REGULAR readers of this column will know that, by nature, I am compassionate, kind-hearted and considerate; patience personified.

However, even the well of my benevolent life-force runs dry when I see lycra-clad yobs on bicycles ignoring the rules of the road and endangering the well-being of others in general and the paint-work on my Bentley in particular.

The cyclist lobby, which should be a proscribed terrorist organisation, is always whingeing about motorists but it ignores the fact that it has become de rigueur for bike riders to disregard traffic lights and pedestrian crossings and to weave from lane to lane with reckless abandon.

Recently I saw riders, three abreast, on a busy city road, ride through two sets of red traffic signals and across a pedestrian crossing where cars had already stopped.  Two of them were riding ‘hands free.’

This is not an unusual occurrence.

Just the other day two cyclists weaved their way around the Bentley on a tandem!  Impervious to the red light, they rode into the cross-stream of traffic without bothering to look in either direction.

It is time to impose new rules that will protect other road users from these pedalling maniacs.

First, a cycling proficiency test must be introduced.  Potential cyclists will be required to enrol in a ten-year programme and attendance at each of the 41 proficiency modules will be a prerequisite for the award of a Provisional Cycling Licence.

Once achieved, riders will be allowed to use designated cycle paths in national parks where the population density is lower than three people per 1,000 square kilometres.

After a further eight years of incident-free cycling and upon payment of a substantial fee, a Conditional Cycling Licence will be issued.

This will permit the use of public roads when the bicycle is firmly secured to a rack on the back of a motor vehicle.

After another six years a panel comprising no less than four motorists (one of whom must drive a taxi, another must drive a bus) will assess each cyclist’s record and, when a Full Licence is inevitably declined, will order a re-sit of the original training programme.

Some cyclists may consider this an extreme reaction to the menace that they daily wreak throughout the land.  They will be correct in that assumption.  The sooner we get these kamikaze cyclists off the roads the safer it will be for everyone else.


Lost spirit

IN matters of sporting endeavour I have always believed in the Corinthian Spirit though I confess that the origins of the term remain somewhat obscure in my mind.  Perhaps simplistically I interpreted the term as: ‘sportsmanlike, epitomising fair play, a gentlemanly approach to the game;’ all of which are laudable objectives.

The advent of professionalism in most sports seems to have eroded the Corinthian Spirit to the point where it is no more than a distant memory for player and supporter alike and one could find no finer evidence for this contention than the recent football match between Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.

Football is not a game that interests me much, but The Lady Bartie’s errant nephew, Rupert, was in residence, was eager to watch the game and, despite my protestations, prevailed with the television remote control.

Seldom have I seen such an abundance of whatever is the opposite of the Corinthian Spirit demonstrated so effectively.  Players who had been ‘injured’ (apparently terminally) were quickly up on their feet if a penalty was not awarded.

If the referee had the temerity to make a ‘wrong’ decision, he was mobbed by the offended team as players attempted to persuade him to reverse his judgment.  Managers paced and ranted in carefully defined boxes, like caged animals.

Goal scorers were hugged and kissed like prima donnas at the ballet.

Supporters bayed and whistled dementedly.

I cannot deny the athleticism and refined ball skills that football players exhibit, but please do not try to tell me that this is a game played in the Corinthian Spirit.

It is a professional endeavour performed physically, not spiritually, and is all the worse for it.

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