There is a programme (or at least there was, I don’t know if it is still running) on BBC2 called ‘Grumpy old men’ which is (somewhat obviously) where the inspiration for this blog came from.
I very often find my sitting here at my keyboard, reading the news online and catch myself being a grumpy old man. Like the narrator of the TV show, Geoffrey Palmer, I find myself shaking my head in disbelief and ‘tutting’ at the screen. I must add that I’m not quite as jowly as the aforementioned presenter, so get that image out of your head for a start.
Before I start adding any stories or gripes in any detail I would just like to mention a few things, in brief, that have also contributed to my decision to start this blog.
In the past few months I have shaken my head at the following:
Two foreign vandals (somewhere in Norwich I believe) smashed up a car in the street and despite being caught on CCTV red-handed they got away with it with something like a caution. The reason for this was explained to be something to do with the delicate situation concerning the crime and the fact that they were foreigners. So basically the way that looks to me is that they were let off because if there had been any charges brought to them it might have been seen as a racist thing. If this was not the case then I would like someone to explain to me how it is that two men can smash up a car, be clearly seen and identified on CCTV and get away with it. If it was theft or shoplifting then maybe I could see that even though they knew it was wrong (which they clearly must have known about smashing up someone’s car. I don’t think there is any country in the world where it is legal to vandalise another person’s property) they had to do it because they had no money and were hungry, or didn’t understand the currency (but even that would require a serious stretch of the imagination to forgive the crime), or whatever. However, this was not the case. It was willful destruction of property that clearly didn’t belong to them, an inexcusable act of vandalism.
(The above short story could lead me nicely on to the subject of immigrants and the unjust system concerning us & them, but I will save that for later.)
A few days after reading the article regarding the above I saw that a fifteen year old boy, somewhere in this country, had been fined fifty pounds on the spot penalty by a Community Support officer for throwing a chip (for the benefit of my American friends who may not realise we call chips what you call fries) on the floor to feed a seagull.
I wonder if he had been a foreigner would he have been let off?
Much more recently in the news is another story concerning these Community Support Officers where two of them refused to jump into a pond to save a drowning ten year old boy. The reason they gave for their lack of action was that they “were not trained to deal with the incident”.
So what training does anyone need to jump in a pond and save a child’s life? It was a pond, probably not even very deep, so the chances are they wouldn’t have even needed to be able to swim that well themselves.
What is the point of having these officers that stand by and watch a child drown? Oh yes, that’s right, to fine those that feed seagulls.
That’s what this country calls justice!
Moving away from the news for a minute, my next subject here is general moaning and I’ll start with inconsiderate people.
What is it with car drivers and the full beam headlight thing?
While I do drive a car too I mostly ride a motorcycle and maybe it’s because of that reason I am considerate towards bikers, but many are not. Perhaps it is those that only a drive a car and have never ridden a bike, but while most of them seem to understand the reason for dipping their lights when they are behind another car as it can dazzle the driver in front in his mirror, they don’t seem to realise that the same thing applies to bikers for the same reason.
Most of my journeys are through country roads and I understand that drivers need a full beam on these roads, as do I, but I am often blinded by drivers behind as they fail to dip the lights even when they clearly must have seen me.
The problem is that on a motorcycle I have no hazard warning lights or any way of signalling the driver behind that he needs to dip his lights. I have tried ‘dabbing’ the brakes to flash the brake light, but that doesn’t seem to work, I suppose they just think I’m a nervous rider and have my foot on the brake.
The problem is it’s so tempting to let them pass and then ride behind them on high beam, but of course I don’t, I’m far too sensible for that.
So a note to any car drivers out there that might be reading this and may be guilty of this annoying ignorance. Those two shiny things sticking out each side of my handle bars are in fact mirrors and you can dazzle me as easily as you can dazzle another car driver.
While I’m on this subject I would also like to suggest that maybe your reactions could be a tad faster when you are coming toward another driver/rider. If I am riding and my lights are on full beam and I see another car’s lights in the distance (it is possible to read the road sufficiently to see this before you actually see the car) I dip mine, why can’t you do the same? Why do you have to leave it until you can actually see me before you dip the lights? By the time you can actually read the label on the crash helmet I’m wearing it’s too late, I’m already blinded.
When you’re travelling at some 60mph and I’m doing the same in the opposite direction it doesn’t take much brain power to work out the possible consequences of the bike rider being unable to see the road.
Before anyone starts with some lame excuses about maybe they don’t see me or whatever, my light, although a single light, is as bright as any car light. I can see other motorcycle lights so there is no excuse.
Ahh, that’s another thing I just thought of. On the subject of seeing me, why do car drivers, even though they don’t have right of way assume that because I am on a bike that they can break the rule of right of way?
If I am on my side of the road and there are no obstructions such as parked cars or whatever on my side of the road, but there are on your side, I have right of way. What that means quite simply is that you should wait for me to pass before you come through. What most of you seem to do is think “Ah it’s just a bike, he can fit through” or something.
Bikes are generally moving a bit quicker than most people realise and we certainly out-accelerate you most of the time, so observe the same rules of the road with us as you would if we were in a car, they still apply regardless of the amount of wheels our vehicles have.
Stop being so impatient and inconsiderate and risking lives!
As with all my blogs any comments and responses are welcome, as is hate mail, but you will get a reply.