Wakefield MAG April 2014 Newsletter

Dear Wakefield MAG member,

Welcome to the Wakefield MAG e-newsletter. If you can't attend our Wednesday meetings regularly, it's the next best thing to keep you up to date with what we are up to.


1) 12th Birthday Party Night Report
2) Manchester Bike Show Report
3) Dog Food Run Report
4) Euro Husting
5) Brian Hampton e-Petition Update
6) A Statement from MAG's National Committee
7) MAG Victory on Killer Kerbs
8) Wakefield Hospice 10K Race Marshaling
9) Rally Tickets & Call for ITV Marshals
10) Wakefield MAG Bike Show
11) Forthcoming Events (for April and beyond)

1) 12th Birthday Party Night Report

Check out the event report Here

2) Manchester Bike Show Report

Check out the event report Here

And now the recent MAG Press Release on the aforementioned show:

MAG mixes it in Manchester

MAG was out in force at the Manchester Motorcycle Show on the weekend of 22nd-23rd March. Staffing the stand were Tony, Joe, Mark and Phil from Blackpool MAG, along with help from Bill Green, the Red Rose MAG Rep and local biking phenomenon Jimmy Torrence, the Manchester MAG Rep. On Sunday, MAG's Director of Comms & Public Affairs called in, and met a large number of representatives of the local and national motorcycle industry.

Lembit said "The Manchester MAG team are astoundingly efficient. Jimmy even gave me a lift to the show, and seemed to have a magic trick that made the traffic disappear on arrival and departure. Tony Cox and the team were fantastic at running a very lively stand, and almost a queue to buy raffle tickets for the motorbike prize. I often feel that Manchester is a role model in effective MAG campaigning, and I'm finding myself making the trip there ever more often - simply because they've got so many things going on."

Tony adds, "I think we did have a good show. Lots of people have noticed the campaigning work that's been going on. For example, many of the riders there had heard about us stopping the dangerous roundabout scheme in Bedford, and there was a general sense that MAG was getting on with things. I'm glad Lembit was able to call through. He'd been on the South Coast in the New Forest for another MAG event the day before, but fair's fair, he said he'd turn up and he did. I'm feeling we're doing well at getting ourselves out there. That's something I hope will continue."

Lembit added that he's determined to make sure no part of the country is neglected. "If there's something going on, let us know at HQ. If we can make it we will. I mean, going to biking events as part of my work is hardly a hardship - especially when everyone's got their roles so well sorted! I left the Manchester Bike Show feeling very encouraged to be serving such a well organised and focussed team."

3) Dog Food Run Report

Check out the rideout report Here

4) Euro Husting

The idea behind the Euro Husting is to get as many candidates as possible, for the forthcoming European elections in May, in front of bikers, and give them the opportunity to prevent their motorcycling manifesto's, and answer as many motorcycling related questions as possible. These have been held in the past and have been incredibly successful. The forthcoming Euro Husting has been arranged for Saturday 26th April 2014 at 6.30 pm. The venue is West Leeds Sports and Social Club, Leeds, LS12 1HH. The 6.30 pm start time is so that we can secure the services of Lembit Öpik, MAG's Director of Communications and Public Affairs (he is in Devon in the morning).

Our Regional Rep, Wayne Rooney, has invited the following parties to supply a candidate for the Hustings:

The venue holds 400; it would be great if we can fill it. Remember .. Bikers are voters, and wouldn't you want to vote for someone who has motorcyclists interests at heart !!!

5) Brian Hampton e-Petition Update

An update on the Brian Hampton e-Petition, which was created to request the Govt to reject the Brian Hampton Appeal and increase the sentence. As background: You may have heard about the death of Jade Clark, a 16-year-old who was killed when she was hit by Brian Hampton, on the A31 while on her moped travelling to work in February 2013. Banned for drink-driving at the time, Hampton not only didn't stop, but he then attempted to cover up his involvement by having his car repaired and lying to his family. He was sentenced to six years in prison - two for causing Jade's death by careless driving and four years for perverting the course of justice. He decided to appeal his sentence because he thinks it too severe. MAG thinks he should be locked up and the key thrown away !!!

As this e-petition has received more than 10 000 signatures, the relevant Government department have provided the following response:

We cannot comment on the individual circumstances of Jade Clark's tragic death or the details of the sentence imposed on Brain Hampton. This is not through any lack of concern or interest but because Government Ministers cannot get involved in a matter which is a preserve of the judiciary. Sentences are decided by the courts and they do this independently of Government, having taken into account all the circumstances of the offence including the harm caused and the culpability of the offender as well as any sentencing guidelines. Parliament has made sure that significant penalties are available for those who cause death on the roads; of up to 14 years for the most serious offences of causing death by dangerous driving or causing death whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs and 5 years for causing death by careless driving.

