Wakefield MAG October 2009 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) Reclaim North Wales Demo Report
2) Spat out of Hull Rally Report
3) Yorkshire Region Rideout
4) 2010 Rally Dates
5) Unfair proposal from the Ministry for Justice
6) Another unfair proposal (be legally responsible for an accident, even if it's not your fault !!)
7) 6th Annual Bikers Quiz Nite
8) Yorkshire MAG AGM
9) Girls Night
10) Forthcoming Events (including two rideouts in October)

1) Reclaim North Wales Demo Report

A good half dozen Wakefield MAG members met a number of others at the Eastbound Hartshead Moor services on the M62, on Sunday 13th September, en-route to the MAG supported MCN Reclaim North Wales Demo. Our contingent, together with many other Regional and Local MAG Reps and other MAG members from all around the country were among an estimated 10,000 riders who travelled in defiance of North Wales Police (NWP) treatment of visiting bikers in recent weeks.

NWP are apparently flouting national policing guidance by 'trawling for offences' during stop and check operations delaying up to 400 riders every weekend, 90% of whom have been found to have done nothing wrong, but NWP say they are determined to carry on.

Riders are not buying the official line that this is just an opportunity for police to offer 'road safety advice'. But if the real purpose is to deter riders from visiting North Wales, it has clearly been a monumental failure.

The roads around the various meeting points for the Reclaim Wales event were so packed that MAG members say it was almost impossible to move.

MAG General Secretary Nich Brown will tell the Road Safety Wales conference that this sort of confrontational approach is not going to solve any local problems. MAG is working to inform Welsh roads authorities so that motorcycles are first and foremost seen as a legitimate way of travel - not a road safety problem to be 'cracked'.

2) Spat out of Hull Rally Report

After a delayed start on Friday 18th September, we set off to our first stop, the Woodside Cafe for a Spam Breakfast / Dinner, then onwards to our destination, the Spat out of Hull Rally at Dene Park Rugby Club in Beverley, to find another four of our contingent already waiting for us. We pitched our tents under the strict instructions of Tracey to form a circle, only to be told it was more of a square than a circle but hey ho !!! With the tents erected, Lorna, Vickie and Sue went in search of the most important of supplies .... Beer !!!

Partying then started with some partying harder than others. Two members of the group, having obviously peaked too early, went back to their tents after enjoying a proper meal on proper plates (posh rallying in East Yorkshire !!!).

On Saturday morning all enjoyed a nice full breakfast at great prices and tastes to match. Nine of us then got ready and had a ride out to Brid for the day, whilst the rest of the group sobered up. The ride to Bridlington was uneventful but pleasant, and a good day was had by all, including a very nice meal in a cafe where Chas got his pensioners dinner and pudding, for a bargain price, much to the annoyance of Meerkat Steve (seniority has it's advantages young man). Never mind Steve, you'll be there yourself in a couple of years !!!!

On returning to the rally site, we were joined by two more members who had kept up the Wakefield MAG tradition of getting lost.

All the group went down to the club house to do some more partying. Most of the group sat outside listening to the bands and enjoying the antics that were going on, Mo leaning on the back rest that was not there and falling on the floor, and in true Wakefield fashion, no one helped him (as we were all laughing too hard), but he was soon back on his feet and OK (barring his ego obviously).

On Sunday morning people got up in dribs and drabs, some with bad heads and some with googly eyes and legs that wouldn't work properly. After breakfast, people started to pack up, slowly, due in part to last night's excesses, and also it was such a lovely warm day, there was no great rush.

When all ready, we set off home taking the scenic route through Beverley town centre, only taking a wrong turn once (well, we are the Lost Riders of Wakefield). All arrived home safely, even Sue's trike which over heated in style on the M62, but after giving her a drink (the Trike, not Sue), she made it home OK.

Another most splendid Spat out of Hull rally, and a good weekend was had by all.

3) Yorkshire Region Rideout

There is a Yorkshire Region rideout this Sunday (4th October). Wakefield MAG are meeting at Stork Lodge Tea Rooms, Thornes Park, Wakefield at 09:30, leaving at 10:00, then a bimble over to Squires for 11:00. Here we will meet other Yorkshire MAG branches and get our mystery envelope which will contain a cryptic clue to a landmark in another Yorkshire MAG branches home town (could be Scarborough, Beverley, who knows ...... ). We then navigate to the town (have a group photo at the Welcome to xxxxxx sign), then a further Group photo at the destination landmark in the cryptic clue we have (hopefully) worked out correctly. We then send the photo evidence to the Yorkshire Vice Rep to win ...... well, absolutely nowt (but it's the taking part that counts !!!).

