Wakefield MAG August 2011 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) Yorkshire Heroes Sponsored Rideout Report
2) Treasure Hunt Report
3) Wakefield MAG Mid-Summer Mayhem Party
4) Road Casualty Figures
5) Lenient sentencing
6) How the EU Anti-tampering Regulation is progressing
7) September Demo (Flash Mob Motorway Mayhem)
8) VJMC Japanese Bike Show
9) COMPULSORY protective clothing for Learners
10) August Rideout
11) Forthcoming Events (for August and beyond)

1) Yorkshire Heroes Sponsored Rideout Report

Check out the rideout report Here

2) Treasure Hunt Report

Check out the event report Here

3) Wakefield MAG Mid-Summer Mayhem Party

Our 2nd Mid-Summer Mayhem Party was held on Saturday 2nd July, at the Duke of Wellington, Horbury Road, Wakefield. The party was less well attended than the previous year, but all those who did attend, were treated to a thoroughly enjoyable party. Local band (and MAG members) Justice Rising did a cracking set and the raffle went down very well (Mark & Ruth of Huddersfield MAG were particularly pleased with their raffle prize of a pair of Yorkshire Pudding Rally tickets !!!).

After deducting all the expenses, the party made a clear £120 profit, all of which goes to the MAG Fighting Fund. That is the equivalent to 6 or more weeks worth of weekly meeting raffle money, earned in a single night, with not a huge amount of effort. A result in anyones book !!!

A huge thanks to Lisa, Macca & Mick for organising this years party.

4) Road Casualty Figures

Provisional figures have just been released by the Dept for Transport regarding killed and seriously injured (KSI) on Britains roads (England, Scotland & Wales). Across all user groups, KSI for 2010 was down 8% on 2009 (22,660). The 1,857 total deaths actually equates to a 16% drop in fatalities.

The excellent news is that for Motorcycles there was a 15% decrease in fatalities. There was one group however that saw an increase in fatalities: Cyclists saw a 7% increase to 111 individuals.

Is that the cue for the government introducing compulsory cycling helmets, or just what happens when the number of cyclists on the road increases and other road users still aren't adequately trained to consider vulnerable two wheeled vehicles !?!?!?

5) Lenient sentencing

You are probably aware that MAG is highly concerned with what many consider to be lenient sentencing, for the perpetrators of crimes committed while behind the wheel of a car. For example the unremorseful drunk driver Richard Borrett who said he didnt care about killing motorcyclist Jason Mickleburgh and got a mere three year custodial sentence, though he will probably serve just one. Or the truck driver in the South West who fell asleep and killed Jason Molyneaux and recieved just community service and court costs.

Last week in the House of Commons Karl Turner MP (Kingston upon Hull East) (Lab) asked the following question: "Does the Prime Minister agree that the maximum sentence for the offence of dangerous driving does not properly reflect the potential harm caused to victims, some of whom are left paralysed and brain-damaged? Will he support me and Labour Front Benchers in moves to increase the maximum sentence to seven years?"

MAG welcomes the question, but given the responses we continue to receive from the Attorney General about sentences 'fitting the guidelines', I'd like to draw your attention to part of the Prime Minister's reply: "In our Sentencing (Reform) Bill we are looking at this issue and we hope to make some progress".

The good news is that we can target lobbying toward our MPs when we see the full text of the Bill and ensure that we do achieve change. Causing death by dangerous or drunk driving must be taken seriously. Death is not a mild inconvenience.

6) How the EU Anti-tampering Regulation is progressing

An update from Paddy Tyson (MAGs Campaigns Co-ordinator) on the Type Approval and Market Surveillance Regulation as it moves through the EU legislative process. This is the one covering anti-tampering, mandatory ABS etc.

Because so much legislation is created within Europe, MEPs cant reasonably debate all of it, so certain committees are tasked with the job in the early days and they then recommend things to the whole EU Parliament.

Because there are so many different subjects, even the committee members often don't know what they're debating, so they in turn appoint what is called a Rapporteur, who does their best to study the topic in depth and then Reports back their recommendations. See how this democracy works?

Anyway, after the committee members have viewed the Rapporteurs ideas, they put in their own amendments and the whole committee vote on what amendments they are happy to see. We are lucky that it just happens the Rapporteur in this instance actually rides a bike.

Whenever that has been done the Council of Ministers and the EU Parliament get to see it, so those are other places that we can direct our lobbying.

As this is a 'Framework Regulation' once it's passed it does not have to be transposed into Law in Individual Member States, as it will happen automatically.

The Rapporteur has reported back and amendments are on the table now and being discussed within the EU Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO). Like giving an opt out for special 'one-off' bike builders, (but only the British and the Finns want that) and also making ABS compulsory on mopeds too (the Germans want that, or to be more accurate, the German ABS industry wants that). Generally the British representatives are prepared to consider the switch option for ABS, but Malcolm Harbour MEP (chairman of the IMCO) for example, wants all of the onboard diagnostics thrown out too. We'll see how those negotiations go.

