Motorcycle Action Group

North-West Regional AGM

Lytham Academy, 15 Dec 2007


Attendees: Don Glover (114229), Bishop Michael (121580), Mark Ferguson (125043), Gordon Nicholson (125041), Keith Roberts (70330), Graeme Kenyon (24103 – Auditor), Bill Green (91953 – Red Rose MAG Rep), Tim Norris (102241 – NW Sec), Daz Busby (B’pool MAG Rep), Mike Card (Outgoing Deputy RR) and Tony Cox (NW Regional Rep).

We were also pleased to welcome Steve Wykes (MAG Scotland Rep) as NC Observer for the meeting, and Jane Chisholm (Chair of MAG UK).


Tony C opened the meeting and invited Mike Card to act as chairman (Nom BG, Sec DB).


Apologies were received from Lynda Pouncey, NW Regional Treasurer, together with a full set of accounts for the year.

The minutes of last year’s AGM – previously distributed – were approved (Nom GK, Sec TC).

Matters arising – none reported.

Regional report from Tony Cox:

Another busy year for the region – two major issues have come to our attention, these being the removal of bike parking facilities in Liverpool and the decision by Manchester to introduce road tolls (‘Congestion Charge’).

The situation in Liverpool is that PTWs are no longer permitted to use normal pay-and-display parking bays, even if a ticket is purchased. At the same time, some of the dedicated bike parking spots (secreted in corners of normal car parks) have been removed. Bill Green has paid a visit to Liverpool to see how a visitor to the city might cope; he reported to local reps’ meetings throughout the year that no clear information was available to help bikers.

One of the members commented that this change of rules was introduced in Sept 2005, and it was seen as highly unfair.

David Short (from MAG Central) has become involved with the issue and will try to set up a forum during 2008 to address the parking needs of PTW riders in Liverpool. (Graeme K asked if he could be notified when dates for these meetings are announced, and Bill G said that, as a local, Graeme would probably have a better idea  than himself about any proposed locations for bike parking facilities.)

The Congestion Charge in Manchester is being closely monitored by MAG central, since it may be treated as a test case for other cities. In order to be imposed, the scheme requires the approval of all the local authorities (Trafford, Salford etc) in Greater Manchester. So far various bold announcements have been made regarding the format and scope of the charge, but none of these has proved definitive. MAG has been invited to assist the Transport Group in sorting out discounted charges for bikes.

During the year: Regional Rep’s Duties.

Tony explained that he attended all six annual meetings of the National Committee (NC) and has also become a board member; as Regional Rep he is able to convey information down to the membership from the board and vice-versa, so that issues are properly understood.

Earlier this year, MAG underwent a relaunch with a new logo and revamped website. When this was announced, there were some complaints from MAG officers (who had not bothered to attend the meetings and so weren’t aware of the changes being announced).

Another issue of concern at NC meetings is the average age of MAG members; we need to attract new, young members to remind people that MAG represents the whole biking community. There has been some progress on this.

(Question from G Nicholson: Could we encourage youngsters by offering MAG membership free to buyers of starter bikes? Tony replied that Bill G had attended the launch event of the 125 Riders’ Club, and added that our campaign against the Driving Licence Directive should make us relevant to aspiring young riders.)

Tony mentioned that our regular Local Reps’ meetings – at which NC decisions are passed on – have been rotated round the region instead of being always held at Scarisbrick. This should enable members to meet up with MAG reps from other towns as well as the RR.

Tony also attended this year’s Annual Group Conference at Horncastle; we were pleased to see Bill G receive the Tegg award for his work in setting up Red Rose MAG, and for organising the successful Fred Hill Run in Blackburn. We should remember that nearly all MAG officers are volunteers, and the group likes to recognise their efforts.

During the year Tony and the other NW MAG officers have been involved with the RideSafeBackSafe initiative, a project which was set up in response to the increase in rider fatalities reported about three years ago. The RSBS forum is a joint venture between local bike clubs, Lancashire Constabulary, the BMF, MAG and some local authorities; events at Rivington Barn and similar venues are held to inform riders about roadcraft and accident reduction. Although this has been veery successful (60% drop in fatalities) MAG is not entirely comfortable about being classed as a ‘partner’ to the Police, nor do we see ourselves as being a safety agency; our function within RSBS is more to educate – both riders and policy makers.

