Facilities for cyclists are at the discretion of a benevolent council and therefore mostly absent. Cycle routes are often just white lines on the tarmac and traffic light timings are geared to what is adequate for cars.If the Government is serious about its proclaimed intentions to promote cycling (by responsible cyclists) they could do worse than have a good look at the Highway Code and perhaps import some ideas from the near continent.EDUARD J ZUIDERWIJKCAMBRIDGESir: Philip Nice (letter, 21 May) states that the consequence of totally absolving cyclists of the presumption of blame in collisions with motorists "is that they act totally irresponsibly". In this country, cyclists are mostly either lumped together with cars or with pedestrians. The "real" ID card I had later was my Royal Navy paybook (I never lost that).JIM ARNISONSALFORD More support for cyclists needed Sir: Ed Reich (letter, 26 May) can rest assured: God is on his side and cyclists in the Netherlands do not have generally the right of way over pedestrians and cars.Perhaps your earlier correspondents are confused by the Dutch rules of the road, which differ from the Highway Code in an important aspect: in the Netherlands three distinct modes of traffic are recognised by the law: cars, cyclists and pedestrians, each with their own rules.
In Britain, the rules cater for only two: wheeled traffic and pedestrians (with some special provision for horses thrown in).Planners in the Netherlands have to cater for all three categories, with proper funding for each enshrined in the law. It took just over one week for my card to become covered in various substances such as tallow, putty, paint, lead and copper. I soon disposed of the card and cannot recall any occasion on which I was asked to produce it, despite working in some establishments which could be described as "sensitive". The French may have a lot to answer for.DEREK BRUNDISHHORSHAM, WEST SUSSEX The public needs to fear the taxman Sir: If Pat Atyeo wants to pay more tax than she has to ("Taxman turned into a bogeyman", letter, 25 May) she could make voluntary monthly donations to the Treasury, which they would doubtless be pleased to accept.She could also pay tax unnecessarily on any expense claims she makes from her employer by declaring the reimbursement as income and not claiming a corresponding deduction for the expense she incurs. Similarly, she can choose to pay more Inheritance Tax than is required by law It's her choice. While some may judge her to be na?, others will find her wish to pay more tax than she has to laudable. Some will make no judgement at all and will continue quietly to give money to worthy causes.As an aside, when I was a taxman, it helped no end to be seen as a bogeyman.
While it would be nice if everyone felt the same about paying tax as Pat Atyeo, most people need a little fear to encourage them to pay their due.N PARKESSWANSEA In praise of friendly policing Sir: I support Ruth Barnett (letter, 21 May) in encouraging the media to report the best as well as the worst in the vexed field of police attitudes to racial minorities.I happened to be close to the Uzbek embassy recently when demonstrators were being arrested for trespass. One young policeman, handcuffed to an equally young Uzbek, was chatting amiably with him as they walked together to a waiting police van. Both were smiling and as they passed I heard the policeman explain helpfully to the chap to whom he was fastened, "You see, I'm afraid what you did was illegal".It was all a world away from the abuse of the young Kurd as reported that day, let alone from the horrors of Andijan.CHRISTOPHER MARTINLONDON W2 Old ID cards proved to be disposable Sir: Janet Street-Porter is quite right to debunk the Blairite ID cards stunt (Opinion, 26 May).At the beginning of the Second World War, I was an apprentice plumber when ID cards were introduced. They will see what they regard as the stop being put on what was frightening them most: the emergence of a strong bloc capable of putting a brake on the advance of American global business interests. It could very well be that the French have once again done Europe a good turn by making its leaders go back to the drawing board.WALTER CAIRNSMANCHESTERSir: Various people across Europe, for their own reasons, may be rejoicing but I suggest that nowhere will the rejoicing be stronger than within the financial lobbies in the United States. In 1954, its National Assembly refused to ratify the treaty establishing the European Defence Community, and ten years later the French government boycotted the Council of Ministers through its "empty chairs" policy until its demands were met.However, both these apparent setbacks caused a total reappraisal of the European project, which was pursued in a much more pragmatic and consensual manner than before. What sanctions are being proposed against them?Sanctions and boycotts will do no one any good.