Wakefield MAG May 2008 Newsletter

Dear Wakefield MAG member,

Welcome to the Wakefield MAG e-newsletter. If you canít attend our Wednesday meetings regularly, itís the next best thing to keep you up to date with what we are up to.

CONTENTS

1) Wakefield Hospice May Day Gala Bike Show *** STOP RESSS ***
2) FYP Competition Winner
3) Rally Tickets
4) MAG AGC Report
5) FYP Marshals
6) Leeds MAG Demo Run
7) Test Centre Campaign
8) Easter Egg Run Report
9) SHARP
10) Bike Parking in Sagar Street
11) BIRT Charity Donation
12) Wakefield Hospice 10K Marshaling Report

1) Wakefield Hospice May Day Gala Bike Show

*** STOP PRESS ***

The Wakefield Hospice May Day Gala, being held on Bank Holiday Monday (5th May) has had to have a last minute venue change. The fields at Clarence Park are too muddy to hold the gala, so our hosts, Wakefield Hospice, have had to switch venues to the playing fields in Thornes Park instead, on the instructions of Wakefield Council.

The show is now to be held further into the park, but the way in, via Park Avenue (off Denby Dale Road) remains the same. Instead of taking the Lodge entrance (from Park Avenue/Lawfield Lane) into Clarence Park, simply carry straight on and the show will be held on the playing fields on the left hand side, further into the park (technically Thornes Park at this point). There is a small entrance on the left hand side which most bikes will be able to fit through. However, Trikes and Sidecars etc, may need to carry on to Horbury Road, turn left, then left again into Park Grove Road to access the site.

We will have marshals on Denby Dale Road and at the Playing Fields entrance on Lawfield Lane, so there is no danger of not being able to find the show. The new site is also larger than the old one, so more room for even more bikes (every cloud .....).

All other details for the bike show remain unchanged i.e. Entry into the show from 09:30 onwards (Gala officially opens now at 11:00), and all bikes need to be entered into the show by 10:45 at the very latest.

Hope to see you there.

2) FYP Competition Winner

The results of the Farmyard Party competition have been announced and 10 lucky winners have each got 2 tickets to the four 2008 Yorkshire MAG MAP events (Into the Valley, Farmyard Party, Ganton Gathering and Yorkshire Pudding Rally), worth £190.

One of the lucky winners was Wakefield MAG's very own, Tim Chamberlain, who to quote himself "Never Wins Anything". Well done to Tim, just a pity he had already bought all his tickets !!!

3) Rally Tickets

Our Into the Valley tickets have been returned but we still have Farmyard Party, Ganton Gathering and Yorkshire Pudding Rally tickets for sale.

All of the above rallies offer concessions for MAG members. Get your tickets at the branch meetings before we sell out !!! Deadline for ticket sales at the Branch is 29th May (FYP), 25th June (GG) & 16th July (YPR). If you can't make the meetings but still want tickets in advance, drop us an email or give me a ring (0772 078 4734) with your requirements and we will get back to you.

4) MAG AGC Report

This years MAG AGC was held on Saturday 26th April in Bromsgrove, Birmingham. The AGC suffered a relatively poor turnout this year, but Yorkshire MAG groups were well represented, as usual. MAG has had a very good year and we are solvent and in profit (always a good thing !!). Last year's brand relaunch has certainly raised the professional profile and image of MAG, and, we are now seeing approaches from companies and organisations who want to be associated with, and work with, MAG (and would never have done so in the past, prior to the rebrand). All good stuff. MAG's political profile is sky high, and we are now approached for our opinion by the government, prior to decisions being made which affect motorcycling, rather than being on the back foot, after the event as it were. As a political lobbying organisation, which is after all our primary remit, we are unbeatable !!!

Election wise, all the National Officers were re-elected, although the National Network & Communications Officer post remains vacant, being performed by Campaigns Manager David Short in the interim - if anyone fancies the NNCO post, do let me know.

Trevor Baird, as you may be aware, left the employment of MAG a couple of weeks ago and gave a rousing farewell speech to the conference, for which he received a standing ovation. Good Luck to Trevor in his future ventures. Trevor's replacement as General Secretary for MAG UK was announced as Nick Brown. Nick is well known within MAG circles, having been a local Rep in the Midlands for a number of years, a Regional Rep and NC member, a trustee of the MAG Foundation, and latterly an employee of the Motorcycle Industry Association (but not for much longer).

Motions to the conference were presented, some voted on, some voted against, and some withdrawn. The right result on them all was achieved in the end though, I feel.

An entertaining President's Address by El Presidente Ian Mutch, as always, then the Awards, out of which Yorkshire MAG did rather well:

Two large donations were made to the MAG Fighting Fund at the Conference: The Conference finished at a very delegate friendly 3:30pm (got to be a first !!)

