I have just read the letter on the environment, ‘Protect cyclists not diesel car owners’ and I have something written, in my view, in such an arrogant manner. I would therefore like to address all his points in order.
I too am 68 and used to cycle until about ten years ago, but due to a back accident, at work some years ago, I now suffer from severe arthritis and the level of pain and discomfort varies with the weather, so the cycling has had to stop.
You don’t need to be a ‘human dynamo’ to ride at 20mph for reasonable distance with the correct gearing on your cycle.
The 20mph zones are usually outside schools, clearly marked, with flashing amber signs when the 20mph limit is in force, at the start and end of the school day when pupils are either arriving or leaving, the rest of the time the normal speed limit applies, usually 30 mph and the lights are switched off. Therefore, any vehicle overtaking you at up to the proper speed limit is not breaking the law.
All commercial vehicles and coaches are fitted with speed limiters, by law, and quite a few service buses are, although normally it is the way they are geared for town and city operation that normally limits their top speed, even out on the open road or motorway, to around 50-55mph maximum.
Furthermore, with regards to exhaust emissions from diesel engines they are very strict on annual M.O.T. tests on all commercial vehicles and all new vehicles, including cars and SUVs, have to meet euro 6 emission standards.
I drive an SUV, which is not a gas guzzler, it is a new 1.6 litre turbo diesel Nissan Qashqai which will comfortably exceed 60mpg on a run and over 50mpg in town and it is euro 6. The reason I got it was because it is quite tall and easy to get into. Many people with blue badges do not drive gas guzzling SUVs and are not over weight but have medical conditions which are not readily apparent.
Many problems with congested roads in Britain, particularly in towns and cities, are down to the councils over exuberance in installing cycle lanes and taking up road space in my view.
I fully agree with these to segregate cyclists from motor vehicles but many cyclists, particularly in London, do not use them, which should be an offence incurring a fine.
Many fatalities befalling the ‘lycra clad sunglasses wearing ‘eco warriors’, who think they are saving the planet, are usually down to their own stupidity, in my opinion, and belief that the ‘Highway Code’ does not apply to them.
Only this week I had experience of one of these incompetent road users. I was driving into town, on Mansfield Road approaching the ‘Millhouse’ roundabout where the A57 crosses.
There are now three lanes, clearly marked, left to turn on to St Ann’s Drive or onto the A57 towards Sheffield, the centre one to go down Newcastle Avenue into town and the right lane to go round the island onto the A57 towards Manton.
This cyclist was on my left but when the lights changed he stuck his right hand out, set off across in front of me and went into the right hand lane and low and behold when he was half way round the island, stuck his left hand out, rode across my bows again and went down Newcastle Avenue towards town ‘great lane discipline’.
So therefore Mr Ramsey, I would suggest you get off your ‘high horse’ or cycle and think before criticising other road users and diesel powered vehicles until you are better informed on the subjects.