Going to have a very cold head if the weather is like it is this morning. - 3 here.
MAG has launched a new group in Northern Ireland, to stand up for riders’ rights in this important part of the United Kingdom. MAG Director, Ian Churchlow, was delighted with the turnout:
: ‘We’ve been developing the Northern Ireland regional group for a couple of years and we now have a superb team, headed up by Martyn Boyd, which will make a significant contribution to the voice of riders here. Northern Ireland is very significant to motorcyclists – and this makes the province exceptionally important to our work. I’m really pleased MAG is getting so active over here. It should lead to a big increase in our profile amongst road racing enthusiasts, which is good for everyone, and for the movement as a whole.’
The group also attended the filming of a live broadcast of the Nolan Show, one of the most watched programmes in Northern Ireland, at which a part of the show was dedicated to an interview with Ryan Farquhar, who survived a near-fatal accident at the world famous North West 200 road race. Afterwards, Ian Churchlow and MAG’s Director of Communications & Public Affairs, Lembit Öpik, met with Ryan. They discussed the work of MAG and agreed to stay in contact about future campaigns run by the organisation.
‘We also met with the Department for Infrastructure,’ adds Ian, ‘where we offered our assistance to support the transport objectives of the Minister. I expect this to become an important element of our work here and it could, over time, provide a template for similar operations in the rest of the UK. Martyn is a valuable addition to our team, and Lembit and I are eager to assist him as we build up the local group.’
Contact MAG at 01926 844 064 or firstname.lastname@example.org
MAG has been at the forefront of preventing riders from being charged tolls for using river crossings, on the basis that bikes are an asset for the environment, lowering congestion and providing cheap travel. The current threat is in the heart of London, where a new tunnel is scheduled to help traffic flow in the capital.
‘These charges would set a precedent which defies both logic and fair play,’ says London MAG’s Regional Representative, Tim Fawthrop. ‘Motorbikes are obviously part of the traffic solution, and they should be treated like it. Other vehicles are not being charged exactly because they’re seen as congestion busting alternatives to cars – it says so in the documents. Why, then, have bikes not been given the same exemption? It’s probably just an oversight, but it has to be put right.’
Tim and MAG’s Director of Communications & Public Affairs, Lembit Öpik, attended the first stage of the public hearings. ‘We’ve made our case very clearly,’ says Lembit. ‘We will continue to participate in all stages of the consultation. Our data on the environmental performance of bikes also backs up our position which is in the interests of riders – and also every other road and underground user, because each biker reduces the strain on the rest of the transport network.’
Contact MAG at 01926 844 064 or email@example.com
MAG has slammed the ‘irresponsible and dangerous behaviour’ of 200 antisocial hooligans in Leeds as ‘the worst example of behaviour in recent years
One of MAG’s Representatives, Richard Manton, has distanced the organisation from any association whatsoever with the antics of the louts: ‘MAG has been promoting responsible and considerate riding for over 40 years. An overwhelming majority of riders respect and uphold the principles of good roadcraft along with skillful and thoughtful use of our highways. From time to time any activity can attract a hooligan element that reflects very badly on the individuals themselves.
‘These people are not riders in the proper sense, but irresponsible people on two wheels, just as some choose to act irresponsibly on four wheels – or on foot. MAG would like to reiterate that those tearing through the streets on motorcycles with complete disregard for others are not a true representation of the majority of riders in the UK, and deserve to be prosecuted for breaches of the laws currently in place in the interests of public safety.’
The Chair of MAG, Selina Lavender, says the organisation is contacting the police and the local authorities to discuss how best to address these issues in the longer term. ‘The laws already exist to prosecute these immature and irresponsible people. We’re exploring whether there is a way MAG can assist with educating people to understand the idiocy of this behaviour and thereby use social pressure as a powerful tool to prevent a recurrence of such incidents in future.’
Contact MAG at 01926 844 064 or firstname.lastname@example.org
How much is a life worth?
