The Dangers of Texting Whilst Driving

Category : Motoring Fines, Motoring Offences

Police are again warning drivers not to use mobile phones while on the road, after a woman was jailed for three years for causing the death of a man while texting.

Susan Noble, 29, of Armthorpe, Doncaster, was sentenced at Teesside Crown Court for causing the death by dangerous driving of Alexandru Braninski, 25, in December 2011. She had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing.

Mr Braninski, a Romanian, suffered traumatic injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene on the northbound carriageway of the A19 near Northallerton.

The car in which he was travelling was stationary because of a puncture at the time of the crash and Mr Braninski was standing behind it while the wheel was being changed.

Noble’s car crashed into him, pushing the stationary car into a field at the side of the road.

It was found that she had been texting a friend at the time of the crash.

As well as receiving three years’ imprisonment, Noble was also disqualified from driving for six years and will have to take an extended driving test.

Petition Against Parking Charges at Matlock Baths

Category : Parking Charges

It has been proposed that on street parking charges are to be introduced in Matlock Bath, however, we disagree due to it’s negative impact on tourism, trade and the local economy.

We would like proposed plans to charge for on street parking in Matlock Bath to be dropped.

Click here to sign the petition.

EU Replacing MoT Test?

Category : EU Regulations

For more than a year, MAG has been warning that the EU wanted to replace our current MoT test with something that could be more complex, more expensive and which may further restrict the rider’s ability to modify their bike or trike. We’ve also been asking whether these ideas will make a significant difference, and whether they can be justified (‘thanks’ to everyone who supported Jon Strong‘s complaint to the European Ombudsman).

Now that the proposed EU Regulation on ‘Road Worthiness Testing’ (RWT) has been published, we can start to see what we are really faced with and big changes are on the way:

  • noise levels tested with a meter (done by ear in the bike MoT)
  • pollution tested with a gas analyser or data from On-Board Diagnostic devices (not in the bike MoT)
  • compliance with EU Type-Approval to be checked, ie; ‘Illegal power-train modification’, (the MoT looks at UK construction and use regulations)
  • brake fluid water content / boiling point analysed (not in the bike MoT)
  • anti-theft devices tested (not in the bike MoT)
  • re-test when the registered keeper changes, or after modification to safety / environmental systems and components, or after serious damage (these will be decisions for the UK authorities)
  • dangerous faults will result in the vehicle’s registration being revoked until it passes the test (currently, such vehicles just can’t be driven on the road)
  • information about each vehicle to be gathered by EU linking the databases held by national governments and manufacturers (depending on the results of a feasibility study)
  • expect the new test around 2016 (we’ll keep you posted)

RWT certificates would contain new information, such as;

  • boil temperature / water-content of the brake fluid
  • brake forces and efficiency for each wheel
  • exhaust emissions

Countries with more stringent road worthiness requirements than the Commission proposes, may keep them. For example, it seems likely that the UK would keep to annual testing (which is more frequent than the EU proposes).

The Regulation says “The goal of road worthiness testing is to check the functionality of safety components, the environmental performance and the compliance of a vehicle with its approval” – which ties-in neatly to anti-tampering/modification, which is the other Regulation (COM(2010)542) we are working on at the moment.

In essence, the RWT covers the similar items to our MoT: Identification of the vehicle; Braking equipment; Steering; Visibility; Lighting, horn, etc.; Axles, wheels, tyres, suspension; Chassis and attachments; Nuisance (noise and pollution)

However, RWT will treat pass/fail differently;

If ‘Minor’ deficiencies (ie; no significant effect on the safety of the vehicle, etc.) are all that’s found, the registered keeper of the vehicle will have to rectify the problem(s) ‘without delay’, but the vehicle may not need a re-test (this would be a decision for the UK authorities).

‘Major’ deficiencies (ie; may prejudice the safety of the vehicle or put other road users at risk, etc.) could still see vehicles continue to be used for up to 6 weeks before undergoing another test.

