Riders could face prosecution for riding in groups where riders block public roads to allow others to perform a wheelie, burnout or other stunt.
This follows several incidents in the USA and the most recent police chopper video from Toronto where police have threatened to fine any rider who was involved in the groups, whether they were performing stunts or not.
Ontario Provincial Police Sgt Kerry Schmidt has warned that the riders causing a menace face a variety of criminal and provincial offences. They are appealing to the public for dash cam or phone video or photos that will help them identify any of the riders.
“Just by being a party to that offence you are now just as liable for the criminal activity and for the actions that were taken by one as the whole group,” he says.
“If you are one of those in that group thinking you are just going for a ride watching it and thinking it’s funny, realise you are a party to that offence … and you are just as liable to be charged … as those doing that action.”
While this may be the case in Canada, it seems a legal grey area under Australian law.
We contacted police in several Australian states to ask whether those involved could be liable for the actions of others in the groups.
Victorian Police said they couldn’t speculate on anything non-specific, but said participating riders “would be treated like any other road user who breaks the law or is caught offending”.
The Queensland Police Service says it has received reports of “individuals committing dangerous driving offences including burnouts, wheel stands and racing bikes on public roads”.
“These have not included large groups committing offences in concert or disrupting traffic as depicted in the attached videos,” their media unit says.
“Depending on the part each rider or indeed spectator plays in the commission or enabling of a dangerous driving offence, they may be liable to be charged for the offence committed by the rider.”
Police in other states ave not responded to requests for comment.
Group stunt rides growing
It seems the trend of riders, particularly sports bike riders, in large groups taking over public roads for dangerous stunts is growing in North America.
None of the state police in Australia could point to similar group motorcycle stunt situations here, although there have been reports of car hoons blocking the highway to allow others to perform burnouts and take part in illegal races.
Meanwhile, Queensland police are still trying to identify riders in Facebook videos performing motorcycle stunts on public roads..
In one video, a rider performs a wheelie through a school zone, although it is not determined whether it was during a time when 40km/h speed restrictions were in place.
“At this time the riders in the Gold Coast incident have not yet been identified,” Queensland Police Media says.
However, Gold Coast Road Policing commander Snr Sgt Bradyn Murphy says they have previously seized vehicles and charged motorists based on Facebook posts.
“We got one guy who did high speed wheelies on the Gold Coast highway,” he says.
“We seized his computer and videos and he copped a 12-months disqualification and a few thousand dollars in fines. There have been others, too.”
Bradyn says it can be difficult to identify the riders in the videos because they are wearing face masks and helmets.