Category Archives: News

28-04-2018 Highways England, MAG and others turn concerns into action

HighwaysEnglandHighways England continues to be a role model for action following its Motorcycle Infrastructure Sub-Working Group meeting on 17th April 2018.
Lembit Öpik, MAG’s Director of Communications & Public Affairs, regards this as ‘amongst the most productive project groups in our Political Unit’s calendar. Rarely have I seen a team which delivers so much and so well – in this case with a task list 28 pages long.’ These include:

•    Recommending a review of roadside advertising, which can easily draw the attention of drivers – after all, that’s the purpose of advertising. Highways England already refuses advertising within their highway boundary.
•    Assessing the danger of signposts and trees present near the roadside – with a request for inclusion of clear standards in safety planning. Data shows 91% of impacts with trees by motorcyclists led to death or serious injury.
•    Highways England is assessing the extent to which ‘armadillos’ and ‘orcas,’ present a danger. They’ve been raised with the Safer Roads Team Specialist.
•    ‘Turbo roundabouts,’ which introduce raised separation of lanes, will not be included in the plans of Highways England.
•    On potholes and manhole covers the committee recommends clear standards of repair and a review of the frictional qualities of manhole covers. Law already exists but possibly isn’t being enforced (Street Works Act, Section 81). Other legislation says ‘Ironwork must (have) similar friction qualities to that of the road surface (TD 54/07 Paragraph 4.9).’ Safety inspection protocols were also covered.
•    They’re issuing advice on differential heights on road surfaces where rutting and raised edges present a danger to riders. Slippery joints between road sections – known as ‘overbanding’ – were also discussed.
•    48% of rider accidents at roundabouts and 47% of rider accidents at T or staggered junctions result in death or serious injury. The group recommends guidance in the ‘Guide to Road Safety Route Treatments.’
•    A notable statistic is that, on the Strategic Road Network, 14% of rider accidents are caused by vehicles pulling out on bikers.

‘We got through a lot,’ adds Jimmy Torrance, Manchester MAG Representative and fellow member of this sub-group. ‘You know, they actually listen to riders. Road surface issues are a direct test – if Highways England does repair more dangerous potholes and resurfaces slippery manhole covers,that would prove the group’s usefulness.’

If you have specific concerns about major roads, please let Lembit or Jimmy know, and they can raise these issues at the sub-working group.

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

24-04-2018 Riders call for common sense regarding crime and congestion

Ian Mutch KhanLondon demo calls on Mayor Khan and Government to come to their senses about motorcycle-enabled crime and unfair pollution taxes.
The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) held their biggest demonstration in years last Saturday to highlight the unfairness of a new pollution tax that London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, is threatening to introduce and which will hit some of the poorest workers in the capital.The demonstration, organised by MAG’s London Regional Representative, Tim Fawthrop, drew support from all elements of the riding community including dispatch riders, delivery riders, commuters and leisure bikers.
Selina Lavender, MAG’s Chair, said ‘A big thank you to the MAG members who put in the hours to bring the demo together. It was great to see riders turn out in support of the event and I really enjoyed riding with you all. Hopefully Mr Khan will get the message!’
Keith Prince, Chair of the Greater London Authority Transport Committee and a motorcyclist himself, added his voice to the call for common sense: ‘I am disappointed that the Mayor of London has chosen to punish the most vulnerable with his ULEZ tax by again not keeping his promise to work with the motorcycling community. Ironically as a socialist, he is taxing the least well off; the low-paid essential workers and night workers who need their small-capacity bikes to get to work and cannot afford to replace them. Transport for London’s “Easy Rider” report of 2015 states “powered two wheelers are part of the solution.”  Why, two years later, are we now part of the problem?’

Other speakers included Peter Ramsbottom, London Deputy Regional Representative, who is equally disappointed by the actions of the Mayor: ‘We need to view motorcycles as a solution to the problem, and that’s what MAG has been campaigning for since these recent threats emerged.’

MAG’s President, Ian Mutch, summed up the campaigning commitment of MAG: ‘The Mayor really does need to think about motorcycling because he made many promises to us before being elected. Now we invite him to talk directly with MAG. Currently, his policies on motorcycling are counterproductive: they ignore the benefits that motorcycles of all kinds bring to the commuting mix.’

Colin Brown, MAG’s recently appointed Director of Campaigns & Political Engagement, said of the event ‘this was a peaceful, good natured demonstration but there is real anger amongst bikers who don’t understand how the Mayor can think it’s fair to charge riders of old mopeds £12.50 a day to enter the city, while someone with a six-litre sports car gets in for free, as far as the pollution tax is concerned, if it’s a new vehicle. We believe we have a strong legal case based on discrimination. We hope it doesn’t come to that but if the Mayor is willing to damage his own reputation to defend a tax on the poor, then MAG will take him on, all the way to court if necessary.’

