The SUV incident has been done to death, and I’m sure that you’ve all heard about it. The disappointing thing about that one, is that some who took part in that fracas were part of law enforcement. On the Gold Coast some bikies got into a blue with some other bloke. Nothing unusual there as far as bikies go, except that it was in a public place, and drew the attention of the police and state government.
The fallout from this incident, is that the state government is coming down hard on all riders in groups of three or more, and unfortunately the state government will bypass the parliamentary committee process and go straight to a vote.
You know what the most disappointing thing about all of this has been though?
The fact that the initial reports in the newspapers sought a headline, instead of reporting accurately. In an initial report posted just after midnight on October 8, 2013 the headline read:
POLICE in Queensland to target groups of three or more motorcyclists.
By 8:30 am on the same day the headline was changed to read:
Police will target groups of three or more outlaw motorcyclists riding together under new anti-bikie laws going to State Cabinet today.
This “clarification” came too late, the damage had been done. Blogs, forums and FacePlant pages were buzzing with discussion and links to the news report. Recreational riders were (rightly) up in arms about being caught up in a crack down on something they were not party to.
It didn’t take long for the sh!t stirrers to start claiming harassment. Less than a day in fact.
I was minding my own business riding home from work and got pulled over for a licence and rego check twice in 5 kilometers (3 miles) both times po-po asked if I was in a gang, and do I have tattoos.
Copper: “We have been instructed to pull over all bikies”
Rider: “But I’m not a bikie?”
Copper: “You ride a motorcycle, so you’re a bikie”
Now, I don’t doubt that these situations occur on occasion, in fact there is a particular officer around my neck of the woods ,who can be somewhat over zealous in the discharge of his duty. To the point that he has been taken to task about it by members of the public. However, propagating half truths makes us (riders) no better than the reporters that posted the initial headline.
What is the point of this post?
There are already laws in place to deal with the Gold Coast blue, and other incidents of this nature. If this were not true, law enforcement would not have made over 30 arrests in the first few days after the blue, and 57 arrests since.
Had the initial reporting of the governments intentions been accurate, instead of hype, much of the initial hysteria could have been avoided. Likewise, the government should have taken a little extra time to think through the ramifications of singling out a minority across the board.
I realise that something needs to be done to stop the violence. At the same time however, I’m certain that the laws being introduced will be challenged in court, and could well be deemed invalid because they breach human rights. In fact the state premier has said as much.
So why introduce sometime that you know may be defeated at a later date?
In the short term all riders will be subject to extra attention. In the long term, allowing law enforcement to pull over any group of three (3) or more riders, may hamper the motorcycle tourism industry. After all, many cafes and restaurants in regional Australia rely on the passing trade of motorcyclist to stay afloat. Not only that, it may put an end to legitimate motorcycling groups doing charity runs to support kids, cancer survivors, accident victims etc…
- Queensland Police declares crackdown on bikies after massive Gold Coast brawl (abc.net.au)
- Social riders angry over Qld bikie laws (skynews.com.au)
- Blue = fight or argument (“he was having a blue with his wife”)
- Bloke = Man, Male, Guy
- Bikie – 1%er, outlaw motorcyclist
- Rego = Vehicle registration