Wakefield MAG February 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) Wakefield & District MAG Annual General Meeting
2) Post Christmas Auction
3) Yorkshire MAG Rally Price Update
4) 2011 Events Calendar
5) Wakefield MAG is going to the dogs (AGAIN)
6) Rideout Guidelines
7) Hospice Events
8) Pot Holes Press Report
9) Continuous Vehicle Insurance
10) Bike Theft
11) GET A GRIP! Campaign Update
12) Westminster City Council Bully Boys!
13) Forthcoming Events (for February and beyond)

1) Wakefield & District MAG Annual General Meeting

The branch held it’s 9th Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 12th January 2011 at the Grey Horse.  We had a most impressive turnout of Wakefield MAG branch members, together with Nicki Gage, the Yorkshire Region Rep and Regional observer (to ensure the proceedings were legitimate, democratic, and with non-Banana Republic election vote rigging practices !!!).

The committee reports took an age, mainly because most folks had been extremely busy and as a branch, we had packed a truly enormous amount of activities into the year and achieved an awful lot.

Finance wise, we have had our most successful year in the history of the branch (AGAIN !!!!), donating £1,550 to the MAG fighting fund over the course of the year (Wakefield are the biggest fund-raising group in the region, who don't run their own rally).  Our weekly raffle raised a colossal £1,081 (against costs of £123).  The Branch finances were looking very healthy so we voted to make a further sizeable donation of £300 to the MAG fighting fund, at the next Yorkshire MAG Region meeting.

Our new branch committee for 2011 was voted in, and this is:

This is a good solid committee and bodes extremely well for yet another successful year for the branch.

We had a record seven motions submitted to the AGM, although only six were debated as one motion failed to get a sponsor. Those motions carried were:

Our branch heroes for 2010 were:

Well done to all our branch heroes, and particularly Lisa who positively monopolised this years awards !!!!

We discussed and agreed our branch activities and development plan for 2011, and we have lots planned for this year (more updates to follow).

The full AGM minutes will be published on the AGM's page of this website shortly (i.e. when they have been written up !!!).

A huge thanks to everyone who attended the AGM, 75 branch points duly awarded !!!!

2) Post Christmas Auction

We held our 7th Post Christmas Auction on Wednesday 26th January at the Grey Horse and what an auction it truly was. We were happy to welcome along members of Colne Valley & Barnsley MAG branches, together with our auction regulars, from Wakefield and further afield (familiar faces, who turn up every year just for the auction, some of whom are not even bikers, but happy to support us and bag that bargain !!!).

We had an immense amount of stuff donated to the auction this year, with the obvious unwanted Christmas presents, garage / shed / loft / cupboard / wardrobe clearouts and other assorted junk (but it's certainly true that one person's junk is another person's treasure). There was lots of bike related gear including 2 top quality helmets, several jackets (leather & textile), gloves, boots, leather trousers, luggage, and a brand new pair of Draggin jeans worth over £100 !!! You could have pretty much kitted yourself out with a full range of riding gear (if you had a cartoon proportioned body with a waist that would fit ladies size 10 trousers, size 10 feet, medium sized hands, an XL sized torso and a medium sized head that is !!!).

Lots of household goods were also donated including kitchen ware, lamps, pictures, ornaments, electricals (TV's, video recorders (remember them ?!?!) and computer peripherals), lot's of smellies & beauty products, chocolates, clothing, books, CD's, DVD's, video's, exercise gear (ideal for the new years resolution !!!), multiple hand bags and purses, car accessories, battery chargers, tools, cuddly toys, and the list just goes on and on and on. Rally goers were also very well catered for with tents, sleeping bags, waterproofs and lots of other camping items.

We also had a number of hugely generous donations from local dealers and traders (see list below).

The auction started just after 8pm and lasted three hours with no breaks. There was particularly frenzied and competitive bidding for a good number of items, including a full size cardboard Elvis figure (don't ask !!). The Draggin jeans due to their value had a reserve price put on them, and went for £40 in the end, so someone got an absolute bargain there.

Our auctioneers Chas & Martin did a most splendid job, as it's not easy auctionnering solidly at a tremendous pace for well over an hour and a half each.

We managed to clear virtually the lot, with only a mere handful of items remaining unsold, which have since been taken to the local Wakefield Hospice Charity shop. Everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves and most folks got multiple bargains.

The auction this year raised £460, which, bearing in mind the bidding on a lot of items started at 50p, is a staggering and truly impressive result !!!! This amount sets a new record for the Wakefield MAG Post Christmas Auction, beating the previous best by £35. Awesome !!!

