Wakefield MAG February 2012 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) 10th Birthday Party
4) 2012 Rideouts
5) EU Anti-Tampering Extended to Cycle Parts
6) Contact Your MEP ... NOW !!!
7) Motorbike Theft in York is on the Rise
8) French Regulations
9) Resist the Spread of Compulsory Hi-Viz in Europe
10) 2012 Social Events
11) Stolen Scooter
12) Forthcoming Events (for February and beyond)

1) Wakefield & District MAG Annual General Meeting

The branch held it's 10th Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 11th January 2012 at the Grey Horse. We had a most impressive turnout of Wakefield MAG branch members, and it was great to welcome along a few old faces together with our good friends from Five Towns MCC.

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 didn't quite beat last years record donation to the MAG Fighting Fund, but still managed a most impressive £1140 !!!. This doesn't include the additional £2,010 we raised through MAP rally branch ticket sales. Our weekly raffle raised a colossal £1,040.71 (against costs of £156). The Branch finances were looking very healthy indeed 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 2012 was voted in, and this is:

This is virtually the same committee as our brilliant 2011 committee and bodes extremely well for yet another successful year for the branch.

We had a few motions submitted to the AGM, which were unanimously passed, and these were:

Our branch heroes for 2011 were:

Well done to all our branch heroes, and particularly Jagster who positively monopolised this years awards !!!! Dodworth 3; Normanton Nil, as he boasted to Daz !!!

We discussed and agreed our branch activities and development plan for 2012, and we have lots planned for this year (more updates to follow).

The full AGM minutes will be published on our 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

Check out the event report Here

3) 10th Birthday Party

Check out the event report Here

4) 2012 Rideouts

The formal monthly rideouts for 2012 will be:

In addition to the organised monthly rideouts, there will be multiple informal rideouts on sunny Sunday's throughout the year.

5) EU Anti-Tampering Extended to Cycle Parts

The European Commission has proposed that part of its controversial new 'Anti-Tampering' regulations, which will affect all future bikes registered for the road, should be re-written to prevent chop-builders from using 'long-forks'.

The Commission now proposes that any bikes being put through the Individual Vehicle Approval test (the safety inspection made before non Type-Approved imports, one-off specials, etc. currently known as Motorcycle Single Vehicle Approval) would have to complete a slalom and U-Turn before being registered, to prevent modifications to the length of the forks.

Up to now, the draft regulations have only talked about requiring manufacturers to design the 'power-train' (engine, transmission, final-drive) so that it becomes difficult for owners to modify them from standard.

The UK representatives in the technical discussions joined FEMA and others in opposing the proposal, not least because the Commission cannot produce any evidence to show that modified bikes are unsafe.

The Commission is expected to continue to seek further restrictions on the ability to modify bikes in future despite mounting criticism that it has failed to consider whether there is any demonstrable case for restricting riders liberty to modify their bikes to suit their own needs.

MAG had previously warned that the vagueness of the Commission's proposals to restrict modifications could mean the ambitions of those who want to save us from ourselves might extend beyond the draft proposals that have been under discussion since 2010. We've drawn attention to Annex 2 (item 12) of the EU Type Approval and Market Surveillance Regulation before, which wishes to measure/control steerability, cornering properties and turn ability and this is what is playing out now.

MAG's campaigning against the creeping scope of interference in riders' right to choose what kind of bike they ride continues in 2012. Subscribe to the MAG activists' e-mailing list, on the MAG National web site (www.mag-uk.org) for more information. Oh, and write to your MEP's (see below).

6) Contact Your MEP ... NOW !!!

As a regular reader of our newsletters, you will be fully aware of the almost farcical and quite unbelievable anti-motorcycling EU legislation being proposed. The threats to motorcycling and your chosen way of life are like never before. NOW is the time for action and this is your call to arms !!!

Unless your MEP drinks in your local, grumbling down the pub doesn't really work. We need everyone to write to their MEP's. The more letters MEPs receive, the more they have to take notice. This is what it takes to change or stop laws. At this stage in the proceedings it is crystal clear that many MEPs from all parties remain ill-informed and it is OUR job to repair that damage. If they don't understand the legislation that they are going to be voting on, they will vote as they are told to. Remember, they have to vote on hundreds of pieces of legislation every year and are reliant on someone giving them the information to do so.

Please do write to all of the Yorkshire MEP's, don't leave it to chance that someone else will do it for you, and remember, the more correspondence they get the more they have to do something about it.