So, bit of a mystery tour this one. Hope you can make it.

4) 2010 Rally Dates

As some of you will need to book holiday for next years rallies, here are the dates of the main Yorkshire MAG events for 2010:

As in previous years, tickets will be on sale for these events at the branch meetings, from around March(ish).

5) Unfair proposal from the Ministry for Justice

Drivers who challenge motoring prosecutions should be made to pay their legal bills even if they win their case, ministers have said. The proposal would see successful defendants lose their centuries-old right to claim back their costs.

A change in the law would affect many of the 1.7 million drivers / riders, who take their cases to court, every year.

Ministers are proposing that defendants should lose their right to claim back their legal costs.

It costs around £1,500 to fight charges of speeding, illegal parking and other motoring offences and this cost would not be fully reimbursed even if a driver was found innocent of all charges.

Jeanette Miller, of Geoffrey Miller, a leading motoring law firm has raised a petition on the Downing Street website to maintain the Status Quo:

http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/CostsRecovery

The Ministry of Justice plan to implement a new costs recovery system from October 2009. Under new rules any defendant acquitted of an offence in the Magistrates' Court will only be reimbursed at prevailing legal aid rates regardless of the level of costs they paid to their lawyers.

This proposed rule change will undoubtedly mean that many defendants will accept wrongful prosecutions for commercial reasons. The Association of Motor Offence Lawyers (of which I am President) see thousands of convictions each year in the Magistrates' Court that should never occur due to misunderstanding of technical points concerning motoring legislation. If a defendant wishes to clear their name, they often have to take their case to the Crown Court. This can be an expensive process for which legal aid is unavailable which many will not embark upon with the knowledge that even when they win their appeal, they will lose the majority of the legal fees they spend in the process.

The costs savings the government are seeing to make could be made by examining and improving other ineffective processes within the court system. It is not fair to pass yet another expense onto the public.

Deadline to sign up by: 07 November 2009

MAG Comment:†Obviously the astronomic number of appeals is driving this demand for a change in the law but this flies full in the face of the very definition of justice. Please sign the No.10 petition if you believe this proposed change is unfair, or better still, go one further and contact your MP (contact details are on the Local MAG Page).

6) Another unfair proposal (be legally responsible for an accident, even if it's not your fault !!)

Ministers are considering making motorists legally responsible for accidents involving cyclists or pedestrians, even if they are not at fault.

Government advisers are pushing for changes in the civil law that will make the most powerful vehicle involved in a collision automatically liable for insurance and compensation purposes.

The move, intended to encourage greater take-up of environmentally friendly modes of transport, is likely to anger some drivers, many of whom already perceive themselves to be the victims of money spinning speed cameras and overzealous traffic wardens.

Many will argue that it is the risky behaviour of some cyclists, particularly those who jump red lights and ride the wrong way along one-way streets, that is to blame for a significant number of crashes.

However, policy-makers believe radical action is required to get people out of cars and onto bicycles or to walk more. Only 1%-2% of journeys are at present made by bike.

Supporters want such measures to be included in the governmentís National Cycling Plan and Active Transport Strategy, due to be published soon. Phillip Darnton, chief executive of Cycling England, an agency funded by the Department for Transport (DfT) to promote cycling, said four key policy changes were needed. ďI would like to see the legal onus placed on motorists when there are accidents; speed limits reduced to 20mph on suburban and residential roads; cycling taught to all schoolchildren; and cycling provision included in major planning applications, said Darnton.

If a cyclist were hit by a car, the presumption of blame would fall on the driver, while a cyclist would automatically be blamed if he or she knocked down a pedestrian.

Similar policies, which would not extend to criminal law, have already been adopted by Germany and Holland, where transport campaigners say they have had a significant influence in changing attitudes towards cycling. It has also been confirmed that ministers want to slash speed limits in urban areas. It is expected that councils be recommended to introduce 20mph zones in all residential streets and on other roads with high numbers of cyclists or pedestrians. This would include roads around schools, markets and shopping areas, as long as they are not major through routes.

Although the proposals do not mention motorcycles explicitly, it does not take a genius to predict that in an accident involving a motorcyclist and a cyclist, the biker would be blamed, irrespective of who actually caused the accident. Also, what happens when a powerful motorcycle is in an accident with a small engined car, will be biker automatically be at fault, irrespective of the cause of the accident (which statistically speaking, is more likely to be the car).

