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2009 September


									                                                                                     September 2009



                                              Registered Charity No: 1055930

                                             WHAT’S ON?
                      All monthly meetings are held on the third Thursday of the month,
               at the Riverside Club in Melksham, unless otherwise advised, and start at 19:30
               There is a modest charge of £1 to cover refreshments and a ticket for the raffle.
                If you are not sure where the Riverside Club is there is a map on our website.
           Bring a friend: All welcome, including non-members and members of other groups

      September 17th        Quiz Night. N.B. This is a change to the originally published event
      October 22nd          ‘Road Surfaces’ – Paul Bromley from Wiltshire Council
      November 19th         ‘Road Signs’ – Mark Stansby from Wiltshire Council
      December 10th         Chief Inspector Ian Copus from Wiltshire Police
                            N.B. This is the second Thursday of the month, not the third
      Any ideas for speakers for 2010? Please contact Helen at

                                            Skid Pan Event
       Following the success of previous skid pan events, we are organising another trip to Castle
       Combe Skid Pan for 2010. More details will follow soon, but if you would be interested in
       participating in this event, please sign up at our group meetings, or contact Helen Pickett at This is not a commitment to take part but we would like
       to get an idea of numbers. We are hoping to be able to subsidise the cost of the visit and when
       we have an idea of numbers we will be able to give further details on this. Many thanks.

                                   On passing the Advanced Driving Test
                        Associate                                    Observer
                     Camilla Beardsmore                              Mark Ellis

New Chairman wants IAM to take the lead on driver and
                   rider safety
Alistair Cheyne OBE, a former Deputy Managing Director of the AA, has taken over as
Chairman of the IAM. Previously IAM Vice Chairman, Alistair, 65, succeeds David
On taking up his new role, Alistair said: “There is no greater contribution to road safety than
helping drivers and motorbike riders to maintain and develop their road skills. And no one has
a better claim than the IAM to lead the campaign for ‘safer driving and riding’. We have an
unmatched, UK-wide pool of advanced driving groups, a respected policy and research
operation and a revitalised commercial arm, providing occupational driver training to industry.
They form a unique combination capable of making an outstanding and practical contribution
to road safety. I see it as my job to ensure that they do just that.”
Alistair hails originally from Aberdeen and now lives in Hampshire. He enjoyed a long and
successful career with the AA, where he worked his way up from office boy to Deputy
Managing Director. He had substantial experience of administration both operational and
commercial at the AA, as well as the core business, Roadside Services in which he made his
greatest contribution. During his time, the AA saw a steep rise in membership, as well as in
member and staff satisfaction. Alistair Cheyne is an Honorary Life Governor of BEN, the
motor trade charity, and he is active in the Rotary Club. He was awarded an OBE in 1997 for
services to motoring.
Supporting Alistair are two new IAM Vice Chairmen:
David Jamieson is a former Road Safety Minister with many years’ road safety policy
experience. During his time as a Government Minister, David saw through legislation to make
driving with handheld phone an endorsable offence, and the introduction of the Highways
Agency Traffic Officers (HATOs).
Colin Skeen trained originally as a barrister but spent much of his career at the AA, where
he was Managing Director of member services and a member of the AA Committee, the AA's
governing body.

 On-spot fines “too easy an option” for police, says IAM
The IAM has echoed the concerns of the Magistrates' Association, pointing out that the
careless driving ticket is too easy an option.
"A simpler procedure may persuade officers to deal with more serious cases by FPN (fixed
penalty notice), rather than the more appropriate - but more time consuming - prosecution
and court appearance,” said IAM Policy Director Neil Greig. "Offences range from very bad
driving - which could have been charged as dangerous, but wasn't - to minor parking knocks.
It is generally dependent on the surrounding facts, witness testimony and the courts'
interpretation of them. As such the IAM feels that careless driving should not be included in
the list of fixed penalty notices," he said.
The IAM believes that rather than devising methods of making careless driving prosecutions
simpler and more attractive to police officers, DfT should campaign pro-actively to improve
driver behaviour generally.
"We would have been prepared to support the proposal if it was shown that it would lead to
an improvement in driving standards and a reduction in casualties - or even an improvement
in the obviously deteriorating quality of police prosecutions," said Mr Greig.
     Focus on motorists to boost cycling, says the IAM