The results of the impact assessment that began in November and which the IMCO committee chose not to wait for, are due at the end of this month. The UK Government had already done their own Impact Assessment which drove coach and horses through the EU Commission's original one, and that was central to the EU Parliament demanding the one that'll be completed any day soon. A wee bird, no, make that a flock of birds in Brussels believe that the impending results may not look good for the Commission (or indeed the Committee who voted in December ahead of having all the info) and if that's the case, we may find a lot of MEPs being even more receptive to our case and a further delay as National Governments reassess their position. There are 73 MEPs in the UK and that is 10% of the whole Parliament.

MAG's political Campaigns Officer, Paddy Tyson, will be in Brussels in a couple of weeks working to ensure our Riders' Rights colleagues in Germany, France, Belgium and Netherlands get writing too, because combined, that would be nearly 300 of the 736 total MEPs.

There are ongoing legal challenges into the validity of the whole Regulation as proposed in the first place and the EU Commission's procedural behaviour, but now, given the wording of the new article 18a, there may be another legal case to answer, as the ambiguity present in the text, could create categories of machine for which anti-tampering may be retrospective, which is definitely way outside the scope of the original proposal and puts all the onus on us and on bike shops, instead of the manufacturers of new machines.

Here is a suggested letter template to send to your MEP's regarding the proposed EU regulation on Type Approval and market surveillance. If you don't wish to use it, please do try to use some of the points within it. It is also always a good idea to personalise the letter slightly.

Your MEP contact details are listed after the suggested letter.

'Dear ................

As a constituent, I would like to raise my concerns regarding the content and progress of a piece of European Legislation, currently timetabled for Plenary vote in April 2012.

The proposed EU Regulation on Type Approval and Market Surveillance of two and three-wheeled vehicles passed its first reading, Committee stage, on 5th December even though an impact assessment on many elements of the proposal was ongoing.

Some new text adopted by the (IMCO) Committee, especially the extension of mandatory ABS to all scooters and motorcycles, the introduction of a new Article 18a (see below) and the Delegated Acts (drafts of which are now available), appear to have moved well outside the scope of the Commission's original proposal. Article 18a also relies on Member States to establish National policing.

ABS is being adopted by some riders, but the technology is not as advanced as for cars and there are many riding conditions where it is not suitable, or where combined braking systems (in which the industry has invested heavily) are more suitable, especially with smaller scooters. The Commission’s mandating of ABS is therefore inappropriate for both the market and manufacturing.

Articles 17 and 52 also directly impact on motorcyclists as consumers, controlling the sale and availability of after-market parts within the EU and the modification of certain aspects of the machine to suit riding conditions.

The full Parliamentary vote (plenary session) is tabled for April, which is too soon to enable sufficient discussion beforehand and which permits no time within the chamber for debate.

This debate is necessary, as there are many parts of this Regulation which I, as a rider and consumer, welcome, so this cannot be a yes/no vote on the acceptance or rejection of the proposal as a whole.

It is welcome for example, that Article 22 will lead to CO2 emissions being published at point of sale for every model. Similarly, paragraph 9 (page 11) which aims to over-turn the earlier decision to introduce power limits for motorcycles (1995), on the basis that no evidence can be found of a correlation between safety and power. This assertion rather undermines one of the central tenets of the whole proposal, that speed or 'tuning' has a detrimental effect on safety, again forcing the assumption that the Commission's proposals appear not to be evidence led.

I urge you to read the Regulation COM (2010) 542 and the consolidated text post the IMCO Committee vote, which is not in the public domain and use your influence to delay the Parliamentary vote.

Could I respectfully ask that you send your reply to Central Office of the Motorcycle Action Group who are compiling replies in order to monitor voting behaviour. This can be either electronically to: campaigns-coordinator@mag-uk.org

or by post to: MAG (UK), PO Box 750, Warwick, CV34 9FU

Yours Sincerely,


Article 18a- Measures and Proceedings regarding modifications to L-category vehicles by the users or those acting on their behalf
1. If substantial modifications are made to the powertrain components by the user or by those acting on his behalf the vehicle shall comply with the technical requirements of the initial vehicle category and subcategory, or, if applicable, the new vehicle category and subcategory, which were in force when the original vehicle was sold, registered or entered into service. Those modifications shall be inspected and approved by the competent authorities in the Member States.
3. A modification is substantial when it affects the safety of the vehicle or its emissions to the environment. A modification is deemed to be substantial when it renders the original type approval obsolete.'

