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25-03-2020 MAG urges all bikers to heed Government advice to stay at home

DougSignThe Motorcycle Action Group has called on all motorcyclists to act responsibly by following Government guidance on Coronavirus to the letter.  Leisure riding should not be considered essential travel, but where travel is essential motorcycling remains a very sensible choice.

Following the most recent escalation in measures to slow the spread of the Coronavirus, the Motorcycle Action Group has urged bikers to stay off their bikes unless they are genuinely making an essential journey.  Taking a ride purely for leisure must be viewed as socially irresponsible at this time when everyone’s travel is restricted.  Additionally, if the worst happened, a leisure ride could place more burdens on an already stretched NHS and emergency services.

MAG National Chair, Selina Lavender, says: “Now is the time to follow Government advice and stay at home. There will be time later for the biking community to come together, show solidarity and support those small businesses that will need and appreciate our custom once the current crisis is over.  All motorcyclists share a passion for riding, but right now all our passions should be aimed at saving the lives of all those at risk from this deadly virus.”

Riding a motorcycle is still a great way to travel and MAG will continue to actively and enthusiastically promote the mode of transport.  Riding a motorcycle is a sensible method of travel for essential journeys during the pandemic as it maintains social distance from other travellers.

The Motorcycle Action Group has followed the Government advice to the letter, no doubt with the same level of frustration as everyone else. We have closed our Central Office until further notice.  Our staff and political unit continue to work from home.  The voice of motorcycling remains as loud as ever, and will get back out and about after the temporary restrictions have been lifted.

Director of Campaigns & Political Engagement, Colin Brown, said: “this message feels at odds with everything MAG stands for, but we all have to accept that these are not normal times, and life just cannot feel normal right now.”

We can assure all riders in Britain that MAG remains open for business, and is highly experienced in working ‘remotely.’ MAG’s mode of operation is therefore entirely compatible with Government guidance – meaning that, even with the travel restrictions, bikers continue to have a powerful voice in Britain in the form of the Motorcycle Action Group.

Contact MAG at 01926 844 064 or

16-03-2020 MAG prepares to engage on Vehicle Excise Duty plans

MAG has stated that it will be ensuring the voice of riders is fully heard by the Treasury as it considers plans for a major overhaul of Vehicle Excise Duty.

On 11th March, HM Treasury fulfilled the Government commitment to publish a call for evidence seeking views on moving towards a more dynamic system which recognises smaller differences in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

This call for evidence seeks views on how the Government can use VED to further encourage the uptake of zero and ultra-low emissions cars, and reduce overall emissions from road transport, to both help meet its legally binding climate change targets and improve air quality. It also seeks views on the VED treatment of motorcycles.

MAG’s Director of Communications & Public Affairs, Lembit Opik, commented “We are already seeking one-to-one meetings with ministers and senior officials at the Treasury to discuss the published plans.  We feel that the case for motorcycles is very different to that for four-wheeled vehicles and thus needs very careful consideration.  A two-way conversation is vital.”

Colin Brown, Director of Campaigns & Political Engagement for MAG, said; “The current VED system is both confusing and lacking in balance.  We look forward to the opportunity to engage with policy makers in a cooperative and productive manner.  I believe that there is a potential solution that can be both elegant in its simplicity and take into account a wide range of issues in a fair, equitable manner.  We will naturally respond in writing, but having a detailed discussion of our ideas will bring a better result.  We will discuss our ideas at our forthcoming National Committee meeting and urge members to get in touch with their regional representatives with any thoughts, ideas and opinions”

The full details of the call for evidence can be found at HERE

Contact MAG at 01926 844 064 or

07-02-2020 MAG confirms 2035 ban for petrol and diesel is not for motorcycles

On Tuesday 4th February, Boris Johnson launched the UK-hosted UN climate summit and announced that he would bring forward the end to the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2040 to 2035 – or earlier if possible – and include hybrids for the first time.

As with all such long range, broad announcements, it was not clear what the detailed policy would be and how it would be implemented.  As such, the announcement caused a flurry of speculation and guesses for motorcyclists, with conflicting conclusions drawn.