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

19-04-2018 Campaigners Vow To Shut Down Central London In Fight Against Pollution And Road Deaths

HullCrimeDemo

London’s motorcycling community is protesting against City Hall’s lack of action in respect to rising motorcyclist deaths and against the unfair Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) tax which looks set to make pollution worse

.Led by the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG), London’s riders will hold a city-wide day of action this Saturday 21 April to protest against the Mayor’s policies, which are contributing to the mounting deaths of Londoners who ride motorcycles and scooters.

Thousands of motorcyclists will descend on Westminster and then rally near the Mayor’s Office, where they will be addressed by supporters, including Peter Ramsbottom (Labour) and Keith Prince AM (Conservative). Liberal Democrats declined the invitation to send a speaker. Mayor Sadiq Khan also turned down the invitation.

Tim Fawthrop, MAG’s London Regional Representative, said: “For the last two years we have been trying to get the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to uphold his pre-election promises and meet with us but he will not engage in meaningful dialogue”.

Mother and London motorcyclist, Megan Anderson, said: “As a trainee teacher and mother, money and time are tight. I use a motorbike to commute because it’s cheap and quick. Using public transport is cost-prohibitive and takes too long. I wouldn’t be able to get home in time to pick my daughter up from nursery or be able to afford to send her in the first place! A motorcycle is the perfect solution that means I get to spend more time with my family, whilst also dedicating the time and attention needed in order to learn to teach.”

A recent study has shown that the congestion charge has worsened the pollution problem by forcing Londoners from cleaner personal transport onto heavily-polluting diesel black cabs. Sadiq Khan’s ULEZ plans look set to do the same thing, since he is planning to charge virtually zero pollution motorcycles whilst exempting diesel-guzzling black cabs.

London Assembly Member, Keith Prince, a keen motorcyclist who plans to attend the protest, said: “I just don’t understand what Mayor Khan has against motorcyclists. His Deputy, before taking office, said in her report that Powered Two Wheelers were part of the solution to congestion! Now City Hall seems to have declared war on motorbikes and scooters. We know that many key workers are reliant on their bikes yet Mayor Khan wants to tax them off the road! I just don’t get it – it’s madness!”

Mr Prince added: “It could also expose the Mayor and TfL to the possibility of legal action on the basis of discrimination, as he’s disadvantaging the least wealthy in London’s workforce on the basis of an illogical and punitive charge on small motorcycles”.

Contact: Motorcycle Action Group (London Region)

T: 07974 729509; E: tfawthrop@mag-uk.
Twitter: twitter.com/london_mag_

START/MEET UP POINTS link: https://wiki.mag-uk.org/images/d/da/Motorcycle_Matters_Start_points.pdf

RIDE BRIEF link: https://wiki.mag-uk.org/images/5/57/Motorcycle_Matters_Ride_Brief_19_04_2018.pdf

11-04-2018 MAG meets West of England Regional Mayor in breakthrough summit

WesternMayor

MAG met Mayor Tim Bowles in Bristol to ask: why aren’t motorbikes in his transport strategy?
MAG’s Western Region Political Officer, Geoff Mills, teamed up with MAG’s Director of Communications & Public Affairs, Lembit Öpik, to meet the Mayor of the West of England Combined Authority, Tim Bowles.

Geoff says ‘the main question we had was: “Why have motorbikes been reduced to a footnote in the latest West of England transport study? Is it a deliberate marginalisation or just an oversight?” We got our answer. It turns out that the Mayor is more than willing to include us as part of the solution to the congestion and access problems of the sub-region, and that’s very encouraging.’

Geoff is inclined to take the Mayor at his word. ‘It’s not so important why we weren’t recognised. What matters now is that we will be. I’m already on a committee which is discussing these points. With Mayor Bowles’ endorsement, we can make sure that sensible and relevant inclusion of powered two wheelers will happen. That’s why we went to engage with him; so you could say the meeting was 100% successful.’

Looking ahead, MAG has agreed to provide a summary of key facts about motorcycling, which Geoff and Lembit will be preparing. They’re also submitting a specific set of amendments to ensure inclusion of motorcycles and scooters. It seems clear that MAG will occupy an advisory role from now on, in the same way it does in many other parts of the UK. ‘This is how politics is supposed to work,’ observes Geoff. ‘To be honest, I was impressed with the Mayor and I do feel that if we do our part for bikers, he will do his.’

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

15-04-2018 Motorcycle Theft Awareness Ride in Hull

Huddersfield MAG members joined MAG members from across Yorkshire and hundreds of other bikers, trikers and scooter riders on Sunday 15 April 2018 in Hull in a ride around the city, at the end of a week of action by police to tackle motorbike crime.  Operation Yellowfin has targeted bike thefts as well as anti-social behaviour.

