Yorkshire MAG newsletter October/November 2020

I hope you’re all managing to stay sane and healthy during these strange times.

If you live near one of the larger towns or cities you’ll be fully aware of the affects of the government splashing the cash on “sustainable transport schemes”. Extra bus lanes, pedestrianisation schemes and pop up cycle lanes are everywhere!

Unfortunately none of these do anything for our safety as, currently we’re not allowed to use any of them in West Yorkshire (though things are better in South and East Yorkshire as bikes are allowed in bus lanes) and road space has been compressed yet again making things more dangerous for PTW users across the county. This was all done on the back of central government funding but it now means that it’s even more important to push for motorcycle access to bus lanes.

In Doncaster, a councillor has opened up all bus lanes to motorcycles without prompting. Stuart (the SY Rep) is in contact to find out what has prompted this action and to find out all the details.

At the other end of the scale Leeds City Council have finally decreed that the long awaited bus lane trial will be along Kirkstall Road from Horsforth to Leeds and will start before this financial year is over and will last for a full year.

Unfortunately it seems that LCC are already getting their excuses ready, not to roll out motorcycle bus lane access across the city by telling us that the base line for traffic flow will be affected by the Covid pandemic and also that the Kirkstall Road bus lane is the widest in Leeds and all others won’t allow safe overtaking of busses!

We’re currently plotting our next move.

Secure motorcycle parking facilities have returned to Castleford after being removed from Sagar Street during roadworks but not subsequently reinstated. The secure parking barrier in Sagar street was originally funded by MAG. After numerous discussions with Wakefield Council, secure parking for motorcycles is being reinstated in nearby Wesley Street in the town as well.

In East Yorkshire, as mentioned in the last newsletter, Hull City Council have been installing additional cycle and bus lane infrastructure across the city, partially driven through the championing of cycling as part of the ongoing pandemic and supported through some new specific grant funding.

The new bus lanes became operational towards the end of September, and motorcycles are allowed to access the lanes in common with the existing ones across the city.  Bus lanes are now operational throughout the day in both directions, rather than for just a couple of hours a day, so thanks to MAG’s efforts several years ago, motorcyclists can safely and quickly travel unimpeded along all the key routes into and across Hull city centre.

There also appears to be some progress with the saga of the Hull city centre Paragon Street motorcycle parking bays, where MAG funded security rails were removed but never replaced during the City of Culture city realm works back in 2016/17.  I received the following email last week, so fingers crossed we will finally get some security posts back in these well used bays before too long:

“…..The order has been placed for the replacement secure bollards and as soon as they arrive I have contractor lined up to carry out the works to install.  I’m trying to find out what is happening on Silver street and if the bollards will be replaced there ( I have some spares on order also just in case).”

A big thank you goes to the members of the Christian Motorcycle Association who recently made a generous contribution to MAG funds from their recent activities which has been forwarded to central office.  We look forward to seeing Holy Joe’s back at all of the rallies in 2021.

Update from Huddersfield MAG Political Rep, Tom Lonsdale, who has been busy on MAG’s behalf:

