It would be a terrible loss if iconic motorcycle cafes such as the Ace Cafe in London were axed under the spreading powers of “association laws”.
But that could be the case if hoons continue to pull wheelies or do burnouts at such locations where they have a ready-made and appreciative audience.
Police in Brent have threatened the historic biker haunt, the Ace Cafe, with closure as part of new powers under the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014. It allows them to close any venues that encourage anti-social behaviour.
Like a virus, these sorts of unfair “association laws are spreading throughout the Western world and pretty soon we could be facing the loss of similar venues because of the actions of a few.
Some venues are now refusing to serve people wearing certain items of clothing that may be considered liable to encourage anti-social behaviour on their premises. In Queensland, under the draconian VLAD Act, venues face massive fines if they allow entry to people wearing the “colours” of a declared criminal motorcycle club.
Even in the US, where freedom is every second word, there are signs in lots of venues that bar people from wearing gang “colours”. Even at the world’s largest motorcycle rally in Sturgis, motorcycle colours are banned.
The Hell’s Angels held their annual American Run in nearby Cody around the same time and that some have found their way to Sturgis, setting up a stall in the Main Street selling “support your local red and white” paraphernalia, plus t-shirts with “known associate” on them.
The British law and the Queensland law are different, but both are wrong.
The Queensland law – and many of these arbitrary signs banning people wearing “colours” – are wrong because they vilify someone for what they wear, not for doing something wrong. It’s profiling at its worst.
The British law cracks down on the offence, but it punishes the innocent – the venue and its guiltless patrons.
It is our responsibility to resist association laws like these which vilify and punish innocent people. Motorcycle riders are a minority and an easy target, so we need to be heard.
However, we also need to pull into line those riders who, by their actions, give us all a bad name.