Motorists who cycle hold the key to less congestion, better health and less pollution, says the
IAM. Its new study, Cycling Motorists, identifies the enormous potential for many more
motorists to take up cycling either for leisure or to replace some car journeys. Neil Greig, the
IAM’s director of Policy and Research said: “Millions of motorists are already taking to the
roads on two wheels. The IAM study identifies the huge potential for getting them to cycle
more, and for getting motorists who know how to ride to take up cycling again. Getting more
motorists riding instead of driving for some journeys or simply for leisure could give cycling its
biggest boost.”
Cycling Motorists reveals that around half of all motorists own a bike; two in five of them cycle
regularly, and half ride their bikes very occasionally. It also shows that twice as many men as
women motorists ride regularly, but among motorists who don’t cycle, women are twice as
likely to take it up again. Nearly all motorists who cycle cite exercise, fun, as well as
environmental and money-saving benefits as top reasons for switching to pedal power. What
deters them are inconsiderate drivers, heavy traffic, lorries, the poor state of some roads and
risk of an accident. However, despite an apparent concern about safety, the report found that
only half of cycling motorists ride wearing a helmet and one third wear no protective/high
visibility clothing at all. However, both cycling and non-cycling motorists agree that the
experience of cycling makes drivers more careful.
Mr Greig added: “Britain’s garages, backyards and gardens contain a mountain of bikes just
waiting to be ridden. No single initiative will get more motorists to use them. But Cycling
Motorists provides powerful evidence for focusing campaigns to promote more cycling by the
motorists who already cycle, as well as those who may need just a little push to get them
riding again. The IAM will be campaigning for them to do so confidently and safely.”
Key findings from Cycling Motorists:

         More than 14 million motorists own a bike; five million of them cycle regularly, and
          seven million ride occasionally; almost half a million non-cycling motorists who own
          a bike might take up cycling again

         A fifth of cycling motorists travel to work by bike; a quarter of those do so daily or on
          most days

         Exercise, fun, the environment and ‘saving money’ top the list of motivations for
          motorists to ride rather than drive

         Bad weather, time pressures and darkness are significant factors in deciding not to
          ride. Inconsiderate drivers, busy roads, lorries and the poor state of some roads top
          the list of concerns of cycling motorists. More cycle lanes, better weather, safer
          roads and less traffic top the wish list of cycling motorists;

         Both cycling and non-cycling motorists agree that experience of cycling makes
          drivers more careful

         Most regular cycling motorists say their employers encourage them to cycle to work,
          and most perceive no ill-feeling or ridicule from colleagues because they do so

         Non-cycling motorists cite being too old, preferring to drive, ‘too dangerous’ and
          lack of fitness as reasons for not cycling. Exercise, loss of the car and more cycle
          lanes would be most likely to motivate them to start cycling.

                              Parking Charges Part 2
In July we wrote about Elaine’s fight against false parking charges (if you did not read the
article please visit and click on Newsletters to catch up). Elaine has now
provided an update:

25 July: I received a letter from UK Search Ltd. Expert Debt Collectors stating that firm
action was promised as a result of ignoring previous requests for payment. If payment was
not made within seven days the charge would go up to £114.00.
26 July: I was advised by an ex-Police friend to contact the Police again, so I phoned
Melksham Police and explained the situation. The Officer was sympathetic and arranged for
me to go to Trowbridge Police Station that afternoon. 10 minutes later I received a call from
Trowbridge to say “I understand you are having trouble over a speeding charge…” I
explained again and was told they would see me that afternoon as arranged. Very shortly
afterwards I had another phone call from Trowbridge and was told it was a civil matter, there
was nothing they could do and the appointment was cancelled. A friend advised me to
contact Trading Standards. He contacted them for me and they said they would contact me
that week. He also sent a photo of my car by email to the Debt Collectors. The next day I
also sent a photo of my car and a copy of the Registration Certificate to UK Parking Control
by 1st Class Recorded Delivery.
30 July: A phone call from Trading Standards saying they would phone UK Parking Control
and would let me know the result. The phoned me after 10 minutes and told me it had
definitely been cancelled. The mistake was that they had got the last letter of the number
plate wrong. They said that they had no record of the phone call from Wiltshire Police and
that they did not have time to contact the Debt Collectors! Trading Standards also told them
to write to me to confirm that the ticket had been cancelled and to apologies for any
inconvenience caused. I received the letter the next day. All sorted at last…
4 August: Another unpleasant communication from Expert Debt Collectors saying I had
ignored previous requests to settle the debt so the charge was now £114.00. I was now
threatened with Legal Action or Doorstep Collectors. By this time I was livid, so I phoned
them and quoted the letter from UK Parking Control stating that the charge had been
cancelled together with an apology. Debt Collectors checked their computer and found that it
had been cancelled and apologised. What else do I have to do to get this cancelled? I was
so cross that I phoned Trading Standards again, but was told that they had done all they
could and the matter was settled.
18 August: Guess what? I received another letter from Expert Debt Collectors, now their
third and very unpleasant. The letter was threatening again to send a Doorstep Debt
Collector or to take Court Action. I phoned them immediately and hit the roof, after which the
computer was checked and it was found that the ticket had been cancelled – surprise
surprise!) I was rather cross to put it mildly.
Since then a friend of mine has emailed our local M.P, Andrew Murrison, who said he would
be glad to help if needed. To my surprise I have since received a very apologetic letter from
UK Search Ltd., the Debt Collectors. I am now waiting with baited breath to see whether I
receive any more letters.