‘Dangerous’ deficiencies (ie; posing direct and immediate risk to road safety such that the vehicle may not be used on the road under any circumstances), would mean the vehicle registration is withdrawn until a road worthiness certificate is issued.

Some EU countries have never tested bike road worthiness; conversely the German ‘TuV’ test is linked to the vehicle’s registration papers, listing any modifications and after-market components on the vehicle, type-approved of course, to be checked at the test.

The Commission estimates that RWT in all member states will reduce casualties by 8%, but this figure seems very high compared to findings from various EU countries.

FEMA and many of its member organisations question whether RWT will make much difference to safety and a day of action is being planned for September.

Our National Committee is giving careful consideration to MAG’s policy on RWT, which will form the basis for our campaigning with riders, media, politicians and officials.

MAG predicted that, although the Commission might concentrate on making sure all EU member states have at least a basic road worthiness test, they like to aim high and we might get something more like the German TuV test, rather than the UK’s MoT. We also predicted it would be linked to the new EU Type-Approval Regulation to control any changes to the power-train, etc.

Some scoffed, accusing MAG of deliberately scaremongering – judge for yourself, the official documents can be found on the EU website here.

Road Casualty Figures Released

Category : Road Casualty Figures

With the recent release of road casualty figures by the UK Department for Transport (DfT), motorcycling has again shown a decrease, this time by an excellent 10%, to a total of 362 fatalities in the year 2010/11.

Every fatality is one too many and MAG offers condolences to the families of those who have tragically lost their lives in road accidents, but it is continued proof that motorcycling is doing its utmost to get its own house in order. Improved rider training at all levels and campaigns to raise awareness among other road users, -’think biker’- as well as campaigns around road infrastructure are all playing a part in reducing casualties.

MAG’s Get A Grip campaign is aiming to banish slippery manhole covers, white lines and crack in fill from the road network, because consistent grip is important to single track vehicles and new technology, which is readily available, should be employed.

The 10% decrease in fatalities is a continuing trend for motorcycling, but it should be noted that motorcycle traffic actually increased over the same time. 0.9% may not be a significant increase, but it does demonstrate that the decrease in fatalities was not due to fewer motorcycle miles being travelled.

Casualties amongst cyclists were up (4%) in the same period, as were those involving car occupants (6%) and most alarmingly pedestrians (12%).

It can only be speculation but are all the passive safety aids provided within cars perhaps now isolating drivers from the realities of sharing the road network with more vulnerable user groups, especially those who are not being trained to counteract the behaviour of poor drivers?

Type Approval

Category : Uncategorized

MAG and the BMF are doing a sterling job, but the proposals are still coming our way in one form or another. MAG are organizing a day of protest starting at Charnock Richard services at midday Sunday 24th June.

Why not support it?

As for the latest position, click here.

Motoring fines set to rise to £90

Category : Motoring Fines

Fixed penalty notices are not available for the most serious offences such as speeding at over 100mph
Fines for motoring offences such as speeding should be increased from £60 to £90, the government suggested as it launched a consultation on the subject.

Transport Minister Mike Penning said current fines created a perception that the offences were “minor”.

In future careless driving could also become a fixed penalty offence with a “remedial training” option, he added.

Educational courses for other offences, such as not wearing a seatbelt, could also be offered.

The government believes that the current regime for dealing with careless driving is overly bureaucratic.

Ministers are seeking views from the public on the proposals before deciding whether to pursue them.

Driving Whilst Under The Influence of Drugs is Set to Become a Specific Criminal Offence

Category : Uncategorized

Driving whilst under the influence of drugs is set to become a specific criminal offence punishable by up to six months in prison and a £5,000 fine under tough new measures being proposed by the Government.

Motorists under the influence of drugs can only currently be prosecuted if police can prove their driving has been impaired.

Under these measures , offenders would also face an automatic driving ban of at least 12 months.