  • I am pleased to report that relationships with Kirklees and Calderdale remain cordial, although I have to say that Calderdale are far quicker to respond and act than Kirklees.
  • Calderdale are far ahead of Kirklees in introducing P2W access to bus lanes, having approved access across the whole district in principle but as yet only implemented one section.  So the advice is keep checking the signs and look out for the motorcycle symbol to appear, then use the lane but be aware that most motorists will be oblivious to your presence and right to be there.  A strange anomaly exists in Kirklees, where they have discovered irregularities in the wording of the traffic orders: they are investigating reissuing new orders and I have asked them to include motorcycle access if they have to do that.  I’m awaiting an update.
  • I have passed on queries about potholes but not yet received conclusive replies other than the best email address to use: in Calderdale use HighwaysAndEngineering@calderdale.gov.uk, in Kirklees it’s highways.ross@kirklees.gov.uk.
  • Calderdale were progressing well with launching Biker Down before Covid-19 restrictions got in the way: this is still their intention but no date yet.
  • Leeds TV are working on some road safety films and I have been working with them on ideas for content.  Covid is again interfering with progress so no dates yet.
  • Keep left bollards remain a contentious topic throughout our area but there has been some slow progress.  I picked up where Stevie B left off in pestering both Councils to rectify all situations where a central island is not marked with either an internally illuminated bollard or a reflective sign.  The internally illuminated ones have proved themselves to be hopelessly unreliable, so the policy now seems to be to replace them with reflective signs as they fail.  Stupidly, some reflective signs are installed with black or non-reflective reverse sides, so they only work if upright and correctly orientated.  If members see any island incorrectly signed please use the email addresses above and copy me in at tom.lonsdale@mag-uk.org.
  • Members will have seen in The Road MAG Central’s response to the national consultation on the Highway Code revisions.  By the time this newsletter is circulated the deadline for individual comments may be closed but details and access to the form can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/review-of-the-highway-code-to-improve-road-safety-for-cyclists-pedestrians-and-horse-riders/summary-of-the-consultation-proposals-on-a-review-of-the-highway-code.  On behalf of Huddersfield MAG i have submitted comments to Ian Turner at Calderdale and he has circulated them to road safety colleagues working on the public sector’s response to the consultation.

Down South there was an off duty police officer killed when his motorcycle hit a cycle lane segregator (or orca as they’re known). Full details aren’t available currently as the investigation is ongoing but it highlights the fact that we were correct to raise objections with local councils who were validating their installation, even though our protests were ignored. If a motorcycle were to have an accident with one of these “orcas” the fact that we pointed out the potential problems prior to them being fitted should help with any legal claim against the council.

One thing MAG has been doing both nationally and locally is pointing out to those the decision makers that motorcycles are a fantastic way of social distancing and should be encouraged and promoted as a valid form of transport in these difficult times.

The MAG NC had a virtual meeting where national issues and campaigns were discussed.

After several successful secure parking schemes being put in around the country MAG are now looking into joint cycle/motorcycle parking schemes, pavement parking and Parkmark motorcycle accreditation.

After the success of the Coalition Of Motorcycle Organisations (COMO) which is all the main U.K. motorcycle organisations putting out national press releases as one (MAG, BMF, TRF, Advanced Motorcyclists etc.) an idea was put forward to set up a formal umbrella organisation called the National Motorcycle Council (NMC) where all the smaller organisations pay in to fund this and it would give a united voice.

On discussion the idea was rejected by MAG as it was felt that it wouldn’t be doing anything different to what MAG does now and it would also add an extra layer of bureaucracy. MAG is keeping a close eye on developments.

Lembit wanted it noted, Martyn Boyd’s work in Northern Ireland on a campaign in respect to wire rope barriers. These are potentially lethal to motorcyclists and have been removed throughout the rest of the U.K.

Discussions have been going on at board level regarding both the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) and also the Choice In Personal Transport (ChIPT) initiative that was voted on at the last AGC.

The question of whether MAG should put any more time into ChIPT considering that it isn’t a solely motorcycle initiative and also that there is no longer any ICE development and that other, carbon-neutral options are being explored. It has been stated that MAG should be protecting our right to ride rather than ICE.

Lembit stated that this matter constitutes a ‘profoundly important strategic juncture’ for MAG. The choice that the NC faces is that we either continue to steer and support ChIPT or hope that someone else takes on the fight for ICE powered motorcycles. A e-vote will be happening shortly as there weren’t enough NC members at the online meeting to constitute a fair vote

FEMA put out a noise position statement after the problems of bikes been banned from certain areas due to noisy exhausts. It was very much putting the emphasis on riders rather than enforcement and I pointed out that considering our motto of “let the rider decide” we really shouldn’t be getting into the realms of telling our members what they should and shouldn’t be doing. This has prompted MAG to look into our own position statement on noise.