As always, MAG has taken the sensible approach of seeking clarification.  Speaking to Phil Killingley, Deputy Head of the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) at the Department for Transport, MAG’s Director of Campaigns & Political Engagement, Colin Brown, received confirmation that the 2035 ban does not apply to motorcycles. Colin commented “We are pleased to hear that the ban from 2035 will not apply to the sale of petrol-powered motorcycles.  Our membership consists overwhelmingly of petrol-engine bike users who do not wish to see the very thing they love banned.  Yet it is clear, speaking to the Department, that the threat remains. It will not surprise anyone that the debate over electrification is also taking place in MAG, with a range of views expressed.  The task ahead is to plot a sensible, evidence-based approach in a subject area that ignites great passion and emotion.”

On Tuesday 4th February, Lembit Opik, MAG’s Director of Communications & Public Affairs, attended a key meeting in Parliament where Visiting Professor at Oxford and Imperial College London, Gautam Kalghatgi, explained why petrol- and diesel-powered vehicles cannot, in reality, be banned by the 2035 deadline.  Professor Kalghatgi argued that the largescale adoption of electric power creates enormous and, as yet, unsolved problems.  Lembit said “this is a highly complex issue in which all factors need to be weighed and the impacts fully understood before decisions are made.  The answers for motorcycles are different to those for cars regarding readiness for electrification and impacts on users, so it’s vital motorbikes are considered separately to cars and vans.”

The government is consulting on the 2035 proposals, telling stakeholders: “We are aware that stakeholders will have a diverse range of views on this subject and both Ministers and senior officials will be engaging closely to understand what those are.” The subjects that they want feedback on are: the phase-out date; the definition of what should be phased out; barriers to achieving the ambitions set out in the consultation; the impact of these ambitions on different sectors of industry and society; and what measures are required by Government and others to achieve the earlier phase-out date.’

National MAG Chair, Selina Lavender, added: “MAG is on the list of stakeholders and will be engaging fully with OLEV so that the views and opinions of our members are fully represented.”

Contact MAG at 01926 844 064 or

POSTPONED Huddersfield MAG AGM – 13 May 2020 POSTPONED


A date for your diary …

Huddersfield MAG AGM takes place on Wednesday 13 May 2020 at 8.00 pm, at The Field Head, Quarmby, Huddersfield, HD3 4FB.

We will go through the officer reports from the previous 12 months, Election of Officers and plans for the year.

Please come for 7.30 pm; the AGM starts at 8.00 pm.

If you are interested in standing for any of the officer posts and want more information, come along to a meeting on a Wednesday night or email NB you must have been a full MAG member for a year to be eligible to stand for a Committee position.

Please bring your valid membership card to vote. Non-members are welcome to attend but will not be able to vote.

Event details at:

01-01-2020 MAG starts the New Year determined to make a difference

The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG), the UK’s leading voice for riders’ rights, is looking forward to driving the agenda for riders’ rights in 2020: here’s how.

MAG is gearing up to a new year of activities defending riders’ rights and contributing to the decision-making process at national and local governmental levels.

Selina Lavender, the Chair of MAG, stated that whilst there had been substantial challenges during 2019, MAG’s personnel are refreshed and ready to work just as hard during 2020.  “We have engaged with Local Authorities, Government and Transport for London, to name only a few, to represent motorcycling and the positive contribution it brings to the table.

We have already contacted both new and returned MPs following December’s General Election and look forward to working with them on behalf of motorcycling and riders’ rights throughout the year ahead.”

MAG will continue to engage with Government and Local Authorities wherever a need to protect riders’ rights is identified and looks forward to building on the relationships forged during the past year and developing new ones too.

MAG invites riders, dealers, mechanics and manufacturers to join MAG and help create a united voice for the common good of the riding community.

Contact MAG at 01926 844 064 or

20-12-2019 MAG ends 2019 by offering a huge ‘thank you’ to all its members

MAG ends 2019 by offering a huge ‘thank you’ to all its members for their support during the year

MAG Chair, Selina Lavender, said “We have seen a continuation of some tough issues during 2019 – e.g. moped-enabled crime – but also other threats to our freedom, like ULEZ and CAZs and even the very real possibility of an end to production of the internal combustion engine!!