And we got on the telly.  See the news report at: http://www.itv.com/news/calendar/2018-04-15/hundreds-join-ride-out-to-tackle-motorbike-crime-in-hull/

 

28-03-2018 They may be daft, but it’s for a good cause!

The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG), the UK’s leading voice for riders, will be hoping for good weather over the Easter weekend as riders set off on a lengthy fundraising trip.

Around twenty intrepid MAG members hope to embark on a week-long adventure entitled ‘The Daft Way Up’ to raise funds for MAG and Macmillan Cancer Support. The trip will be self-funded, ridden on ‘inappropriate’ motorcycles and will take a week to complete.

Richard Manton, Yorkshire Regional Rep for MAG said: “We are inviting members to join us along the route on their own motorcycles (inappropriate or not) to support and highlight our efforts. We will set off each day at 10.00 am from the following venues:

Sunday April 1st – Lands’ End visitors centre, TR19 7AA
Monday April 2nd – Bishops Tawton Road, Barnstaple, EX32 0AX
Tuesday April 3rd – The Blacksmiths Arms, Lydney, GL15 6AU
Wednesday April 4th – Glossop Travelodge, SK13 8HT
Thursday April 5th – Haggs Bank Bunkhouse, Alston, CA9 3LH
Friday April 6th – Glenrothes Travelodge, KY7 6GH
Saturday April 7th – Inverness Fairways Travelodge, IV2 6AA

and we hope to arrive at John O’ Groats at approximately 2.00 pm on the final day.

If you can see us off, welcome us in or join in yourself at any point,
it will be greatly appreciated. Anyone who does join in will be able to obtain a pair of ‘Daft Way Up’ stickers for a suggested donation of
£5.00. All support and donations will be very gratefully received.”

One of the bikes on the trip will have a tracker fitted so it will be possible to see exactly where the DWU riders are at any point. There will be a ‘Daft Way Up Diary’ posted on Facebook with daily updates and donations can be pledged via the donation page on Facebook; just Google ‘daft way up’ and follow the links.

Donations will be split 50/50 between MAG and Macmillan Cancer
Support. Donate en-route to any of “The Dafties” or online at
https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/mag-daft-way-up

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

23-03-2018 MAG welcomes GLA Transport Committee bike safety report but slams ‘Third World roads in a First World capital’

bikesmbikes

MAG has praised the Greater London Authority (GLA) Transport Committee for their intelligent assessment of the shortcomings in London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s attitude towards motorcycle safety in the city.
London’s Regional Representative for MAG, Tim Fawthrop, clarifies the riding community’s concerns: ‘MAG has actively worked with Transport for London (TfL) and the GLA to assist with creating a coherent safety agenda for motorcycle and scooter riders. While some of the recommendations have been accepted, others have been either ignored or apparently agreed to but subsequently not actioned.
‘For instance, the Urban Motorcycle Design Handbook, which was a great piece of work to which MAG actively contributed, appears to have created no urgency amongst TfL officers. In addition, the opening of all bus lanes to bikers across London is a proven life saver. Why haven’t we seen any effort by TfL to persuade Boroughs to do that?
‘Cycle schemes receive hundreds of millions of pounds in funding, even though their safety figures indicate far fewer fatalities and injuries than for motorcyclists. Yet TfL’s own data shows that the fatality rate amongst motorcyclists in 2016 was four times greater than that for cyclists. Compared to just eight cycle users, thirty-three bikers lost their lives. Yet a number of the changes that TfL has implemented are making motorcycling riskier: for example, narrowing lanes so the perfectly legal process of filtering by motorbikes is made more dangerous. Also, the state of the road surface in places is shocking; something the Chair of the Committee, Keith Prince, and his team, have rightly included in the report. There are locations where we’ve got Third World roads in a First World capital.
‘MAG once again offers to work with TfL to help secure the training, the road policy and to get the attitude towards the hundreds of thousands of bikers in the capital right. It’s not difficult. They just have to listen to the advice they’ve repeatedly been given. They’ve done it for cyclists. If they’re serious about Londoners’ lives, they’ll do what it takes to reduce the unacceptably large number of motorcyclists’ lives which are being lost too. To not do so is a breach of their duty of care towards an economically important community of road users in London.’
Contact MAG at 01926 844 064 or central-office@mag-uk.org

16-03-2018 West Midlands Bike Theft: Light at the end of the tunnel?

Freedom of Information (FOI) figures that have been received by the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) in the West Midlands are demonstrating a glimmer of hope for all riders in the region.
Figures for the last quarter of 2017 show a 25% reduction in motorcycle theft in the West Midlands when compared with the same period in 2016.  Figures for the last quarter of 2016 showed a massive spike that seemed to coincide with the antisocial use of motorcycles around Halloween.  West Midlands Police activity on the lead-up to Halloween 2017 appears to have shown dividends.

