Residents on popular motorcycle routes are starting to rebel against what they see as ‘hoon riders’ invading their weekend country peace and quite.
In the latest move, Mt Mee residents in Brisbane’s west have called for concealed surveillance cameras, point-to-point speed cameras, more 60km/h zones, traffic claiming, fluorescent speed signs, TruCAM laser speed guns fitted in police patrol cars and for police to confiscate helmet cameras for evidence of hooning.
This follows one resident placing an elaborate fake speed camera by the roadside to slow riders. The illegal roadside obstacle was later removed by a roadworks crew.
The issue has now blown up amid claims of “hooning, drifting, speeding, luging and general anti-social behaviour on Mt Mee Road between D’Aguilar and Dayboro” in a letter from local State MP Andrew Powell to the Police and Main Roads ministers.
UPDATE AUGUST 24: The Main Roads Minister’s office has now replied saying the speed limit will not be dropped from 100km/h to 60km/h in the lookout area as requested by residents as it is a “rural arterial road”.
The office also rejects traffic calming and fluorescent speed signs.
While the ministers don’t seem likely to bend to the whims of one backbench Opposition Member, police have already started discriminatory RBT and vehicle checks on riders in the area.
Riders who have become aware of the letter have either called for more bikes to buzz the region or for a boycott.
Pit Stop Cafe owner John Alexander says rider numbers have decreased on Mt Mee because of the heightened police presence.
He says he has seen as many as three police bikes and a patrol car in the 7km from his cafe to the Mt Mee school. Some come from as far as Nambour, he says.
“It’s like the bikie laws. It’s just a carpet-bombing approach whereas they should target the areas of concern,” he says.
“It’s not intimidation, but if you go past a policeman it’s second nature to look at your speedo and if you see a few of them then you avoid the road altogether.”
He says the resultant drop-off in riders will impact local businesses as far as Dayboro and Woodford.
Residents have allegedly complained that motorcyclists, motorists and luge riders block the road and driveways so they can race, ride on the wrong side of the road, urinate in yards and perform burnouts and wheelies.
“The groups are that well organised even sending drones ahead to ascertain of any police presences, and using mobiles and social media t quickly communicate such,” Andrew’s letter claims.
John says he has not experienced any of these “hooning” behaviours that residents have claimed.
“We don’t see bikes hooning all that much, but we do have cars coming up at night and driving past very fast,” John says.
Andrew admits he does not have any evidence or statistics of the hooning activities, only residents’ anecdotes.
He called a public meeting of residents on June 5 at the Mt Mee Community Hall about the situation after receiving about “up to a dozen complaints”. He says more than 20 people expressed concerns at the meeting.
Andrew says that since his letter to the ministers was posted on social media, he has received “a number of angry emails, phone calls and Facebook posts”.
“If riders are operating safely and legally I don’t understand what they have to be concerned about,” he says.
“My complaint is with a small group of motorcyclists undertaking moronic activities that are not only dangerous but create an unnecessary nuisance to many of my constituents.
“I personally am very supportive of the larger community of law-abiding motorcyclists.”
Police Minister Mark Ryan says they will continue to patrol the areas and deploy speed cameras.
Confiscation of evidence
As for the issue of riders having their helmet cameras or SD cards seized, that is already allowed in law, the Police Minister says.
“I understand Queensland Police have a suite of powers under the Police Powers and responsibilities Act 2000 which, in certain circumstances, allow the seizure of items that may provide evidence of an offence,” he says.
Motorcycle Riders Association of Queensland president Chris Mearns has also warned riders about using helmet cameras which can be confiscated by police.
“Our belief is that these can already be access as evidence if the police so desire as is the case on anything that can be classified as evidence and to withhold evidence is a crime in itself,” he says.