Category Archives: News

02-01-2019 MAG starts the New Year determined to build on successes

MAG is looking forward to continuing to build on the good work achieved during 2018. MAG is ready to continue defending riders’ rights and to contribute to the decision-making processes at national and local government levels.

Selina Lavender, the Chair of MAG, noted that the organisation is ready to build on the achievements of 2018: “Everyone – from our Political Unit to our grassroots members – has played their part during the past year and I am confident that they will continue to do so during the year ahead.

“We will – as always – be meeting with various high-level authorities to push the motorcycling agenda forward and to get the best deals possible for motorcyclists in respect to legislation and best practice.

MAG has achieved some success with issues like CAZs and moped-enabled crime but there is still a great deal of work to do and we will rise to the challenge.”

MAG will continue to engage with Government and Local Authorities wherever a need to protect riders’ rights is identified and will continue to build the relationships already forged as well as generate new ones.

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

30-11-2018 MAG meets Mayor Khan: and it’s good news

MAG has held a long-awaited meeting with Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. The result of the exchange gives room for optimism amongst the motorcycling community.


‘It’s been a long time coming, but it was worth the wait,’ said MAG’s London Regional Rep, Tim Fawthrop, following MAG’s visit to Mayor Khan at the Greater London Authority’s headquarters in City Hall, on 27th November 2018.  The meeting was the result of months of lobbying, and the hugely helpful intervention of Greater London Authority Assembly Member Keith Prince AM, who secured and attended the meeting. Lembit Öpik and Colin Brown from MAG’s Political Unit were also present.

‘We covered two items,’ continues Tim. ‘One was bus lanes and the other was the threat to charge bikers in the Ultra-Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ Charge) if their motorbikes are beyond a certain age. MAG argues that this is unfair because bikes reduce congestion and pollution and make no measurable contribution to London’s emissions. I suggested that we should find a way to exempt those bikes that can be shown to have very low emissions, and the Mayor agreed to allow us to explore this further with his staff, which is a good outcome.’

The discussion on bus lanes was even more encouraging.  Mr Prince, who organised the meeting, said: ‘Mr Khan agreed that motorcycles should be allowed into bus lanes.  He assured us that all the so-called Red Routes in London, which are directly under TfL’s control, would remain open to bikes. He also said he’ll work with MAG to encourage the London Boroughs to open their routes up too. I’m glad to see the Mayor honour the promise he made on this matter.’

Next, MAG will meet the relevant officers to explore the best way to progress both matters. Lembit adds ‘It’s a credit to the Mayor that the meeting was not just a box-ticking exercise, but a real chance to talk about our ideas and suggestions. It leaves me optimistic about Mr Khan’s attitude towards biking now, and I’m happy to say so.’

Contact MAG at 01926 844 064 or

28-07-2018 MAG demands action on ‘Pothole Britain’

MAG has added its voice to demands that the appalling state of our roads is addressed. Road faults are damaging motorcycles and causing injury and death

MAG has backed the RAC’s criticisms of the state of the roads in the UK.  The damage to the road surfaces has been caused by limited repair budgets and extreme weather – both hot and cold – which the UK has recently experienced.

David Bizley, RAC Chief Engineer, said: ‘From a driver’s point of view, our roads are still in a poor state of repair after the damage caused by ‘The Beast from the East’ and the generally harsh late winter conditions the country experienced.’ The RAC recorded 4,091 pothole-related breakdowns between April and June – the highest figure for this three-month period since 2015.

The figure includes breakdowns for the category ‘likely to be attributed to damage caused by potholes and poor-quality road surfaces’ – such as damaged shock absorbers, broken suspension springs or distorted wheels.

The RAC also says its Pothole Index – which is based on a quarterly rolling analysis of pothole-related breakdowns – shows a worsening picture in the second quarter of 2018.

The index, which began at a base of 1.00 in 2006 when the RAC started recording data, moved upwards from 2.63 across the three-month measuring period to 2.67, marking five successive quarters of deterioration.

