This is the face of collateral damage in the wake of the Queensland Government’s anti-bikie legislation.
Kylie Sage arranges social motorcycle rides for women and organises the Queensland leg of the Black Dog Ride which this year raised more than $350,000 for mental health issues.
She’s now scared her social rides and the many charity rides around the state will dry up as her friends stay home for fear of being accidentally caught in the State Government’s misguided anti-bikie legislation that targets riders in groups of three.
“What about the sick children in hospitals? What are we going to tell them when the Christmas toy runs are abandoned this year because of this law?” she asks.
“What are we going to tell the people of regional towns when motorcycle tourists stop passing through and spending their money?”
Kylie and her riding friends have joined the “Motorcycle Freedom Riders” campaign to stop the discriminatory legislation.
An online petition is zeroing in on 3000 signatures since being launched on Friday and paper copies are now being circulated to regional locations and charities around the state thanks to members of the Motorcycle Riders Association of Queensland members.
When it hits a total of 10,000, the “Motorcycle Freedom Riders” will deliver the petitions to the Premier’s office. Times and locations will be announced closer to the date.
The government is expected to table its full suite of anti-bikie legislation tomorrow and the “Motorcycle Freedom Riders” don’t expect it to back down easily.
“Premier Campbell Newman probably believes he is backing a winning horse because the people of Queensland are scared of this perceived threat of heavily tattooed and dangerous bikies,” Kylie says.
“But I fear the only people who are going to be hurt are innocent riders like us.”
The “Motorcycle Freedom Riders” campaign has the backing of the Australian Motorcycle Council and Motorcycle Riders Association of Queensland.
Former World Supersport champion and MotoGP winner Chris Vermeulen has also sent a message of support: “I love riding motorcycles and especially riding with mates on all different forms of bikes. If we go out as a group of 3 or more on road bikes, off-road bikes or any other bikes we are going out to have fun which is enjoying our passion, motorcycles. That does not mean we are a ‘bikie group’ and involved in illegal activities any more than a group of cyclists or any other group of people together.”
So far, the United Australia Party has pledged support and the Greens have been vocal in their opposition to this part of the coming legislation.
A spokesperson for the Opposition said yesterday they could not comment yet as they had not seen the final version of the legislation which is expected to be tabled in Parliament tomorrow.
“We are in the dark as well,” he says. “We were supposed to have a briefing but that hasn’t happened, yet it’s being tabled tomorrow and they’re trying to get it through by the end of the week.
“There’s a real problem in this state with criminal organisations, of which non-law-abiding bikies are one; we have to get this legislation right and it runs the risk of not being right if we push it through without proper scrutiny.
“The worst thing is if it falls over in a legal challenge in the High Court.
“We haven’t been defending specific groups just yet but we did make some comments about (the issue of riders in threes being pulled over).
“We recognise that the attack should be on people who aren’t doing the right thing.”