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13-05-2020 MAG welcomes a statement by the Secretary of State for Transport, the Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP, in support of using motorcycles

Grant ShappsMAG has praised the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, for recognising motorcycles in the UK transport mix. In response to a question by Julian Lewis – MP for New Forest East and member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Motorcycling – Mr Shapps agreed that motorbikes play a key role in delivering billions of commuting miles in the country.

In a House of Commons debate about Covid-19 on Tuesday, 12th May 2020, Mr Lewis asked: ‘As an alternative to using public transport during the crisis, what assessment has my Right Hon. Friend made of the desirability of ageing bikers like me once again using motorcycles for travelling to work, and will he be taking any steps to incentivise motorcycle usage as the lockdown is gradually eased?’

 

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Mr Shapps replied: ‘Motorcycles are an enormously important way of getting around— 2.7 billion miles were travelled by motorcycle in 2018, the last year for which we have data. We are working on a number of projects, including sorting out potholes, which are a huge problem for people on motorcycles and other two-wheeled vehicles. I also encourage him—at whatever age—to adopt the electric motorbike.’

 

Chair of MAG, Selina Lavender, praised Mr Lewis and Mr Shapps: ‘MAG is very encouraged by this mature debate about the importance of motorcycles in the UK. We’ve repeatedly pointed out their value as a commuting mode of transport. Now Ministers advise the use of private instead of public transport, motorbikes are more important than ever. By law, bikers must wear a form of personal protective equipment, and riding keeps you at least two metres away from others almost all the time, in line with Covid-19 guidance. Having made these points to Parliament repeatedly, we’re delighted to see an MP share our view, and the Secretary of State for Transport recognising motorbikes in the transport mix.’ MAG continues to work with the authorities on clear guidance to the riding community.

The Parliamentary question and answer are available here:

Contact MAG at 01926 844 064 or central-office@mag-uk.org

06-05-2020 MAG urges Government not to overlook motorcycles in plans to ease lockdown

New NormalMAG has criticised the omission of motorcycles in indications of Government thinking around transport in the transition from lockdown back to normality.  Claiming that the “New Normal” may not be anything like that proposed by many lobby groups, MAG calls for clearer thinking

Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, has suggested that encouraging people to commute by bicycle will be a key part of proposals for transport as travel restrictions for the pandemic lockdown are eased; however, motorcycles are not mentioned.  Zealous cycle lobbyists are naturally excited by this statement and seem to be suggesting that vast numbers will turn to cycling as their only mode of transport. London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has already announced his Streetspace Plan, which is intended to fast-track the transformation of London’s streets to enable millions more people to safely walk and cycle as part of their daily journeys.

Commenting on the media rush to suggest that cycling will be a substantial solution, MAG’s Director of Campaigns & Political Engagement, Colin Brown, said: “The idea that cycling alone can replace all the transport needs of those who will be unable to commute by public transport is for the birds.  The average cycle trip in 2018 was a mere 3.3 miles.  Potentially, cycling could replace bus travel in London as the average trip was 3.7 miles but nationally, average local bus trips are 5.3 miles.  The average trip on the London underground was 8.9 miles and on average surface rail trips are 30.9 miles.  During lockdown, we have not all moved closer to our places of work.  At an average trip distance of 13.4 miles, motorcycles can clearly replace far more public transport trips than cycling, whilst also offering congestion reduction benefits over cars.“

Colin went on to say: “Any action that improves the safety of cycling and walking is to be commended. However, the plight of motorcyclists must not be forgotten in this dash for cycling infrastructure.  We have serious concerns that road space segregation and cycle safety measures often increase risks for motorcyclists: something we highlighted at the last City of London meeting prior to lockdown.  We are vulnerable road users too.  It is vital that MAG and motorcyclists are consulted on the many plans to accommodate cycling that are being rushed through without opportunity for comment and scrutiny from other road users.”

MAG Chair, Selina Lavender, said “Motorcyclists already wear a form of PPE as standard.  Motorcycles provide social distancing, flexibility and range that cycles don’t.  There is no need to fast-track major changes to the roads infrastructure, though a few more authorities opening their bus lanes to motorcycles would be sensible.  Leaving motorcycles out of plans to help the transport system to get going and the economy back on the road to recovery is an oversight of massive proportion.”

MAG Director of Communications & Public Affairs, Lembit Opik, said: “Motorbikes and scooters are self-evidently safer than bus and train travel when it comes to virus transmission. Motorcycling guarantees social distancing, with most being ‘PPE-ready’ the moment they get on their machine, in a way that those using trains and buses are not. It’s a ready-made solution, and the Government should rapidly highlight this to the millions of commuters looking for virus-resistant ways to travel.”

Tim Fawthrop, MAG London Regional Rep, said:  ‘I nearly lost my life to Covid, and consider myself fortunate to now be on the long road to recovery. Like many others, I am avoiding public transport, which is potentially where I picked up the virus initially.  I plan to avoid all public transport for the foreseeable future. As soon as I have the strength, I will return to riding my motorcycle in accordance with whatever guidelines are in place at that time. Getting back on the bike and on the open road will lift my spirits and aid my recovery.  I am saddened that the Government and London’s Mayor have not yet included motorcycles in their plans.  As motorcyclists, we are aware of the benefits of our favourite form of transport and how they can support society in the fight against the effects of this horrendous virus. It is time for policy-makers to listen to us.’

MAG has approached the Secretary of State for Transport and the London Mayor, and will continue to assertively lobby for a long overdue review by the Department for Transport of the missed opportunities and ignored benefits of motorcycles.  MAG has long promoted motorcycles as the most sustainable form of private motorised transport and is now calling on all riders to contact their MPs and councillors, asking them to promote motorcycles as a vital part of any “new normal” transport system that emerges.