These proposals are completely barking mad and you could be forgiven for thinking it was April 1st. Alas, it isn't and they are real. Again, if you believe this proposed change to civil law is unjust, please contact your MP and make your feelings known. Now is a good time to contact your MP, they will be looking for potential votes and keen to be seen to be acting on behalf of the electorate i.e. You !!!

Your MP's contact details are on the Local MAG Page.

7) 6th Annual Bikers Quiz Nite

Our hotly contested annual biker quiz nite, will be held on Wednesday 18th November, starting at 20:00 in the Grey Horse, Kirkgate, Wakefield.

We are having a slightly different format to the quiz this year, based on feedback from previous years. The quiz will consist of 60 questions, 30 of which will be motorcycle related and 30 will be general knowledge (but there will be a bike related link / theme somewhere, however tenuous).

Will East Yorkshire MAG retain the trophy they won last year ? Can Leeds MAG win back the trophy which was theirs for five years on the trot ? Will Wakefield MAG ever win our own quiz ?

Entry fee of £1 p.p (to cover cost of prizes). Enter as an individual or as a team (max. team size is 5).

Spread the word and I hope to see you there.

8) Yorkshire MAG AGM

The Yorkshire MAG Annual General Meeting is this month !!!

The AGM will be held on Saturday October 17th, starting at 13:00, at the Milnsbridge Bowling Club (Liberal Club), 54 George Street, Milnsbridge, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, HD3 4JD. A free buffet will be available from 12:00. Following the Yorkshire MAG AGM, will be the Magic Action Promotions (MAP) AGM. MAP is the Yorkshire MAG events arm and is responsible for the ITV, FYP and YPR rallies, which raise a substantial amount for the MAG fighting fund.

All Wakefield MAG members are invited to attend the Yorkshire AGM, and MAP AGM thereafter, which will earn you 75 branch points. Don't forget your MAG membership card, otherwise you wont be able to get it !!!

Following the Yorkshire & MAP AGM's will be the Twelfty Party, Huddersfield Central MAG's annual bash at the Gas Club in Huddersfield. Live Band: 3 Daze Lost, DJ & Raffle (see forthcoming events for more details).

9) Girls Night

Twelve of us went to see the one and only Corinne Duma (one of our original members) star in the Wakefield West End production of Girls Night, at the Theatre Royal Wakefield on Thursday 1st October.

Billed as hilarious and touching, which it certainly was, Girlsí Night followed five friends in their 30s and 40s during a wild and outrageous night out at a karaoke bar. Friends since their teens, they have all had their fair share of heartache and tragedy, joy and success. Thereís Carol the party girl, Anita who gets straight to the point, Liza (Corinne's character) whose life is complicated, Kate the designated driver and Sharon, the not-so-angelic angel who just canít resist tagging along. Together, they reminisce about their younger days, celebrate their current lives and look to the future.

Corinne was well matched to her character's part and had some very funny and rude lines (we were not all that sure she was actually acting !!!). Some cracking singing with classic anthems such as I Will Survive, Dancing Queen, We Are Family, and Itís Raining Men to name but a few. Kate's drunken efforts on the karaoke machine were brilliant !!!!

All in all, a great night out, and it made a nice change from our usual kind of activities.

If you missed it, then fear not, the production will be repeated in Barnsley in the new year.

10) Forthcoming Events (including two rideouts in October)

Sunday 4th October - Yorkshire MAG Regional Run

See above

Sunday 11th October - Wakefield MAG Branch Run to Black Sheep Brewery, Masham, North Yorkshire

Meet 09:30pm (leaving at 10:00pm) at Stork Lodge Tea Rooms, Thornes Park, off Thornes Road, Wakefield

Saturday 17th October - Yorkshire MAG AGM

See above

Saturday 17th October - Huddersfield Central MAG's Twelvety Party

Huddersfield Central's Annual Bash at the Gas Club. Band: 3 Daze Lost, DJ, Raffle. 7:30pm till late at the Gas Club, Gasworks Street, off Leeds Road, Huddersfield, HD1 6NA. Tickets £5 (or free if you haven't redeemed your FYP marshals complimentary event voucher yet !!)

Sunday 8th November - Wakefield MAG Branch Run to Matlock Bath

Meet 9:30am (leaving at 10:00am) at Stork Lodge Tea Rooms, Thornes Park, off Thornes Road, Wakefield

Wednesday 18th November - Wakefield MAG 6th Annual Bikers Quiz Nite

See above.

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.