Yorkshire MAG newsletter February/March 2020

After our victory last year in getting the Leeds City Council Scrutiny Board to agree to a bus lane trial, we should have known that they’d try to put more obstacles in the way for us!

After sending in a report to help the officer in charge of implementing the trial, we received notification that he’s recommending another consultation!

What utter BS this is! Leeds City Council did one a few years ago and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority also did one (at a cost of £20,000) which led to their recommendation to allow bikes in bus lanes throughout the county.

What we now have is an unelected Council Officer challenging the decisions of both the WYCA and the LCC Scrutiny Board.

We’ve now got members in Leeds to email their MP’s to question the obvious bias and stalling tactics of LCC on this issue.

We’ve also been busy getting Leeds MPs to back our campaign to try to get Leeds City Council to allow motorcycles to continue to be able to use all lanes on Stanningley Road. For anyone that’s not familiar with it, there is a High Occupancy Vehicle lane that motorcycles can currently use. This is being changed into a full time bus lane, so as the rules currently stand, motorcycles would be banned from using this lane. The road has been narrowed significantly to allow the “cycle superhighway” to be put in so it’s now too narrow to filter so we’ll be stuck in the traffic if using this route between Leeds and Bradford. Yet more anti motorcycle bias from Leeds City Council.

Last week I attended the National Committee meeting in Warwick, where all the regional reps get together to discuss happenings around the country. Below are my notes from that meeting –

Police and Crime Commissioner elections are happening on the 7th May. Considering the dismal theft figures in Yorkshire as a whole this is something we should be keeping an eye out for. We need candidate names and email addresses as soon as they’re published so we can mobilise our members to start asking awkward questions and then encourage folk to vote.

The annual national theft FOI requests are going out this month so we can publish the figures and league table before the PCC elections.

After various requests for help for the Harry Dunn case, it was deemed that we shouldn’t be getting too involved on a organisational level as we’d be accused of hijacking the situation, as we have been in the past, but continue to support on an individual level. It has been suggested that a practical way to try to help this sort of incident never happen again, the MAG foundation is going to produce some “Drive on the left” stickers to give to all US bases to affix in their vehicles.

MAG are looking to add to their social media presence and expand into Twitter. This is something Marcus Houlden can help us all with in Yorkshire

The campaigns bit from Lembit and Colin were as this –

Lembit is trying to get Boris to join MAG after his Christmas present of a Yamaha 125 was made public

Brexit has changed nothing so far. MAG will continue as a FEMA member and we’ll have a chance to liaise and lobby our own government so the team is positive.

We’ve made contact with Grant Schapps the Transport Minister to ensure he knows who we are and what we do.

Oxford are introducing a zero emission “red zone” which will be surrounded by a Low Emission Zone. This is the first time a city has completely banned all vehicles from an area. The LEZ will cost all motorists £10 per day to enter. We need to try ensure this doesn’t spread as it has potential to seriously curtail our ability to ride.

After the recent furore around “smart motorways” and the continued advice that if you break down you should stay in your vehicle, MAG has asked the question, what should a broken down motorcyclist do in the same situation. We’ve yet to receive a reply.

We are continually looking for allies and we’ve met with British cycling and both agree that 90% of road issues (both positive and negative) are shared between the two modes of transport.

MAG are looking to engage with the Institute of Advanced Motorists/Motorcyclists as far more motorcyclists take further training and statistics show that motorcyclists are 6x safer when driving cars as drivers without a bike licence.

We’re engaging with the National Young Riders Forum to let them know who we are and try to interest their members in getting active within riders rights.

Ride to work day is now solely being promoted by MAG and will take place on 15th June. You don’t have to “ride to work”, just get out and ride on that day.

We’re looking into pushing a “filter friendly” campaign to highlight to motorists that if they give us room to filter, we’ll be out of their way and gone without any hold ups. It may also encourage motorists to try biking to speed up commuting.

The lowest estimate is that there are 1.2 million bikers in the U.K. and less than 1% are MAG members. In Sweden the percentage of bikers that are members of their riders rights organisation is nearer 30%. We are looking into what they do differently to us.