As well as death by careless driving, Brian Hampton was convicted of perverting the course of justice, which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, Dangerous driving can have devastating consequences and the Government is keen to ensure that we are doing everything we can to keep our roads safe. That is why last year the Justice Secretary wrote to the Sentencing Council to ask them to review the death by driving guideline and they have agreed to include this in their programme of work. That is also why we created a new offence of causing serious injury by dangerous driving in the Legal Aid, Sentencing, and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. This ensures that dangerous drivers will be punished appropriately when their actions have serious consequences, short of death. The new offence specifically targets those cases where dangerous driving results in serious injury. Sentencing for road traffic offences is particularly difficult, because the harm caused may often outweigh the offender's culpability. However the law seeks to punish those who cause death or injury on our roads in a way that is proportionate to the blameworthiness of the driver. It is open to anyone who feels that the sentence imposed on them is excessive or inappropriate, to appeal against it. It is an important principle of our criminal justice system that those convicted of an offence may seek leave to appeal to a higher court against their conviction or sentence. The Appeal Court judges will only substitute another sentence if the sentence is wrong in law; where sentence has been passed on the wrong factual basis; where some matter has been improperly taken into account or there is some fresh matter to be taken into account; or where the sentence was wrong in principle or is manifestly excessive.

In this case, the appeal entered by Brian Hampton was dismissed. This e-petition remains open to signatures and will be considered for debate by the Backbench Business Committee should it pass the 100 000 signature threshold.

Thank you to everyone who signed the petition and took it over the 10K mark, which prompted the above response. We now need 100,000 to get to the point where it can't be ignored, and we can make serious headway. Please sign the petition if you haven't already ... or if you have, encourage as many others as possible to sign it also. Every signature counts.

You'll find the e-Petition here: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/56314

Thank You.

6) A Statement from MAG's National Committee

M.A.G. (UK) Ltd was recently the Respondent in an Employment Tribunal case brought by former staff Nich Brown, Paddy Tyson and Louisa Smith. The claimants obtained a judgement in their favour for constructive unfair dismissal. The case mainly concerned the relationship between the claimants and M.A.G. (UK) Ltd directors Neil Liversidge and Pete Walker who were elected to the Board in April 2012 in response to membership concerns about the poor management of MAG Central Office.

Mr Liversidge was originally nominated for co-option to the Board in November 2011, the Board having three vacancies out of seven seats at that time. Despite the Board being under-strength Mr Liversidge's co-option was blocked after Board Members were pressured to refuse his nomination. Mr Liversidge and Mr Walker were nevertheless elected at the subsequent AGM despite various efforts at preventing the same. For 25 years the convention has been that paid MAG officials are neutral in such matters, however various sources confirm that paid staff were interfering in the elections. Regrettably the staff behaviour did not improve with the election of the new Board, the efforts of which were consistently obstructed, direct instructions ignored and key management information withheld or falsified. One of the claimants made a particularly nasty attempt to undermine and blacken the name of MAG's founder and President Ian Mutch. Previous directors had experienced similar tactics as did other officers and ordinary members. It was of extreme concern that MAG Central Office was not efficient due to Mr Brown and Mr Tyson's prioritisation of their own Overland magazine and touring venture, carried out in MAG hours when they should instead have been focused on the jobs MAG was paying them to do. Their negligence of their MAG duties resulted, amongst other problems, in their total failure to manage the long-running database project and failure to attend important meetings.

The Board asked Directors Mr Liversidge and Mr Walker to take over the HR role with effect from 12 March 2013. They immediately convened staff meetings for the following Monday. Mr Brown, Mr Tyson and Ms Smith refused to attend and breached the chain of management by seeking the intervention of others not part of line management. On the weekend before the planned meetings all three filed 'notices of intended grievance' considered as final 'spoiler' attempts to prevent the meetings. The meetings went ahead and were covertly recorded by Mr Brown et al. Ironically their own recordings amply evidence the claimants' poor attitude and their disruptive behaviour along with, the then National Chair Denise Powell. Following the meetings Mr Brown was suspended pending disciplinary action. An investigation by an independent HR consultant found that MAG had grounds to dismiss Mr Brown. Ms Smith and Mr Tyson were signed off as unfit to work. All three resigned before any disciplinary action could actually be taken. MAG only incurred very small costs in this case.

MAG is naturally disappointed by the judgement which it does not accept as either fair or as an accurate reflection of the true circumstances. MAG is therefore appealing. The harm done by the claimants in the meantime has necessitated a restructuring. This has been successfully carried through and as a result MAG's work has not been affected. MAG now has a smaller but loyal and highly capable team that is accomplishing more than ever before. We are very happy and proud of them. In addition MAG has protected the monies from membership fees and the funds that members work hard to bring in as donations so that MAG never finds itself in this situation again.