Every day, a motorcyclist is killed or seriously injured on the road due to the actions of a driver who didn’t pay attention, or even look out into the road. Nine times out of ten, the driver receives a pitiful sentence for careless driving after pleading guilty, or worse still, nothing more than a driving ban; meanwhile, a family loses someone who cannot be replaced.
Sorry mate, I didn’t see you!…is the most common excuse for a driver when a rider has been knocked off. It doesn’t matter if the rider is wearing hi-viz, with headlights on or not. It’s time that this changed!
The purpose of the demo is to raise awareness on the theme that too many riders are being knocked from their bikes; that drivers are being mildly punished or getting off free, and that we – every day – see that the errors of other road users are putting our lives at risk, while we are being popularly held up to blame. This year there have been even more deaths than usual, and it's our perception that the majority are due to driver errors and poor planning/maintenance. Our best political lobbying efforts on key issues have received lip-service and duplicitous underhandedness so it is time for action.
The demos will take place in at least nine cities, including London, Glasgow and Belfast. An event will be created on the MAG Facebook page shortly and more information will be available from this page and the MAG website in the next few days. Also, your Regional Reps will have more details in due course (other cities are being confirmed as we speak). These will not be the usual demos you’ve seen from MAG recently. Every year, thousands of bikes gather in Brussels to protest at the EU parliament’s scant disregard for riders’ rights. (at the demo attended by MAG Chairman John Mitchell in 2012, over 7,000 bikes parked along the Rue de la Loi, outside the EU Parliament HQ) and it wasn’t a silent protest. It’s time us brits took a leaf out of their book.
Now you see us! August 23, 2014
The Motorcycle Action Group – www.mag-uk.org
The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) is deeply concerned by the dramatic fall in popularity of motorcycles among the young. According to DVSA data, just 353 young people in the 16 to 17-year-old age range took their A1 practical tests in 2013/14, plummeting dramatically from 3294 who took the test in the previous 2012/13 period, a decline of almost 90%.
The news confirms MAG’s worst concerns about the effects of the cost, complexity and availability of the current motorcycle test. For years MAG has been in discussion with the government agencies responsible for determining the style and content of the test but has had to contend with extreme obstinacy from some parties within the Driving Standards Agency. Given the obvious benefits economically and environmentally that motorcycles can offer; it is irresponsible to discourage people from taking advantage of this transport mode. Motorcycles offer economic use of road space both when parked and when moving and can address the financial and mobility challenges of many people. Like bicycles, motorcycles are single-track vehicles and therefore enjoy the logic of geometry in utilizing spaces that are not available to twin track vehicles. They are part of an elegant solution to 21st century resource issues.
MAG calls on The Government to rethink its policy toward powered two wheelers and switch from discouraging to encouraging their use through a more reasonable licensing regime.
MAG News Release
Plan 2B or not 2B? That is the question
MAG ‘amazed’ at BMF support for 'Killer' Roundabout scheme
26th June 2014
For immediate use
The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) has expressed amazement at the British Motorcyclists Federation (BMF) ‘inexplicable’ decision to cave in to the Council’s proposals to build a dangerous roundabout in the town. MAG Chairman, John Mitchell, has said ‘if this insane Bedford scheme goes ahead it strikes a killer blow against motorcyclists' rights to have their safety considered in line with other vulnerable road user groups such as cyclists. I can’t understand how a riders’ group like the BMF can possibly be supporting it, unless they really have failed to grasp what this scheme is all about – and that it’s a potential killer.’
