DEAR Editor, When I went to visit a friend in hospital who had been knocked off his bicycle by a driver using their mobile phone, an experience I’ve suffered myself, I went on my bicycle.
If experienced adults can’t avoid dangerous drivers, what chance inexperienced youngsters?
How many drivers aren’t focused on safe driving because they’re focused on talking or texting on their mobile phone? Research has shown it can be as dangerous, sometimes more so, than drink driving.
Isn’t it a fact that millions are put off cycling or won’t let their children cycle because too many drivers show scant regard for safety? It’s also a fact that the vast majority of drivers slow down for speed cameras, but not for cyclists.
Does the Government’s newly launched healthy lifestyle campaign, aimed at reducing obesity, include removing dangerous drivers from our roads? It’s been predicted that 90 per cent of today’s children will be obese adults by 2050 – a situation our NHS can’t possibly cope with.
Anybody who looks at hospital parking charges as a tax on illness, would do well to look at what causes illness. Some 300,000 hospital visits a year are made by road traffic casualties, with many suffering long-term disability, long-term heartache for the bereaved.
Then, isn’t near every lung-full of air we breathe laden with carcinogens? If smoking for 40 years causes lung cancer, what does 40 years of breathing polluted air cause? If obesity is bad, what of respiratory illness? What state the lungs of today’s children by 2050? Indeed what state the earth’s “lungs” – global warming – by then?
If new born babies had to breathe the exhaust fumes that cyclists have to breathe – in our cities some feel the need for face masks – what chance their survival? And don’t all the drugs we produce to fight illness, ultimately end up in the food chain? How harmful a cocktail is this?
If it’s a crime to charge for hospital parking, it’s a far greater crime to speed, drive using a mobile phone and enjoy the luxury of carcinogen producing cars. Time to clean up our act before it’s too late? Shouldn’t hospital parking only be for people-friendly cars, driven by safe drivers?
A knight of the road.
Allan Ramsay, Radcliffe Moor Road, Radcliffe
Commuters should be helped, not exploited
Dear Editor, With a shrinking working market, a 6 per cent increase in rail fares will do nothing to help people commute to look for work, and for people in work with possible short time and cutbacks this is just another economic hammer blow that is strangling our competitive edge.
We are in a dire economic climate that is going to get worse, and it’s time for public transport operators to help in the mobility of labour, not exploit it. Billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money has been poured into the rail industry. Managers, shareholders and directors have done very well out of the British Taxpayer, so it’s time they helped the economy, not abused it.
Glastonbury Road, Yardley Wood, Birmingham
Toll road would never resolve all our traffic trouble
Dear Editor, JES Bradshaw is in the unfortunate position of being like a customer who brought a product and didn’t read the small print.
Neither the M6 Toll operators nor the Highways Agency ever claimed the road would lead to sustained reductions in traffic on the M6. Eighty-thousand vehicles is the notional capacity of a three-lane highway. It was never promised on the M6 Toll. Nor would that figure convert into traffic reductions on the M6, since most of the potential traffic would never have been using the M6.
The picture on road damage may, however, be worse than he paints. Early monitoring of traffic after the road was built showed the level of HGVs on the Black Country section of the M6 had actually increased, by about 3,000 a day, as they capitalised on the dip in other traffic.
Whether this is being maintained has yet to be seen, but it is significant because HGVs cause almost all traffic-related road-surface damage, (excluding frost and other environmental damage. Cars have little or no effect.
That is why I was among the few people arguing at the public inquiry that the lorry toll rate should be pegged on the M6 Toll and that otherwise, the operators would be likely to price the road to attract cars rather than lorries.
The Inspector agreed but the Government did not intervene, citing the lack of adverse comment from hauliers, among other things. Of course, the hauliers have not stopped complaining since the road was built but the failure of the Government to act on this is in part their own fault.
The M6 Toll is a sideshow to the real debate in the region. Are we going to add a few strips of tarmac to squeeze out the last drops of capacity, or are we going to ask how can we reduce growth in traffic and provide alternatives which support the economy and protect the environment.
Gerald Kells, (Former Chair of the Alliance Against the BNRR)