MAG is completely comfortable with the morality of its position and now looks forward to concentrating on its mission - fighting for the rights of motorcyclists.

7) MAG Victory on Killer Kerbs

MAG Victory for UK bikers - Common Sense Work on 'Killer Kerbs' is brought to a halt.

A precedent setting 'cycling safety' proposal to install raised curb ridges between lanes on UK roundabouts, which could injure or kill bikers, has been brought to a dramatic halt by the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG).

Following months of campaigning by MAG, the Department of Transport (DfT) and Bedford Council have suspended a precedent-setting 'Turbo Roundabout' cycling safety scheme planned for March 2014. Policy & Campaigns Adviser, Dr Leon Mannings, says "implementation now depends on further investigations into the impact on safety for riders of Powered Two Wheelers (PTWs). I'm pleased MAG has been invited to assist investigations of critical aspects of it. It's fair to say this is our most important campaigning achievement this year so far. It's literally a life saver."

Dr Mannings, who led MAG's negotiations, has praised the DfT and Bedford Council for their thoughtful response to MAG's intervention about proposed raised kerb dividers between lanes. "When we heard that funding had been granted for this proposal, including the kerbs, we instantly saw that such a scheme would create new hazards for riders that could cause serious or fatal injuries. Far from reducing risks, it would massively increase them - and probably for cyclists too. Raised kerbs between lanes on bends are a dangerous obstacle for all two wheelers. On a clear sunny day in minimal traffic and with no cars, vans or trucks the dividers might be easy to avoid. However, when a motorcyclist or cyclist is cornering in dark or wet conditions and amidst heavy traffic, any change in direction by others can force riders to alter course, potentially fail to see the raised kerb - and crash."

MAG's Director of Comms & Public Affairs, Lembit Öpik, has also praised the DfT's measured approach. "Leon identified the peril. Transport Ministers such as Robert Goodwill MP - and officers in London and Bedford - listened. Steve Baker MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Motorcycling Group also deserves credit for lobbying in Parliament, as does local MP Richard Fuller. Politicians get a lot of flak, but their response to our concerns shows how they can help deliver crucial progress. It's a victory for common sense."

MAG has been invited to assist with an in-depth review of the proposals, and the processes involved with their development. Leon adds, "We strongly support plans to improve safety for all Vulnerable Road Users (VRUs), but we are against proposals that increase danger for some. Let's make sure that safety measures help all VRUs, and not just a chosen few. Now, we're about to start work with the authorities at Local and Central Government level so that plans for this and similar schemes will truly deliver safety benefits for all. And, we hope it will be a really productive partnership. Minister Goodwill demonstrated that talking things through works and can have a positive impact on policy."

MAG Chairman John Mitchell says "Leon and Lembit have done great work, not just for riders' rights to have their safety considered in Bedford, but throughout the UK. They've shown that MAG's approach, with proper research and measured intervention, is impressively effective. We're grateful to them - and to the Government for working as team players in the interests of safety."

Editor's Notes.

8) Wakefield Hospice 10K Race Marshaling

The Wakefield Hospice 10K Race is being held on Sunday 6th April and Wakefield MAG are once again (as we have for many consecutive years now), helping the Hospice marshal this prestigious race, which is significant fund raiser for our local charity. The race, as you may know, is held on public roads and sets off from Clarence Park, heads along Horbury road in a linear route, to return the same way back to the finish line, again at Clarence Park.

Our role is as roving marshals for the tail end of the race. A police car will follow the main body of runners and progressively open up the road. This is to minimise the time period when the road is closed. There will however still be a number of runners / walkers doing the course, and the roads will by now be open to normal traffic. The Hospice has an obligation to ensure the safety of these remaining competitors, and that is where we come in. We can ride up and down the route, at normal speeds and observe the remaining runners / walkers. We need to remind them to keep on the pavements and watch out for traffic if they mistakenly think the road is still shut. It's an eyes & ears role. The marshals can either park up at a good point and watch, ride up and down or a combination of both. We need to check that the turnaround point on Horbury Road is covered (and position one bike here if it's not). We'll also need a tail end marker for the very last runner (slow walker !!!!), which will signal the very end of the race.

We have some marshalls already but many hands make light work as they say. If you would like to help marshal the race (which is jolly good fun), meet near the lodge in Clarence Park no later than 8:30am. I will have attended the race organisers briefing at 08:00 and can update you with any last minute instructions etc. The race itself starts at 09:00 and we will need to be in position before the race start.

Hope to see you there. Many thousands of branch points available to all race marshals !!!!