The latest plan to introduce what are known as 'turbo roundabout' principles in central Bedford were hastily drawn up by pro-cycling group Sustrans last month, after MAG caused Bedford to abandon two earlier proposals on grounds of safety. The proposal includes two ‘pinch points’ to ‘squeeze’ traffic into a narrowed channel on a roundabout used by 25,000 vehicles per day. Unglamorously known as ‘Plan 2B,’ it also uses raised ‘spurs’ of kerbing to funnel all vehicles into two channels on opposite sides of the roundabout. These channels are less than half the width of the current lane. MAG's Policy Adviser, former BMF Chairman Dr Leon Mannings first challenged Bedford's proposals in April 2013. Dr Mannings says, ‘the Council is doing this in the hope it would make cyclists 'feel safer'. MAG has no issue with schemes to help cyclists feel safer - unless the measures have significant adverse impacts on safety for those on scooters, mopeds and motorbikes – and indeed bicycles. Sadly, ALL the proposals have included new obstructions which many experts in the motorcycling AND cycling fraternities regard as new hazards that could seriously injure or even kill bikers on machines with motors or pedals.’ Dr Mannings and his colleague Lembit Öpik, MAG's Director of Comms & Public Affairs have had a series of talks with the DfT to discuss MAG's objections: the DfT is allocating £420k of taxpayers’ money to the scheme via their Cycle Safety Programme. MAG described the sessions as ‘seemingly productive.’ Thus it came as a total surprise when they learned that Graeme Hay, the BMF's newly Government Relations Executive, had submitted a report in support of Plan 2B. Leon adds ‘up till that point, the BMF had expressed no interest in Bedford's proposals, nor had they had any involvement at all with discussions during the preceding 18 months. Indeed, Mr Hay had only taken office the week in which he wrote and submitted his report.’ The DfT has now given Bedford the go-ahead to implement the scheme and the council has told MAG that they will start work in the next two weeks. In response, MAG has insisted that Bedford conduct a public consultation about the new proposal as it is so significantly different to the original proposals. Leon adds ‘this scheme is crazy. If the BMF continues to support it, I have to assume they simply haven’t understood the basic dangers of it. MAG will campaign for Plan 2B NOT to be built, despite the BMF’s apparent last minute support for a scheme that can kill riders.’
Contact either Lembit Öpik or Leon Mannings via MAG Central Office.
Tel. 01926 844064
You may have heard about the death of Jade Clark, a 16-year-old who was killed when she was hit by Brian Hampton, on the A31 while on her moped travelling to work in February 2013. Banned for drink-driving at the time, Hampton not only didn’t stop, but he then attempted to cover up his involvement by having his car repaired and lying to his family. He was sentenced to six years in prison – two for causing Jade’s death by careless driving and four years for perverting the course of justice.
He has now decided to appeal his sentence because he thinks it too severe. MAG thinks he should be locked up and the key should be thrown away.
This petition was created by Robert Parker when he heard the news. So far it has just over a thousand signatures which is not enough. It needs 10,000 to get noticed; 100,000 to get to the point where it can’t be ignored.
I would like to see it get that 100,000 signatures. Every signature counts.
You’ll find it at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/56314
Thanks for reading.
MAG National Chairman
Lembit Öpik, the Motorcycle Action Group’s (MAG) Director of Communications & Public Affairs, has spoken out against the implied imposition of a mandatory helmet law for cyclists.The threat has arisen as a result of the Advertising Standards Agency’s (ASA) directive to Cycling Scotland, requiring them to feature cyclists wearing helmets, and refusing to authorise a television advertisement which showed a rider without a helmet – claiming that to do so would be ‘socially irresponsible.’
Lembit says ‘in 1973, British motorcyclists suffered a hammer blow to their liberty with the introduction of a mandatory helmet law.Over the last four decades we have never wavered from our principled position of opposing this authoritarian regulation.It’s not because we’re against safety; rather it’s because we’re pro-choice.At the heart of any truly free society, citizens have the right to make personal decisions about their welfare and the level of risk they’re willing to entertain.No government has the moral authority to forcibly impose its opinion about what’s best for citizens, because such a move is counter to the very freedoms which democracy exists to uphold.As such, we offer our full support to Britain’s cyclists in opposing the mandatory wearing of helmets.This is a symbolic test of the liberty.A defeat on this would be a catastrophic failure of politicians to respect the personal liberty of the people.’