The good news is that every email and letter you've written has caused members of the committee to think and with MAGs equivalent organisations doing the same in Finland for example, we may realistically get some of the worst elements of this legislation under control. We've already upset the timetable, as the Parliament were due to vote on this in September and now IMCO won't even finally vote on their changes until 4/5 or 6th Oct and it can't go to Parliament till after that.

However, it's not just the Regulation from Europe that will be effecting us soon. The 10 very real European issues that we still need to draw attention to are:

  1. The Anti tampering Regulation: Specifically Article 18 which wants to stop all modifications to complete power train, from airbox to controlling the rear tyre profile.
  2. Compulsory ABS. If we can't stop this, we must get a switch so that we have an option in difficult conditions where ABS doesn't function well.
  3. Automatic headlights on. Passing the blame for poor observation on to us.
  4. OBD. On Board Diagnostics so that easy roadside checks can be made of our emissions and so that constant readouts of engine performance can be obtained. Expensive, complicated and with the threat, rather like a trucks tachograph, of identifying past riding style...
  5. RMI. Repair and Maintenance Information. Rather than keeping it hidden and available for huge expense, there is a chance that manufacturers will be forced to provide ECU codes etc for a fee. What that fee is remains to be seen.
  6. The very worrying article 52: "If systems, components or separate technical units on a list in a delegated act to this regulation, have a dual use, for vehicles intended exclusively for racing on roads and for vehicles intended for use on public roads, they may not be sold or offered for sale to consumers". So if your K&N filter can fit a CBR race bike and a CBR road bike, the best way to police that, is to make it illegal to sell the filter in Europe. The Delegated Acts are the most scarey thing, as they are the lists and details drawn up by the unelected and we wont get to see what they are including until after the Regulation has been passed!
  7. In solidarity with the French we need to be drawing attention to their recent government proposal to ban all bikes over 7 years old from an urban area and to make the wearing of day-glo / reflective clothing compulsory.
  8. Full sleeve day-glo clothing for riders and passengers has been proposed in the Irish Parliament too.
  9. All these issues lead to the same thing, that we must take the blame for the incompetence of other road users. And while the emergency stop has been removed as a compulsory element of the UK car driving test, we are jumping through hoops with ill-judged UK interpretations of EU licencing directives.
  10. Another EU licencing Directive is on its way (3DLD) to step the bike licencing system still further and the DfT and DSA still haven't sorted even the consultation process, even though it is meant to be in law by now and enacted January 2013.

These are very real threats to motorcycling as we know it. In addition to on-going lobbying activity and the two major MAG demos already held (Leeds in May and Birmingham in July), MAG is planning a Major lobbying event for the 25th September, to raise awareness of this draconian and unwanted EU legislation. This will be a national event that everyone can take part in locally. An outline of this National Demo is below (see item 7) and the full details will be published in the September newsletter but for now, please try to keep this day free. Critically, this planned action comes before the IMCO vote.

Our MEPs will be preparing to rubber stamp another Regulation put before them. This time they may all just stop to read it.

7) September Demo (Flash Mob Motorway Mayhem)

Here is the plan for Flash Mob Motorway Mayhem.

September 25th is a Sunday. It is a week before the IMCO Committee vote on all their final amendments. We want to show that we are mature lobbying organisation, and while still in political negotiations, have deliberately chosen a Sunday for our FIRST event, not a week day. Gathering from noon at selected service areas, we roll at 1pm, all over the country, at exactly the same time. If it's a 3 lane carriageway we use 1 or 2 and ride at a perfectly legal 45-48 mph. We ride for maybe 15/20 minutes and then leave, Flash Mob style.

Yes, 125's won't be able to come, but there are dual carriageways everywhere, so possibilities exist everywhere. We have all witnessed the tailbacks that can happen when a truck tries to pass a caravan - The strength of this is in simultaneous action, so that national radio and press sit up, take notice and give the issue the national coverage it deserves, critically, just before the IMCO Committee vote.

MAG Central are handling the media and there will be one central phone number for the press to contact. There will be no roundabouts or traffic lights to split the run, no-one can take a wrong turning. No overheating engines or fried clutches. No need for marshals, just one person with a watch to see when it is nearly 1pm.

We have the legal and democratic right to peaceful protest. We do not cause congestion as a mode of transport, but there is no reason why we cant all go for a Sunday ride at a safe and sedate pace. Isn't that what the Police keep asking us to do?

We won't be the congestion, all the traffic behind us will be. You can choose to only ride a couple of junctions and then turn around and go home the other way. It will only take a couple of hours of our time and we will still be home in time for Late Sunday lunch.

This is a local yet national demo, so no need to travel miles to get there, it will cost little in petrol and only a small time commitment, in fact, it's so simple, it's brilliant !!!!

We will let you know where and when to meet up in next months newsletter. In addition to the MAG website, Motorcycle News (MCN) will be advertising all the start points, so literally thousands of bikers will know about this.

Sunday 25th September! Keep it Free!! Direct Action Politics is back !!!

Needless to say, 75 Branch Points awarded to all Wakefield MAG Members who attend.

8) VJMC Japanese Bike Show

Check out the event report Here

9) COMPULSORY protective clothing for Learners

1st July saw the spectre of compulsory protective clothing come one step closer.