A spokesman for the Motorcycle Action Group, Ian Churchlow, said:
‘potholes are not a theoretical problem for bikers. They cause real accidents and real injuries – and even fatalities. We read and hear endless calls for reduced death and injury on the road from the road safety groups. We would invite them to join us to take a common-sense attitude towards something which would make a far bigger difference than reduced speed limits – better road surfaces. Specifically, that means devoting time and effort to getting local authorities to fix the roads, which may not be glamorous but it’s very important. Our question is:
will the road safety lobby work with us to achieve that? This is the litmus test about whether or not they are serious about road safety.
Pothole Britain is killing riders and this has to end.’

Contact MAG at 01926 844 064 or

21-06-2018 ‘Billboards Outside City Hall’ secure a meeting with the Mayor

The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) is looking forward to a meeting with the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to discuss questions regarding environmental fairness, crime and road safety regarding motorcyclists in the city.

The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) has thanked Greater London Authority Assembly Member Keith Prince AM for securing a landmark meeting with London Mayor Sadiq Khan, to discuss motorcycle safety, environmental charging and crime issues. Bikers held up signs outside London’s City Hall on Thursday 21st June with words echoing the film ‘Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri.’ The billboards said:







Tim Fawthrop, the Motorcycle Action Group’s London Representative, says: ‘compared to cyclists, four times more bikers died on London’s highways in 2016   with 9 cycling fatalities versus 36 fatally injured motorcyclists. But, while the authorities invest £154 million per year on cycling, there’s almost nothing being invested to make roads safer for riders. They’ve even narrowed the lanes to prevent or deter ‘filtering’ between lines of stationary traffic by riders – though this is a perfectly legal riding activity, reducing congestion and pollution for everyone by keeping motorbikes out of queues.

‘On top of this, they threaten us with new charges on older bikes which, by TfL’s own figures, produce almost no pollution at all, and are essential transport for the least wealthy who depend on them to get to low-paid jobs, maybe including at City Hall to clean the Mayor’s bins. So we’re truly grateful to Keith Prince for getting a meeting for the riding community with the Mayor – and we thank Sadiq Khan for agreeing.’

Keith Prince highlighted the issues facing riders in his contributions at Mayor’s Question Time. Afterwards he said, ‘I’ve now spoken with the Mayor and his staff and this meeting will go ahead. We just need to approach it with logic and evidence and seek to ensure the Mayor can see the benefits of a positive approach towards riding. I think he’ll do that if we ourselves show a cooperative attitude.’

Contact MAG at 01926 844 064 or

08-06-2018 Off-road racing and riding could be banned unless YOU act

MAG has backed the Motor Cycle Industry Association’s attack on a European Commission edict that could end motorcycle sport.
MAG is urgently appealing to riders across the UK to contact their Member of Parliament and help prevent the effective banning of competitive, off-road riding of all kinds in the United Kingdom.

‘The threat comes from a European Union Directive’ explains MAG’s Director of Communications & Public Affairs, Lembit Öpik. ‘It would require all mechanically propelled vehicles to get full third-party motor insurance to cover injury, damage and loss, on public and private roads or land. By changing what’s called the ‘Motor Insurance Directive’ (MID), it could end competitive riding in the UK and EU.’

The extreme threat arises from a single legal case regarding liability (known as the ‘Vnuk’ Judgment). Its consequences would be disastrous because insurance firms would find it economically impossible to insure competitive off-road riding activities, given the realities of damage to machines, collisions and all the elements which are the essence of competitive racing. This could more or less wipe out these sorts of events. The MCIA estimates that this could terminate activities involving over 1.7 million spectators and 55,000 riders annually, at over 4000 off-road and track events. This latest move stems from a broken commitment by the EU to resolve this issue. British Government officials have stated they oppose this unjustified measure.

Tony Campbell, CEO of the MCIA said: “In the UK alone, motorcycle sport is estimated to be worth £1 billion, which rises to around £11 billion across all forms of UK motor sports. We strongly support UK Government efforts, but our message is clear – whatever the outcome of these new proposals Government must take action in order to avoid the catastrophic damage that will be inflicted on Motorsport across the board if this ruling turns into law – even if this means defying Brussels.”

Lembit adds: ‘The UK Government has actively supported efforts to remove this threat to off-road riding and racing. Please contact your MP, asking them to write to Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport, to ensure the UK Government will honour its pledge to ignore this draconian and virtually pointless directive from the EU Commission.’

Contact MAG at 01926 844 064 or

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

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

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


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.



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


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