(Comment from G Nicholson: road accidents involving PTW riders are partly due to the lack of highway maintenance. This remark enabled Tony to mention diesel spills and road potholes, two other areas where MAG has been effectively campaigning in the NW.)

MAG has been invited to run the Helmet Park at the Fairhaven RSBS event next year.

Another road safety project is the Ride (speed awareness training) course; in the interests of research, Tony has taken part in this scheme and reports that it is very interesting. Covering theory and practice of bike handling, this project will be funded by the ACPO (Chief Police Officers) during 2008.

The official launch of the ‘new-look’ MAG took place at this year’s Farmyard Party; to ensure a professional image we have paid for the services of a marketing and website consultancy called Creo.

Isle of Man TT week – Tony went over to represent MAG at this event, taking the stall along. There has been some interest in starting up their own local branch, but no firm commitment yet.

Regional Accounts

Lynda has sent along the accounts together with notes on the timing of payments – the proceeds of the Blackpool MAG rally will be calculated at the branch AGM early in 2008, and a presentation to MAG fighting fund will be made at the AGC in April. A question was raised about two gaps in the sequence of cheque numbers, but Tony assured us that these had been declared void and properly logged in the system.

Election of Officers

Local members have been notified that the AGM was scheduled for this date, and that regional officer posts were to be filled by elections. Since no applications were received from interested parties, a set of nominations (proposed and seconded) was prepared in advance and put before the meeting. These were accepted unanimously and the committee returned to office:

                Officer Post                                        Proposed by:                     Seconded by:                   

                Regional Rep, Tony Cox                                M Card                                  T Norris

                Secretary, Tim Norris                     T Cox                                     M Card

                Treasurer, Lynda Pouncey           M Card                                  B Green

                Political Officer, Bill Green         T Cox                                     D Busby

Auditors, Graeme Kenyon & Mike Card                 T Norris                                T Cox

                Webmaster, Daz Busby                 T Cox                                     B Green               

Tony expressed thanks on behalf of the Region to Christine McDonald for her work on the website before handing it over to Daz B.



Future Events

Tony has also during the year acquired a big silver van decorated with the MAG logo and slogans; whenever he takes this vehicle to an event it guarantees us a high profile and attracts interest from existing and potential members. Among the events Tony will be attending as RR next year are the G-Mex Bike  Show,  the NABD rally and  the Thundersprint at Northwich.

G-Mex (M’cr Central) Bike Show, 04-07 January 2008

We are planning to run the G-Mex MAG stall as a NW (rather than a national) promotion, with local events only being advertised. Although free in recent years, we may be asked to pay something for small elements such as electricity supply or carpeting,

Scrapheap Challenge, National TV, Jan 2008

Tony and Co begin their campaign for media dominance, but are not allowed to use the name ‘Mag’ for their team.

Fred Hill Run, Blackburn, 10 Feb 2008

Last two years’ runs very popular; meeting as usual at the Napier pub, details in ‘Road’

Activists’ Training Weekend, 29-30 March 2008

This event is being held at two locations – the Northern region weekend is at Lineham Farm, Leeds. Tony has been to a previous activists weekend and found it to be enjoyable and constructive, good atmosphere and lots of useful advice; Alan Chester has considered taking over as L’pool & West Lancs rep, and Tony will recommend that he takes part in this training session.

AGC, Bromsgrove, 26 April 2008

The W Midlands venue for MAG’s annual group conference proved very popular a few years ago so has been chosen again to host the event. Any motions to be put to the NC should be submitted by the end of Dec (so that they can be included in the advance publicity in ‘The Road’). Tony pointed out that the AGC is where national issues and the MAG constitution are decided, so it is important for members to attend.

NABD & T’sprint, 10-11 May 2008

Both the NABD and Thundersprint events are popular with MAG members and we need to be present at both. However, this year (and next) they coincide, so we may need to have two small groups of local members to run separate MAG stalls, since the Thundersprint is planned to be a full weekend do next year (rather than just Sunday). It was pointed out that we decided to buy our own stall to avoid the transport problems associated with regularly borrowing a stall from central; Mike C asked whether the National MAG stand could be used at NABD.