This is not about Day-Glo or reflective clothing, but rather 'protective' clothing. About a year ago, the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) started internally discussing compulsory protective clothing for candidates undertaking the motorcycle test, in light of all the accidents occurring during the newly implemented Module 1 test. Rather than consider the issue of why the accidents were happening in the first instance, they were instead considering refusing to let people undertake the test unless they were dressed in protective clothing.

Guidelines issued on the 1st July now instruct examiners to refuse to undertake candidates tests if they arrive inappropriately dressed. However, is one examiners idea of appropriate clothing going to differ from another? Highly likely !!!!

There is no legislation in the UK that specifies the wearing of anything other than approved helmets and eye protection. And there are no clothing standards in Europe that apply to the general public, as the 'CE' ratings we often see, are actually in reference to the body armour. Are the DSA rewriting the law now?

If it is a DSA concern that someone is injured on their premises, maybe they should provide the clothing they wish people to wear as the added expense of purchase may be a huge barrier to many people accessing what should be a cheap, congestion busting mode of transport.

Given that we are constantly told that injury levels on the test are in fact extremely low, why is there a desire to add this extra level of complexity at this time? Maybe they are actually higher than we are being told?

Will the same controls be placed on CBT undertaking ? Is there a dispute procedure in place ? The list of what is OK and what is not, leaves a huge grey area.

The DSA guidelines advise the following is an indication of the minimum level of clothing acceptable:

The following are examples of clothing that are not acceptable:

What about Derry Boots, that motorcycle couriers use in their thousands ?
Who decides what is heavy (acceptable) or light (not acceptable) denim jeans ?
How do you determine how many layers are acceptable ?
What about work / gardening / woollen gloves as only ski gloves are deemed not acceptable.

Without defined standards, there are many pit falls developing and test candidates could be unreasonably refused their tests, based on dubious and debateable reasons. Will they receive a full refund of the test fee ? Do they have the right to appeal ?

MAG is endeavouring to find the answers to all these and many other questions. Watch this space for further news.

10) August Rideout

Sunday 14th August is the date for our Monthly Rideout, when we will be heading over to Barton on Humber (via the Humber Bridge), to MAG Lincolnshire's Bikers Picnic, at the South Bank Humber Bridge Viewing Area. Bring your own picnic, and a teddy bear. We will be taking the scenic non-motorway route over to Hull and it's a great experience riding your bike over the longest single span suspension bridge in the world !!!!!

Meet 9:30am (leaving at 10:00am) at the Grey Horse, Kirkgate, Wakefield, WF1 4EJ.

11) Forthcoming Events (for August and beyond)

Friday 5th August - Sunday 7th August - The Yorkshire Pudding Rally

Yorkshire MAGs small but perfectly formed rally, held at Hesley Wood Scout Camp, Chapeltown, Nr Sheffield, S.Yorkshire. Tickets are now sold out, so if you want to come and don't already have a ticket, eBay may be your only option !!!

Sunday 14th August - Monthly Rideout to the MAG Lincolnshire's Bikers Picnic

See above for details. Meet 9:30am (leaving at 10:00am) at the Grey Horse, Kirkgate, Wakefield, WF1 4EJ

Friday 19th - Sunday 21st August - Ganton Gathering

Ganton Gathering Rally. Organised by Scarborough MAG, raising funds for the MAG Foundation. 2 bands Friday, 2 bands Saturday, bonfire, usual food and bar facilities. 800 limit. Pre-Book only. £15.00 per ticket. Cheques payable to 'Ganton Gathering' & available (with SAE pls) from Stuart Gething, 26 Linden Road, Scarborough YO12 5SN. Enquiries: 07919 370608

Sunday 4th September - Monthly Rideout to Cadwell Park

For our September rideout, we will be heading to Cadwell Park and the Auto 66 Club Bike Championships Race Meeting on Sunday 4th September. This is one of the cheapest ways to see a full days worth of highly competitive racing. The meeting includes the Cadwell Masters Road and Race Championships, 125s up to superbikes plus Formula 1 and 2 Sidecars.

We will be meeting our good friends in Barnsley MAG en-route to Cadwell. On The Gate ticket prices are £13 for adults & £10 for OAPs (a bargain compared to other race meets). Pre-Book is only £10 and we will be placing a block booking shortly (pre-book cut-off is 12:00 Tuesday 30th August), so if you would like to come with us, let me know and we will add you to the block booking.

More details at: http://www.motorsportvision.co.uk/cadwell-park

Friday 16th September - Sunday 18th September - Spat out of Hull Rally

An exclusive 2 night party. Bonfire, Comedians, Live bands, Excellent food, and much more. Tickets on sale NOW Phone 0870 225 8352 Or Cheques (with SAE) Made payable to East Yorkshire MAG to 17 Laughton Road, Beverley HU17 9JR (before 09/09/2011) Ticket: £12 in advance or £15 on the gate (if available, strict 500 limit). Free to FYP Marshals with a marshals free rally ticket voucher !!!!

Location: Dene Park Sports Club, Beverley Road, Dunswell, HU6 0AA.

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

Ride Safe
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.