Friday, 27 May 2011

Insurance for cyclists might be a good idea

CYCLISTS are multiplying at an impressive rate, so I suppose it was inevitable that there have been growing calls for them to have compulsory insurance.

Some riders already do including many of those who compete in time trials on the road for instance, but the general pedaller doesn’t. It may soon change.

A growing number of incidents where the cyclist caused the accident has created a demand that they take responsibility for their actions with insurance in the same way that car drivers, motorcyclists and moped riders have to do.

But at what age should any future such legislation come in to force?

Drivers face age restrictions but children as young as two or three are common sights riding along pavements, sometimes at speed.

I saw one incident last week where a boy aged about ten rode downhill straight at traffic coming up hill along a one way street before darting away down a side road.

Not unnaturally the driver closest to him blew his horn. And the boy’s response? Well he failed to slow down and simply turned in his saddle to look back and deliver a few contrite words thanking the driver for his warning… or not as the case may be.

What got me was not the danger of the first manoeuvre where he could at least look where he was going but the acute danger of the second where the boy’s angry retort was actually fired off while looking in the opposite direction to where he was careering.

Insurance for cyclists suddenly doesn’t look such a bad idea when drivers and pedestrians risk being faced with riding like that.

. . . When I’m cleanin’ windows

ANYONE following recent housing developments in Weymouth and Portland will be aware of the growing trend for blocks of flats.

Old businesses or large perfectly sound family homes in their own grounds are being demolished to make way for this type of accommodation.

If you buy such a home on the ground floor then cleaning windows is not a problem but first floor homes require a decent ladder and second floor flats are really dodgy if you don’t like heights.

So how do you clean homes on the fifth floor if you don’t have swivel windows? I came across the answer the other day when, from a distance, I saw what looked like a man trying to push a building over with a stick.

Closer inspection revealed him to be a window cleaner and he was working 40ft up the side of one block… all while stood comfortably on the ground.

The state of the art rod he was using transported water up to a brush which he was working back and forth across each window to clean it.

He was quite cheery about what he was doing and said he hadn’t fully extended his equipment and still had several feet in reserve.

Then he made passers-by smile and me chuckle by adding: “You know, you’re not the first person to talk to me about the size of my pole!”

Back to nature

EMBANKMENT sides were cleared during preliminary work ahead of a new bridge being built to link up two sections of the Rodwell Trail in Weymouth.

It will prevent walkers and cyclists from having to descend a steep uneven path, cross a busy road and then climb an equally steep and narrow path on the other side to get back on the trail.

The old railway bridge across Newstead Road was removed years ago and vegetation quickly choked the scar, so it was only natural to clear it away ahead of the new bridge being built.

That was all well and good… but no one told the vegetation it wasn’t welcome any more. Brambles cut off level with the ground have overcome being cleared by the simple process of growing more than a metre in a remarkably short space of time as brambles do.

The battle for light is fierce and what was virtually bare ground with a light stubble of dried grass is already well greened up and increasingly a barrier threatening to once again confine walkers to the path.

It will be interesting firstly to see how thick it becomes by the time the bridge is in place and secondly how quickly wildlife returns once the existing paths are no longer used and become totally overgrown.

Chips aren’t chips if they’re not frozen

THE boy refused point blank to eat his meal and the argument with his parents gradually filtered out to surrounding tables.

They were coaxing him to get on with it and tried everything including warning him that he wouldn’t get anything extra to eat when they got back home, but nothing worked.

The boy stubbornly gripped his knife and fork but wouldn’t eat, saying what was on his plate wasn’t real food.

To anyone looking at what was in front of him there didn’t seem to be a problem with what looked like chicken nuggets, beans and chips.

Perhaps his food was cold or perhaps he’d been unlucky enough to get a tough piece of chicken, but it was none of that.

The reason behind his refusal was that the home-cooked rough cut chips were the wrong shape when everyone knew chips were crinkly.

I won’t get into an argument about the nutritional benefits of home cooked food versus proprietary oven ready chips but it does speak volumes for modern society that increasing numbers of children are unaware that some food doesn’t always come out of a bag.

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