Tuesday, February 25, 2014

HEROES ? Or are they Role Models ?

Media Hype is at an all time HIGH , as Athletes who competed at Sochi 2014 Olympics , return to their Home Countries . Some will display evidence of their successes , others will regale their families and friends with their experiences at the Olympic Events . Almost ALL will deserve aclaim , for a JOB well done . As was to be expected , WADA had their successes also , since the latest reports that i have seen , reveal the detection of at least 5 Athletes that failed to fool the Testing Protocols ?

Each Athlete that competed will have dedicated a large proportion of the previous 4 years to reach the required standard to participate . Some will have been to multiple Olympic Games , even fewer will have achieved a Better Medal than at their previous attempts and then there are those who did not reach the podium in either Winter or Summer Games , but were content with " It is not whether YOU Win or Lose , it is how you play the GAME ", as the mark of their participation .

To ALL ATHLETES , THANKYOU ! You provided 16 days of your best efforts and immense displays of Sportsmanship ! As to those " short cut B...s ", 4 years out of competition , is not enough ! Being chosen to represent your Country , then thinking you would suffer no detection , when you CHOSE to disgrace your colleagues and thus Disgrace your Country , deserves a LIFE TIME BAN ! No excuses will be acceptable when the tests are proven ! Dodgy Low life Lawyers will attempt to profit from your attempts to evade your responsibilities , but in the end we will be rid of YOU !

Certainly there can be the odd case , where a miscarriage of Justice will occur , but hopefully every Athlete is NOW taking their responsibilities seriously , in respect of ANYTHING they choose to use ? Alain Baxter , the Scottish Skier , that medalled in the Salt Lake 2002 Olympics , must rue the fact that he failed to check the WADA /USADA website before buying replacement medication in the USA . Forgetting his UK Prescribed medication , he rushed out to buy the " Same Name Product " in Salt Lake and thus suffered years of Heartache whilst he fought to prove " Mischance rather than deliberation " , losing the Medal , even though the placing was eventually restored . Had he thought to consult the USADA / WADA schedule , he would have noted that the US produced medication contained " prohibited substances "!  Will others make this mistake and seek the indulgence granted ? One hopes that this Lesson is now part of WADA Folklore and the Future Olympians will not seek to use this excuse ?

Each and every Athlete that aspires to be an Olympian , adopts a rigorous Training Regime . Just as YOU and I , set out to do the JOB for which we receive recompence . In doing these Jobs , some of us will achieve " Excellence "and thus , will be deemed " Role models " by our colleagues ? This is the same for Athletes in any Sport . They will reach the podium and others will aspire to achieve the same or better results and thus also be regarded as " Role Models " . This is what Sport is all about , Excelling in the face of Competition .  Such a shame that the Media confuse " Role Model " replacing it with " Sporting Hero " ?

In March , we will see the start of the 2014 Paralympic Games in Sochi .
Amongst the Athletes from all over the World , will be Athletes with a variety of Disabilities . During recent years , the number of Classes/Gradings of Disability have been reduced , thus there were less " Classes of Disability " at Vancouver 2010 , than at Salt Lake 2002 . The combining of several degrees of disability may have seen many outstanding Athletes retire from International Competition . It may also have reduced the numbers of competitors eligible to participate in the Para Games ?

Amongst those now competing will be Athletes that were born with Disability , those that found their original Life Style disrupted through Road Traffic Trauma or Industrial Incident , AND , those that served their Nation in " Harms Way " and now seek to serve once again on the Sports Field . Whether losing Limbs in Harms Way or by Civilian Incident , these Athletes deserve especial recognition for their rising to the challenge that Life has thrust upon them .

It would be harsh to deprive Alex Zenardi of the " Hero Acolades " heaped on him after his successes in
Handbiking at the London 2012 Paralympic Games . So also would it be , in respect of PierAngelo Vignati for his Successes in Sydney 2000 Para Games and Athens 2004 . Even Armin Zoegler , the Luge Olympic Medal Winner at each of his 6 Olympic Appearances , would refrain from accepting the " HERO " designation , when his Sporting Career is compared to Other Italian Paralympic Athletes , who served ITALY in " Harms Way ", then took up the challenge to serve their Country once again on the Sporting Field .

The examples used to illustrate my point are ALL from Italy and i use them , since i have met them ALL , at various Cycling and Winter Events . I have also met Aussie Para Athletes and i feel sure that the likes of Mike Milton , a Very Successful Para Athlete in the Winter Games and who now competes in the Summer Games as a Cyclist , would point to an Aussie Para Athlete who served in Harms Way , as a " TRUE Blue Hero " .  The USA will have many more candidates that will qualify for the Para Games after being rehabilitated from the various Mid East Conflicts that their Country has been engaged .

One thing you can count on though , the Media will be verbose whilst at the games , but a month or so later , try and see whether they recall more than the Medal Winners from the Para Games ? It would be interesting to look at their work and see to what extent they have associated with Olympic and Paralympic Athletes during the progress to these Games ?