We advertised a split of the proceeds of 2/3 to MAG and 1/3 to a charitable cause so the MAG fighting fund will be healthier to the tune of several hundred pounds !!!!.

Particular thanks have to go out to the following local dealers and traders for their most generous donations:

They are all heroes and thoroughly deserve your business.

We will be holding our 8th Post Christmas Auction in January next year so, hope to see you there.

3) Yorkshire MAG Rally Price Update

Since the last newsletter, there has been a flurry of activity at MAP Towers regarding rally ticket pricing.  A good number of folks were concerned about the impact that increased ticket prices could potentially have on rally attendances, particularly in these times of job uncertainty, government austerity measures, and the cost of virtually everything increasing (albeit without matching increases in income).  We don't want MAG rallies to be the one 'luxury' that folks have to cut back on.  Cue lot's of deep thinking, head scratching, calculations, negotiations and re-negotiations, and the good news is that we have been able to fix the rally ticket prices at last years levels !!!!!  In fact, the last MAP rally ticket price increase was way back in 2007.

Ticket prices for the 2011 Yorkshire MAG rallies are thus:

We have managed to offset the VAT increase by renegotiating supplier contracts, identifying cost savings and other great initiatives to increase revenue (including a MAG food stall and the Thursday night opening at ITV & FYP).  We will still have to cover some of the VAT increase from rally profits but this is now in the hundreds rather than thousands of pounds.  Hopefully, this shouldn't have an adverse impact on the MAG Fighting fund donation we can make from these events.

Now we have the ticket prices set, the tickets are at the printers, and we should have our allocation within the next few weeks.  We'll let you know when we get them, and in the meantime, give us a shout if you want some reserving (at last years prices !!!).

4) 2011 Events Calendar

The 2011 Wakefield MAG events have all now been published, and we have a full and packed calendar for the year (as always !!!).

We have set the dates for our ever expanding list of 'must attend' annual events:

In addition, we are also having another night at the dog racing (Saturday 5th March - See Below), a 10 pin bowling night, hosting the Yorkshire MAG Fred Hill Run (in June, to coincide with the anniversary of the passing of the Helmet Law (1st June 1973), plus any adverse weather shouldn't affect this years run), hosting a Sponsored Rideout in July (to York Racecourse, Knavesmire) in aid of the Help for Heroes (1120920) and The Yorkshire Regiment Charity (1114654), mass attendance at all the Yorkshire MAG rallies, attending the Edinburgh MAG rally (hopefully back on this year), monthly rideouts and lots lots more.

One thing is for sure, you certainly don't have time to get bored being a Wakefield MAG member.  Keep an eye on the web site and these newsletters for further details and updates about all our events.

5) Wakefield MAG is going to the dogs (AGAIN)

As mentioned in last months newsletter, Wakefield MAG is going to the dogs (AGAIN !!!!), at Kinsley Greyhound Stadium on Saturday 5th March.

The dog racing costs £12 in total, but that includes admission (including a race programme), a pint, a meal, 2 x £1 Tokens for a Tote super six jackpot (with a £30,000 top prize), and a £1 token for a normal tote bet. It's a bit of a bargain and if it's anything like our last visit, a great night out.

There is still time to join us, so if you want to come along, all we need is a £5 deposit (non-refundable) a.s.a.p, to secure your place, and a further £7 on the night.We are now collecting £5 deposits (non-refundable) to secure places, so, if you would like to go, let us know asap.

Hope to see you there.

6) Rideout Guidelines

As voted for in our AGM (see above), we have changed our rideout marshalling system, to the Second Man marshalling system, which is one of the most common, simplest and safest of motorcycle rideout marshalling systems, and is used and endorsed by the Institute of Advance Motorcyclists (IAM). It is also widely used by many other MAG Groups and MCC's. If all participants understand and follow this simple rideout marshalling system, everyone can ride at their own pace, the group can stretch out for miles and no one will get lost. Marshalling of our rideouts is carried out with the sole intention of maintaining individual safety and group integrity.

The guidelines are published on this website (Rideouts page), and will be available in a handout, and via a 'pep talk' at the start of each rideout, for new attendees.

If you have used this system before, you will know how simple it is. If you haven't, here is how it all works:

Front Marker

The front marker will lead the rideout and hold their position at all times. The front marker is easily identified as they will wear a marshals Hi-Viz fluorescent bib. The front marker (rideout leader) will be a confident rider that knows the route, and are aware of any planned stops and rendezvous en-route.