There has been a slight fall on memberships from this time last year.

Carol in the office is to contact non-renewals from the last 12 months.

The Bikesure agreement is going well, including membership retentions.

Motorcycle Live will be an on-line event this year and they will like and share MAG content that uses a Motorcycle Live hashtag.

The reminder that membership can be paid by monthly Direct Debit is to be rerun.

Finances are down but still within acceptable parameters. There is usually a spike in income around now which will not happen due to cancelled rallies.

MAG is awaiting the outcome of a bequest, which will bring in a sum of money.

Following donation of a pair of tyres from a Star Letter, there could be a Christmas raffle. It was suggested that regions may be able to look at sponsoring other prizes for membership draws. Corporate members may also be approached with this suggestion.

That concludes the October National Committee meeting.

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/4/47/OCTOBER_20_FINAL.pdf

The Yorkshire Pudding rally took place at the end of August and went really well. Lots of measures were put in place to protect everyone on site and all things considered, everyone had a great time and the authorities were pleased.

This gave us a very positive outlook for the Farmyard Party at the end of September BUT…..two weeks before it was to take place, the local police gave back word on their support for the event, which nullified the event insurance which in turn gave us no option but to to cancel the event.

This was a bitter blow as Pete Walker and the MAP board of directors had been working tirelessly to make sure that we put on as many events as possible. Hopefully next year will be back to normal and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Pete for all his efforts to try to put on the Yorkshire rallies during 2020.

If any of you have bought your Farmyard Party tickets you can receive a full refund at your point of sale, keep it until next year or do like the MAG president https://youtu.be/ZQ8JC_Min40 and buy a new one next year!

Triple S powder coating in Bingley (well renowned powder coaters to the motorcycle renovation community) are currently signing up as MAG corporate members and are offering a 10% discount to MAG members on all work on production of a valid MAG membership card, so if you’re planning getting any refinishing done on your bike, give Dave a call on 01274562474

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

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 after the lockdown 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.

Due to the current situation events are sparse in this newsletter. Hopefully normal service will resume very soon.

Leeds and Bradford MAG unfortunately can’t do the usual Christmas Toy Run to Lineham Farm Children’s Centre so we will be collecting presents for the kids (up to £6 and marked boy/girl/either) at the Royal Hotel on meeting evenings and also at the usual meeting point for the Toy Run at Cardigan Fields car park, behind McDonalds on Kirkstall Road on the 24th November from 5.30 till 6.30. We’ll deliver all toys to the centre so they can be passed on to local disadvantaged kids before the big day.

Unfortunately Wakefield MAG have had to cancel their annual biker quiz due to current restrictions.

Please keep the date of Saturday 13th March free for Leeds and Bradford MAG’s next talk which will be An Evening With Sam Manicom at Squires Cafe. We may have to socially distanced this event which will obviously cut the amount of money raised for MAG but as soon as we are a bit clearer, we’ll get the tickets on sale.

Unfortunately all local meetings have been suspended again due to restrictions but informal meet ups are being held where possible. If you fancy a pint and a natter (local restrictions may apply) keep an eye on your emails or Facebook.

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

South Yorkshire MAG meet every Thursday at The Market, 2 Wentworth Rd, Elsecar, Barnsley S74 8EP from 7pm

Wakefield MAG meet every Tuesday from 8.30 at The Thatched House, 434 Aberford Road, Stanley, Wakefield, WF3 4AA

Finally both myself and Andy Foody have made the decision to step down as Yorkshire MAG Rep and Yorkshire MAG vice Rep at the next AGM (though currently all AGM’s nationally have been suspended) We’ve had a great three years of doing the job but now seems a good time to step down with the changing political landscape bringing lots of fresh challenges. It’s vitally important that Yorkshire MAG has a presence on the National Committee as we are the biggest donators of funds due to the three Yorkshire rallies. If you’ve ever had an urge to get involved, now is your chance.

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

Keep safe

Manny (Yorkshire MAG rep)