Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Utter motorcycle madness

MUCH has been made about the need for vehicle drivers to be more aware of motorcyclists to try and help reduce the annual loss of rider lives.

There are police campaigns, council campaigns, driver campaigns and even campaigns by motorcyclists  and cyclists themselves, but there is an old saying: ‘You can’t help those who won’t help themselves’.

An entire queue of lorry and car drivers – myself included – was recently left in total disbelief at the antics of one motorcyclist who was correctly dressed and riding a decent machine, so not some ton-up nutter riding a death trap.

We were all on a section of road in Weymouth where the motorcyclist decided to work his way up the queue.

My first indication of his presence was when he shot past me and then the car in front of me before being baulked by a large van.

Nothing daunted, he had a quick look past, pulled out and began to overtake... only to realise just why so many motorcyclists do die. They seem to assume that other people are watching out for them and they forget to watch out for themselves.

The moment he pulled level with the van his eyeballs must have stood out like organ stops because there smack in front of him was a central reservation pedestrian crossing point with waist-high beacons at either end.

He had nowhere to go, presumably thought it too late to brake and resorted to saving himself by risking even more lives.

In the blink of an eye he simply widened his overtaking manoeuvre and swerved round the crossing on the wrong side of the road, accelerating past the van before diving back in front of the van when he got past the crossing.

All this was in the face of oncoming traffic which was mercifully just far enough away not to have their day splattered by this Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse.

You do see really bad driving from time to time but this was so bad we were still all talking about it several hours later.

Maybe the next time I see a ‘Think Bike’ reminder I might be encouraged to start a ‘Think of Car Drivers’ Nerves’ counter campaign. 

Not April 1st yet is it?

CHANGES are to be made to the way Dorset Waste Partnership collects rubbish across Weymouth and Portland because of all the complaints it has received.

All householders must now haul their bins for several miles to two central collecting points, one being New Ground in Portland and the other, a little used park-and-ride site for Weymouth.

A convoy of rubbish lorries will then come each day to collect everything for disposal and recycling accompanied by a police escort to protect operatives from confused residents, difficult questions, the occasional lynch mob... that sort of thing.

Such a streamlining of the service is not without cost and the partnership is expected to announce a budget overspend of £74 million for 2016.

The sharp rise in costs is being blamed on having to buy a new fleet of rubbish lorries to replace the current fleet bought from Sid’s Honest Automobile and Flytipping (Trade Endorsed) Depot – or SHAFTED for short – which the partnership later discovered had been supplied without brakes. Compensation claims are still coming in.

There is also the question of exactly what is or is not rubbish, criteria that the partnership is now strictly enforcing. For instance, yoghurt pots are in but yoghurt pot tops are out... really!

Naturally residents are somewhat less than impressed by the whole sorry story.

Small wonder, then, that a review being carried out into the partnership is demanding not unreasonably that the new system work at least as well as the old one.

That did very nicely thank you but going back to that system is wheelie too much to hope for... isn’t it?

Toss of a coin voting

BARELY ten weeks to go now to the general election and it remains difficult to spot a winner as all the political donkeys bunch for a photo finish.

Labour is promising a return to the good times, the Conservatives think we’re still in the good times, the Liberal Democrats can’t remember the good times and UKIP is actually having a good time. As for the Greens? Well, the grass is always greener on the other side.

You know events are getting close to polling day when, for the first time, the number of political leaflets shoved through your letterbox exceeds the number of plastic charity bags.

With the focus on our vote, I hope you all received your brown envelope from the council confirming who in your household is entitled to vote. If your name is not ‘on ze list’ then you can’t vote. Yeah, I’ve asked for mine to be taken off too!

All joking aside, it is a sad fact of life that those who carefully listen to all the arguments, make up their mind and vote accordingly are vastly outweighed by two groups; those who were only ever going to vote one way and those who make up their mind as they walk into the polling booth.

Good luck and don’t forget to take a coin along to toss in case you are still undecided on the day.

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