Will anti-bikie laws harm tourism?

DSCN2376Tourism seems to be the unwitting victim in the Queensland Government’s current war on bikies.
Shadow Police Minister Bill Byrne told Queensland Parliament that motorcycle-friendly cafes had experienced a 30% downturn in trade since the advent of “the world’s toughest anti-bikie laws”.
Cafe proprietors and motorcycle industry traders have told MotorbikeWriter that Queensland riders are parking up their bikes in fear.
Apparently some Queensland riders are concerned that if they are mistakenly pulled over police they might cop a ticket for an unroadworthy vehicle or helmet.
Interstate riders, furious with the fascist laws, have also declared on social media they will not come to the Sunshine State in protest.
Even motorcycling’s most famous tourist, Charley Boorman, has expressed anxiety over the laws on his Facebook page.
“I must say I’m getting a bit anxious about all this anti-biker law stuff here in Australia – or more specifically Queensland – we cant just paint everyone with the same brush,” he says.
“Should I sell my leather jacket now? Or take off my TT badges? What is going on here!”
On Charley’s Facebook page and on the MotorbikeWriter website, overseas riders have also expressed concerns about coming to Australia.
MotorbikeWriter reader Warren Scott Massey from the US says: “As bad as I think it is getting here in the US…. I am reminded how bad it is in other ‘free’ countries.”
Several have actually declared that they have cancelled plans to tour Down Under.
Check out some of the posts below.
While anyone can write anything on the internet without confirmation, it is worrying when so many people are declaring that they will not ride in Queensland.
Rather than trying to scare up a frenzy that has everyone sitting at home watching re-runs of “Long Way Upside Down”, the best thing we can do is to carry as normal.
Yes, there may be inconvenience for some, and intimidation and harassment for others, but the rewards for sitting at home and doing nothing is that cafes may close, motorcycle traders may go out of business and riders will ultimately suffer.
So, get out and ride, take part in rallies such as this Sunday’s Freedom Ride, and spend some money at a biker-friendly cafe and bike shop.
Selective comments by overseas riders on Charley’s Boorman’s Facebook page after his comments about the anti-bikie laws:
Marg Vatamaniuck: I have some friends who are motorcycle enthusiasts here in Canada. They heard how gorgeous and beautiful it was over there and had booked a trip to spend two whole weeks touring on bikes. They heard all the negative press and have since cancelled all their reservations and plans and are going to France instead. No sense going to a country where you won’t be safe if you ride a motorcycle. Sorry. They are really disappointed.
Chris L: Just another reason not to visit Queensland , want a bike friendly holiday ? Go to the USA . I hear that in Hawaii the Highway Patrol actually smile & wave at the Harley riders . In South Dakota they have a sign at the main airport welcoming Bikers . In Milwaukee the Police actually come in to the motel carparks to ask the out of state Bikers if everything is ok . These are personal experiences .
Preacher TMMC: My wife and I rode from Larned Kansas to Milwaukee and back this past summer- I can tell you, I have never been anywhere that the police or the citizens were more friendly and helpful than in Milwaukee. Come over here the States- we will take ya!
Chris Yffencis Jones: What is the government doing, I’ve watched loads of travel programs, singing the praises of motorcycling in your country. Now that I am no longer able to work due to Ill health I was about to come to your country to tour by motorcycle with my wife. After reading this and other recent articles and showing them to my Mrs, We have decided to spend our four weeks and all my savings touring Asia and South Africa instead. I’m sure there will be a large number of people who will have the same reaction as myself, depriving your country of tourist income. – Chris Jone “Pug”, Chairman, Yffenics MCC, South Wales (the one in the UK)
James: I attended Sturgis this year, 500,000 bikers in one spot. I saw a handful of police who were traffic controllers. The difference between their system and ours is chalk and cheese. Americans know their rights and march for them, we increasingly have no rights and are apathetic believing our government knows best. It may have to do with how the countries were settled. One by free religious zealots who sailed to America for greater freedom albeit religious, the other were sent out as prisoners with no freedom and whipped into submission. Australians need a Bill of Rights.


  1. Please dont be blind …..The LNP with Newman as its head, have made these “laws” to have total control of YOUR lives .The VLAD lawIS for Everyone Not just hose who ride………………….Velcomb To De Forth Reich

  2. JOHN B, interesting to note the paragraph in the law that says “any other group whether legal or illegal” is the most worrying part. We shall see what happens at the G20 heads of government summit in Brisbane next year. Any protesters will fit this criteria. The gumment already expects there to be 1500 “security specialists” from interstate and overseas on the job as well as every cop available. They have also made laws making it illiegal during that period to carry things in the Brisbane CBD like eggs, glass jars, signs bigger than 1m x 2m, weapons, laser pointers, ladders and scaffolding, kayaks and floaties, camoflage make-up and masks and on and on.
    So any group of three or more in the city at G20 time will be subject to the VLAD laws. Watch the cops go ballistic with that one.
    Maybe the whole bikie thing is just a smokescreen for targeting political groups like the anti-globalization groups, greens, Occupy etc.
    Sounds like a conspiracy theory I know. But it could well happen.

