Motorcycle riders will now have to ring a police hotline number if they want to ride in groups of three or more in peace.
That is the preposterous proposal given to recreational riders today at an hour-long meeting with Queensland Police Minister Jack Dempsey and Police Commissioner Ian Stewart and Taskforce Maxima representatives over the implementation of the so-called Vicious Lawless Associations Disestablishment (VLAD) Act .
Motorcycle Riders Association of Queensland president Chris Mearns (pictured left) says the hotline idea is “insane”.
“In essence, we riders have to take action to protect ourselves from the police,” he says.
“Is that where we really want to be?”
Chris says the hotline will be called Ride Safe, but he has no details of the phone number, when it will be set up and for how long riders will have to use the number to avoid being harassed by police with roadside licence checks.
“For ever and a day if you go riding with more than two people, the safest way to do it if you don’t want any interference is to ring the hotline … it’s insane,” he says.
Riders were also represented by Eva Cripps of the Australian Motorcycle Council and representatives of the HOG, Ulysses Club, Diggers Military Club, Patriots Military Club, Gold Coast Cruisers, Brothers in Arms Military Club, BMW Owners Club and the Military Brotherhood.
Chris says they provided five examples of police harassment of their clubs.
“None of those examples were denied by the Commissioner and they admitted that it was quite likely to continue,” he says.
“The only thing they could say was ‘sorry for that’.
“They said there were a lot of inexperienced officers who haven’t had to deal with this before so those situations are likely to happen.
“They promised they would try to put things into place to stop it.”
Eva flew in from Hobart especially for the meeting, but found the hotline suggestion “unacceptable”.
“As an interim measure it has allayed the fears of some of the clubs present, but I think it’s a dangerous precedent that if you don’t ring in you are likely to be targeted,” she says.
“A motorcycle is a legal form of transport and riders should be able to go for a ride without having to report to police.
“It’s like getting permission to do something that is legal.”
Chris says they proposed more meetings with recreational riders to discuss the VLAD Act.
“If they schedule a meeting, we’ll attend. You wouldn’t walk away from it.
“You have to keep the lines of communication open, but we still see major problems with this and god knows how long this situation will go on.”
Chris says the meeting may have been scheduled to head off the presentation of a petition tomorrow morning (November 1) against the VLAD Act.
It will be presented to the Deputy Opposition Leader, Bill Byrne, who is expected to table it in Parliament.
Click here to sign.
The Opposition Leader’s office expressed concern that a vast number of riders will attend the presentation which could trigger Parliament security to close the gates and lock us out, preventing us from lodging the petition.
They say security has been on high alert since the VLAD Act was passed.
To ensure our petition is lodged, we have promised to keep rider numbers low.
If you would like to attend, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will tell you the time and place for the petition presentation.
If you would like to be part of a bigger show-of-numbers ride, Rebel FM is considering planning a major “In-Laws” ride where you bring one of your in-laws and another ride has been planned for 10am on Sunday, December 1, where riders are asked to go to their Parliament in each state as a show of support.