Your MEPs for Electoral Area Yorkshire & the Humber are as follows:

Edward McMillan-Scott
Boston Lodge
42 High Street
Boston Spa
North Yorkshire
LS23 6EA

Telephone: 01937 583 699
Email: edward.mcmillan-scott@europarl.europa.eu
Website: www.emcmillanscott.com
National Political Party: Liberal Democrats

Linda McAvan
Labour Constituency Office
79 High Street
South Yorkshire
S63 7Q

Telephone: 01709 875665
Email: lindamcavan@lindamcavanmep.org.uk
Website: www.lindamcavanmep.org.uk
National Political Party: Labour Party

Godfrey Bloom
108 Main Street
North Yorkshire

Telephone: 01757 630778
Email: gbloom@ukip.org
Website: www.godfreybloommep.co.uk
Website: www.ukip-ynl.org.uk
National Political Party: UK Independence Party

Diana Wallis
PO Box 176
East Yorkshire
HU15 1UX

Telephone: 01482 666898
Email: diana@dianawallismep.org.uk
Website: www.dianawallismep.org.uk
National Political Party: Liberal Democrats

Timothy Kirkhope
Beechwood Farm
Main Street
North Yorkshire

Telephone: 00 322 284 7321 EU Office
Email: timothy.kirkhope@europarl.europa.eu
Website: www.kirkhope.org.uk
National Political Party: Conservative Party

Andrew Brons
PO Box 116
LS27 9WW

Telephone: 01924 820946
Email: andrew.brons@europarl.europa.eu
Website: www.andrewbronsmep.eu
National Political Party: British National Party

As MAG members continue to campaign against EU legislation with very important MEP letter writing, the various 'behind the scenes' actions continue too. We hear recently that the European Ombudsman has now received over 2000 requests to access the documents relating to MAG member Jon Strong's complaints against the EU Commission which are, in essence, about maladministration.

We really are on a roll, this sort of response from the public is unheard of. Keep up the pressure by contacting your MEP's with the above letter !!!!

Thank you for your vital support. Biking needs YOU !!

7) Motorbike Theft in York is on the Rise

Motorbike theft in York is on the rise. MORE motorbikes than cars are now being stolen in York, despite them making up only a small fraction of vehicles in the city.

New figures show that between October 2010 and September 2011, thieves stole 70 cars, while a total of 77 motorbikes were taken in the city, even though there are 16 times as many cars on the roads.

MAG has now called on city leaders and police to make life harder for would-be thieves, saying not enough has been done to help motorcyclists.

Paddy Tyson, Campaigns Manager for the Motorcycle Action Group, said: "Cars are getting harder to steal, but we are still in the situation where there are very few councils in the country that integrate motorcycles at all into their thoughts. We have to battle constantly for secure parking."

He said bikes were always an easier target, as they could be pushed into the back of a van, but said councils should do more for motorcyclists, to help encourage people to use them instead of cars. He said Bristol and some London boroughs had taken action to deter opportunist thieves, such as by installing 'anchor' hoops in the ground, to which bikes can be secured, and called on City of York Council to follow suit.

Councillor Sandy Fraser, the council's cabinet member for crime issues, said car and motorbike thefts in York were generally lower than the national average, and said: "I will ask the police and Safer York Partnership to look into what can be done to reduce thefts still further."

The new statistics, revealed by North Yorkshire Police under the Freedom of Information Act, show that in total, there were 180 vehicle thefts in York over the 12 months: 77 motorbikes, 70 cars, seven vans, four light 4x4s, three lorries and 19 others or unrecorded types.

Wakefield MAG's Political Officer Ian Whittaker is going to try and get the same stats for Wakefield. We'll let you know what we find out in due course (expect similar figures to York !!!).

8) French Regulations

The French Government has finally confirmed how it will implement new regulations for motorcyclists regarding reflective clothing and number plates.

As of 1st Jan 2013 it will be an offence, punishable through a fine and the loss of points, (in France you lose them, don't gain them) not to wear at least 150cm2 of reflective clothing between the waist and the shoulders and not to be using an enlarged number plate. The 150 cm2 equates to a minute 24 square inches in the old money, so a 6"x4" patch, somewhere between your waist and shoulders meets the French Government regulations.