  3. @John B; you are absolutely correct that these laws could, at any time in the future, be amended to target other organisations if those organisations were to be declared ‘criminal’. The laws certainly are ‘McCarthyism’ reincarnated make no mistake there. Unfortunately many people have been frightened by irresponsible journalism into staying home and hiding under their beds like frightened curs instead of standing up and exercising their right to go about in public in support of businesses and the community.

  4. besides these laws which will target anyone it also dictates what you can wear and where to wear it . also this government has or is im the making of laws that make it not possible for anyone to sue any police officer or public servant if they stuff up .ive lived in queensland for many yrs have had buisnesses an have bought my sons up here but now even my sons cant have the freedom I had in the past .if they wear a tshirt from a bikeshow they are classed as an associate of the ppl that sold them the shirt . its all about power and now newman is in power he is giving his party an the police as much as they can till either these laws get beaten in court or till 2015 election . people are scared atm in queensland and I don’t blame them. ive had much help from clubs in queensland and now I cant even go to the pub with them as it could cost me jail time an the pub owner $12000 in fines and jail . tourism will and is being affected bike towing transport is being affected cafes and parts shops are being affected pubs on rides ppl do on weekends are being affected and the other day there was talk of a rider refused fuel as the petrol station didn’t serve his type . if you do come here make sure you read up as much as you can and know what rights you have if any .or make sure you have a mate here to help you along .ive just got back in the saddle after 6yrs but now I have to ride solo . I get a lot of upto date info from a place called http://spleenvent.com/index.php a very helpful place and its run by bikers for bikers

  5. Yes, absolutely! I already know people who have cancelled their holidays to all over Queensland in response to Newman’s anti-biker laws.

  6. The VLAD legislation IS NOT “aimed at criminals or bikies”…it’s aimed at people. Please go and read it…it’s only about ten pages of widely spaced easy reading. It plainly says who it targets. In section 3 (“Definitions”) an “association” is the following:
    (a) a corporation;
    (b) an unincorporated association;
    (c) a club or league;
    (d) any other group of 3 or more persons by whatever name
    called, whether associated formally or informally and
    whether the group is legal or illegal.”
    Let that sink in…”LEGAL OR ILLEGAL”. Not to mention the extremely broad and ill-defined meaning of “participant” in the affairs of clubs or organisations in section 4: You are a “participant if you:
    “(c) has attended more than 1 meeting or gathering of
    persons who participate in the affairs of the association
    in any way; or
    (d) has taken part on any 1 or more occasions in the affairs
    of the association in any other way”
    Again, let that soak in…”IN ANY WAY”. You wouldn’t word a contract to buy a Mars Bar that vaguely. That can literally mean anyone in any group in any place, and you don’t even have to be a member…you only have to, for example, have attended a bike show or tattoo show or charity run organised by an outlaw club, or those with links to outlaw clubs, and bingo, you’re “a participant”.
    Not to mention if you read the entire VLAD legislation, you will not find the words “motorcycle/bike”, “bikie”, or “outlaw motorcycle gang” anywhere in them at all…not ONCE are they used. It can. literally, be used on anyone they want it to.
    OK, if you reply with “if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to worry about”, fine, believe that. However, ask yourself one simple question: do you absolutely trust each and every copper out there to apply these rules fairly and justly ONLY against “outlaw motorbike club members”? You should have a small niggle of doubt in the back of your mind, because once something so broadly worded is in place, there WILL be people who will seek to take advantage of it to victimise and target people they simply don’t like.
    Welcome to the new Queensland…

  7. The downturn in business has more to do with the constant media frenzy misreporting and catastrophising about laws that are aimed at criminals not at ordinary riders. Some responsible and accurate reporting would greatly assist businesses in difficult economic times instead of the selfish ‘riding on the back of a serious issue’ in order to make money or political points.

  8. Yep, after a 3 months tour of Europe on my Bike last year, I’ll take it for a three months tour in USA in 18 months instead. Now listen, there’s another issue for Queensland tourism. If a Mr Smith, wife and little son from Melbourne had planned to go to the Goldcoast. Then they read about this storm in teacup, violence, Armoured cars, Police being equipped with semi automatics, heavy duty armoured clothing protection and seeking to bring their guns to their homes, extensive razzias, police not prepared to wear name tags, etc. The whole place looking like having stopped in a wasp nest. I think Mr and Mrs Smith and son will choose another location! There are many overseas locations where they don’t patrol with military weapons, There will be consequences of this publicity war posturing I’m sure, having to be paid by the tourism business.

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