Letters of the week: October 4

Your correspondence


No end to the affair

Nigel Duckworth wonders at the British “love affair” with VW/Audi (“Testing times”, Points, last week). Could it be directly connected to the vehicles’ reliability, build quality, longevity and understated design?

Wendy Jarrett, Ashbourne, Derbyshire

Fuel fools

So VW has been using complex electronics in its cars to fool emission testers in the US (“Guess who’ll pick up VW’s bill”, last week). Isn’t that rather similar to what the makers of hybrid cars are doing to consumers? They fool the European testers by using batteries to propel their vehicles for almost the whole test. What’s the difference? Put a gallon of fuel in a hybrid Porsche Cayenne and I bet you couldn’t drive half the quoted 83.1 miles.

Keith Marcroft, Runcorn, Cheshire

Stretching the truth

To ensure that “laboratory” fuel economy and emission figures are seen to be what they are — namely, advertising blurb — I suggest all such vehicle manufacturers’ figures be prefixed with the qualification “up to” for mpg and “from” for emissions. We would then know that a figure of 70mpg might realistically be less than 35mpg.

Peter Cannell, Letchworth, Hertfordshire

Tough talk

As the owner of a 5-litre diesel VW Touareg, I don’t give a damn about VW avoiding the tree-hugger-appeasement rules; nor do I care what my car emits. I don’t think I am in a minority. People just don’t have the courage to admit it.

Nicky Samengo-Turner, Hundon, Suffolk

Unnoticed absence

Instead of offering grovelling apologies, why did VW’s chief executive not just fess up and say the company fitted its software cheat to bypass the insanely tough emissions standards in the US?

A few years ago Australia was criticised for its relatively dirty industry. It responded that if it vanished from the map, China’s carbon emissions would cover the loss in just two weeks.

Jeremy Haworth, Aldermaston, Berkshire

Dirty past

So John German, the hero behind the analysis of VW’s emissions exposure, drives a 1997 Honda Accord (“An unlikely hero”, last week). Has he considered that a modern vehicle would be more environmentally friendly?

Brian Norman, Pewsey, Wiltshire

That’s entertainment

If the events are dramatised, you say John German is more likely to be played by John Hurt than Johnny Depp. Would the production be called Emission: Impossible?

Robert Gathergood, Datchet, Berkshire


No through road

Jeff Kagan demonstrates a lack of understanding of cycling on cycle paths (“Off road”, Points, last week). Had he used a bike he would know that cycle lanes are often littered with broken glass and other debris. They are also interrupted at regular intervals with parked or unloading vehicles, forcing you to move in and out of the road.

Dr Miles Parnell, southwest London

In the fast lane

I am a cyclist but also a BMW driver, so have no bias either way. If he reads rule 63 of the Highway Code, Jeff Kagan will discover that “use of cycle lanes is not compulsory”. Club riders typically do 20-25mph, which is far too dangerous on a cycle route where prams, dogs and children may be present. The Department for Transport advice is: “If you want to cycle quickly . . . you should be riding on the road.” I would add that I ride 200 miles a week with a club and I see far more bad cyclists than bad drivers.

David Douglas, York

Deaf to criticism

I am a cyclist and a car driver, and I cannot understand why other cyclists travel two or three abreast on roads or wear earphones.

NJ Titman, Peterborough

Finger pointing

Jeff Kagan is not alone in finding that cyclists do not like having their shortcomings pointed out to them by motorists. Recently, as I overtook a pair of Lycra-clad males riding side by side, I took my left hand off the steering wheel and, using my fingers, gestured to them a reminder that they were riding two abreast. Imagine my surprise as I glanced in my rear-view mirror and saw one of them respond to my admonishment with a one-digit hand gesture to indicate that they were actually riding in single file.

Ali Kelman, Fetcham, Surrey

Lives at risk

Craig Mcintyre is spot on (“Universal ignorance”, Points, last week). As a motorist/cyclist/ walker I see all three groups doing stupid and careless things. The difference is, if I make a mistake on my bike, my life and limbs are at stake. If a car driver makes a mistake and knocks me off, all he will suffer is scratched paintwork.

Roger Hunt, Swindon


While I approve of cleaner, more efficient vehicles and would sell my soul to own a Porsche Mission E should it reach production, VW’s Paul Buckett is wrong when he says pure electric vehicles will take over (“This time we mean it: the big boys charge into the e-future”, September 20). For owners who have to park on the street, all-electric vehicles are unworkable — unless the powers-that-be invest in foolproof wireless charging.

Michael Wild, Cheltenham

The 100 bus to sanity

In 2013 Liverpool city council suspended all bus lanes for a year to see how traffic flow was affected (“No camera, no action”, Points, last week). As there was a significant improvement, 22 of the 26 bus lanes were withdrawn. Liverpool council is clearly not concerned with taking cash off the motorist but intent on keeping the city’s traffic moving.

John Baxter, Birkenhead

Snort of derision

I share George Ingram’s frustration with motorway matrix signs (“Off message”, Points, September 13). Recently I was travelling on the M56 when the sign displayed a 40mph speed limit because of “animals in the road”. The only animals I encountered were a few pigs flying.

Abby Ashby, Altrincham, Cheshire


What is wrong with modern car headlights? Several people I know — youngish as well as oldish — seem to be dazzled by them because the lights “splatter”, making it difficult to see. Many of my friends do not drive at night because of this.

Louise Muskett, Rossendale, Lancashire


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