Elaine says: “The only funny thing about all this is that I have a Disabled badge and I could
probably have parked wherever it was all this took place!”

According to Trading Standards this does not count as harassment. What do you think?
Send your thoughts to

                                 Get out of the car!
Here’s something for the recycled teenagers (although I sometimes feel like this myself!)
Thanks to Pat for sending it in.

(This is supposedly a true account recorded in the Police Log of Sarasota, Florida.)

An elderly Florida lady did        into the back of the car        the police station to report
her shopping and, upon             and got into the driver’s       her mistake.
returning to her car, found        seat. She was so shaken            The sergeant to whom
four males in the act of           that she could not get her      she told the story couldn’t
leaving with her vehicle.          key into the ignition.          stop laughing.
   She dropped her                    She tried and tried, and        He pointed to the other
shopping bags and drew             then she realised why. It       end of the counter, where
her handgun, proceeding            was for the same reason         foul pale men were
to scream at the top of her        she had wondered why            reporting a car jacking by
lungs “I have a gun, and I         there was a football, a         a mad, elderly woman
know how to use it! Get            Frisbee and two 12-packs        described as white, less
out of the car!”                   of beer in the front seat.      than five feet tall, glasses,
   The four men didn’t                A few minute later, she      curly white hair, and
wait for a second threat.          found her own car parked        carrying a large handgun.
They got out and ran like          four or five spaces further        No charges were filed.
mad.                               down.                           Moral of the story? If
   The lady, somewhat                 She loaded her bags          you’re going to have a
shaken, then proceeded             into the car and drove to       senior moment…make it
to load her shopping bags                                          memorable.

                              [Ed: I have been instructed by the committee to include a
                              photograph from my wedding to Helen Cade, so here it is!]

                              Thank you to everyone who gave us their best wishes. We had
                              a great wedding day and are now looking forward to a very
                              enjoyable future together.

                              Luke & Helen Pickett

          Caption Competition

What do you make of this one? Suggestions for
captions to please

                                                       FURTHER NOTICES
            Observers: If you think you would like to be an observer and/or would like more information about
             observing please contact David Major, Chief Car Observer, by telephone on 01985 217050.

            Email addresses: Help the environment - if you have an email address but receive your
             newsletters by post please let the Membership Secretary, Angela Summers, know your email
             address. You benefit from early receipt of Newsletters, early notice of special events, and we
             save on postage, time and effort, as well as using up fewer trees! A win-win situation.

            Speakers: If you know of someone who could give us an interesting talk, or have a suggestion for
             a talk, at our monthly meetings please advise the Events Coordinator, Helen Pickett.

            DriveCheck: Remember that MAM is offering a FREE observed run for all potential new
             members so tell your friends now! For more information please contact David Major.

            Website: For the most up-to-date information, check out our website at

                                                        CONTACT US

                                                             07780 743555

      Chairman: Paul Wilkins: contact Chris at
      Secretary: Chris Tarbitten:
      Treasurer: Graham Bennett:
      Librarian: Pat Ham:
      Membership Secretary/Associates: Angela Summers:
      Chief Car Observer: David Major:
      Events Coordinator: Helen Pickett:
      Mini Roundabout Newsletter Editor: Luke Pickett:
      Webmaster: Luke Pickett:
      If you have any suggestions about this News Sheet, or any other aspect of our activities, please do not hesitate
                                                    to get in touch.


    Any opinions expressed in this or any other newsletter published by the Melksham and District Group of Advanced Motorists are those of an
individual or the editor. They should not be taken to represent the views of the IAM, its officers or the Melksham and District Group Committee. As
such, no legal responsibility can be accepted for any statement. The articles are published in good faith. Members are requested to seek confirmation
                                of event details before attending, since regrettably last minute changes to plans do occur.


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