We are only able to continue to engage with relevant authorities regarding all of these issues because of our fantastic members.  So ‘thank you’ to each and every one of you for your support over the past year.  I hope you enjoy a very happy festive season and I look forward to helping take MAG forward with you all in 2020.”

Lembit Öpik, MAG’s Director of Communications & Public Affairs, added “MAG will continue to fight against threats to motorcycling in the coming year.  We can only do this because of our staunch members so I’d like to say a massive ‘thank you’ to you all because you make MAG what it is: the country’s leading riders’ rights organisation, and every MAG member should be proud of their contribution.”

MAG’s Central Office will be closed over the Christmas period from Tuesday 24th December at 12:30 until Thursday 2nd January at 09:00, but you can still join on-line at  Normal office hours are 09:00 to 17:00.

Contact MAG at 01926 844 064 or

22-08-2019 MAG reveals Leicestershire Police national motorcycle theft ranking by UK police force area, following delayed FOI response


MAG released a national police force ranking system for motorcycle theft in August.  Two forces failed to respond to FOI requests within the time restraints.  Leicestershire Police have now responded and the details have been analysed.
The ranking system aims to demonstrate, in a fair and balanced manner, the level of motorcycle theft around the entire UK.  To give a fair representation, things like geographic size and population differences between police force areas have been allowed for by calculating a figure for the number of thefts per thousand registered motorcycles in each force area.

Having now received the delayed FOI response from Leicestershire Police, MAG can now reveal that the force ranks 30 out of 37.  With 21,919 registered motorcycles in Leicestershire and 464 recorded thefts, Leicestershire has crept in just below the national average.  The figures translate to 21 per 1000 registered bikes or 1 in 47.

Director of Campaigns & Political Engagement, Colin Brown, commented: “Let’s be clear: the national average is far too high, so Leicestershire Police cannot afford to be complacent.  I am pleased to see that we have now received the data for Leicestershire, and hope that we will see a more timely response for future requests.  I am also hopeful that a response from Humberside will eventually arrive.

We are happy that we are opening doors to further discussions on the subject of bike theft. We have ongoing engagement with West Yorkshire Police and the Metropolitan Police Force.  We are opening talks with Nottinghamshire and Merseyside Police, but are still waiting for meaningful engagement with West Midlands, Manchester and Cumbria.

We are also pressing for recording systems to be reconfigured in the six forces that were unable to respond to the FOI requests.  The fact that Essex, Hampshire, South Wales, Thames Valley Police and Police Scotland cannot provide this most basic level of detail in their areas is simply not acceptable.”

Contact MAG at 01926 844 064 or


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18-09-2019 MAG challenges conclusions of the recent report by The Real Urban Emissions (TRUE) Initiative

The Real Urban Emissions (TRUE) Initiative issued a report on real world emissions from vehicles in Paris LAST week.  MAG is seeking to discuss the research with the report authors and has expressed concern regarding the accuracy of the report conclusions.

The headline conclusions outlined in the report with respect to motorcycles were:

•    L-category vehicle fuel-specific emissions (grams per kilogram of fuel consumed) are up to 11.1 times higher for CO emissions and 6.1 times higher for NOX emissions compared to average petrol passenger car emissions.
•    While fuel-specific emissions of CO and NOX from L-category vehicles have declined with the implementation of more stringent Euro standards, they have trailed behind passenger cars, and L-category standards only go up to Euro 4.
•    Considering L-category vehicles only certified to current Euro 4 standards, CO emissions are almost 10 times those of both Euro 6 diesel and petrol cars, and NOX emissions are three times those of Euro 6 petrol cars.

The research was funded by the FIA Foundation.  Sheila Watson, Deputy Director of the FIA Foundation, said: ‘[the report] shows that two- and three-wheelers are neither the answer to urban air quality nor traffic issues.’

