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Please Make It Stop

Too little too late, but it’s the best that I can do. The ideals and actions that exacerbated a disabled man’s suffering and eventually resulted in his death have no place in a civilised society. If this affects you, even just emotionally, please ask your representative to make it stop.

The coverage of Mark Wood’s death in the media…

Witney Gazette, The Independent, The Guardian, Mirror

Oxford Mail Editorial Comment

A letter to Mark’s MP…

Dear David,

I knew Mark Wood. Not well by any means, but well enough to understand the extent to which he struggled with his mental health and as a result his physical wellbeing too. He was your constituent.

I’m ashamed to say I didn’t know Mark had died until I read the news about the inquest into his death yesterday. I can’t imagine how his family must feel about being unable to help him. It appears that for Mark the desire to maintain his independence and remain in control over that which he could control contributed to his death. A desperately sad irony.

I’m also deeply ashamed to find myself part of a society that withdrew its support from Mark. Support that up until last year had enabled him to cope with life and even to contribute to the community he lived in. That was a shockingly cruel act.

I have some questions.

1.  Why was Mark’s GP, the person best placed to assess his mental and physical health, not consulted about the life changing decision that led to his death?

2.  Why is your government allowing the assessment of disabled people to be so poorly conducted when there is clear and mounting evidence of the scale of the mistakes and the harm that they do?

3.  Why is your government intending to effectively remove from many disabled people the right of appeal against these decisions by charging them to do so?

I read your piece in the Telegraph, “Why the Archbishop of Westminster is wrong about welfare“.  I have to say the evidence doesn’t support your view. Persecuting people because of a few bad apples isn’t fair nor is it cost effective.  Your government has put in motion changes to disabled people’s lives which are unnecessarily cruel. Please make it

Stop and Preach

I’ve downloaded this for my earphones…

Everybody’s talking at me.
I don’t hear a word they’re saying,
Only the smallness of their minds.
People stopping staring,
I can’t see their faces,
Only the cavern behind their eyes.

I’m going where the sun keeps shining
Thru’ the pouring rain,
Going where the cycling suits my clothes,
Turn my back on the South West wind,
Sailing on summer breeze
And skipping over the North Sea like a stone.


An Inclusive Cycle Network for All

That’s the title of a motion I presented to the AGM of the Cycling Campaign for Oxford on Thursday 21 Nov.

When I emailed it in to the secretary the requisite week before, the chair of Cyclox wrote back to say, “Sounds good. I can’t imagine any opposition.”

This motion commits Cyclox to campaign for an inclusive cycle network which is suitable for every type of cyclist. An inclusive cycle network is one which allows all people regardless of ability to access all of it, whether they are a fast commuter, a disabled person, a family group, an elderly person or a child.

A cycle network which requires, for example, a disabled person to take a longer more circuitous route, or impedes access to users of bikes which are not standard two wheelers, is inherently exclusive and will be lobbied against by Cyclox.

However, it generated a very healthy discussion about what a cycle network is, what it looks like, who it’s for, and how it can be achieved. That discussion had to be cut short when it got to 10pm, but it shouldn’t be left there. It’s important.

The motion was passed.


Trees bowing
Wind bracing
Spokes catching
Leaves racing

Chest falling
Not rising
Time floating
Life passing

Bodies bearing
Gathered grieving
Curtain closing
Living leaving

Those remaining
Glasses raising
Laughter flickering
Sorrow sailing

Sunlight levelling
Hues reflecting
Moment tumbling
Gently resting

Jimmy Crackednut’s Guilt Trip

BrainAs the title of this blog suggests I fall over a lot. I fall off my bikes too. And out of my wheelchair – backwards as a rule. Usually it hurts.

Although I say so myself I’m pretty good at assessing the risks. The reason I’m pretty good at it is because I’ve got a lot of data to work with. Over the years, and I’m getting on a bit now, I’ve developed a fairly good idea of how likely it is to happen, which injuries I’m likely to sustain, and how bad they’re likely to be. And yes, I can confirm that alcohol increases the risk considerably.

To date, statistically, the chance of something really quite nasty happening to me is highest when in the shower. I take precautions but I still do it. Obviously wearing a helmet isn’t one of them.

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