I AM a professional driver used to icy roads and familiar with every town in Britain so I feel qualified to write.
Last Wednesday, I took one hour to come from Manchester over the highest road in Britain yet two hours to cross Leeds from the M621 from north to south despite using every trick in the book.
My success was singular as at Moortown and Harrogate Road (normal traffic hotspots) were found eerily empty. No-one else, it seems had made it that far.
Leeds should be ashamed of itself.
The problem is Leeds traffic system is shocking at any time and the bad weather only brings this home by the spadefull.
Unlike Sheffield or Bristol, for example, which have problems posed by nature, Leeds has none except council stupidity.
A national trunk system that drives all traffic through the city centre or its edges is crazy.
Roads are sealed at every turn on the west side of the inner ring road.
The next problem is the numerous one-way streets that prevent experts from taking cutty-thoughs to help break up the traffic jams.
Left turn only lanes (why do they exist?) that only cater for one car in a hundred.
The south-west of the city centre is unfathomable.
Driving in the city centre going from south to north the one-way system forces you east, south and west before north again until you pass within 15 yards of where you were ten minutes earlier.
Secondly, I could go on about the number of automatic cars which are impossible to drive in icy conditions even for myself and most of the hold-ups last Wednesday were caused by these vehicles which are the preferred of incompetent and incapacitated drivers and therefore those least able to cope with yesterdays conditions.
Automatics should be illegal in icy conditions.
Richard Cross, Alwoodley
I, in common with many of the population, was forced to walk home from work last Wednesday, December 1, as a result of the buses being called off the road due to the inclement weather.
I have no doubt that this was done for "Health and Safety" reasons but I doubt that much thought was given to those left stranded.
In my case trudging walk from Bradford to Gildersome was made even more tedious and difficult once out of Bradford.
It is quite true to say that it would have been impossible to have kept pavements clear but when heading towards Drighlington on the A650 things became very hard.
I should therefore like to express my gratitude to those car drivers who chose to accelerate (it was possible!) through the deepest deposits on mucky slush on the road so causing myself and possibly other pedestrians to be drenched in the resultant spray.
Remonstrations were of no use. Indeed one driver chose to turn round, drive back and throw an iceball at me. This caught me on the face but was of no effect. No doubt the little boy driver will grow up one day,
John Furness, Gildersome
ON reading the article (YEP, December 4) about the 16-year-old who in this adverse weather gets up early to do voluntary work, well done, but is it not time, like Lee Turver points out, and as the Government has been saying forever, those people who sit at home who are on benefits could be earning these benefits?
Yes, this young boy is a shining example to those teenagers who sit at home on benefits.
John Kovacs, by email
COUNCILLOR Carter, in his letter of December 2, tells us that "There are no explicit Government cuts directed at highways maintenance". This is a nonsense statement because, using this logic, there will be no cuts in child, adult, or leisure, social services, no cuts in education or transport because "there are no explicit Government cuts" in these areas too.
If the council budget is to be cut by over 25 per cent by this ConDem Government some services will need to be lost. Stop trying to shift the blame, Coun Carter.
Stephen Clark, Bawn Approach, Leeds
Help find lost present
ON Saturday, November 27 I was taken shopping into Leeds to buy presents for my Nanny to give to Santa.
As I am only five, my Nanny's friend had his hands full keeping an eye on me with all the hustle and bustle of the Christmas shoppers and therefore we left behind in a shop a very important carrier bag carrying one of her presents.
We went back to the shops we had been into (twice), the ladies on the Clarins counter in Boots (who are now my friends) and the security man were all extremely helpful, but nothing had been handed in.
I just wonder if one of your readers might have picked up our bag by mistake and on getting home realised they had an extra parcel, and would like to send it back to me so I can put it under the tree for my Nanny. Thank you.
Phoebe Rishworth, aged five
I DO hope that the council is making plans to reward the homecare staff for the way they have looked after all their service users during the bad weather. They have started early, finished late, helped each other out, tramped miles through the snow when driving became impossible and done extra shopping so that no-one was without food. Surely such devotion deserves some sort of bonus?
An appreciate service user
Driven off the road by insurers
ALTHOUGH the subject has been raised in Parliament, the persecution of car drivers by the insurance companies continues unabated.
B Gillat's letter (YEP, November 29) states 'silly money' being asked to cover his grandson's insurance, who has just passed his driving test. It isn't silly, it is extortionate!
How on earth can a young person afford that kind of money, between 6,000 and 11,000? And this probably is only for third party cover.
In law a person is innocent until proved guilty, but so far as car insurance is concerned the reverse is applicable; and as insurance is obligatory, young and old people are probably being put off the road by the ridiculous prices being quoted.
Is it any wonder that so many run the risk of driving uninsured, as often fines for doing so are much less than the cost of insurance?
Furthermore, when premiums asked are far greater than the value of the cars for which insurance is requested, the whole business becomes a farce.
As no-one wants uninsured drivers on the road, it is time some action was taken to avoid it; and only by introducing control over the insurance moguls, or their own use of common sense and fairness will this come about.
Until such time as their records show otherwise, any person who has a licence to drive and is accident-free, should be given the chance to drive and prove their capabilities for a reasonable fee – but not priced off the road before they have been given the chance.
E A LUNDY, Leeds
Act over noisy neighbours
BETWEEN the end of the War and now nothing has changed, has far as the housing in Leeds is concerned.
Brought up in Hunslet, near South Accommodation Road in the back-to-backs, the same problem exists: no sound proofing in the flats or houses.
Harassment is rife in Leeds because of this simple miscalculation – and the biggest victims are the single tenants who cannot prove the harassment.
When is the council going to wake up to this problem?
We need recording equipment to prove our case to the housing department.
William Reynolds, Leeds
I DO not feel there is confusion regarding different ways of referring to our country as suggested by D G Castle (Letters, December 4).
Great Britain refers to the mainland – this being England, Scotland and Wales. The United Kingdom includes Northern Ireland, the full title of our country being the United Kingom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
If people refer to the British Isles this includes the whole of Ireland as well as the UK.
The Great in Great Britain has nothing to do with us being "great" as a nation or our historical role but rather it came about to distinguish us from Lesser Britain, now Brittany in France, and purely referred to our geographical size in comparison.
Andrew Wilkinson, Weetwood
PM gets it wrong
PM DAVID Cameron stated the thought of giving prisoners the vote made him physically ill.
The European Court of Human Rights said the UK's failure to end its total ban on prison voting had violated international law.
What Mr Cameron has to understand is that in our democratic country when him or her are sent to prison – be it one day or 10 years – that is their punishment, not to have the democratic vote taken away, otherwise they are being punished twice.
It's a pity he didn't preach democracy when he recently visited China as he knows they don't get a vote over there and if they ask for one they get thrown in jail.
Preferring to talk the yen, Mr Cameron left all those political prisoners physically ill with shame.
C RILEY, Wakefield