" HERO " , is a description so often trotted out to describe " Role Models " , thus tends to devalue the efforts of those Exceptional People that TRULY deserve the Acolade ? Each Country' Armed Forces have a series of " Ribbons/Medals "that designate Theatre of Service or Feats of Courage . For me it is confusing to see Police wearing a Ribbon that was earned by service with the United Nations in a number of Actions ,
then see a Trooper with a chestful of Ribbons that were earned through Injury or Exemplary Bravery , mixed in with " Theatre Operations " Ribbons . Regretably the Highest UK Award , the Victoria Cross , tends to be awarded to a " Postumous Recipient " , as does the US " Medal of Honor " . Yet i feel sure each of these People whilst deserving the " HERO " designation , would tend to point to others that they would consider as " Heroes "?

No doubt the Media will continue to award " Hero Status " to Austrian Skiers and Aussie Footie Players , even though they are well paid for their work and efforts to be " Role Models "?

No one will take the time to tell me their thoughts on the subject , although i would be happy to hear from them !

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Monday, January 27, 2014


Thanks to " StopKillingCyclists Action Group "


has had to respond by Emailed letter to the NEEDS of London Cyclists !  Whilst the origin of this Email / letter was a Lady , Charlotte Cox , writing on her OWN Behalf , the activities of this GROUP has made it clear that his efforts to date , FAIL !

During the 2008 to 2012 period , more than 15500 Casualties were created in the LONDON , that he has a responsibility to LEAD ! The email/ letter returned to " Charlotte Cox " , reads like a " SMOKE SCREEN ", that would fool a child of 5yo . Certainly in HIS period of office , a 5yo was a Death on London Roads ! No doubt a minion in his administration was responsible for putting together this " Help me get to keep my job " effort ?

Please note that the content of the email / letter is removed from the " Stop Killing Cyclists " facebook page , the additions as we go through the paragraphs , are MY additions and i will add comments from others that are to the point !

Dear Sir/Madam

      No effort to read the letter carefully , or seek out the writer's gender ?

Thank you for writing to me. I share your deep concern about cycle safety in London. That is why I am spending almost £1 billion to provide for cycling, including two fully-segregated superhighways through the heart of central London, remodelling dozens of the most dangerous junctions, and a network of back-street “quietway” routes.

     Recent Media reports of underspending of allocated funds suggest otherwise :

It is why I have promised to upgrade all the existing superhighway routes, with fully or semi-segregated cycle lanes, and to complete all new superhighways to the same standards.

    Splashing around buckets of paint which failed to save the lives of several cyclists , resulting in            BoJo   "Victim Blaming "!

It is why I have plans to turn a number of outer London boroughs into “mini-Hollands”, with large amounts of money spent in relatively small areas to achieve dramatic and transformational pro-cycling change.

       Let's not ALL yawn at once !

It is why I have announced that I intend to impose a substantial and deterrent daily charge on any lorry which is not fitted with basic safety equipment, and why I am also studying time or place-specific lorry bans.

       Found a new way of raising FUNDS , have we ?

It is why I am using my planning powers to ensure that all new major developments and road schemes are cycle-friendly.

       Read the " London Cyclist Blog recently ? 

It is why I am paying for free cycle training for any Londoner, adult or child, who wants it; it is why I have appointed a cycling commissioner, making cycling the only transport mode to have its own dedicated representative in my senior staff; and it is why I am recruiting almost 130 extra staff to Transport for London to help deliver my cycling programme.

      Promises , Promises !

This is a massive programme of change, which dovetails very closely with what cyclists have been demanding, and I share your impatience to see it delivered. But at the same time, I have promised that we will do it properly, and that cannot happen overnight. If we made changes without working out what to do with the buses, the traffic, deliveries, parking and pedestrians, then we would risk repeating some of the problems of the past.

      BoJo , you HAVE NOT LISTENED to YOUR OWN STAFF , so why should we believe this ?

Nor will I make rushed changes in response to a tragedy which could inadvertently make things more dangerous for cyclists or other vulnerable groups, such as pedestrians – who get a great deal less media attention than cyclists, but are just as important to me. And I own only five per cent of London’s roads; on the others, I can proceed only with the agreement of their owners, usually the London boroughs. But real physical change has already started; our first fully-segregated cycle superhighway was opened in November last year.

      How many of the " Victims " you blamed for THEIR OWN Demise , occured in YOUR AREA ?

My heart goes out to the victims of these awful accidents and their families and I will do my utmost to learn the lessons from their tragic deaths. But in order to learn the right lessons, it is imperative that we establish the facts of what happened, and avoid jumping to conclusions before we have done so. We should not, for instance, automatically conclude (as so many have) that all or most of these deaths are the fault of the road design. Nor should we automatically assume (as many others have) that they were caused by bad or careless behaviour by the cyclists themselves.

      Having Coroners remind you of YOUR Responsibilities for earlier Deaths , is as GOOD Excuse for             doing NOTHING

It is my responsibility, and the responsibility of the London boroughs, to provide safer roads for cycling. But, as I have also said, all users of those roads must also take responsibility for using them safely. There is no solution any traffic engineer can devise which will remove that individual responsibility or completely end accidents and deaths.

