Category Archives: News

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.

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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.

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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: https://wiki.mag-uk.org/images/e/e7/Rankings_August_2019.pdf

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 central-office@mag-uk.org

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.”

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

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10-07-2019 How many pre-Euro3 motorcycles need to be charged to offset NOx emissions from an Airbus A320?

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The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) has expressed anger on discovering that the proposed Heathrow Ultra Low Emission Zone (HULEZ) will include a charge on older motorcycles.

Proposals for a charge for more polluting vehicles driving to London’s Heathrow Airport terminals were announced in May this year.  Despite the press reports suggesting that the HULEZ would mirror Sadiq Khan’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone, there was no readily available information to confirm whether the charge would affect motorcycles.
MAG’s Director of Communications & Public Affairs, Lembit Opik, commented:
“It would seem unlikely to anyone with an ounce of common sense that a charge on road vehicles will do anything to reduce overall emissions in anything approaching a meaningful way when opening an entire new runway at Heathrow Airport.  Despite this, Heathrow seem intent on virtue signalling their way through a consultation on this very idea.  Imagine our disgust, therefore, when we discovered that the plan even proposes to repeat Khan’s basic error of charging a transport mode proven to help reduce emissions.  How many pre-Euro3 motorcycles do they think it would take to emit the same amount of NOx as an Airbus A320?!”
Director of Campaigns & Political Engagement, Colin Brown said:
“The proposal to include pre-Euro3 motorcycles in this daft scheme was hidden deep – very deep.  In fact it was buried so deep that we had to specifically ask for confirmation on the subject.  The response shocked me.  Yes, Heathrow are proposing to exactly copy the London Mayor’s illogical policy on motorcycles.  They seem somewhat embarrassed about this though, as the reference to motorcycles is hidden away in a single table of emissions standards buried on page 229 of a 444 page ‘Surface Access Proposals’ document.
“Needless to say MAG will be making a formal response to the consultation, and we encourage all bikers to follow suit.  There is simply no justification for this charge to be imposed.”
The consultation can be accessed via the Heathrow consultation website https://aec.heathrowconsultation.com/.  The consultation covers an enormous amount of detail on a host of different subjects including:
•    a Preferred Masterplan for expansion;
•    plans to operate the future airport;
•    preliminary assessment of the effects of the airport’s growth;
•    plans to manage the effects of expansion.
If you only wish to respond on the particular issue of the proposed HULEZ, MAG recommends that you use the email response option by emailing your comments to feedback@heathrowconsultation.com.  The closing date for the consultation is 13th September 2019.

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

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19-06-2019 MAG welcomes New DVSA videos to help learner drivers improve motorcyclist awareness

MAG has welcomed news of an initiative to help learner drivers be more aware of motorcycles on the road. A new set of training aids in the form of videos has been launched by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).  The realistic computer-generated videos aim to encourage learner drivers to be more aware of motorcyclists, and have been made with the help of road safety campaigner and keen biker Ria Brisland.  Ria’s 19-year-old son, Nick, died in April 2015 after being involved in a collision with a car while riding his motorcycle.
The videos will become part of DVSA’s official learning materials and education products.
Michael Ellis, Road Safety Minister, said: “After reading Ria’s story and her concerns for fellow bikers, I was determined to help her and I am delighted that these clips will now be seen by millions of learners, helping improve road safety.”
MAG’s Director of Campaigns & Political Engagement, Colin Brown said: “The MAIDS research project showed that about 70% of the main causes of collisions involving a motorcycle and another vehicle are attributable to the driver of the other vehicle failing to spot the motorcycle.  There is only so much that a motorcyclist can do to raise his or her visibility; we are always reliant on other road users taking the time and remembering to consciously look for motorcycles.  Hopefully these new training videos will help new drivers to learn this important habit.  ‘Sorry mate, I didn’t see you’ is a phrase that deserves to go out of common use as soon as possible.” A sample video can be viewed HERE

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

13-06-2019 MAG refuses to back down on ULEZ

MAG has received a belated response from Transport for London following two formal letters to Mayor Sadiq Khan.  Following a review of the response, MAG continues to press for greater clarity and common sense to be applied.

MAG wrote formally to Sadiq Khan in March, ahead of the 8th April launch of the Mayor’s ULEZ.  The initial letter requested a delay to implementation of charges for Powered Two Wheelers (PTWs).  There was no formal response. MAG wrote again on 25th April calling for a suspension of charges.  A response was finally received from Alex Williams, Director of City Planning at TfL dated 22nd May 2019.  The six page letter concludes by stating “We cannot therefore meet your request that motorcycles be exempt from ULEZ charges.” Going on to say “I trust this answers all of your queries and I look forward to working with you to prepare motorcyclists for the expansion of the ULEZ in October 2021”.

