Returned bikers are being discouraged from buying motorcycles as a result of the Queensland Government’s crackdown on bikies, according to outspoken Toowoomba motorcycle dealer Boyd Yung.
He says he’s definitely missed out on some bike sales, but thinks it is mainly returning middle-aged riders.
“Motorcyclists who have always ridden motorcycles will say ‘up yours’ and continue to ride and buy bikes,” the Harley-Davidson and Suzuki dealer says.
“It’s guys who’ve been thinking about it for years and may be waiting to get a payout because Campbell Newman has scrapped his job – and his wife is probably in his ears – and he’s thinking ‘wait on a minute maybe I don’t want to get involved in this’.
“So he’s missing out on an opportunity of following a wonderful lifestyle.”
Boyd says the motorcycle industry employs an “awful lot of people” even though they “basically just sell toys”.
“The problem is we run the risk that if this gains momentum they may not buy our toys,” he says.
“They may go out and buy another toy and our toys will end up on the scrap heap.”
He says riders are parking up their bikes for fear of being harassed, which has a flow-on affect for motorcycle shops, but also the tourist industry.
“Places like Esk, Fernvale, Aratula, Kilcoy, Mt Mee, those towns rely heavily on those thousands of motorcyclists who drop in for their coffees and pies,” he says.
“That creates employment for people in those areas.
“If I was the member for that area I’d be telling Mr Newman you are upsetting my constituents because my kids don’t have jobs now.
“In those areas, rider numbers are way down on the weekend to what they are normally.”
Boyd says he has been talking to other dealers and believes that the downturn is patchy and depends on how the police in different areas interpret the laws.
“I believe it’s affecting dealers particularly in Cairns and Gladstone,” he says.
“I’ve been pulled up several times in the first few weeks of this thing.
“I was riding a stock-standard, original Street Bob and this one cop was about to get his book out and get me for handlebars and reflector on the back and I said ‘hang on, it’s a stock-standard bike so you are just wasting your time’. He was a bit grumpy about it.
“I’ve had numerous customers who have been pulled over and it’s becoming a very emotive issue within our riding groups.”
While Boyd says he has always alerted police when they have large numbers of riders expected for a ride, he will not fill in the current voluntary ride registration form.
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“I’ve had no problems with telling the police if it’s a big number of riders as it’s a safety issue and I’ve done it before, but I just rang the police, I didn’t fill in any forms with all my personal information.
“The last people I want to have all my information is the government.”
Boyd says Toowoomba has never had a big problem with bikie gangs.
“This town has always had a lot of patch clubs, but you never knew about it. They never caused any problems.
“However, it seems they may have been infiltrated by criminals.
“I’ve got a whole heap of friends who were ‘patchies’ and they’ve handed them in. It’s not important to them. They were in it for the bike lifestyle.
“In amongst them criminals did get involved in it and now they’ve crawled back under the rock.”
Boyd questioned whether he was now considered an associate because he may have sold bikes to members of now-declared criminal bikie clubs.
“I’ve known these people over 30 years. It’s not my place to play god to them,” he says.
“I won’t be changing my ways.”