Blackpool MAG Rally (NW MAG Rally?) 27-29 Jun 2008

Blackpool MAG rally – as popular and successful as in previous years, this event acts as a fundraiser not only for MAG but also the local charity, ‘Boys and Girls Club’. As usual, this rally is the last full weekend in June, and we are looking for people to act as marshals on the Saturday ride out.

(Question from GN – does the NW region attend other rallies? He knows that the Rising Moon Bike Club are looking for stalls at their rally and would welcome the MAG stand).


Any Other Business

Some discussion arose concerning the free newspaper ‘Motor Cycle Monthly’ which is seen at numerous rallies and bike events around the UK as well as in dealerships. MCM reports on all sorts of bike meets and events such as ‘Killspills’, the diesel-spill alert campaign. One problem is that many of the items and adverts in MCM are funded (partly) by the BMF, and the frequent appearance of the BMF logo gives readers the impression that they are actually the driving force behind killspills.

Tony mentioned that we (i.e. David Short) get on well with the editorial team at MCM – indeed, they use part of our distribution network – and we will ask them to acknowledge the involvement of MAG in major campaigns.

NEC Bike Show, November 2007: we went back to the NEC after missing last year’s show and found lots of visitors approaching the stall, requesting membership details.

Steve Wykes: despite having a smaller budget than the BMF, we achieve better results – due to being more careful with funds. However, MAG is still seen as being an organisation for the older, traditional rally biker and we need to change our image to appeal to younger riders and those into sports clubs. Recently, Fergus has been making contact with clubs around the UK and getting good feedback. It also helps that our stall no longer tries to push credit cards or raffle tickets onto prospective members.

A couple of members asked about MAG publicity; for instance, do we use fliers and posters in bike dealerships? Tony replied that we have tried fliers in the past and are currently having A3 posters printed to promote MAG. However, there is not a great deal of support for this; bike dealers are often tied to one or two makes, and have strict rules about any advertising merchandise being approved by their corporate image division.

Meanwhile, we are gaining more exposure by setting up links to insurance firms.

Steve Wykes: Sol (London rep) is working on a package of corporate membership for small-to-medium enterprises; there are plenty of small dealers who might be willing to stock ‘The Road’ and sign up new members for MAG. And at the last NC meeting, it was mentioned that Thames Valley branch were planning to have organised ride-outs to local dealers to raise their awareness of MAG.

Jane Chisholm: on the subject of publicity, JC explained a bit about MAG’s relaunch.  The job was handed to ‘Creo’, a professional crew of marketing consultants, who carried out detailed research before proposing the new logo and strapline for the organisation. Creo are keenly interested in bike culture and were involved in the ‘bikesafe’ project, so we felt they could take a mature view and not fall prey to biker stereotypes. The relaunch was voted through at an EGM of the NC.

Jane also mentioned that MAG has had a good year in general – now that David Short is on board, Trevor Baird can get on with his own job instead of being distracted by the different campaigns.

In response to a question about Daytime Running Lights, Steve W mentioned that the EU- after having seen the MAG presentation on this issue - had taken a step back and were reconsidering the European policy on DRL.

We have also been campaigning against wire crash barriers on motorways, but the Highways Agency has no clear policy on these.

Driving Licence directive and Test Centres: many people are unclear about the impending changes to Bike Tests, and it appears that the Isle of Wight will not have any bike test facility. Riders will need to take an expensive ferry to the mainland to get their driving licences.

There have been a few MAG success stories during the year:

The ‘Off Road Registration’ bill was defeated in Parliament; toll charges for bikers have been cancelled on bridges in Southampton, and in Scotland the Central government is making recommendations to local authorities on a PTW transport strategy.

After one final question (Is MAG a worldwide organisation? – No, but we have representation in Europe and strong links with riders’ rights groups throughout the world) Chairman Mike thanked everybody for attending, congratulated Tony on being returned as RR, and declared the meeting closed at 19:05.