Letters to the editor May 15 2018

TAKING THE SHINE OFF: Reader Sam Budden argues columnist Jeff Corbett is misguided in seeking to give motorcyclists bans from high-risk roads and lower speeds.
TAKING THE SHINE OFF: Reader Sam Budden argues columnist Jeff Corbett is misguided in seeking to give motorcyclists bans from high-risk roads and lower speeds.

I HAVE read some one-sided articles, but this has to be getting to the top of the list (“Your thrills could kill”, Opinion 12/5).

The way Jeff Corbett justifies his newfound arrogant view of motorcycling is that he used to ride one and he still has a motorcycle licence.

Motorcycling in Australia for the most part is not about commuting from A to B, nor is it the reckless disregard for your life and other road users. It is about the freedom of the open road with a real connection to it - one that cannot be compared to driving in a cabin with a seatbelt on. Yes, that also includes the endurance required for longer distances with the “challenges” of changing weather conditions along the way.

Motorcycling for most is a social pastime with an opportunity to get out there and explore Australia, connecting with your friends and meeting others. That is the “thrill” I get when I’m out on a motorcycle. Many of the roads with the best scenery just so happen to have the most corners, Jeff. The glaringly obvious point missed is that 99% of motorcyclists also drive cars, have family that use the roads and rely on their driver’s licence to work and pay bills. They also wear the right protective gear, maintain their motorcycle to a compliant level, are registered and comprehensively insured, and want to make it to their destination safely and back home to their families.

We don’t need slower speed limits and harsher penalties for one small section of the motoring community, let alone the ridiculous notion of banning them from certain places. The statistics themselves show that. Rider training and education programs, along with improving our roads, is the key to lowering the motorcycle toll.

Jeff, it's about people enjoying some basic freedoms of life and making a choice like all other road users. How about a little creativity and inclusiveness from you to improve the issue – not just taking the easy (and revenue raising) option of banning everything that doesn’t suit “the majority”?

Sam Budden, Whitebridge

LESSON OF EBBING, MISSOURI

I WRITE in support of a suggestion made by Wendy Brown (Letters 11/5).

I don’t live in the area, but my heart breaks for these people and the way they have been ignored or ill-treated by federal and state governments. Three billboards along Nelson Bay Road would shame the governments and show our support for them. Red ones with white or black lettering, like those in the movie, would work.

Margaret Taylor, Eleebana

TEAMWORK PUTS US ON MAP

THERE have been a number of articles and letters in the Newcastle Herald recently about the benefits of working together regionally to get the much needed infrastructure the Hunter requires but is missing out on. This includes a regional transport system to deal with increasing traffic congestion and a fast train to Sydney, Glendale Interchange, the M1 extension across past Raymond Terrace and regional tourism improvement with linking to the airport.

However, to obtain the Smart Cities go ahead, our region needs to end its parochial attitude and work together for our whole Hunter region like the Western Sydney region is doing. That means the mayors, councillors, state and federal members of Parliament need to work together to implement a regional plan with infrastructure funding without losing their independent roles in their own areas.

Like other regional areas, it can be done, but it needs a proper regional approach which I believe the Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan is not adequate enough to do. Come on, mayors and members of Parliament: collaborate together regionally to get the Hunter much needed improvements that are currently all happening in Sydney, especially Western Sydney.

Stephen Dewar, Toronto

THE WRONG PLACE TO SKIMP

FRANK Ward (Letters 12/5): I am with you on this mate. We don’t want a rolled gold retirement, just respect for doing what was asked of us and the best we could for our families through the good and bad times of our working lives. But for a prosperous country with a small population compared to other countries, the waiting lists for hospital and aged care, not to mention the expense, the derision from those that are doing it well who begrudge the fact that once we have finished working we have the nerve to still stay alive needing a bit of help, is scandalous. These failings cannot be brushed aside with the catch cry that ‘we can’t afford to look after you’ when compared to the waste and mismanagement of taxes by incompetent and self-serving governments that appear to have lost all idea of what makes a worthwhile society.  And, to top it all off, they won’t even allow us the dignity to die in peace at a time of our choosing unless we break the law.

Allan Earl, Thornton

TACTICS WERE TRUE CULPRIT

AS AN ex-Novocastrian lasting 36 years, I was surprised at the reaction to the A-League grand final result. Newcastle is a legendary soccer hub with a proud history, and should have had a plan to beat Victory at their own game.

The Jets were stifled by Victory's spoiling style, but they should have anticipated it. Victory always plays the way Muscat used to play himself; tackle hard, barely legal, and kick the ball up the guts. Merrick must have known this, having had Muscat as his assistant coach whilst previously coaching Victory. I'm absolutely shocked that Merrick didn't counteract Victory's tactics by making them chase, playing wide, and playing football. Ernie might have done well to get the Jets into the grand final, but he failed the city by not having a plan to counter a very predictable Victory. The Jets deserved to lose on that basis. They needed a coach/manager. I think Merrick should have at the very least consulted Ray Baartz.

Bill Morris, Reservoir VIC

OUR FORESHORE, PARKED

THE council talk as though they want people to come into town, yet their actions say the opposite. The move to make the foreshore parking meters 2 hour limits is just ridiculous. Obviously the motivation was to stop city workers parking in the four-hour spaces once the large car park near NIB was no longer open. So now if you want to enjoy a leisurely lunch or stroll along the harbour, you will need to keep your eye on the time. Newcastle council, your message is clear: stay away from the harbour.

Michelle Power, Jesmond

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