Archive for the ‘motorcycling’ Category

threatening behaviour

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Much has been said about Queensland’s VLAD laws, much of it from far better writers than I. Examples:

But still the Government and Police tell the good people of Queensland that they have nothing to worry about and the laws are necessary to get the baddies. David Crisafulli, in his capacity as Acting Attorney-General assured the people that only the criminals will be targeted. Yet he refused to confirm that three or more bikies and associates who have not committed any actual crime, could attend a birthday bash, or be employed together, despite the legislation clearly stating this is so.

And the rising hysteria of the Newman government as it seeks to defend its indefensible attack on Queenslanders’ rights is very telling.

There will be more of that from Newman as hopefully, more and more Queenslanders come to understand that the VLAD Act is not about outlaw motorcycle clubs. And it never was.

It is about them. All of them. And their inalienable human right to associate with who they want, work where they want, and go where they want – free from the constant supervision of a crazed police state and a power-mad populist Premier, bungling Attorney-General, and sycophantic Police Commissioner, who feed them a constant diet of lies and mis-truths about ‘bikies’, while tarring every rider with the same misinformed brush.

I have another, deeper, problem with the manner in which the legislation is being sold. That problem is thus:

I ride a motorcycle.

As a result of this legislation, I now am on the receiving end of more — ignorant — behaviour from other road users, who assume that, as a motorcyclist, I must be up to no good simply by virtue of being on a motorcycle. Some of these people clearly believe in vigilantism, undertaking abusive — and in some cases, downright dangerous — acts to “prove their point.”

Never you mind that I am not, and will very likely never be, a member of any of the existing declared organisations. Never you mind that don’t ride a bike more commonly associated with such clubs. Never you mind that I barely fit the stereotype for a member of a motorcycle club. In the minds of more than a few road users, the simple act of being on a motorcycle is sufficient reason to vilify me. On average, this is now occurring twice on any ride near to major centres; I hear similar stories from my fellow riders.

I no longer have to worry about SMIDSY alone. I now have to be equally aware that people may, in fact, have noticed me.

legal interactions

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

While this is most specific to the United States, I’d suggest it’s something the average motorcyclist needs to consider when talking to employees of the Queensland Police Service as well:

Are there mundane situations in which you might rationally decide to talk to the cops — say, if a neighbor’s house is burglarized, and they come to ask if you saw anything? Sure. But you should view each interaction with the cops with an extreme caution bordering on paranoia, as you would handle a dangerous wild animal.

Should it be this way? No.

motorcyclists, or us-vs-them

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

At present, the Queensland government seem intent on alienating anyone who happens to utilise two-wheeled, motorised transport — particularly where this form of transport is used for recreational purposes. All because a handful of motorcyclists — bad eggs, no doubt — performed criminal acts.

The dumb thing is that the legislation being used as the blunt instrument to “punish” the bad eggs doesn’t even refer to motorcyclists in particular: the media, in their desire to simplify the legislation, have taken the soundbites direct from the government of the day… and it seems, in many cases, haven’t actually bothered to comprehend the legislation itself.

Subsequent to this, a certain subset of the population have seen this War On Bikies as a way to grind an axe against all motorcyclists, often for tenuous reasons or perceived slights. Since Campbell Newman started his campaign, I’ve had other road users hurl abuse at me for daring to be on a motorcycle; I’ve heard stories from my fellow motorcyclists of worse than this occurring.

To that end, understand this:

  1. Criminal behaviour is criminal behaviour. Riding a bike does not equate to criminal behaviour.
  2. Assuming you must stereotype, please understand the difference between a member of an outlaw group — one of the few ways in which the current legislation does refer to any group of individuals — and a non-member of an outlaw group. Again, riding a bike does not necessarily equate to membership in an outlaw group.

Taking the law into your own hands makes you the same class of criminal you claim to abhor.