28 January 2013

MAG is 40 this year

Forty years ago, the Vietnam Peace Agreement was signed, the Tory Government led Britain into Europe, the Twin Towers were completed in New York, Skylab was launched into orbit, Pinochet led a coup in Chile, Nixon accepted responsibility for Watergate, David Bowie swore he'd never perform another gig and in a house on Verne Drive in Ampthill, Bedfordshire, the Motorcycle Action Group was founded, as an organisation "opposed to all oppressive and discriminatory legislation aimed at motorcycling."

So it's our 40th Birthday and I hope you'll help us celebrate one way or another throughout the year:
see the website and your copy of The ROAD magazine for events and parties throughout the year
  • get someone you know to join MAG so they can enjoy £25 of adventure motorcycle DVDs as a special gift from Continental Tyres!
  • consider MAG if you plan any fund-raising events yourself
  • revel in the ease of use of the new MAG website which will be launched soon, making campaigns materials and merchandise easy to access
  • expect loads of great offers from Corporate members and much more- to be revealed!
The year started well for MAG and our campaigning, with another MP joining us as a full member the first day the MAG office opened.
Welcome Mike Weatherly, Conservative MP for Hove and Portslade on the south coast, who duly received his DVD pack from Continental tyres
Staying in the Brighton area, we got news that on the 22nd April, some of Brighton's bus lanes will be opened to motorcyclists. This is the culmination of lots of hard work by Chris Cordell and all the members of Brighton MAG. What's even more impressive, is rather than let the Local Authority run into all the mistakes of old, the campaign ensured that the surrounding Authorities were involved so that where the trial routes run into another Council's 'patch' there is no difference to the motorcycle right of way. This is in stark contrast to London, where the rules governing bus lane access can change every few hundred yards.
If you live in the Brighton area, please use the access responsibly as motorcycle traffic will be under scrutiny for the 18 month trial and the naysayers will be looking for any excuse to deny us continued access.
If you live in Leicester you may well be getting access to bus lanes there too. Leicester MAG is barely a year old, but has already made its mark on local government, with written and oral evidence given to Transport Scrutiny Committees, and a meeting with the Mayor to address all issues regarding motorcycling and how Leicester can become more biker friendly.  Apart from now considering bikes in bus lanes, the Mayor has decided to increase the amount of secure bike parking and signage, directed by the local MAG members.
Coventry MAG have secured convenient secure bike parking and are now working on bus lanes too.
In Buxton, the continued work of Peak and District MAG has now reaped the rewards of new bike parking areas and confirmation last week that further secure parking will be provided.
In London, Transport for London (TfL) has been putting together a £900 million junction 'improvement' scheme, which initially wanted to improve road junctions in the interest of cyclists. MAG was the only Riders Group to successfully appeal for inclusion on the Design Review Group, and through Dr Leon Mannings MAG was able to impress on TfL how important it was that no improvements for cyclists should be at the expense of, or a danger to, motorcyclists.
You may think that would sound obvious, but it really isn't and the importance of MAG being involved in all these situations was quickly demonstrated  when TfL decided to entirely junk the first of its schemes when Leon demonstrated just how bikers would be adversely affected.
It's the development and maturity of MAG as a lobby group that reaps all these rewards for riders and I'm sure we will continue to influence decision makers with your help, as we go through this year.
The more we are involved on the inside, the more we make a tangible difference.
We do have battles ahead regarding EU legislation too, but I'm sure they're going to be fun! I'll outline the latest developments on the Super MoT next week.
In France the latest news is that the breathalyser scheme, having already been postponed to March 1st, has now been delayed to an indeterminate future date, one less thing to carry on holiday and one less ludicrous fine to face!
Happy 40th!
Paddy Tyson.

And not forgetting Hythe managed to sort out the lack of info for parking in Shepway.....

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