Calling all pillion passengers.

Category : Uncategorized

Did you know that even if you are in a relationship with or married to the rider, if he drops the bike and you are injured you can get compensation from his insurance? There is no risk, as no win, no fee is available, and you do not need to go to the firm of solicitors suggested by the insurance agents, who will almost certainly be paying for the referral.

If you are in an accident, call Chris Johnson at Motorbike solicitor 01606 551066.

NEC Bike Show – by Chris Johnson

Category : Uncategorized

I went to the NEC show to drool and dream along with everybody else, and fell deeply in lust with the MV Agusta Brutale. I think the good folk at MV missed a trick however, as the bikes were kept on their paddock stands, thus making them seem more uncomfortable and “wristy” than they actually are.

I also made arrangements to test ride the Moto Guzzi Griso.

Why the interest in Italian bikes? Why not? Build quality has improved immeasurably over the years, but the prices are now reasonable compared to the Japanese rivals, and when it comes to “wow factor” and desirability there is no comparison. The down side is that the insurance is steep.

Which has set me thinking about insurance. Too many people think it is worth taking a risk and not insuring their bikes. The trouble is that if you are caught on a bike with no insurance that is an automatic 6 to 8 points at least, and if the Court believe that you are deliberately flouting the law they will ban you.

It is no defence that you thought you were insured. If your mate tells you he is insured to ride your bike, and he isn’t, you are both guilty of an offence and facing the points. Only if you have made all reasonable enquiries are you able to avoid the points on the grounds of Special Reasons for not endorsing, but even then it is subject to the Court’s discretion.

You might like to think about that before you swap bikes with a mate. There may be more at stake than “you break it it’s yours”!

More important is the fact that if you are uninsured and are involved in an accident which results in the death of someone, you face prison for up to two years, and when you come out you are also facing a claim by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau for reimbursement of anything they have to pay out in compensation on your behalf.

SO. If you get yourself in that kind of trouble, or you are not sure of your position, call us on 01606 592159 and ask for Chris Johnson. We will be happy to assist.


Category : Uncategorized

Those of us who keep our bikes taxed all year and continue to use them have been treated to one of the most amazing autumns I can recall.

Remembrance Sunday was a case in point. Out for breakfast at Llyn Brenig, (The breakfast at the café there is substantial and cheap), we got there with fingers still working and toes we could feel, despite a little bit of mist when on really high ground.

The sun broke through a few times, and by the time we set off back home the roads were dry.

Breakfast runs are wonderful. The roads tend to be almost empty, and sparsely policed, and this year the weather has tended to be glorious at sunrise and for the next few hours.

Obviously, the roads are now damp at sunrise, and with wet leaves on the roads it would be foolhardy in the extreme to ride without due caution. The Nant-y-Garth and Clogynau Forest are both to be treated with respect in such conditions, but are still rewarding to ride, and going up towards Llyn Brenig what looked like sand all over some bends proved to be pine needles.

Coming back to Cerrigydrudion the local Remembrance Sunday parade and service were underway, right at the crossroads in the middle of the village. We were by no means the only bikers out, and we all stopped and killed our engines until the event was over.

Unfortunately another couple of bikers arrived and sat there with their engines running, despite signals from one of the event marshalls for them to turn them off. I suspect that that sort of disrespect for others tainted the views of the locals not just about the two of them, but also for the rest of us there, and bikers in general.

That vollage is one which must have hundreds of bikers visiting each Sunday, and we each have a responsibility not to spoil things for the rest of the biking community.

Which brings me to the point for today. Not only is it an offence to ride dangerously or carelessly, it is also an offence to ride without due consideration for other road users (which includes pedestrians and priests conducting open air services) It is punishable by a fine of up to £5000, 3 to 9 points, or a disqualification.

If you do find yourself before the Court for this or any other offence, Phone MOTORBIKE SOLICITOR on 01606 551066.