Back Marker

The back marker will hold their position at all times and always be the last bike in the rideout formation. The Back marker will wear a Hi-Viz marshals fluorescent bib. The back marker will also know the route, and be aware of any planned stops and rendezvous en-route.

Second Man Marker

The rider immediately behind the front marker is the designated Second Man. It is this riders responsibility to mark the direction of travel when the route deviates from a straight ahead direction i.e. at any junction or roundabout when the route is a right or left turn. The Second Man rider takes up a safe yet visible position just past the turn off, to show everyone else which direction to go. The rider who now finds themselves behind the Front Marker is now the Second Man, and follows this same procedure at the next junction where the route is not straight ahead.

The second man route markers should stay in position until the back marker passes them, and they can then rejoin the group (The back marker will slow down and let the second man junction marker overtake to rejoin the group).

All Rideout participants:

Simples !!!!

7) Hospice Events

We are again supporting Wakefield Hospice in 2011 with their two key fund raising events, the 10K Race and the May Day Gala.

The Wakefield Hospice 10K race is on Sunday 3rd April, starting from Thornes Park, taking in a linear route along Horbury Road, and back again. It looks flat, but there is a deceptive long gruelling gradient that turn legs to rubber (we will be OK though, as we let the bikes do the work in our job as mobile race marshals !!!!).

The Wakefield Hospice May Day Gala is on Bank Holiday Monday 2nd May (day after the ITV rally weekend). We will again be hosting our popular bike show as an added attraction at the Gala, which will again be held in the Clarence Park Arena. This is a free to enter bike show (although a donation to the Hospice would be most appreciated), entry into the show from 09:30 onwards and there will be multiple category awards up for grabs.

We look forward to welcoming you, and your bike / trike / scooter on May Day. Did I mention it was FREE !?!?!?

8) Pot Holes Press Report

Wakefield MAG had a mention in a recent 'Pot Holes in Ossett' article in The Press, a local weekly newspaper covering Dewsbury, Batley, Ossett and other areas of Kirklees. The Press reporter approached Wakefield MAG for a press statement after talking to Wakefield MAG member Chas Milner. The article mentioned our work in our on-going pot holes campaign in the Wakefield District.

The full press release follows:

Wakefield Motorcycle Action Group ran a campaign last year on pot holes in the Wakefield district (and we are continuing that campaign in 2011).   We launched this campaign to improve conditions for motorcyclists in Wakefield and the surrounding District, by initiating repairs to the dreadful and dangerous state of some of our areas roads, made far worse of course by the bad winter we had.

Pot holes whilst being an annoyance and potentially damaging to four wheeled traffic, can actually be lethal to two wheeled traffic.  If visibility is good you will probably try to take avoiding action, but that can make you alter your line - a potentially hazardous activity too!  Hitting a pot hole on a motorcycle can cause the rider to lose control of their machine or cause extreme deflection into oncoming traffic.  At best, it is likely to cause suspension and wheel damage, which can affect the stablility and hence safety of the machine.

We therefore encouraged our members to report Pot holes and damaged road surfaces to Wakefield Council, via a link on our website (Local MAG Page > Report a Pot Hole).  This link itself points to a number of road hazard reporting websites, including Wakefield Council's Highways Problems on-line reporting form.

We did submit quite a number of pot hole reports last year, including Kingsway in Ossett.  We were pleased to note that in all cases, in response to the notifications, the roads were quickly repaired thus removing the potential for accidents to motorcyclists and other vulnerable road users.

Unfortunately though, these are not 'one time only' reports, and it is important to monitor and initiate repairs to the road surfaces on an on-going basis, hence why we are continuing this campaign in 2011.  Our view is that by a small amount of effort, we can achieve real tangible results, and it might just save a biker's life.

9) Continuous Vehicle Insurance

MAG is pleased to see that the new regulations on Continuous Vehicle Insurance will exempt vehicles on which SORN has been declared.

The regulations announced recently will require owners to insure all their vehicles regardless of whether or not they are being used on the road, unless they have declared SORN (A SORN declaration confirms that a specified vehicle will not be used on the road).

MAG totally supports the Government in its aim to reduce the use of uninsured vehicles on our roads. Uninsured driving is a major problem that inflates the insurance premiums of law-abiding road users and poses huge problems in the event of accidents.

MAG lobbied strenuously for the SORN option when Continuous Insurance on all vehicles was suggested some years ago. More recently MAG has lobbied the DfT to ensure that an exemption for SORNed vehicles remains.