MAG Chairman John Mitchell adds ‘I have instructed MAG’s Reps to provide whatever support is necessary to assist the British cycling community to successfully resist this ominous legislative menace.The ASA has effectively used its position to censor Cycling Scotland’s right to illustrate cyclists’ liberty to ride without a helmet.They have evidently not got the right to veto the portrayal of a legal activity, but the precedent is extremely dangerous.Their action has reignited an issue which has been quietly smouldering for some time as far as motorcyclists are concerned.Make no mistake, we’re ready, willing and able to take this issue to the politicians, and I have no doubt that this debate will now extend to bikers as well as cyclists.The Cycle Touring Club, which represents cyclists is firmly against compulsory helmet use, as it feels that mandatory helmet use will reduce the numbers of those people who take up cycling. What unites us all is our belief in personal choice.The very last thing elected politicians who ignore this can expect is an easy ride.’
Yesterday, MAG learned – via sources at the DVLA and an MP, that the Government is using the scrapping of the tax disc to pretend that Vehicle Excise Duty belongs to the owner and not the vehicle. Despite what you may have heard elsewhere, this is not the case – the VED currently belongs to the vehicle. According to our contact, the changes to the VED system (which will take place in October) are all to do with the Finance Bill 2014, which states how the Government raises its revenue for the coming year. There is currently a Government consultation in place – everyone has the right of reply, until the 4th of February. John Mitchell, MAG National Chairman is not pleased with the blatant misinformation that is being given out over the internet: “Getting any future owner of a vehicle to tax it immediately on purchasing – rendering any existing VED invalid – will generate a large sum of cash for the Government; no doubt it will pay for the rebrand of the DVLA for the merger with the Driving Standards Agency (which becomes the DVSA in April). It is now time for a proper debate on the future of VED for all vehicles – especially for motorcycles. MAG is now committed to campaigning for the exemption of motorcycles/PTWs from VED. Questions are also to be asked in Parliament.” More information can be found on the Government website here:
The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) held a meeting on Sunday the 15th September in Llandovery after concerns were raised by locals about accident statistics along the A40 between Brecon and Llandeilo. There were no invitations other than via social networking and word of mouth, but the Owl's Nest Diner provided a welcome meeting point for members of South, Mid and West Wales MAG groups along with several groups of local riders, including representatives from the Institute of Advanced Motorists and The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. A public consultation on this matter had previously been held in Sennybridge.
There was lively discussion about several recorded offences of dangerous driving, and high speed riding, particularly in the village of Sennybridge. The main point raised was that while a minority are deliberately flouting the highway code, repercussions could affect everyone. Those at the meeting were in agreement that the request for reducing speed limits along the A40 would have no effect on the lawbreaking individuals, but would actually make life more difficult for local residents, and would highly likely reduce tourism in the area.
Retired Police Sergeant Aneurin Max Jones -who is now also a MAG member: "I am very concerned about unrealistic speed limits that both locals and visitors see no reason to obey. It can devalue necessary speed limits and lead to a pattern of behaviour that results in non-compliance with all speed limits, causing danger to all. It matters not whether the speed limit is 60, 50, or 40mph, the 'problem individual' will still be a problem and others, driving at perfectly safe speeds, will be unjustly affected, even fined, for doing no more than was previously a lawful speed. "
Thoughts are being sought and collected as to ways this issue can be addressed without draconian measures.
Said local MAG Member Alex Thompson "I drive a car as well, and I know how when even an older bike accelerates past me it seems as if it must be doing a hundred miles an hour -in reality, it's that the power to weight ratio of two wheels means a bike can rapidly speed up as it passes, while still keeping to the speed limit. Yes it's great fun, but the manoeuvrability and flexibility also means I can get to where I'm going in a half to two thirds the time a car takes, causing less damage to the environment and the road itself."
