Scotsman Letters: Cyclists on the pavement a peril to pedestrians

Is it just in Edinburgh that you seem to be more at hazard walking on the pavements than down the side of the road?

This morning I walked out onto the pavement and was narrowly missed by a swerving man on a bicycle followed by his two children wobbling along on bikes who I sidestepped.

Just after eight in the morning in Edinburgh the ducking and diving starts as pedestrians try to avoid being hit by speeding bikes. Deliveroo men swerve past at speed. A foolish sidestep and you can be hit in the back and older folk have poor reflexes. If they fall, their faces suffer and their wrists crack. Bikes are soundless. Every time one whips past you have avoided a trip to the hospital.

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Families feel it is safer to bicycle on the pavement. After all, hitting a pedestrian is nothing like as bad for you as being in the way of a car.

Yes, there are bicycle lanes on many streets but if you are speeding you cannot overtake, so instead of using the road you bounce over the curb and swerve round pedestrians.

I don’t think that bicycling on the pavement is legal, It certainly never used to be and policemen would stop you and warn or charge you.

I must say I have not met a policeman on the pavement for a long time and I have never seen one stop a bicycle being ridden on the pavement.

At a time when we are trying to minimise hospital attendance at A&E, one way might be to stop adults riding bicycles on the pavements.

Elizabeth Scott, Edinburgh

Glass farce

Brian Wilson’s interpretation of the Deposit Return Scheme (Perspective, June 10) fails to mention that Labour’s Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford told BBC Scotland on June 1 that “if the Internal Market Act is invoked for the purpose of removing glass from Scotland's scheme there would be very serious questions”.

He added, “It was part of the consultation we held with the NI executive and the UK Government. At the moment, glass is in our scheme and that’s the way we expect it to stay. We jointly published a document in January with the UK Government in which they recognised that while they had decided not to include glass, we had and they signed that document with us” and that "The English Government is the outlier here".

If the London government was acting in good faith, they would have allowed the Scottish scheme to proceed as a pilot for the other nations of the UK. DRS would have been compatible with EU internal market rules yet the UK can’t cope with a degree of internal regulatory divergence.

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In Belgium, famous for its small craft beers, they manage to cope with three regional parliaments all at different stages of their schemes and Innis & Gunn has increased its business in Sweden despite a DRS.

Many of drinks industry figures opposed the introduction of minimum unit pricing in Scotland on similar grounds of cost and UK divergence but we have all benefitted from this legislation.

It is ironic that British Soft Drink Association is reportedly going to claim compensation from the Scottish Government when they among many other organisations urged the UK government to include glass in their DRS.

Like most new schemes there were initial teething problems, but it is clear that the UK government is using the Internal Market Act to further erode devolution.

Fraser Grant, Edinburgh

Toxic metals

Neil J. Bryce’s letter (Letters, June 9) about the energy cost of producing lithium for batteries for electric vehicles is sobering, but lithium is only one of the many environmentally disastrous materials needed for the production of electric vehicles.

Rare Earth materials are essential for the production of electric vehicles, from cobalt, also used in batteries, neodymium, samarium, dysprosium and terbium for the magnets in electric motors, cerium and indium, both used for touch screen control panels, gallium, used in many of the car’s electronic components, yttrium, used in metal alloys used in electric motors, to lutetium for the LED instrument lights, etc.

Many of these need complex extraction processes which use massive amounts of energy and produce masses of extremely toxic wastes. There are hundreds of huge “poison” lakes dotted around the countries where these materials are produced, one of the most notorious being at Baotou in China, closely followed by one at Tai, also in China. These “tailings lakes” are an environmental catastrophe waiting to happen; in China watercourses are already being poisoned by seepage from such lakes, with disastrous health effects on local populations.

Far from being “green”, electric vehicles and the materials needed for their production are appallingly bad for the environment, though of course some people will insist that carbon dioxide is the great villain, despite the facts that this can be absorbed by simply planting trees which then produce more of the oxygen we need for life!

Ian McNicholas, Ebbw Vale, Wales

Crisis for Yousaf

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Humza Yousaf is finally acknowledging that independence is not the settled will of the Scottish public right now.

What he seems to have ignored is the fact that support for independence has gone down markedly under his watch. Given the disasters he faces daily, the only surprise is that support has not fallen further but Scotland still appears to be heading for a new political era in which independence is simply yesterday's failed policy.

Scots need the NHS, education and potholes as well as everything in between fixed first. That is a huge in-tray to be getting on with. Unless the SNP gets real and ditches both independence and the Greens it is Mr Yousaf who is heading for the exit.

Gerald Edwards, Glasgow

The good, the bad . . .

Boris Johnson, ex-PM and MP, was both a blessing and a curse. A blessing for helping to achieve Brexit; and a curse for fouling it up afterwards.

Tim Flinn, Garvald, East Lothian

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