task into a full-time job, with most of the queries being put out to consultants, or playing follow-the-leader when someone else has made a move on a particular question.

With pensions being paid at relatively young ages, there are many retired people better qualified than many of our present representatives. Could they do worse?

A national campaign is needed before the next local elections, when a third of the seats will be up for grabs, to publicise the case for candidates who will stand as unpaid councillors.

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The process could be repeated at the two subsequent elections, in time for the next general election, which could adopt the same scheme.

From: David W Wright, Easingwold, North Yorkshire.

WELL said, Terry Palmer (Yorkshire Post, October 22), on his remarks about our current bunch of politicians and the need for more of the quality and integrity of Bob Stewart MP.

Our current economic crisis is the direct result of years of socialist mismanagement and weak Conservative governments, culminating in our disastrous membership of the federal state of the EU, which has now voted through a budget rise which will cost the UK an extra 900m next year.

On top of this obscene amount, we are still sending overseas aid to all and sundry, and spending millions on the Afghanistan conflict – not to mention the loss of precious lives of our servicemen and women. Why cannot our coalition Government recognise the dire situation in which the UK is embroiled and get to grips with the overspending and liberal policies? While the UK's decline progresses, we will sit back and watch the soaps, marvel at the huge wages of the footballers and so-called entertainers while sinking further into the quagmire.

'Torture' versus terror

From: Barrie Frost, Watson's Lane, Reighton, Filey.

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IT is easy to take the moral high ground when others have the responsibility of making decisions, regarding the use by former US President, George W Bush, of "waterboarding", an interrogation procedure regarded by many as a form of torture (Yorkshire Post, November 10).

I wonder if criticisms would change if the following events occurred? Assume Osama bin Laden was captured and it was known a terrorist bombing of London was imminent. Under questioning he would only reply "no comment".

Would it be right, just or indeed civilised, to simply accept this situation, in the certain knowledge that if information was not obtained, unknown numbers of totally innocent people would be horribly slaughtered or maimed for life?

Is "waterboarding" really so grotesque when compared to murder and mutilation of large numbers of other human beings?

An unfair subsidy

From: Alan Chapman, Beck Lane, Bingley.

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I RETIRED early in 2000, having been an insurance agent in the domestic rented property business, consequently I have noted the coalition Government's long overdue policy of correcting the profligate waste of unchecked housing benefits (Yorkshire Post, October 28) erroneously expanded by the rejected Labour Government.

This contributed to the country borrowing 25 per cent of spending and revelations expose further terrible waste. Northern taxpayers, especially OAP's, feel astounded that our funds transferred to HM Treasury are being dumped in London, by the lorry load, to pay rents at 1,000 per week or 4,200 per calendar month (pcm) to keep under- funded tenants in over priced London homes.

I visited a leading estate agent's rental department in Bingley and inquired what was the most expensive rental they

were letting today? Answer 1,300 pcm! So what would we get in our area for 4,200 pcm – a royal palace!

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The Labour Party taxed us in the North only to pass inflated subsidy to their supporters in London.

A full list of the landlords creaming off taxpayer funds would be very welcome.

Our island identity

From: Doreen Illingworth, Belvedere Road, Bridlington.

I WRITE with reference to the letters from Mike Briggs, Tim Mickleburgh and Stanley Parr (Yorkshire Post, November 8).

I too was conned by Ted Heath's "Common Market" and voted yes, thinking that if we were all trading together, we might avoid another world war. I have been appalled by events, and now we are told what to do and pay billions of pounds per year for the privilege. I am proud of my country and I could weep when I think of what we have become.At the time of the Norway Referendum a spokesman said: "We are hoping that Norway voted 'yes' because Norway is a rich country and we need her money in order to integrate the poorest European countries!" Sensibly, Norway voted 'no'.

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And now Turkey wants to join. My geography taught me that Turkey was a Middle East country. A builder I had several years ago, said: "We are an island race." It is still true today, but is it too late?

Realities and student riots

From: Robert Reynolds, Harrogate.

I SAW the self-satisfied smirks of the likes of Professor Povey et al from the University of Leeds after the student riots in London.

Pathetic! What these middle-class pseudo-intellectuals do not understand, is the precarious economic situation we are in (Yorkshire Post, November 12).

Facing 4 trillion of debt, and increasing interest payments – our Government must balance the books and reduce our national debt. We have three choices; pay it back, default, inflate. Each option will result in the vacuous Prof Povey and his like, taking to the streets.

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Perhaps Prof Povey will take time out from his study of food and enlighten us as to the economic policy our nation should follow. One which will safeguard everyone's jobs and pay back this debt, ensuring the sun shines every day and we all live happily ever after? Now there's food for thought.

Power clamp

From: Terry Duncan, Greame Road, Bridlington, East Yorkshire.

IF the Prime Minister wants higher fees for students, he must also curb the wealthy power giants by creating a retail clamp down on the cost of gas and electricity.

In fact, David Cameron must introduce a wide range of strangleholds on all businesses, like British Gas, which impose price increases that hit the poor and the pensioners (Yorkshire Post, November 13). Our light and heat must be constrained, otherwise the imposition of severe tax penalties.

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The dragons of this world have had it too good for too long. It is pay-back time, locally and internationally.

Smart cadets

From: JG Bottomley, Western Road, Huddersfield.

I WAS in Leeds last week and the poppy sellers were out in force. Helping the veterans were a number of Army Cadets. What a pleasure to see and speak to such polite young people – how smart they looked in their well pressed uniforms and well polished boots.

I have no idea which cadet force they were from but they were a credit to themselves and to their leaders. How delightful to see such young people rather than some of the individuals that "grace" our streets today.

Bureaucrats in school sport not fit for purpose

From: David Baldwin, Embsay.

On which planet does Jayne Dowle live?

Not understanding the role of a "school sport co-ordinator" I Googled the job description and it is revealed as: "They support colleagues in the delivery of high quality PE and school sport and have a remit to increase sporting opportunities for pupils during out of school hours. They are responsible for the co-ordination and development of after school activities and local community links in their own school and partner primary schools".

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Her entire article (Yorkshire Post, November 11) missed the point!

If teachers are good enough then why do you need an additional tier of bureaucracy? Why can't children be self-motivated?

When I was at grammar school in the 60s we had a head of PE who certainly knew how to motivate the boys under his control. He was ably-supported by his team of qualified PE teachers who all graduated from Carnegie College in Leeds after the war and he (and they) would turn in their graves if they felt that a "school sport co-ordinator" was needed!

We might not have liked it at the time, playing rugby in six inches of snow, cross-country running in similar conditions, or days like today when the rain was horizontal, but it did not harm any of us. Those who wanted to develop themselves did so, playing for the school teams. Those that didn't still undertook two periods of PE and a triple period of "games" every week.

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In those days we did try different sports at school. Members of clubs even constructed such exotic accessories as canoes after school in the woodwork room so that they could use them on canoe club outings.

In the evenings we would play games of rugby, football or cricket in the local park and at weekends we would walk from home to the top of Ilkley moor and run down into Ilkley or walk the furthest distance that we could before turning back to return home before evening.

Gifted athletes joined the local running club – Bingley Harriers; like Olympic marathon runner Colin Kirkham. He could be seen, alone, pounding the streets of Keighley every day after school. Neither he, nor numerous others, needed "school sport co-ordinators" to develop their sporting ambitions.

Cricketers joined their local club, as did footballers and rugby players. No, we are not making "participative sport the preserve of the middle-classes". If you're good enough, then you will achieve your goal.