MAG Ireland Review of 2014

With 2014 drawing to a close it’s time once again to pause and reflect on the advances made over the past twelve months.

First and foremost, we want to extend our sincere thanks to our members whose continued dedication to the aims and objectives of MAG Ireland is the sole reason we can continue to promote and protect Irish motorcycling.

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Coming off the back of a few turbulent years during which the organisation was completely restructured, we shifted the focus to the promotion of motorcycling during 2014 and worked to highlight the positive benefits it brings to society.


Attitude matters

We opened the year with a feature article about the attitudes of the public at large towards motorcycling and the negative effect it can have on us as riders. We aimed to show why treating motorcycling as a “problem” that needs to be “solved” leads only to failure. Elsewhere we reported on the RiderScan Project survey on Intelligent Transport Systems, or ITS, which is the application of technology to transport with the aim of improving efficiency or safety.


Good news came by way of the announcement that the Garda BikeSafe initiative was being re-launched in Drogheda and we reported on the outcome of a collaboration between ourselves and the RSA regarding the legislation surrounding the use of trailers and side cars. Our focus on distracted driving continued with a report on “Operation Artery” by the Gardai during which 195 drivers were detected using mobile phones while driving.


textingMarch saw us continue our focus on the lethal practice of using mobiles while driving. We pushed for an increase in the penalty for drivers who flout the phones law when we represented riders at an RSA conference on the subject of distracted driving. We also reported from Europe on the prospect of mandatory riding gear, a subject which raised eyebrows in some quarters. It’s worth remembering that while you’d rarely go without proper kit in Ireland due to the weather, our Mediterranean cousins are not always as well protected on the bike and the EU is looking at what might be done to counter that.


Dublin Canal Cordon motorcycle count

We opened April with a feature article on the licensing situation and we reported on a study by the National Transport Authority which showed that the sharp decline in motorcycle use by Dublin commuters has levelled off. Good news came by way of the announcement that a loophole in the law on using phones while driving had been closed and we reported the astonishing numbers showing that  some 10,000 motorists has been prosecuted for using phones while driving since the beginning of the year, showing just how widespread this problem is. Elsewhere, we covered the launch of Bike Safe Eastern Region, the second such initiative we covered this year. We closed out the month with the sad news of the death of former MAG Ireland Chairman and IRTA founder Jim Fisher. R.I.P.


We continued the promotional activities with the launch of National Ride to Work Day via its own dedicated web site to encourage more riders to use their bikes on a regular basis for commuting. May was perhaps our busiest month with our 30th anniversary celebrations, the local and European elections, and our attendance at many of the events taking place around the country including the VJMC Show in Swords and Bikefest in Killarney. We still found the time to cover the BikeSafe South Eastern Region launch and warn about rip off websites targeting learners.


Project LiveWire

Another feature article to open with, this time looking at what the numbers on Irish motorcycle sales can tell us about the future of biking in this country. We also got involved in the RSA’s consultation process on proposed changes to the driving test and reported on proposed changes to the traffic management in Dublin which would make life harder for motorcycle, scooter and moped riders. We had the main Ride to Work Day event and we also covered the launch of Harley Davidson’s electric prototype which made headline news worldwide. We wrapped up with the news that another 5,000 drivers had been prosecuted for using a phone while driving in April.


Another busy month of promotion which included our attending the Drogheda Road Safety Awareness Day as well as a number of runs and ride outs. The Road Safety Authority launched two new TV ads aimed at raising awareness of riders among car drivers, a subject which we had previously discussed with them. The off road declarations introduced in 2013 came up for renewal and our feature article examined the state of play regarding mandatory high visibility clothing.


Ireland Bike Fest Killarney 2014With peak holiday season in full swing and MAG Ireland volunteers a bit thin on the ground for a week or two, we took the opportunity to focus once again on the distracted driving issue. Ford Ireland produced a survey in which 1 in 4 young adults admitted to taking a selfie while driving and we reported the numbers prosecuted for using a phone while driving had topped 20,000. Our RoadRunner e-newsletter covered many of the events taking place nationally.


September saw us open with the announcement of the MAG Ireland AGM while our newest recruit Garret Maher went over the latest figures from SIMI. His report showed a welcome increase in new motorcycle sales which had increased 21% to the end of August compared to the same period last year. As part of our 30th Anniversary year, founder member David French penned the feature article “where to from here?” in which he took a look at the circumstances that gave birth to MAG Ireland and the fortunes of the organisation over the years. On the ground we undertook the FEMA mobility test as part of a pan European study for mobility week.


MAG Ireland 30th Anniversary

October brought news of the Leopardstown Show, Irish Road Safety Week and of course, the budget. Still no cut in the top rate of VAT on helmets but at least the minister refrained from hiking motor tax or fuel duty.  The other major October event for us was the MAG Ireland AGM at which members get to decide the future shape and direction of the organisation. The turnout was somewhat thinner than we’d have liked and with a number of long standing volunteers stepping down it was a leaner board which was returned to shepherd MAG Ireland through the coming year. On the positive side, financial stability meant a proposal to reduce the membership fee was carried.


The RSA ran a consultation on vintage vehicle roadworthiness testing which we had not planned to respond to owing to motorcycles not being required to undergo testing. However, following the intervention by a number of members we did compose a formal response which was subsequently submitted. November also saw us realigning resources internally in the wake of the AGM to best tackle the challenges of the coming year which will see us host a major FEMA meeting in Ireland.


Honda CB500X

Christmas came early for MAG Ireland members as we cut the membership fee by €5 to just €20 for a years membership. At the same time, we were able to add additional benefits to the members discount scheme which means even better value for members. We also introduced the Irish Motorcyclists’ Association element to our brand as we move beyond the limitations imposed by our use of the term “action group” which bristles with many in the broader motorcycling community.

Looking ahead

Next year sees MAG Ireland host the annual FEMA conference in Dublin at which riders representative organisations from all over Europe and Scandinavia will gather to discuss issues of common interest to riders from the Arctic circle to the Mediterranean. With the majority of issues which affect riders coming directly from Europe, it has never been more important for riders to co-operate on a pan national level than it is today. MAG Ireland will be at the forefront of that co-operation for your benefit.

New MAG Ireland Logo

MAG Ireland exists to promote and protect motorcycling in Ireland. Regardless of what you ride, it’s in your interests to join and support us as we work to meet the challenges facing motorcycling.

  • Last year the hot issue was Roadworthiness Testing, and in the end we won a substantial victory for riders and dealers alike by overturning all the worst aspects of those EU proposals.
  • This year we focussed on distracted driving and successfully contributed to having the penalties for using a phone while driving increased.
  • Next year? We don’t know what 2015 will bring but we still face the threat of compulsory high visibility clothing for riders and pillions alike.

MAG Ireland is a democratic organisation run by riders for riders. All volunteers who serve on the MAG Ireland executive are directly elected at the AGM where all MAG Ireland members have a vote.

We can’t do what we do without the support of members. The more members we have, the stronger our voice, and the stronger yours. MAG Ireland is evolving, and we want you to be a part of it. It now costs less than 6 cents a day to make a difference.

Join us and help us to meet the challenges ahead.

Together, we’re stronger.

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See also: Review of 2011Review of 2012Review of 2013

For a full list of our feature articles click here.