Some concern remains that a loophole might lead to problems for the owners of older vehicles that were off the road before the original SORN arrangements came into force. The SORN requirement was not applied retrospectively to embrace every vehicle so it is possible that owners of old machines which have never been SORNed or used on the road in the meantime might fall foul of the new regulation if no consideration is given to them.

MAG is asking for assurances on the issue of rider policies and multi-bike insurance policies that may lead to cases where insured vehicles are not listed on the Motor Insurance Database.

10) Bike Theft

Bikes now account for 20% of all auto theft

Figures derived from Police data by Retainagroup Ltd, show the number of bikes stolen has dropped from 26,608 in 2006 to 21,928 last year.

Worryingly though, bikes now represent more than one-in-five of all vehicle thefts, having gone from representing 16.8% of all vehicles stolen in 2006 to 21.69% last year.

The Motorcycle Action Group says there are a number of factors behind this rise:

Bikes belonging to members of the Motorcycle Action Group are protected by the offer of a cash reward for information leading to the conviction of anyone responsible for stealing a MAG member's bike.

Compared to the fact that motorcycles make up only 1% of traffic, this figure is shocking and is certainly ammunition for our campaign to get more secure parking spaces for bikes in our towns and cities.

11) GET A GRIP! Campaign Update

If you've ever had a 'moment' on a wet manhole cover, you'll understand why MAG's GET A GRIP! campaign got underway.

This campaign for consistent grip levels on our highway's roads is promoting the use of composite, non-slip manhole covers and non-slip overbanding.

There is a petition you can sign on the website and a 'report it' function, so that we can track down the owners of particularly badly sited, or damaged manholes. This 'report it' function will soon be using a live google map so that you can pinpoint the exact location of the offending item. Please keep an eye on the website: www.getagripuk.org

And an early campaign success ...........

As part of Bedford Borough Council's involvement with MAG's GET A GRIP! campaign, they have decided to start using non-slip overbanding throughout their region. This will be on an 'as needed' basis and won't be retrospective, but crack filling and seam joining happens all the time, so this is great news.

This move comes on the back of Bedford Mayor Dave Hodgson's approval of trials permitting motorcycles to use bus lanes and the Council's decision to trial composite, non-slip manhole covers.

They have also fitted extra parking bays for motorcycles, are currently identifying new areas that may be suitable and trialling an inovative ground anchor locking system.

Campaigns Manager Paddy Tyson says "Hats off to Bedford Borough at a time when too many Authorities use budget constraints as an excuse for inaction."

12) Westminster City Council Bully Boys!

Westminster City Council (WCC) are at it again, using public money to act against the public interest.

It has come to light that in their efforts to stop the 'No To Bike Parking Tax' campaign, WCC have sent threatening emails to the web service who have been hosting the www.notobikeparkingtax.com website. So vociferous have these been, that the hosting company felt compelled to withdraw their services, and as such, remove the No To website from the internet.

WCC have allegedly threatened to take legal action over some material on the website that they believe to be defamatory, but the irony is that the material in question is actually on a completely different site!

What is striking about this situation, apart from the fact that a public body such as Westminster City Council should be above such behaviour, is that they also instructed the web hosting service to remove all of the sites managed by an individual involved with the No To campaign. These are commercial sites, completely unrelated to the campaign and as such are seriously effecting the livelihood of an untold number of businesses.

It is not yet clear whether the action was as a result of Westminster policy, or that of one senior Council employee, but the No To site is back online and now being hosted by the same organisation that supplies webspace for Wikileaks.

Who says motorcycle politics is dead?

13) Forthcoming Events (for February and beyond)

Ten Pin Bowling Night at LA Bowl, Doncaster Road

Exact date/time TBC

Saturday 5th March - Wakefield MAG is going to the Dogs (AGAIN !!!)

As detailed above

Sunday 27th March - Wakefield MAG Charity Pet Food Run to Whitehall Dog Rescue in East Ardsley and other Wakefield based pet rescues.  

Meet 09:30 (leaving at 10:00) at Grey Horse, Kirkgate, Wakefield. We'll let you know in next months newsletter what pet products to bring along to donate to the rescues.

Sunday 3rd April - Wakefield MAG marshalling the Wakefield Hospice 10K Race

As detailed above

Saturday 9th April - MAG Annual General Conference

MAG's 2011 AGC is being hosted by East Yorkshire MAG, in Beverley, East Riding

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.