Roads, Museum of the Home, Living Wage and child exploitation

Embargoed to 0001 Thursday October 18 File photo dated 12/04/12 of a cyclist and a car. Motorists ma

Cyclists can be a road hazard according to Mr J E Kirby - Credit: PA Images

Why do motorists always get blamed, not cyclists?

Mr J E Kirby, Clissold Crescent, Stoke Newington, writes:

Having read the letters page of the Hackney Gazette, I could not help reading the letter from the Springfield resident titled “Walkers and cyclists, not motorists make us safer”.

This unfortunately is not strictly true. I agree that there are bad motorists and I say this as a person approaching my 74th birthday in August and who has held a full clean British driving licence for the best part of 50 years now. I do not drive now, but if I had the means, then yes, I would have another car.

The great problem I find is with cyclists, no doubt I will have howls of rage from them by saying this, but it is cyclists who choose to ride on the pavement that make it unsafe for walkers. I am not talking about little children but grown adults who should know better, if they are not aware of the rules for cyclists, then I respectfully suggest that they obtain a copy of the Highway Code and read it!

Also, there are some people who commit crimes ie snatching handbags and mobile phones who ride up behind the victim and are away in next to no time.

At Highbury Corner for instance there are cycle lanes in both directions round the remaining three sides of the roundabout but it appears that most cyclists choose to ride across the closed section in both directions, why? Probably because they are too lazy to use the lanes provided for them. All too often I see cyclists ignoring traffic lights when they are red, no doubt they would scream blue murder if they were hit by a vehicle going across the lights when in the vehicles favour.

It begs the question are cyclists exempt from the Highway Code? If so can one of them explain why this is? The other thing that gets me is the practice of people riding eletric scooters hurtling along on the pavement. So I ask why is it that people like the letter writer always cast the driver or motorist as the villain of the piece?

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A possible answer to this is that I always ensured that all of my doors were locked while driving alone, also the reason that drivers don’t stop is that in some cases a ‘victim’ could in fact be waiting as a decoy for a driver to stop and when the door is open a gang come and hijack the car.

Perhaps, if we had more police patrolling the streets on foot at all times of the day rather than tearing around in cars with the lights and sirens going, then the streets would be safer for us all whether we are a woman or a man. At the moment it appears to me that the police are reactive rather than being proactive, ie being out and about on their patch like the old days, when a police officer knew his beat and the locals and had a good idea as to what people were up to.

I don’t doubt that people will be up in arms and say that it is only women who get attacked but us men get attacked to, so yes, make the streets safe for us all, whatever your gender, orientation etc. 

Living Wage issue needs support

Vitória Russo Gaino, King’s College student, writes:

This mayoral election and Assembly is a fresh opportunity for Londoners to have their voices heard.

As a final-year student at King’s College London, I am particularly interested in the Living Wage issue which will be brought to the mayoral candidates. After a hefty investment in my education of both time and money, I want to make sure my work will be valued and I will be able to make a living after graduating.  

The mayoral assembly on April 28 is to me an opportunity to make sure that the candidates are held accountable to the communities they are meant to serve. And it’s also a chance to turn the frustration and anger we feel towards different issues into concrete action.

With substantial loans and years of study behind us, my fellow graduates and I are entering the job market disheartened by the few job prospects and low wages that can make it hard to make ends meet.

By becoming the first Living Wage city and implementing Living Hours, the mayoral candidates could ensure that the future ahead looks bright and promising to young people once again.

I urge readers to visit citizensuk.org to read our manifesto and support it.

Shackles of the past still remain

The statue of Sir Robert Geffrye at The Museum of the Home (formerly called The Geffrye Museum). Picture: Ken Mears

The statue of Sir Robert Geffrye at The Museum of the Home (formerly called The Geffrye Museum). Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

Charles Webber, Dalston, full address supplied, writes:

Since a lot of the refurbishment funding came via the National Lottery can I suggest we replace the statue of the Human Being Dealer, Robert Geffrye, at the “The Museum of the Home” with a few lottery balls?

There is another connection; having been ripped from your own home and transported, as a slave, to the plantations, it was a real lottery if you would even make it there alive. 

You’d think any progressive organisation based in Hackney would welcome the opportunity to throw off the offensive shackles of the past but sadly this whole statue business radiates institutional racism. 

Help children as nightlife returns

Lynn Gradwell, director, Barnardo’s London, writes:

The past few weeks and months have been incredibly difficult for businesses in the hospitality sector which have been forced to shut their doors due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

We all know the closure of pubs, bars and restaurants has had a dreadful economic impact on the livelihoods of so many people, so the return of London’s night-time economy is to be welcomed by all who work and live in this great city.

But at Barnardo’s we know from our long expertise as the UK’s largest children’s charity that there is another side to the bustling fun of London’s night-time economy; one sadly where those who seek to harm and exploit children and young people use the hours of darkness as a time to operate. That’s why Barnardo’s is raising awareness of its free Nightwatch training programme as night-time businesses seek to re-open.

A new toolkit will support the Nightwatch training to safeguard children and young people from exploitation by increasing awareness among businesses and services working in the night-time economy.

The toolkit explains what child exploitation is, why businesses should care and what people should do if they have concerns that a child is being exploited. It includes a helpful checklist for businesses including hotels, licenced venues and taxi drivers to ensure they are fully equipped and knowledgeable about how to spot the signs of exploitation and how to respond to prevent children from being harmed.

We are all too aware that child exploitation is under reported and using this toolkit could be the difference between someone coming to harm or receiving the help they need. Barnardo’s has provided training to over 1,000 night-time workers in London including the Met police and Transport for London.

It has created a vital network of eyes and ears after dark that will help keep children and young people safe.

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