28 February 2013

End of the month MAG news - Local and EU

Three new secure bike parking sites are to be provided for riders in Buxton, at the heart of the beautiful Peak District. Derbyshire County Council have announced that hoops will be in place within the month on 'The Viaduct' near the main shopping precinct.

They've also confirmed that a site on The Crescent, at the other end of the shopping area is to be similarly equipped and a drop kerb and secure installations are to go in at the Train station too. This is the essence of what local MAG activists can achieve. Sean Buckley and all at Peak and District MAG should take a bow for sticking at it for the 16 month campaign.

Other great news is that the work of Leicester MAG has led the City Council to consider trials of bikes in bus lanes. The announcement comes after Ian Underwood and the team at Leicester MAG submitted written and oral evidence to the transport scrutiny committee.
Activists in Coventry continue their campaign for the same opportunity, but have enlisted the help of the local press. After their success getting secure convenient parking in the City, movement on bus lanes has been slower, but now The Coventry Evening Telegraph has heard about the local campaign and at very short notice arranged a photoshoot so they could run the story. Baz Price the Coventry MAG rep managed to pull the troops together for a lunchtime picture at the dedicated bus lane on Foleshill Road next the inner ring road. This could be one of the routes that would provide safer, swifter access into and out of the city centre for riders of all types of powered two wheeler and encourage more drivers out of their cars and onto fun, cleaner, motorised transport.
I'm also pleased that activists have even changed the definition of the word biker!

The Oxford University Press who publish the Oxford English Dictionary, have responded positively to the MAG activist's campaign to change their definition of a 'biker'. Back in September 2012 MAG activists Tracy Hammond from Peterborough and Jenny Cook from Paignton among others, wrote to the University Press highlighting that those who saw themselves as bikers were a diverse group of people and not just 'long-haired and dressed in dirty denims' as their original definition stated.
After a string of correspondence lasting four months, the OED has at last acknowledged the offence caused and the inaccuracy of their entry.
The new definition, as of 22nd Feb, reads "A motorcyclist, especially one who is a member of a gang or group" Rather unfortunately its illustrative expansion is 'a biker was involved in a collision with a car' so one stereotype has been replaced with another, albeit a marginally less offensive one!
It is however, another good example of how MAG members undertake to achieve change and improve the lot of motorcycling and don't just moan. Well done all.

But next week will be time for all of us to get back to letter writing.
MAG's NC is currently debating our response to the report which has been released by the Rapporteur for the Transport and Tourism Committee of MEPs. (TRAN)
TRAN is leading the EU Parliament on the EU Super MoT and the Rapporteur is the committee member chosen to provide the guidance for MEPs.
His name is Werner Kuhn MEP and his report contains 36 amendments and his considered opinion...
Some of these amendments are good - like removing the requirement for an MoT to happen every time a vehicle is sold.
Others aren't so good - like adding belt and braces to the idea that mot testing and vehicle repair must be kept very separate, such that anyone who's worked on a bike will not be permitted to test it at any subsequent time!
So there's good and bad, but the main thing is that although all of the EU member countries (except Italy) want bikes to be excluded entirely and for the Regulation to be downgraded to a directive (thus letting the UK pretty much keep the system we've got) the MEPs seem intent on sticking with it.
It's an interesting alliance, the governments of Europe and the citizens on one side and the elected representatives on the other with the Commission.
I hope you'll be able to help next week.
Paddy Tyson
Campaigns Coordinator
Motorcycle Action Group

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