A t-shirt that says “Get stuffed Newman” is the top seller at the Biker Life store on the Sunshine Coast.
Owner Mal McLaren says the $30 t-shirt has been a huge hit, even though he doesn’t believe riders are being hassled as much as some people claim on Facebook.
“We found trade dropped off after the Queensland Government introduced the anti-bikie laws,” he says, referring to the Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment (VLAD) Act and other law amendments passed last year in a war on criminal motorcycle gangs.
“Riders were intimidated to go riding because most bikes are slightly modified and riders are concerned about being pulled off the road for being unroadworthy.
“Riders fear that if they get pulled over by the police for ID checks to see if they are criminal bikies they’ll end up getting their bike confiscated.
“But I reckon that’s unfounded. Police seem to be overlooking illegal modifications like exhausts and handlebars because they are so busy photographing people’s tattoos.
“They’re not enforcing those (roadworthy) issues if your attitude is good. I’ve only heard of the odd person who has had an issue with the police because they’ve arced up.”
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He describes many of the social media claims of police harassment as “urban myths”.
I can’t get eye-witness or first-hand accounts of any of them,” he says. “I’ve heard heaps of stories but haven’t been able to substantiate any.”
He says riders are returning to the roads after a quiet period where his trade dropped off significantly.
“Maybe it’s because the police are too busy with the Christmas blitz.”
Meanwhile, his t-shirt, which features a back-to-front swastika, is selling well.
“We did it like that so it wouldn’t offend any war vets,” he says. “When it faces that way I’m told it means ‘that’s how life is’.”
His second top seller is a black t-shirt that says “Queensland biker. The other 99%” referring to the 1% who are outlaw bikies.
There is only one Biker Life store, but the t-shirts are also available online here.
However, don’t expect to get special online discounts as Mal and wife Marlene don’t believe in it.
“If a distributor sells the same thing online at a discount price it’s unfair to take the business away from your retailers,” Mal says.
“It was done to us and we won’t do it to anyone else.”
The couple are currently negotiating to buy a well-known motorcycle clothing business and promise not to undercut their retailers with online discounts.