We need to be asking our members both nationally and locally “what do you want from MAG?” What campaigns? What events? What direction?

MAG is rolling out a monthly direct debit for membership. This will be £3 a month and should hopefully end the argument that joining MAG is too expensive!

As you’ll be aware Neil Liversidge had several motions voted on at the AGC to campaign to save the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE)

After much discussion MAG put out a position statement to this effect, but Neil felt that this wasn’t anywhere near enough. He wants a sub organisation called Choice In Personal Transport (CHIPT) and through that organisation, run a campaign called Motors for Voters.

He addressed the NC and explained that in his vision, we would use Lembit’s many contacts to try get oil companies and vehicle manufacturers on board to pay for the running of this sub organisation with the view that the current government stance of banning ICE sales within 15 years is misguided, unobtainable and dictatorial.

The campaign should encourage large scale green transport initiatives (trains, trams, busses etc) but for individuals we should still be allowed to have a choice in what motive power we use.

It was agreed that Lembit would put his hours back up to full time and assist Neil in doing o feasibility study into the campaign, with the aim of it being fully funded by oil and vehicle manufacturers and based primarily around social media campaigns.

The National Committee have asked for a feasibility study to be presented within six months and this was  agreed by a Neil and Lembit.

If you go on Facebook and look for CHIPT – choice in personal transport, and like this group and share it, that would be helpful and appreciated.

In Leeds we had our AGM at the end of January. I was re-elected along with an unchanged committee and I’d like to thank every one of the Leeds committee for your continued support.

One thing that was voted on was a potential name change. For the past nine years all email correspondence from Leeds MAG has gone to all LS and BD postcodes. This is due to there being no active group in Bradford. I’m now in negotiations with Bradford Council and have been asked why they have to deal with Leeds MAG.

I am now appealing to all Bradford members to see if there is a possibility of restarting Bradford MAG as a functioning group? If there is interest (contact me at manny@mag-uk.org) then I’ll do everything I can to help get things going. If there isn’t any interest in restarting Bradford MAG, then Leeds MAG will become Leeds and Bradford MAG (LABMAG) to help with negotiations with both councils.

Over in East Yorkshire, Rep, Garry Williams sent me a write up about their Post Christmas Blues party night on 24th January -This was the first running of this event and it was a great success and well attended with thanks going to Shane Robson for organising the evening along with Lauren and Megan Roche for running the ever popular tombola generating more funds for MAG.

A couple of weekends ago the West Yorkshire MAG groups had to postpone the Fred Hill run due to extremely dangerous conditions. We’ve rearranged it for Sunday 17th May as this coincides with Fred Hill’s birthday.

In East Yorkshire their made of sterner (dafter?) stuff and their Fred Hill ride went ahead as planned despite the best efforts of Storm Ciara.  Attendance was understandably sparse, but eleven members along with Blue the dog safely completed the run in somewhat extreme weather conditions aboard six bikes, an outfit and a trike.   The riders were welcomed back at the Foresters pub with hot drinks, home made soup and hot dogs laid on by Anji and Rod Littley  raising an excellent £56 for MAG in the process.

Last weekend Huddersfield MAG held a Top Box Sale at The Fieldhead and raised £104 for MAG funds, selling pre-loved bike kit to bargain hunting bikers.

We’ve had notice from West Yorkshire Police that their latest investigation into bike theft has yielded little reward so far. My personal opinion is that we need to be holding the West Yorkshire Police and crime commissioner to account in the upcoming elections.

Myself and Colin Brown had a meeting before Christmas at Leeds Elland Road Police HQ with the West Yorkshire crime prevention officer and one of the area managers of “Park Mark” car park accreditation scheme to discuss adding secure motorcycle parking into the list of requirements to gain the Park Mark certificate. The upshot of these meetings is that Park Mark are going to trial secure motorcycle parking in several car parks in West Yorkshire. This is a great win for us so if you see them, use them.