MAG’s Director of Campaigns & Political Engagement stated “I have approached the report authors asking for the opportunity to discuss and examine their data.  Having read the full report, I have concerns that the conclusions reached from such a small sample of motorcycles and the fact that there was a very high failure rate in EDAR readings raises questions about the validity of the conclusions.  Certainly the comments by Sheila Walsh with respect to the role of motorcycles and other L category vehicles are highly questionable.  The effect of motorcycles on congestion was not within the scope of the research, so to claim that motorcycles are not the answer to urban traffic issues is entirely spurious.

I welcome research into real world emissions from motorcycles but the methodologies used for cars in the real world are clearly demonstrated in this report to be poor with respect to motorcycles.  Jumping to conclusions based on this research would seem extremely premature.”

Contact MAG at 01926 844 064 or

05-08-2019 MAG releases first of its kind national motorcycle theft rankings by UK police force area.

MAG has released a national police force ranking system for motorcycle theft.  Following analysis of Freedom of Information responses the most complete picture of the national levels of motorcycle theft are now available for all to see.


The ranking system aims to demonstrate in a fair and balanced manner the level of motorcycle theft around the entire UK.  To give a fair representation things like geographic size and population differences between police force areas have been allowed for by calculating a figure for the number of thefts per thousand registered motorcycles in each force area.


All 45 territorial police forces responded to MAG’s FOI requests, but sadly 2 failed to meet the deadline to be included in the published ranking and a further six were unable to give the theft data within the constraints of the FOI regulations.

MAG’s Director of Campaigns & Political Engagement, Colin Brown, commented:

“It is disappointing that we do still have gaps in the overall picture, and we will be urging the eight forces that could not help this time round to consider ways to give us the data for future revisions.  We will be running the ranking on an annual basis.

MAG is clear that the purpose of the ranking system is not to point fingers, but rather to assist all parties in better understanding the issues and opportunities to combat what is probably one of the most pressing concerns for many bikers.

For a biker, the theft of their bike is most definitely not a victimless crime.  More so than for any other mode of transport, riders become very emotionally attached to their bikes.  For some loss of a bike is akin to the loss of a family member.  It is unsurprising that this passion stirs up much emotion, and with motorcycles currently being seven times more likely to be stolen than any other form of vehicle, we have a massive issue that needs to be confronted head on.

We can only start to solve a problem if we first understand it.  This work is only the beginning as far as we are concerned and we are already endeavouring to speak to and work with the forces that are showing the worst results.

We are fully engaged with the Metropolitan Police Force and will be involved in discussions with the MET in September.  We met the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns Williamson, in August and have approached the PCCs for all forces showing above average levels of motorcycle theft.”

The rankings show that the Metropolitan Police Force area (which for the purposes of the ranking combines the Metropolitan and City of London forces) as the worst performing with 82 of every 1000 registered bikes stolen in 2018.  Second place goes to West Yorkshire with 56 per 1000 stolen.  Best ranked was Derbyshire with just 1 in every 1000 bikes stolen.

The full report can be found here:

Colin Brown said “The fact that well over 60% of all thefts happen in just 6 police force territories is a clear demonstration that a concerted effort in those locations can make a vast difference to the national picture.  We will be seeking to work with those forces to ensure that everything that can be done is done.  We will not sit back and simply complain that more needs to be done, but hopefully a bit of healthy competition between forces will work in our favour.

Compiling this information has taught me many things already, from the differing methods of recording crime in use across the country, to the variation in performance levels when it comes to recording all crime, as well as the stark variation in levels of motorcycle theft across the country.  Any analysis tends to lead to more questions, but it is only by asking those questions that we make progress.”

MAG gave opportunity for the worst performing forces to have sight of the statistics in advance of publishing the data, and asked for statements from them.

West Midlands Police issued the following statement:

“As a force we are committed to tackling vehicle crime and have introduced short and long term measures to reduce the problem.

We take all reports of theft seriously and investigate proportionately.

If you see any suspicious behaviour, please let us know, no matter how small it may seem.

For more information on how to keep your car or motorcycle safe from thieves, check out our dedicated website.”

Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “Having been contacted by the Motorcycle Action Group, I arranged to meet them, along with West Yorkshire Police, to discuss the ongoing work to help address and reduce motorcycle thefts across West Yorkshire as well as what more we could do together in partnership. The meeting resulted in a number of actions that we will be working towards.

“Whilst these types of offences are always going to be more prevalent in larger metropolitan police force areas that does not mean we are complacent.

Robust law enforcement has a big part to play and where there are positive lines of enquiry West Yorkshire Police will investigate and seek appropriate actions and prosecutions.

We would also ask motorcycle owners to take extra precautionary steps where possible to help reduce their chances of being targeted by criminals. These can include adding an immobiliser, using a steering lock or storing your bike out of sight at night.  More advice is available by visiting West Yorkshire Police’s website.

The fact that we are rated as outstanding by the HMICFRS in our crime recording will also affect our standing in MAG’s ranking. I understand this won’t bring much comfort to anyone that has unfortunately been targeted by thieves but it does mean that we have a solid base with which to understand the full extent of these incidents and work towards tackling them.

Going forward we will continue to build on our relationship with MAG in working to tackle these issues together and have agreed a number of positive stems linking in with our crime prevention leads.”

MAG looks forward to more productive engagement with West Yorkshire and all other forces where motorcycle theft is showing its ugly face.

Contact MAG at 01926 844 064 or

23-07-2019 MAG expresses deep disappointment with the DfT 2019 Road Safety Statement

The Department for Transport (DfT) published its 2019 Road Safety Statement and 2-year action plan on 19th July.  The Motorcycle Action Group has been critical of what it sees as a lack of substance and ambition for motorcyclists’ safety.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling described the action plan as “a key milestone in our road safety work”.  Including seventy four action points, the DfT describe the document as a major package of measures to reduce the number of people killed and injured on roads.  In the foreword to the report, Road Safety Minister Michael Ellis states that the majority of their work for the next two years and respective actions are focused on the Department’s four priority road user groups – Young Road Users, Rural Road Users, Motorcyclists and Older Vulnerable Road Users.

The eight specific action points for motorcyclists are:
•    Continue to promote the importance of helmets and their correct usage through the DfT SHARP programme.
•    In response to a consultation, DVSA will explore the possibility of developing a package of measures to improve the motorcycle training regime once Parliamentary time allows.
•    Promote DVSA’s Enhanced Rider Scheme and increase the uptake of post-test motorcycle training.
•    Develop a training framework/syllabus to encourage riders who complete CBT but do not go on to take full test training to undertake further training.
•    Work with the motorcycle industry to explore how to encourage the use of protective equipment, and furthermore explore the scope for new protective equipment for vulnerable road users that can reduce post-crash collision severity.
•    Commission a review of the behaviour of drivers and riders in The Gig Economy.
•    Highways England to deliver safety advice to leisure riders.
•    Funding RoSPA to deliver an online guide on how to organise and conduct group motorcycle ride-outs.

Commenting on the report MAG’s Director of Campaigns & Political Engagement, Colin Brown, commented:  “I have not had time to fully digest the report, but on the surface this appears to be yet another disappointing demonstration of the absence of real passion when it comes to motorcycling.  The action points are simply more of the same or, worse still, promises to take action ‘when parliamentary time allows’.  This is simply not good enough.  Where are the fresh ideas? Where is the urgency?  If the safety of motorcyclists really is a priority, make parliamentary time.”

Director of Communications & Public Affairs, Lembit Ӧpik, said “Honestly, I think a bunch of bikers spending an evening in the pub could have come up with an action plan that would have greater impact than this so-called package.  We need the road safety community to take a step back and agree to really commit to motorcycle safety rather than just issuing a few more advice leaflets.”

Colin Brown pointed out: “Just the other day the DVSA revealed the top ten reasons for car drivers to fail their test.  The top two were drivers failing to look properly at junctions and not using mirrors when changing lanes.  The same release admitted that 39% of accidents are the result of a driver failing to look properly.  As vulnerable road users we need to see real action to raise the standards of driving; simply focusing on training and safety gear for the victim is not going to cut it.”

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