Selina commented “Whilst the letter was lengthy it carried no real substance, and failed to address the issues that we raised in a meaningful way.  A further round of virtue signalling and dismissive attitude fails to come close to acceptability in the eyes of our membership.”

MAG has therefore responded to Mr Williams with an eight page letter crammed full with hard facts and analysis of the weak comments made in Williams’ letter.

MAG’s Director of Campaigns & Political Engagement, Colin Brown, commented: ‘To me it is self-evident that decisions are being made by TfL that simply cannot be defended.  The revelations about the COPERT modelling flaws even lead to a comment from Williams that it was MAG that was mistaken on the issue of degradation factors.  This demonstrates that Mr Williams has not even looked at the model data that TfL claim to evidence motorcycle emissions.  Indeed my ongoing communications with EMISIA, the company that designed the modelling software, has revealed that they “could not locate the original study where the NO2 emissions originated from.”  For TfL to claim this modelling data as evidence is laughable.’

MAG’s Director of Communications & Public Affairs, Lembit Öpik, said: ‘If TfL and the Mayor think this issue will simply go away, they are very much mistaken.  We hope that Client Earth and others are following this case with interest.  If they are not, they should be.  Sadiq and his team are actively attacking proposals and policies that would accelerate the reduction of NO2 on the streets of London.  This simply does not fit with the claim that he is leading the way on reducing emissions in the shortest time possible.  The only thing his “hard hitting” policy is hitting, is the pockets of the very Londoners he claims to work for.  He is letting NO2 off the hook.’

In response to Alex Williams closing remark, the letter from MAG concludes: “The Motorcycle Action Group looks forward to working with TfL to achieve the correct outcome of exemption for all motorcycles from the expansion of ULEZ in October 2021, allied with a policy to positively promote modal shift from single-occupancy cars to motorcycles.”

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

27-05-2019 Yorkshire MAG Products

We had some new merchandise at Into The Valley 2019 that sold really well, to the point that we’re currently restocking for The Farmyard Party.
Below is another rundown of the latest merchandise and if we can facilitate it, we’re going to look at doing an online shop so you can still show your allegiance, even if you can’t get to a rally to buy one in person!
We have a revised Yorkshire MAG T-shirt
YMAG T-Shirts
We have some new embroidered beanie hats
YMAG Beanies
And we also have both Yorkshire MAG stickers and screen/window stickers
YMAG stickers

22-05-2019 MAG meets Secretary of State for Transport

ChrisGraylingChris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport, met the Motorcycle Action Group to discuss transport policy, the environment and the role of motorcycles in reducing emissions.

Mr Grayling and MAG met to discuss his position on transport and the environment; and to establish the extent to which he has considered powered two and three wheelers as part of the transport solution, especially in urban areas.

His primary environmental focus is CO2 and its impact on climate change. Lembit Öpik, MAG’s Director of Communications & Public Affairs, explains: ‘MAG has spent much time and effort on the environmental agenda and the Minister seemed impressed with this. We explored the technical aspects and we agreed to send him further information. We also spoke about how motorbikes are part of the micro-mobility option, to encourage travel with the smallest feasible vehicles.’

The Minister also understands the need to innovate in the sector. He said: ‘the British motorcycle industry failed to respond to the competitive environment in the 1960s. As a consequence, it was side-lined for decades – until it reinvented itself with a good new long-term strategy. That’s what seems to be driving the success of Triumph and others now.’ Clearly, he approves of that success and of the vision it took to reinvent British motorcycle manufacturing.

MAG believes Mr Grayling will give powered two wheelers their rightful space on Britain’s roads as long as he is presented with the right evidence. This should also lead to a further dialogue with his team. There are clear benefits in terms of road space and environmental footprint and these could play a key role in the Minister’s thinking on motorbikes and scooters.

‘At a time when British politics is generally in flux, it’s a refreshing change to meet someone in power who puts doing the right thing first,’ adds Lembit. ‘MAG can do business with him and that’s definitely a very encouraging outcome of this meeting.’

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

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14-02-2019 MAG holds talks with United Nations on environment

The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) has held its first meeting with the United Nations Environment Department to create a shared policy framework in relation to the role of motorcycles and the environmental agenda for transport.