Here is the link to the current “Network” which will keep you informed with MAG happenings around the country. https://wiki.mag-uk.org/images/f/fa/Network_2020-2.pdf

We’re still wanting to restart Scarborough MAG and York MAG or get a completely new group going in North Yorkshire. If anyone is willing to become a rep (it’s great fun and very rewarding) or even host a meeting, just to get a likeminded group of folk keeping in touch and pushing the MAG message, please give me a call (07867918722) or message me via email, text, Facebook etc. North Yorkshire is a big area and it’s a real shame we don’t have a North Yorkshire group or two, especially considering it’s a biking Nirvana.

If you’ve not already joined the North Yorkshire MAG Facebook group, please consider doing so. We’re looking at planning some meetings at The Sun Inn at Norwood in the coming months and also doing some ride outs to cafes in North Yorkshire. We’ll be getting info out about these things on Facebook as the new North Yorkshire MAG website isn’t up and running yet.

It’d be great to get some stuff going on in the biggest county in Yorkshire so come along and join in with the things we’re planning.

If you have any ideas for events and fundraisers or if you like to see your local group do something different, get in touch with either me or your local rep. MAG is member led and without your input and participation it will stagnate.

We’ve got a few events coming up in the next few months that you may want to add to your diaries.

Saturday 14th March – Leeds MAG presents an evening with Steph Jeavons @ Squires Cafe from 8pm. The first woman to ride a motorcycle on all seven continents and earlier this year led an all female group riding Enfields to Everest base camp. Tickets available for £10 at Leeds MAG meetings, online at the Leeds MAG shop or directly from Squires.

Tuesday 17th March – Leeds MAG Easter Egg run to Lineham Farm children’s centre. Meeting from 6pm at Cardigan Fields car park (behind McDonalds on Kirkstall Road) to ride to the farm to deliver Easter Eggs to the kids. All welcome and don’t forget to bring some chocolate eggs.

Friday 1st to Sunday 3rd May – Into The Valley – full details from https://www.mapevents.co.uk

Sunday 17th May – rearranged West Yorkshire MAG Fred Hill run – meeting at Squires Cafe from 10am to leave at 11am to ride to The Sun Inn at Norwood

Friday 19th to Sunday 21st June – The Farmyard Party – full details from https://www.mapevents.co.uk

Friday 31st July to Sunday 2nd August – The Yorkshire Pudding Rally – full details from https://www.mapevents.co.uk

Stuart, the South Yorkshire Rep has secured a very good deal for MAG members in that neck of the woods. “Thanks to our friends at doncaster motorcycles mag members who produce a valid mag membership card will enjoy 10% off mot ,all services and summer prep, winter prep for next winter, on top of that there will be deals on selected tyres ,accessories and consumables this will however not cover already discounted goods. Remember this is subject to you producing a valid membership card thanks Neil Sawbridge and Dr tepi ?”

Finally if you want to get more involved at a local level (and to really get the most out of your MAG membership, I strongly recommend that you do) here are the meeting details of the five Yorkshire MAG groups – though we are looking to expand with more groups so if you haven’t got one close by and fancy getting together with like minded bikers, get in touch with me at manny@mag-uk.org

We’re very lucky in having some very strong groups in Yorkshire, but we need the members to join in, so pop along to your local meeting and help to make a difference

East Yorkshire MAG meet on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays from 8pm at The Forresters Arms HU17 0PR

Huddersfield MAG meet every Wednesday from 8.30pm at The Fieldhead HD3 4FB

Leeds MAG meet every 1st Tuesday and 3rd Thursday from 8pm at The Royal Hotel LS28 8PR

South Yorkshire MAG meet every 1st and 3rd Sunday from 7pm at The Ball,1 Hesley Bar, Thorpe Hesley, Rotherham, S61 2PW https://www.facebook.com/groups/SouthYorksMAG/permalink/10158070748358343/

Wakefield MAG meet every Wednesday from 8.30 at The Grey Horse WF1 1JG

Hope to see you at an event or meeting very soon.

Ride safe

Manny (Yorkshire MAG rep)