       FIRST thing YOU have said , that i could agree with !

It is also, I believe, important to separate what are clearly particular problems in particular places, such as Bow roundabout, from the general picture, which is more encouraging. In 2002 there were 110 million cycle trips in London, of which 20 ended in death. In 2012, there were 180 million cycle trips in London, of which 14 ended in death. Over the last ten years, the cyclist death rate per journey in London has more than halved. Despite the terrible recent events, the number of deaths in London last year, 14, is the same for the whole of 2012.

       Don't think that 14 Deaths in 2013 , is an achievement ! " Vision ZERO " as in Portland , Oregon ,                multi years is an achievement !

I entirely understand why the recent horrific events have obscured these facts. But I am concerned that the all-consuming media and political focus on individual deaths may in fact harm, not help, the cause of cycling in London - by scaring away potential cyclists, and by giving succour to those who say that I and my successors should not encourage cycling as it is, in their view, unsafe.

       Thanks to Social Media , we , the Public are LESS EASILY FOOLED !

I am glad to say that I completely disagree with that group of people. I can assure you that cycling is, and will remain, at the heart of my administration. It is, and will remain, one of my highest priorities. These terrible events will only reinforce my determination to make things better for cyclists in London.

       Political expedience dictates your views ! No doubt being Mayor of London , will fill the time              until your  Ambitions of Prime Minister of UK , are close to realisation  ?

Thank you again for your concern.

Yours sincerely

        Was there any Sincerity 

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Letter to Dr Heinz Fischer , President of Austria

Your Excellency .

As you prepare Notes for your Annual Address to the Citizens of Austria , i would ask you to consider including an Appeal to those using the Roads . Very few motorists realise that Cyclists were there first , in Cambridge , England a Cycle Shop will close shortly , after being in Business for 137 years . Austria may have had cars on the road for about 120 years ?   Daily , Motor Vehicles treat Cyclists as intruders in THEIR Space .

No doubt you will know of the work of many Cycling Safety Organisations ? Australian State of Queensland will on 1st Jan. 2014 adopt for 2 years , a Safe Passing Law of 1m for under 60kph and 1 1/2M for in excess , this i understand is already LAW in Austria . This New Queensland State Law was brought about by the actions of Cyclists using Social Media , and i added input , citing the Austrian experiences .  As a Cyclist , i find there are TOO MANY occasions where a vehicle defies the Austrian requirement of Safe Passing distance , fortunately i have only suffered superficial injury and broken equipment on occasions such as took place today .

What i find so contradictory , is that the " Emergency Services "  , Polizei , Red Cross And Rescue Services, RARELY use their signals WHEN not in Emergency travel . Not only do they not , but those vehicles following them on the roads , will stray TOO CLOSE , since on too many occasions they are " Tail Gating ", another contravention of Austrian Regulations ? With the New Austrian Government only now being formalised , i feel sure that you are in a position to advise the relevant Ministers on some of the " Initiatives " they need to address for the benefit of ALL Citizens ? Perhaps requiring that these " Professionals " incur Double Penalties , may concentrate their efforts ?

As part of your Address , i should like to ask of you , that you highlight the NEED for Citizens to be kinder to each other in considering other Road Users . Reminding People that a lighter foot , will also save Fuel , arrive at Speed Limits and Traffic Lights without the need of Braking , being able to anticipate passing opportunities in respect of slower moving vehicles , amongst the benefits . Reminding people that a tonne of Metal can end lives , when distracted /inattentive due to using Cell phones , Laptops or the like , searching for cigarettes , sandwiches , drinks , maps ?  Is it really necessary to be aware of Social media messages , whilst in control of a vehicle ? I personally would wish that NOONE was allowed to receive Twitter , Facebook , LinkedIN , etc , whilst in control of a vehicle .

My interest in Safer Cycling comes of using it as a way to " Advocate for Behinderten Sport " , i have no wish to become/join their community . I know of your Interest , since i met you at Torino Paralympic 2006 in Sestriere . When you visit Kitzbuehl in January , you will see many International Skiers racing , most of whom ride the Roads , using their Bikes for Cross Training . Perhaps you could influence them to join in helping make the roads SAFER by adding to this Petition :

Many countries have " Cycling Safety Organisations " :

Australia : Amy Gillett Foundation ( Created after a Race Cyclist of that name killed Training in Germany , a                                                                                        matter known to Horst Kohler ? )
                 SafeCyclingOz  ( Created the Petition in Queensland )

England   : Cities Fit For Cycling 


USA         :

                   Look : Save a LIFE

There are so Many other countries also , ALL with their own stories ! Austria no doubt has many Cycle Safety Org.s of it's own?

Today was the " Friday the 13th scenario " that would make your hair curl , i will detail some of that as an addendum to this letter .

With Best Wishes for the Festive season , 


Skippy Mc Carthy 

Addendum :