Lembit Öpik, MAG’s Director of Communications & Public Affairs, organised the meeting following four months of preparations and negotiations. He said: ‘we agreed that there was a basis of interest for progressing this project between MAG and the UN. They recognise the importance of powered two- and three- wheelers in the transport mix, and even noted that the overwhelming majority of trips are made on motorbikes in places like Vietnam.

‘The goal now is to get specific about the detailed areas we need to agree a position on. This is likely to include the role of electrically powered machines, reducing the emissions footprint of petrol powered ones and seeking to work with other interested parties. It is also absolutely clear that they are concerned about the quality of fuel being used in many countries, and we can’t ignore that if we’re going to have an integrated approach with the United Nations on the role of petrol powered machines in these areas.

Our Political Unit will evaluate the information received from the meeting and generate a provisional action plan which will lead to a shared commitment to action.  The work MAG has commenced can have a global impact on policy towards powered two- and three-wheelers in the transport mix.

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

18-01-2019 Help us catch a potential road killer

MAG is offering up to £1,000 to catch a potential road killer.
MAG has announced a £1,000 reward for information leading to the successful prosecution of the individual responsible for a ‘hit & run’ incident near the Squires Café Bar in North Yorkshire, where a car driver left a seriously injured motorcyclist, Matthew Ramsden, lying on the road with his damaged motorcycle.

The incident occurred in Sherburn-in-Elmet. Police say that Matthew was travelling along the B1222, near Peckfield, on Sunday 6 January at around 4.40pm, when he collided with a car at the junction with the A63. The driver did not stop at the scene.
Castleford-based firm, West Riding Personal Financial Solutions, has also put up £1,000 for information leading to a prosecution. Police believe the car to be a silver saloon – possibly a VW or a Skoda – and it suffered severe rear bumper damage as a result of the collision.
Yorkshire MAG Representative Richard ‘Manny’ Manton describes this latest incident as a ‘line in the sand.’ He says: ‘the guilty driver showed no respect for the biker’s life or property – and also decided to evade the law instead of fulfilling a basic moral and legal responsibility as a road user.’

Manny continues: ‘we’re offering up to one thousand pounds for information leading to a successful prosecution because MAG isn’t going to stand by and tolerate blatant criminality on the highways of Yorkshire – or any other part of Britain. If you know who did this, and you don’t speak up, you’re protecting someone who can’t be trusted by you or anyone else. Help us get justice – and potentially pick up a thousand pounds for yourself. This offender isn’t fit to be on the roads. If they are not found, they can do it again – to you or someone you love.’

Please contact MAG on 01926 844 064 with any information. You can speak to us in confidence. We won’t reveal your identity – we just want the identity of a law-breaker too cowardly to stay at the scene of a serious accident where someone could have died.

You can visit this site to get further police information about the incident:

https://northyorkshire.police.uk/news/hit-run-appeal-b1222/

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

17-01-2019 MAG to work with the United Nations on transport policy

MAG will be working in partnership with the United Nations on motorcycling’s role in global transport policy.
MAG has received communication from the United Nations Environment Department, expressing their eagerness to work with the Motorcycle Action Group on promoting modal shift towards powered two and three wheelers.

This landmark development was announced in a reply to MAG’s Director of Communications & Public Affairs, Lembit Öpik: ‘As our understanding of the environmental agenda has deepened, we have inevitably found ourselves having to contact higher authorities,’ explains Lembit. ‘Our constant aim has been to ensure that motorcycles are being treated as part of the solution to reducing congestion and pollution – as well as cost – for private journeys.  I approached the United Nations because they are so influential in terms of environmental strategies. We have made a real breakthrough – and we’re clearly speaking to the right people there. This development is of global importance for motorcycling and its role in transport planning.’

The letter, received from the UN, states: ‘As you accurately stated in your letter, motorcycles could provide a short-term and immediate way to reduce emissions now.’ It adds: ‘We are delighted to hear of your interest in working with the United Nations on this important initiative and look forward to working with you as well.’

MAG’s next step is to engage with the UN Air Quality and Mobility Unit, to establish terms of reference for the collaboration. ‘I believe this is the most significant development for motorcycles in relation to environmental policies in recent history,’ adds Lembit. ‘What we do now will have implications for motorcycling across the planet.

‘It shows that diligent activity can lead to internationally significant partnerships. It is an exciting prospect to be working with the UN. It’s a win for them, the environment and all road users the world over. I’m pleased to be able to share such good news so early in 2019.’

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