 

Contact MAG at 01926 844 064 or central-office@mag-uk.org

01-05-2020 A big thank you and an important rally update

MAP_donationsMAG has been overwhelmed by the generous donations of some of those who would have been attending the Into The Valley rally this weekend, and we wish to thank you all for your thoughtful contributions.  We are so grateful for the amazing support that will help enable us to continue fighting for riders’ rights.

We know that some of our members regularly take the opportunity to renew their membership at this event, so we warmly invite them to either contact the office on 01926 844 064, or go online to renew at www.mag-uk.org

For those who have not yet seen the various options available for both this cancelled event, and the postponed Farmyard Party, please see below an edited update from the organisers, MAGic Action Promotions:

We have made the difficult but sensible decision to cancel Into The Valley 2020 and postpone the Farmyard Party till late September this year. Yorkshire Pudding Rally is currently still set to go ahead at the end of July.

Postponing the Farmyard Party to September 25th-27th gives the rally a greater chance of happening than sticking to its June date. It will be the same venue, bands, traders, caterers, fires and no fires field, Carry Nowt Camping, Great British Glamping, etc….

We anticipate some hurdles to overcome to go ahead in September, but feel that they will be surmountable. So, if we are allowed gatherings, it is safe to do so, and you buy tickets we will see you in September.

One of the immediate rules we have been advised to implement is that all tickets must be pre-booked; it is highly unlikely that gate tickets will be available or permitted.

Tickets can be booked now at www.magicactiononline.co.uk or by calling 0800 988 3199.

If you have already purchased tickets for Into The Valley or Farmyard Party this year:

The current Coronavirus restrictions are playing havoc with everyone’s lives. MAG is far from immune from these problems and has already been hit financially due to the cancellation of many of its fundraisers.

These events are the lifeblood of the organisation and without this income they may well struggle in the coming months.

To try to avoid this and ensure the future of our events, we ask you to kindly consider donating your ticket(s) to us/MAG to ensure we will all be back next year fighting fit.

PRE-BOOKED INTO THE VALLEY tickets only:

If tickets were purchased from a MAG rep or one of our outlets:

1. Donate the ticket cost to MAG – please email enquiries@mapevents.co.uk with your ticket numbers to notify us of this intention OR return your tickets to the PO Box* with DONATED written on the back.

2. Use your ticket at Yorkshire Pudding Rally 2020 or purchase an upgrade for £12 to a Weekend Farmyard Party (25-27 Sept).  To do this go to https://www.magicactiononline.co.uk/farmyard-party-upgrade (online only, not available via reps or outlets) 3. Return ticket/s to the outlet for a full refund (some outlets may currently be closed, please wait for them to reopen if you can)

If tickets were purchased online with a debit or credit card or with a cheque via the PO Box:

1. Donate the ticket cost to MAG – please email enquiries@mapevents.co.uk with your ticket numbers to notify us of this intention OR return your tickets to the PO Box* with DONATED written on the back 2. Use your ticket at Yorkshire Pudding Rally 2020 or purchase an upgrade for £12 to a Weekend Farmyard Party (25-27 Sept) to do this go to
https://www.magicactiononline.co.uk/farmyard-party-upgrade

3. Return them to the PO Box* for a refund (excludes booking fee(s), these are retained by our 3rd party booking agent)

PRE-BOOKED FARMYARD PARTY tickets only:

If tickets were purchased from a MAG rep or one of our outlets:

1. Use them for the new September date (25-27 Sept).

2. Donate the ticket cost to MAG: please email enquiries@mapevents.co.uk with your ticket numbers to notify us of this intention OR return your tickets to the PO Box* with DONATED written on the back.

3. Return them to the outlet for a full refund (some outlets may currently be closed, please wait for them to reopen if you can).

If tickets were purchased online with a debit or credit card or with a cheque via the PO Box:

1. Use them for the new September date (25-27 Sept).

2. Donate the ticket cost to MAG please email enquiries@mapevents.co.uk with your ticket numbers to notify us of this intention OR return your tickets to the PO Box* with DONATED written on the back.

3. Return them to the PO Box* for a refund (excludes booking fee(s), these are retained by our 3rd party booking agent).

* MAP EVENTS, PO Box 247, Beverley, HU17 9GY. Please write your contact number on the back of one of the tickets.

All enquiries: 0800 988 3199

Thanks to each and every one of you for your support. Take care till we see you in a field (hopefully sooner rather than later).

Pete.

Hopefully, the above information from MAGic Action Promotions will help you decide the best way forward with your rally plans.

And please don’t forget, you can also contribute to MAG’s fighting fund via the Donate button on the website.

Contact MAG at 01926 844 064 or central-office@mag-uk.org

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 central-office@mag-uk.org

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 central-office@mag-uk.org

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 central-office@mag-uk.org

POSTPONED Huddersfield MAG AGM – 13 May 2020 POSTPONED

29.3.2020 UPDATE:  THE AGM IS POSTPONED DUE TO THE ONGOING CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC; THE AGM WILL BE RESCHEDULED ONCE WE HAVE AN IDEA ABOUT WHEN RESTRICTIONS ON MOVEMENT AND GATHERINGS HAVE BEEN LIFTED

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 huddersfield-rep@mag-uk.org. 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: https://www.facebook.com/events/213045849830562/

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 central-office@mag-uk.org

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 http://www.mag-uk.org/en/membership/.  Normal office hours are 09:00 to 17:00.

Contact MAG at 01926 844 064 or central-office@mag-uk.org

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

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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 central-office@mag-uk.org

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