A full report will appear in the next issue of the Road, but don't forget that you read it here first !!!

5) FYP Marshals

The call has gone out for marshals to help run this years Farmyard Party Rally (and just when you thought it was safe to turn on your PC again !!!). This rally, the biggest biker only rally in Europe, and one of MAG's biggest fund raising events, simply couldn't run at a profit without our volunteer marshals, and all the profits made go towards the MAG fighting fund to protect riderís rights.

Wakefield MAG exclusively marshal the Blues Tent at the FYP, which is widely recognised as one of the best places to marshal at the FYP. The Thank You package for this year is the best ever and will consist of:

All marshals also have the exclusive use of the showers and a secure marshals camping area. The site is also open to marshals earlier than ordinary rally goers and on the Thursday evening Joll Lawsonís Blue Oyster Bar will be open for beers and some music, again, exclusive to marshals.

Marshalling can be great fun so if you have never given it a go, why not consider volunteering your services. Let us know if you would like to volunteer and we will give you further details and put your name(s) forward.

Closing date for FYP marshal registration is Monday 26th May.

6) Leeds MAG Demo Run

Saturday 17th May has been confirmed as the date for this years Leeds MAG Demo run. The Demo Run presents a rare opportunity for a mass ride through the centre of Leeds, under police escort (stopping all the traffic for us en-route). The run will end at the West Leeds Sports & Social Club in Armley. Previous years events have been very well attended (100's of bikers).

The Demo Run this year is a protest about saving our motorcycle test centres, which are currently under threat (see below). What a great incentive to get out on your bike and make your presence felt !!!

Wakefield MAG will be meeting at the usual time & place for the ride in to squires (Stork Lodge Tea Rooms, Thornes Park, 9:30am, leaving at 10:00am). We will have a nice leisurely scenic ride over to Squires, arriving around 11:00am, where we will meet up with the rest of the assembled masses. The Demo Run itself will be leaving Squires at 11:30 sharp.

Mark the date in your diary as this is not one to miss.

7) Test Centre Campaign

Multi Purpose Test Centres (MPTC), are being established as part of the Second Driving Licence provisions. This affects motorcycling. The new riding test coming into force in October 2008 introduces new 50kph stop and swerve manoeuvres. Most of the current 225 motorcycle test centres are within 30 mph urban environments and it would be impracticable to travel to 40 mph areas in order to conduct the tests. As a result, 66 MPTCís are to be built across the UK. Each site requires an area of 2.5 acres and each will cost in the region of £1.5m to develop.

With the reduction from the current 225 motorcycle test centres down to just 66 MPTC's, this will require long journeys for inexperienced riders to get to the new test centres, and highly likely increase the waiting time to get a test date. The DSA has already stated that not all of the 66 current planned sites will be fully operational by the time the new test comes into force in October. Oh, and of course, the test fee is also increasing.

Wakefield will be losing it's current motorcycle test centre at Carr Gate in October. Even the Leeds / Bradford area currently doesn't have a suitable site and our novice riders will have to travel all the way to either Rotherham or Keighley to take their tests. This is far from ideal, especially as motorways can't be used by learners, so the journey time will be far longer than the 40 mins max / 20 miles trip quoted by the Driving Standards Agency (DSA). At a time when we are actively encouraging people to switch from cars to motorcycles and scooters, for environmental and congestion beating reasons, this doesn't help the cause.

What is MAG doing about this:

At a National level, David Short, MAG's Campaigns Manager, is working with the Road Safety Minister, Jim Fitzpatrick MP and the DSA, negotiating a favourable solution for bikers. The MAG Campaign is using the plight of the Isle of Wight, as an example of the UK wide problem. Additional MPTC's sites are actively being sought and we are seeking assurance that test waiting times will not increase.

Regionally, a number of MAG Regions are organising Demo Rides to highlight the problem. Yorkshire is no exception and our Demo Ride is on Saturday May 17th, organised by Leeds MAG (see above for details). All riders are actively encouraged to join the Demo to highlight our plight. Please tell all your mates about this so we get a strong attendance.

At an Individual level, in addition to attending the Demo Run, you may wish to sign the on-line petition on the No.10 website, calling for the Prime Minister to postpone the date for bringing in the new motorcycle test until all 66 MPTC's, which have been earmarked, are fully operational in the UK.