PC Paul Ennis of West Midlands Police said “West Midlands Police are delighted to see a reduction in the number of motorcycle thefts for the period; it shows that a partnership approach to this area of crime can make a significant difference. We will continue to work with partners and offer advice at a series of events over the coming year. Our aim is to reduce the number of machines that get stolen, reducing the personal loss to individuals and the knock on effect that stolen machines have in other areas of criminal antisocial behaviour”
Colin Brown, Director of Campaigns & Political Engagement for MAG said “This is a welcome development that demonstrates that proactive policing and the raft of measures being used by West Midlands Police are having an impact.” Colin went on to air a word of caution:  “We do need to recognise, however, that overall theft figures for 2017 were still more than 13% higher than in 2016.  The scale of this issue sees bikers being significantly more likely to have their vehicle stolen than other road users.  The fight is far from over but this may just indicate a tipping point – let’s keep up the pressure.”
Despite a massive rise in car theft (78% increase in 2017 compared to 2016) West Midlands motorcyclists are still over 8 times more likely to suffer from vehicle theft than car owners.  Interestingly cyclists, who have seen significant infrastructure investment in secure parking facilities, can boast that cycle theft has, in the same period, actually reduced by nearly 7%.
West Midlands MAG has partnered with West Midlands Police and Streetbike to hold a motorcycle security night on 6th April.  Attendees will have the chance to hear what West Midlands Police are doing about bike theft, hear how MAG is working on the issue locally and nationally and receive some excellent discounts on security devices for their machines.  The event will give bikers the opportunity to ask questions and make points directly to the Police as well as getting help and advice on keeping their machines secure.  Find more details on the West Midlands Motorcycle Action Group Facebook Page.

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

Event flier link: https://wiki.mag-uk.org/images/4/46/SB—Security-Night.png
Updated position statement: wiki.mag-uk.org/images/d/d1/Position_Statement_Theft_updated_12.03.2018.pdf

09-03-2018 Manchester revs up for Biker event

ManchesterBikeShow2018

MAG, is pleased to be supporting the forthcoming Manchester Bike Show. Billed as “the number one bike show in the North”, Manchester Bike Show will take place at Event City on Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th March 2018.

This event is taking place for the seventh year, having rapidly become a fixture on the bike show circuit.
Full details regarding this premier event and how to purchase tickets can be found at www.manchesterbikeshow.com.
MAG’s North West Regional Rep, Tony Cox, said “MAG is very pleased to be supporting this event, which should attract bikers from all quarters, and we’ll be celebrating all that’s good about biking.  Do come along to our stand number 430 and have a chat with us about what we do.”

MAG is a leading riders’ rights organisation, campaigning via lobbying and education for a better deal for bikers.
Individual MAG membership is just £27.00 a year, a great deal given the benefits and protection the organisation gives to the biking community on many riders’ rights issues.  To join, visit the MAG membership page or call our office (number below) or speak to a MAG member.

We also offer several levels of corporate membership for businesses who feel they could support MAG.  Please contact Central Office for further details (see below).

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

05-03-2018 Join the ‘holey’ crusade: MAG backs National Pothole Day

pothole1.

The Motorcycle Action Group calls on riders to use National Pothole Day on March 8th 2018 to get local authorities to fill holes and save lives.
MAG is inviting all riders to highlight holes in the road on National Pothole Day: March 8th 2018. MAG’s Director of Campaigns & Political Engagement, Colin Brown, asks bikers to ‘make a simple call to the Council or send an email about the road damage you’ve noticed – and which could cost lives.’ Colin is determined to hold local authorities accountable for providing safe road surfaces: ‘bikers are a hardy lot, but that won’t prevent dangerous accidents because of holes in the road.
Hospital treatment is far more costly than fixing a pothole. We’re determined to work with the authorities to ensure road-related accidents are prevented before they happen.’

It’s worth noting that adverse weather conditions wreck badly repaired potholes, making the investment pointless and the repair potentially more dangerous than it was in the first place. Frost fractures a poor repair, making it an accident waiting to happen. By contrast, a good repair leads to a lasting improvement to the road surface and doesn’t need repeated maintenance.

Colin adds, ‘MAG asks you to take two minutes to tell your local authority about troublesome irregularities in the road. It’s essential to preventing spills. If we don’t tell them, they won’t know. If we do tell them, then they’ve got a responsibility to act. It’s as simple as that. Let’s help ourselves by giving them the information they need to stop avoidable – and potentially life-threatening – accidents. It’s common sense and easy to do.’ Find out who to contact by calling your local authority, or follow this link:

https://www.gov.uk/report-pothole

You can learn more about National Pothole Day at:

https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/68437-national-pothole-day-2018
https://www.facebook.com/pg/NPD2018/about/
https://twitter.com/hashtag/nationalpotholeday2018?src=hash&lang=en

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