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07-09-2016 MAG meets NECA in biking summit

MAG has met with the North East Combined Authority (NECA) to ensure that riders’ interests are included in the strategic plans of the Authority from the outset.

The MAG team of Gordon Finney Regional Vice Rep, Andy Whitworth Political Rep and Dave Wigham Regional Rep have been working with the individual authorities for some years on a council by council and issue by issue basis for North East riders but this was a great opportunity to speak to the people that will form the overarching policies that will shape the regional transport policy in the future.

Dave Wigham, felt the summit had achieved just about everything they had set out to do at this stage.  ‘NECA is going to define how our roads and transport system are operated across the region.  In the past, riders have tended to be excluded from these proceedings.  The meeting was therefore absolutely vital, because there is no way that the Authority can bypass the needs of riders – or the benefits which biking can bring in terms of economy, ecology and reduced congestion.’

MAG’s Policy and Campaigns Adviser, Dr Leon Mannings, has been working with Dave Wigham and others to connect with the North East Combined Authority and get bikers' views into the discussions.  It’s thanks to a lot of work by the activist base in the region and it is a great credit to a long period of existing engagement led by MAG,’ says Leon.  'This is the way the organisation really makes its mark - by being at the tables where the form and thrust of policy decisions are made. We’ve insisted motorcycles are mentioned throughout the strategy – not just as a separate section as some have tried to propose.  We also shared clear evidence Light Segregation creates trip hazards as MAG has said all along.  I'm working on similar matters in other regions, including Wales, on a similar template.'

This meeting was the first in a series designed to make the rider’s voice a significant one as the strategies become action plans.  Dave adds ‘the evidence suggests a 10% shift from cars to bikes can lead to a 40% cut in congestion.  Everyone wins when that happens, so there’s no downside to MAG’s involvement here.  I felt the Authority understood that and so I’m cautiously optimistic about the way ahead.’

Contact MAG at 01926 844 064 or central-office@mag-uk.org

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