Link: petitions.pm.gov.uk/delaytheMPTC

Watch this space for more news on this campaign

8) Easter Egg Run Report

Ten Wakefield MAG members on nine bikes joined York MAG for their Easter Egg run on Saturday 29th March. This was an excellent turnout from the branch, especially considering the relatively short notice we had for the run. The weather was dry and we all enjoyed a scenic ride over to York and managed to maintain our well deserved nickname of 'Lost Riders' by getting lost trying to find York MAG's new meeting venue. After a slight detour !?!, we met up with around the same number of York MAG members at the Bumper Castle Inn in Clifton Moor, York. From there, we had a short ride to the Glen Children's Home where we made the Easter Egg presentations. Such was the quantity of Easter Eggs we brought along with us, I think they will last the kids until next year's Easter Egg run !!!

The Glen Children's Home treated us to a buffet lunch, after which some of our contingent joined York MAG on their longer ride-out up to Helmsley. A cracking day out was had by all and it was good to support York MAG's event. I somehow think that we will be going again next year.

9) SHARP

SHARP is a new Safety Helmet and Assessment Rating Programme, specifically for motorcyclists, developed by the DfT. SHARP will enable riders to more easily select a helmet which matches their needs. It will provide consumers with an independent assessment of the safety performance of helmets sold in the UK. The SHARP RATING reflects the performance of each helmet model following a series of advanced tests in the DfT lab and will rate helmets from 1-5 stars.

Laboratory tests show there are real differences in the safety performance of motorcycle helmets available in the market. While they all satisfy the minimum legal requirements, providing objective advice concerning the level of protection a safety helmet provides will assist riders when making this very important buying decision.

The DfT have begun testing motorcycle helmets to their advanced assessments and from Spring 2008, SHARP will offer riders a single, easy to understand rating for helmet models available within the UK.

The DfT believe that a helmet that performs well when assessed against their new procedures will offer users a significantly increased level of protection. DfT research has shown that up to 50 motorcyclists' lives could be saved every year if everyone wore a helmet that scores highly in the SHARP testing system.

Look for the SHARP logo and be sure to check out the SHARP rating when you think about getting your next helmet!

MAG has never abandoned it's core principle for the abandonment of the mandatory helmet law and believes riders should be able to exercise freedom of choice as to whether to wear a helmet or not. However, if you choose to wear a helmet (and until the law is changed we have to), it may as well be a good one.

More details of the scheme at the SHARP website: sharp.direct.gov.uk

Sharp Questionnaire:

An independent questionnaire has been developed (by a final year Industrial Design student from Loughborough University) to gauge consumer response on the scheme. MAG members have been invited to participate.

It is a short five minute questionnaire and is completely anonymous. You can access the questionnaire here

10) Bike Parking in Sagar Street

Following a one-man campaign by Wakefield MAG member Neil Liversedge, motorcycle parking has been returned to Sagar Street in Castleford. Neil was incensed when the motorcycle only parking bay in Sagar Street, which has been there for decades, was removed during the recent town centre improvements. Neil lobbied Wakefield Council, who have since agreed to reinstate the motorcycle only parking bays. And the icing on the cake is that the reinstated parking will incorporate a security anchor so bikes can be chained to an immovable object. This was never there previously. A result in anyone's book !!!

Wakefield MAG continues to work with Wakefield Council to improve the provision of secure parking facilities for motorcycles across the whole of the Wakefield & Five Towns area. More news on this ongoing campaign in due course.

Remember too, that motorcycles can park for FREE in any of the Wakefield Council controlled 'pay and display' car parks.

11) BIRT Charity Donation

An update on our Charity donation to the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust, following our Post Christmas Auction in January.

Our £100 charity donation was used to purchase trampettes and yoga sets for use at Daniel Yorath House in nearby Garforth. This equipment is used to help with the restoration of motor functions and co-ordination for brain damaged patients, using the Garforth facility. We have been invited by the staff to a summer evening barbecue at Daniel Yorath house, as a Thank You for our donation.

We will be organising a rideout over to the centre for the barbecue in due course, as we have been specifically asked to visit them on our bikes (a number of their patients are unfortunately ex-bikers, who now require their services following major accidents).

12) Wakefield Hospice 10K Marshaling Report

Wakefield MAG provided mobile marshals for this years Wakefield Hospice 10K race, which was held on Sunday 30th March, starting from Denby Dale Road and ending at the Thornes Park Athletics stadium. We had nine motorcycle marshals and one on a pedal cycle (race back marker). There were only three wheelchair competitors in this years race so our marshals outnumbered the competitors somewhat. Our marshals did a superb job protecting the wheelchair competitors from traffic and acting as back markers at the tail end of the race. We got a big thank you from the wheelchair competitors (which included some serious talent in the form of Dame Tani Grey-Thomson, the current British Champion) and from the Hospice organisers themselves (all the marshals have got a personalised thank you card, which was a very nice gesture indeed).

We'll be helping the Hospice with this event again next year.

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

Ride Safe
Steve Travis
Chairman
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.