You may remember that this was first mooted as an accident reduction issue, but most accidents involve 125cc bikes and below, and these are quite amazingly exempt from the new rules. Also, given the high number of side impact collisions at junctions, where the patch will not be visible at all (unless we all start riding side saddle), the regulations are pointless and ineffective (and that's before they have even been implemented).

Riders in France must already use their headlights all the time and carry reflective stickers on their helmets.

You may also remember that the French Government then said the regulations were to ensure other motorists could see if riders were lying in the middle of the road at night (although obviously only if you happen to be lying on your side !!!).

FFMC's Frederic Jeorge said "It will be considered almost as bad as driving without a helmet, even if you are wearing full leather armour, on a bike with the headlights on and knowing that our helmets already have 4 mandatory reflective stickers... Also, it will NOT include the mopeds and 125cc, where's the logic?"

Logic? We are not sure that's generally considered when creating legislation for motorcyclists. See the petition below to call for a stop to this nonsence spreading through the EU.

9) Resist the Spread of Compulsory Hi-Viz in Europe

Following confirmation that hi-viz is to become compulsory in France (see above) from 2013 and Ireland from 2014, MAG member Jon Wilmer (Regional Rep for Thames Valley) has launched a petition calling on the British Government to put pressure on the European Commission to discipline any member state that imposes clothing standards such as hi-viz on motorcycle riders.

The e-petition epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/26931 has gone live and runs for 3 months.

A recent review of road safety studies carried out by Plymouth University on behalf of Cornwall County council, demonstrates that the evidence for the road safety benefits of hi-viz clothing is unclear. Some studies finding that riders who wear reflective or fluorescent clothing are around one-third less likely to be involved in a crash, but other studies finding no such benefit.

MAG says that questions such as whether safer riders are more likely to choose to wear hi-viz, whether the colour of bike/clothing has more or less visual impact depending on the colour of the background or the prevailing weather demonstrate that the case for compulsory use at all times and in all circumstances is fundamentally flawed.

MAG policy is to defend the rider's freedom of choice over riding equipment such as hi-viz and other types of clothing with various safety features.

Do sign the petition if you agree with it's aims !!!

10) 2012 Social Events

Our newly elected social committee are already on the case and organising lots of social events for 2012. These include:

Other events in the pipeline include:

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.

11) Stolen Scooter

Stolen: Black Sym Mio 50 Scooter. Reg no. YJ 10 KNX. Taken from Chestnut Street, South Elmsall on Tuesday 24th Jan 2012 between 7pm and 11pm.

Please contact police with any information.

There does seem to be a spate of stolen machines at the moment, with Wakefield MAG members Sonny & Andy having their 125's stolen recently (although both have since been recovered). With the shocking stats from nearby York (see above), this is a worrying trend.

Secure your bikes well, and keep your eyes peeled for the scooter !!!

12) Forthcoming Events (for February and beyond)

Saturday 18th February - Leeds MAG Valentines Party.

Live music. Bar open until 11:30pm. From 8pm at the Parkfield Suite, 8 Parkfield Terrace, Stanningley, Leeds, LS28 6BS. £5. Tickets from Leeds MAG meetings or pay on the door (if still available)

Sunday 26th February - Leeds MAG Fred Hill Run

Wakefield MAG meet at the Grey Horse at 09:30, leaving at 10:00 for Squires. The Run will then leave Squires Cafe Bar at Newthorpe at 11.30 prompt. The Run will proceed via Sherburn, Tadcaster, Boston Spa, Collingham, Harewood and Arthington to the Sun Inn at Norwood

Saturday 10th March - Dog Racing Night at Kinsley Greyhound Stadium

See Above £5 deposit required asap please for all those who would like to go.

Sunday 25th March (TBC) - Our popular Charity Pet Food Run to Whitehall Dog Rescue in East Ardsley and other local 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.

Saturday 14th April - MAG Annual Group Conference 2012

10:00-16:00 at Chiltern Park Aerodrome. Ipsden. Wallingford. OX10 6AS. Free, but bring your MAG membership card to gain entry & vote

Sunday 15th April - Wakefield Hospice 10K Race (Wakefield MAG providing Mobile Race Marshals)

Starting from Thornes Park. Time: 09:00 (race starts at 09:30) TBC

Sunday 15th April - Walking Treasure Hunt

See Above. Starting from the Grey Horse at 2pm. £1 to enter to cover prizes.

Sunday 22nd April - Wakefield MAG Monthly Rideout to the Straightliners 2012 Motorcycle Drag Racing Series, at Elvington, York

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

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.