Reader letters of the week: Inequality on Norfolk’s roads, plastic bag charges and improving our railways

Shoppers now have to pay 5p for each carrier bag they use at larger stores

Shoppers now have to pay 5p for each carrier bag they use at larger stores - Credit: Archant

Here are some of the best reader letters we have seen so far this week, you can join the discussion by commenting below.

•Road inequality for cyclists

Monday October 12

M Mellor

The Keepers House, Wattlefield

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In my opinion there is an enormous inequality gulf between motorists and cyclists. May I give just one example?

Today, I followed two cyclists down Unthank Road towards the city. At no point was there an opportunity to pass them as they continually rode two abreast.

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At the pedestrian traffic lights near York Street, which were on red, they rode straight through. Approaching the pedestrian crossing by Tesco, which was in use with people crossing from both sides (including a lady pushing a pram) and while other traffic had stopped, they again rode straight through.

On reaching the traffic lights at the junction of the Earlham and Unthank roads, which again were on red – yes, you guessed it, totally ignored. The same was repeated with the red lights at the top of Grapes Hill– once again completely ignored as they dodged their way through the traffic.

For a motorist the accumulated penalty would have been a total of nine points on their licence for the traffic light infringements, and another three points for ignoring the pedestrian crossing while in use.

So, in reality, in the space of less than a mile a motorist would have accumulated 12 points and be on the verge of losing their licence.

For the two cyclists – nothing and they probably didn't even think they had caused an offence.

Isn't it about time some form of effective road policing came into effect for cyclists, especially in and around the city, to combat this dangerous and anti-social behaviour?

In my opinion, motorists sadly are a far too easy target when it comes to enforcement issues.

Cyclists are also users of the highway, and therefore should be subject to the same criteria. Is there a problem with that?

•Plastic bag – nothing will change

Tuesday October 13

M Jozefiak

Hungate Street, Aylsham

The new 5p tax on plastic bags, presumably designed to reduce plastic bag use and encourage long-life reusable bag use, is a typical British fudge. All that this will achieve is that people will still willingly pay 5p for their bags. The best way to change people's usage of bags would be to make the charge as high as a long-life bag, around £1. That kind of pricing is guaranteed to concentrate people's minds.

•Back to the future on the railways

Wednesday October 14

C Hopkins

Laburnum Close, Bradwell

If we still all enjoyed a nationalised rail system in Britain it's quite likely that Chloe Smith and her Rail Task Force could have diverted their attentions to other matters.

For as my accompanying photo shows, way back after electrification in 1985 of the line from Norwich to London, on May 5, 1987, a class 86 loco (220) named The Round Tabler with a specially prepared train ran to London, and completed the return working to Norwich in 83 minutes, 22 seconds.

So after 28 years, Chloe Smith is trying to extend this time by six minutes 38 seconds to 90 minutes. So with hindsight, and without privatisation, we could have been already enjoying this experience.

With this task force whining on about new trains, are they now aware we already have the best coaches that British Rail ever built, and with a 125mph capability, and if their current refurbishment went to the lengths that Arriva have done on their Mk IIIs for their Marylebone-Birmingham services, we'd have a suitable coach for the foreseeable future, with just new locomotives probably required, although some Class 90s are passed for 110mph.

•Send your letters to The Letters Editor, EDP, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE. Fax: 01603 623872. Email:

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