Midwife Sam Lloyd-Jones agreed "When I arrive people see the bike, look at me in my leathers and it's obvious they think I'm a hooligan. Then I remove my helmet and it's funny to see their faces change -"you're the one who caught my baby!"
Gareth Budding, from Pembrey, said "People should think more of others -at least stick to the speed limits in the towns and villages! I always try to imagine what it's like for the people who live there."
MAG UK are delighted with the announcement, from FEMA, that the European Parliament Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) have voted to allow the individual Member States to decide whether roadworthiness testing is required.
Already with one of the more rigorous regimes in Europe, MAG UK has been campaigning and that the proposals;
- failed to justify the harmonisation of testing frequencies;
- were based on biased evidence which is neither representative nor sufficient to justify the economic and regulatory burdens involved;
- were completely disproportionate to the size of the problem;
- went against the principle of subsidiarity which enables Member States to design specific national measures for national road safety priorities.
A big "Thank You" goes out to all MAG members who have lobbied their Euro MPs on this issue. Keep up the good work, we are making a difference!
A £4000 reward is being jointly offered by MAG and Crimestoppers as police renew a witness appeal into the death of Loudwater motorcyclist Jeremy Edwards.
Experienced motorcyclist Mr Edwards hit a concrete block in Daws Hill Lane at 6.30am on October 7th 2012. Police said the block had been deliberately placed in the road.
Please contact police on the 101 non-emergency enquiry line or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 with any information.
Alternatively, visit crimestoppers-uk.org. No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.
Please click on the link below for the full newspaper article:
Following on from a successful trial conducted by Anglian Water in Peterborough, they have decided to install a further dozen non slip composite manhole covers.
The installation of the first anti-slip manhole cover followed a campaign from Peterborough Motorcycle Action Group (MAG), which also helped choose the location of the next 12.
The Instarmac-manufactured covers come with a host of advantages, being safer for motorcyclists, quicker to install, more environmentally friendly and less likely to be stolen because they have no scrap value.
Congratulations to Dave & Tracy Hammond and all at Peterborough MAG!
This year Medwyn Parry, Chairman of the Aberystwyth & District MAG and Dougie Bancroft will be visiting all of the 51 Thankful Villages in the United Kingdom, where everybody who went away to fight in the Great War returned home. Amazingly 14 of these are “Double Thankful”, where they also returned from the Second World War.
The journey starts at Llanfihangel-y-Creuddyn near Aberystwyth on Saturday the 27th of July and finishes at the same point on the evening of the 4th of August, covering 2,500 miles over 9 days. A TV film crew will be documenting the whole trip.
The project will raise money for the Royal British Legion, and the target is £51,000 - equal to £1,000 per village. Anything over the target amount will be split between the British Legion, the Fire Fighters Charity - and of course MAG. As far as we know nobody has visited all 51 in one trip.
We must stress, this will NOT be a race, and it will NOT be a ride of endurance. This will be a ride of respect. The local residents of the Thankful Villages are tremendously proud of their status. We will be meeting descendants of those who survived the conflict, plus members of the Royal British Legion. We also plan to meet up with fellow riders who may want to join us for any part of the journey. But there will be a minimum donation of £5.00 per bike per day. So if you want to be part of a historic ride - come and join us.
The story of the Thankful Villages seems to strike a chord with everyone – a celebration of joy for a few settlements during a time of so much horror. We are asking nothing of any of the places that we visit, and will be presenting a certificate and a plaque to each community.
Triumph Motorcycles will be providing us with two shiny new Sprint GTs, equipped with a tracker from Biketrec, so you'll be able to follow our progress in real time over t'internet.
We have a Facebook Group – Thankful Villages Run 2013, and the website has a map of the route, and anything else you might need to know.
We sincerely hope you can help us raise the profile of these villages and celebrate their blessed fortune.