Shop 4 U

Campaign – Shop 4 U – Now Back 4 US – Success

26th March 2009

We have just had news through that the motorcycle discriminatory signs at the petrol station in Newtownards have been REMOVED!

Before we got started it has all finished and a big thanks must go to Syd for highlighting the problem in the first place and Brian for his letter writing, both from the Lone Wolves Brotherhood.

Of course a big thank you for all your support, especially Quay Vipers MCC and Twisted Sisters for having the information on their web forum and website.

If we have missed you out, please except our apologies but do give yourself a big pat on the back for an excellent job well done.


Right To Ride

Trevor Baird & Elaine Hardy

The Letter That Done It – To Russell’s – Shop 4U

I am disgusted at the blatant discrimination shown towards motorcyclists in your Newtownards branch 46-56 Donaghadee Road in relation to the signs on the pumps stating that bikes have to prepay for their petrol.

I am a biker but we also have two cars and I used this station every week not only for petrol but for bread milk etc.

Petrol alone would have been in the region of £40-£50 a week but from now on I’ll be taking my business elsewhere as will all my family and friends.

If the signs come down I’ll be more than happy to take my custom back to your shop.

At this time I would like to bring it to your attention that motorcycle clubs all over Northern Ireland do a lot of charity work through the years.

They organise runs and rock nights with all the money raised going to good causes.

Some of these events are attended by none bikers who have admitted to not trusting bikers but after getting to know them realise they are just normal hard working people like them.

But when the average person reads a sign asking bikers to prepay for petrol they will think all bikers can not be trusted and this will undo all the good work the clubs have done over the years to get recognition as good people.

Thank you for your time.


The Reply


We refer to your email correspondence dated 24th March 2009.

Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.

After receiving your e-mail we have investigated the situation at our Newtownards branch.

This sign was not sanctioned by Head Office and is not our Company policy.

We have since instructed the branch to remove the signs which they have now done.

We do hope you and your family now feel able to continue to shop with us and we would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused.


Samantha McCarter

Promotions Manager

Rider’s Voice

“The clubs and individuals work hard through the year helping charities etc to let others know what the biking fraternity is all about.”

“With one sweep of pen and paper this petrol station has insulted our biking fraternity by adding a notice to all their pumps”.

“What does the normal person on the street think of bikers when they read the following “Motorcyclists should prepay before filling up”.

“With the help of everyone we can fight this notice and any other problems that come our way.”

“We do need a motorcycle body like Write to Ride to talk for us all.”

Syd – A Biker – Newtownards

Minutes of a Motorcycle Addict

Norway and “Minutes of a Motorcycle Addict” report on on the campaign – “Small signs like the one in N.I, or larger signs like banning of motorcycles along stretches of road that is open to other road users (primarily cars), are real threats to us as a riding community wherever we live.”
View “Minutes of a Motorcycle Addict” article Click Here


Write To Ride was contacted (18th March 2009) by a group of bikers from a motorcycle club in Newtownards, outlining their concerns regarding the signs posted on the petrol pumps of the Russell’s – Shop 4 U – JET petrol station – Donaghadee Road.

The group chatted with the supervisor who explained that the reason was to give notice that if anyone with a motorcycle who wished to fill up with petrol, would have to pay before filling up.

The riders explained that they normally top their tanks fully, which is hard to do if they have to pay first.

The supervisor replied that motorcyclists could pay over the amount they think that they would require, before filling up.

Then after filling up the motorcyclist would get a refund. It was explained that would mean standing in line again to be served and that debit/credit cards could not be used – cash only.

The supervisors reply was, “Get your petrol elsewhere”.


What has driven the petrol station to put up these notices?

Write To Ride and the riders in Newtownards have spoken to the petrol station supervisor/staff and here are the reasons:

  • There has been “drive offs” (Theft – Bilking) by motorcycles. There have also been ”drive offs” by cars.
  • We asked: Why were the notices put up in the first place?
  • Reply: There are too many riding away on bikes. (Although they don’t get many motorcyclists in). There are cases of car drivers not paying but because they mainly get cars in the petrol station, we can’t ask all car drivers to pre pay.
  • We asked: Why can’t they identify motorcycles driving off without paying on the security cameras?
  • Reply: Because their cameras only take front facing photos.
  • We asked: Are the notices up long term?
  • Reply: Yes, as its the only way to resolve the situation.

There has got to be another way to resolve the situation and as we lobby and gather information then we will aim to gain a satisfactory solution.

NOTE: The Texaco petrol station just a 1/4 of a mile up the road also has fresh notices up, saying “Motorcyclists must remove helmets before filling up” this is a whole different issue which perhaps can be tolerated, we still don’t like it but at least its not give the biking fraternity a bad reputation.


The British Oil Security Syndicate (Boss) whose aim is to reduce the amount of crime taking place on Britain’s forecourts, have produced a document entitled, “Crime Reduction Toolkit For Service Stations”

On page 16 of this document the chapter entitled “Pre-payment” deals specifically with issues such as the situation in Newtownards.

We have highlighted in the text what we consider a “breach” of these recommendations.

“ 7). Pre-payment

From the customer’s point of view this can often be seen as discriminatory as it deters the minority at the expense of the majority.

In addition, unless implemented uniformly it is often the cause of serious customer unrest.

“Pre-payment has been shown to reduce the level of losses due to drive-offs where the appropriate equipment and technology is available. However, the majority of UK motor fuel dispensers are not equipped for pre-payment operation.”

“Therefore, these pumps require the imposition of a manually controlled system, which is viewed as illegal by some Trading Standards officers and highly problematic by retailers, from a customer service perspective”.

“Should this option be considered, to be effective it needs to be targeted at those sites most at risk and combined with extensive staff training.”

“Moreover, high quality customer orientated signage must be displayed to both inform the customer and facilitate the transaction.”

The closure of known high risk pumps at high risk times may be considered and thought given to the installation of dedicated pre-payment equipped fast-fill lane/s. This however may well be influenced by the implementation of Chip and Pin facilities on credit card transactions in the future.”

Full Document Click Here pdf 2.38mb

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