9) Rally Tickets & Call for ITV Marshals

The Wakefield MAG allocation of Yorkshire MAG rally tickets have arrived and we have these for sale NOW at the weekly branch meetings.

The dates (and prices) of the main Yorkshire MAG events for 2014 are:

Be sure to buy your tickets early, especially for the YPR, which sells out every year well ahead of the event. If you want some rally tickets reserving, do let me know.

And while we are talking about rallies, the call has gone out for marshals for the forthcoming ITV. The marshals application form is on-line, and can be found at this link: http://www.farmyardparty.co.uk/into-the-valley/marshals-info

The closing date is the 13th of April. When you complete the on-line form, you will see a confirmation notice at the top of the page and also you will receive a confirmation email in your inbox, so please be sure that your email is inputted correctly on the form. On the marshals info page and in your confirmation email you will find all the information about the marshals package and all the other questions you may want to ask. It is through the efforts of the volunteer marshals that these events can run and make a profit, which all goes to fund MAG's campaigning activity, which keeps you where you belong ... on two wheels and free from unnecessary restrictions. Please help marshal these events if you able. As well as doing you bit to secure & maintain your chosen lifestyle, marshaling is also jolly good fun !!!

10) Wakefield MAG Bike Show

The Annual Wakefield MAG Bike Show will again be held at the Wakefield Gala at Clarence Park, Wakefield, on May Day Bank Holiday Monday, 5th May.

The show is completely Free to enter (although a donation to MAG will be most appreciated). There are multiple show categories up for grabs so come along with your bike / trike / scooter / combination / moped. There are lots of attractions at the gala so you'll have something to do whilst waiting to see if your pride and joy has won. We will also be hosting the Yorkshire MAG stand at the show. The show / gala is being held in the Clarence Park Arena, Clarence Park, Wakefield. Entry to the show from 9:30am, the show officially starts at 10:00am and the prize giving will be at 3:00pm.

We look forward to welcoming you and your pride and joy on May Day !!!

11) Forthcoming Events (for April and beyond)

Sunday 6th April - Wakefield Hospice 10K Race (Wakefield MAG providing Mobile Race Marshals)

See Above. Starting from Thornes Park. Time: 08:30 (race starts at 09:00)

Saturday 12th April - MAG Annual Group Conference 2014

Blackpool. Free, but bring your MAG membership card to gain entry & vote.

Saturday 26th April - Wakefield MAG Monthly Rideout to Altberg M/C Boot Factory, Richmond, North Yorkshire

Meet 8:30am (leaving at 9:00am) at RedBeck Cafe, Doncaster Road, Wakefield, WF1 4EJ

Saturday 26th April - Euro Husting

See Above. 6.30 pm at the West Leeds Sports and Social Club, Leeds, LS12 1HH.

Friday 2nd - Sunday 4th May - Into The Valley Rally 2014

See Above. Dalton Estate, South Dalton, East Yorkshire

Bank Holiday Monday 5th May - Wakefield MAG Bike Show at the Wakefield Gala

See Above. There will be multiple Show Categories / Awards, catering for all types of Bike, Scooter, Moped, Combination & Trike. Clarence Park, Wakefield. Show to be judged at 15:00, Entry into show from 09:30 onwards (Gala officially opens at 10:00).

Sunday 18th May - Wakefield MAG Rideout (Destination: Wensleydale Creamery, Hawes)

Meet 8:30am (leaving at 09:00am) at Redbeck Cafe, 339 Doncaster Road, Crofton, Wakefield, WF4 1RT.

Saturday 24th May - Leeds MAG Demo Run and Campover

The demo run starts at Squires Cafe, Newthorpe, LS25 5LX. Assemble at Squires from 10:30 to leave at 11:30 prompt for the police escorted ride through Leeds City Centre, on a learner friendly route and finish at the New Inn Eccup LS16 8AU where there will be a campover and live music etc. All bikes,trikes and scooters welcome. Wakefield MAG will meet at our usual location (Redbeck Cafe, 339 Doncaster Road, Crofton, Wakefield, WF4 1RT) at 09:30am, leaving at 10:00 for the ride over to the demo start point.

Sunday 1st June - Wakefield MAG Rideout (Destination: Manor Cafe & Wensleydale Brewery, Leyburn)

Meet 8:30am (leaving at 09:00am) at Redbeck Cafe, 339 Doncaster Road, Crofton, Wakefield, WF4 1RT

See the events page for further details and more !!!

That's all for this month, and I hope to see you all soon.

Ride Safe .. Ride Free
Steve Travis
Wakefield MAG
0772 078 4734

Wakefield MAG meet at the Grey Horse, Kirkgate, Wakefield at 8:30pm every Wednesday. New (and Old) faces are always welcome.