Letters: Take measures to stop buses causing injuries

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By far out in the lead for hitting pedestrians on a per vehicle per year basis are buses (Victim wins £9000 damages after being hit on pavement, News, January 31)

Not surprising really, as they are driving around for ten times the number of hours that private cars are, generally operating in city streets busy with pedestrian traffic, and pedestrians are positively invited to walk up close to them in order to get on board.

Clearly attention to risk management is an essential part in the delivery of services, but often simple measures can eliminate the hazards completely or reduce the levels of risk.

Examples might include bus stations and bus stops where the pedestrians are led to approach the buses where they will be visible and expected by the bus driver, and even with doors that close when a bus is not boarding.

But this does not really address the avoidable hazard of having a bus, or any large vehicle with external rear view mirrors extending, often a substantial distance from the side of the vehicle, at a height which will hit a standing or cycling adult.

The front of a bus can easily come up to 0.8m over the footway when it turns in to stop parallel and close to the kerb, so that the track of the nearside mirror can be up to 1 metre set in from the kerb edge, and my experience with near misses suggests that the injuries, and damage to mirrors and items they make contact with, are the tip of an iceberg.

Some companies have taken to painting the mirrors yellow. Fine as long as you happen to notice the bus as it comes up, often at speed, outside the immediate area which you are focusing on, or even near silently behind you.

Perhaps, as Calum McEwan unfortunately found out on Gorgie Road, you position yourself at the kerb edge in order to get a clear view, often obstructed by parked vehicles.

I notice this issue frequently both on foot and when cycling, and have on occasion had to protect my head by raising my arm and knocking an approaching mirror back when a driver, oblivious to the hazard they are presenting, drives too close.

This naturally upsets the driver, but I value my head, and if by raising my arm their mirror is close enough to get hit, they are far to close to attempt a passing move.

The hazard is known and resolvable with the design of mirrors seemingly at odds with the standards set by Police Town Clauses 1847 Act (no obstruction less than 2.4m above the footway – or 2.1m if you read the TSRGD Chapters in road signs and traffic signals placed over footways).

By way of an example many years ago, the bus operators acted pretty swiftly when, in Inverness, I cut my head on a bus stop flag, well below the required height. Within a week, an extra two feet of pole was added to every bus stop in the town.

The answer is clear, the design of ALL vehicle mirrors, nearside and offside should be such that where they extend more than say 100mm beyond the main vehicle envelope, the height above the carriageway MUST be at least 2.4m.

Dave Holladay, Glasgow

Leith Walk eyesore is a disgrace to the city

Grant Hately’s letter in the Evening News (February 3), was just stating the opinion of many of the city’s residents. I, for one, also feel ashamed when visitors come to the greatest Capital in the world only to see the state of the streets and the roads.

Leith Walk is a total disgrace with all the rubbish bins padlocked to the pavements, and the state of the road.

When the trams were originally expected to come down Leith Walk to Ocean Terminal the roads were started on and utility cables were moved.

However, when all the plans were changed again, the refurbishment of Leith Walk was forgotten about, and what are we left with? Potholes and a dreadful road for the motorist to drive on.

Leith Walk is one of the main roads in Edinburgh and it is very much in need of some money being spent on it, and the clock returned at the Gayfield Square/London Road roundabout. In the words of Mr Hately, what is the council doing with all the money it takes in?

John Cameron-Clark, Edinburgh

Ban production of birds for shooting

February 1 marked the end of the pheasant and partridge shooting season. For many people, these ‘game’ birds are unable to stir the emotions in the same way as a persecuted badger or a vivisected dog.

But their capacity to feel pain is equal, while the scale on which they are ‘processed’ and killed exceeds that of, say, egg-laying hens.

Industry data suggest that around 42 million pheasants and some nine million partridges were released for shooting during the season just ended.

Having been hand-reared, the birds are ill-suited for life in the wild and some 60 per cent will die before they can be shot.

They will starve, be run over or succumb to predators. A large percentage of those who are shot will not be eaten: the pleasure for many guns lies in the killing rather than the eating.

The element that still enrages and pains those of us who oppose the ‘game’ bird business is that it is based on breeding animals on a massive scale so that they can be destroyed for pleasure.

The law and the tax regime recognise game bird shooting first and foremost as a ‘sport’.

And figures from the shooting industry itself show that it costs more than 13 times as much to rear pheasants and get them airborne than the shot birds will fetch retail: efficient food production it is not.

It is time to follow the Dutch example and ban the production of birds for ‘sport shooting’.

Andrew Tyler, Animal Aid, The Old Chapel, Bradford Street,Tonbridge