cycling and the mann
"After three years spent languishing in a Zimbabwean prison, the British mercenary Simon Mann was hoping to win his freedom this week, his sentence cut short for good behaviour. Yesterday, however, the Old Etonian's predicament took a substantial turn for the worse.
A magistrate in Harare ruled that he should be extradited to Equatorial Guinea, the west African nation that was the focus of the alleged coup plotted by Mann and his team of armed conspirators.
The court's decision, which came despite protests from his lawyer that he could face torture and a rigged trial, was viewed by observers as an "oil for Mann" deal. President Robert Mugabe announced in March that Zimbabwe was receiving shipments of oil from the Equatorial Guinea president Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. Since the failed coup the two tyrants have become best friends."
"The old Highway Code text suggested simply that cyclists "use cycle routes when practicable". No problem there. The new code advises us to "use cycle routes when practicable and cycle facilities ... where they are provided".
Suppose, then, that Mr 4x4 Driver makes a hash of passing me and causes a collision. The new Highway Code could allow his lawyer to claim that I had failed to use the "cycle facility provided" and was therefore liable. You would think courts would not be so daft as to accept this argument, but never underestimate the asininity of the law: last year, cyclist Daniel Cadden had to appeal against a judgment of "inconsiderate cycling" in a case brought by police who had decided he should have been using an inconvenient bike path rather than the road. In January, with the backing of the cyclists' defence fund he won a retrial and was acquitted.
The Cyclists' Touring Club is ever alert to the issue and, with its encouragement, 11,000 cyclists have written to their MPs over the past year. There is also a Downing Street website petition you can sign."