Clearing up a few misunderstandings.
The protest rally in A'beckett Street, Melbourne on Monday, October 29, 2012, was a protest against discriminatory proposals including wire rope barriers, the TAC tax, consorting laws, front number plates/stickers/tags, mandatory day glo vests and compulsory protective boots, pants, jackets and gloves picked for us by a committee of bureaucrats.
That protest run grew out of a face book page. Ordinary road riders were angry at the crop of proposals and wanted a very public say. As the move to hold a protest rally gained momentum, it became clear that a stage and PA was required and the Independent Riders' Group took that on.
The October 29 rally was well-attended for a weekday with about 400 bike parked in and near A'beckett Street. The speakers were Steve Bardsley for the Victorian Scooter Riders Association, www.vicscooterriders.com.au ; Heather Ellis member of the Motorcycle Advisory Group at Vicroads, www.heather-ellis.com ; Luke Donnellan, Shadow Minister for Transport ; John Voyage for Maurice Blackburn Lawyers promoting the SMIDSY (Sorry mate. I didn't see you.) campaign www.mauriceblackburn.com.au .
On December 12 the Victorian Road Safety Committee reported on its' inquiry into motorcycle & scooter safety.
The PIMS report recommendations were better than we hoped for, in fact the recommendations were very good indeed. But good recommendations are not laws or programs or active policies. The Road Safety Committee made the recommendations but it has no power in itself to implement its' recommendations.
If rider representatives relax now it may be that little or nothing will get done and the PIMS recommendations will slip into limbo like the trial to permit motorcycles & scooters to use bus lanes in Victoria which was supposed to be done by June 2012.
And, sooner or later the negative proposals will resurface.
Certainly face to face meetings with politicians and public servants are important and will continue. The Independent Riders' Group met with several MPs at Parliament House in Melbourne the day after the report was released. One topic was the 1st FAIR GO RUN to Seymour. In view of the PIMS recommendations a focus of the ride will be to support the recommendations and lobby for their speedy implementation.
In view of the road casualties caused by car driver error, the Seymour ride would also be a driver awareness ride promoting road safety.
Both clear, positive aims.
Nothing says we are here and we are well-organised and we vote like a big column of disciplined riders.
|The 1989 OZ GP RUN to PHILLIP ISLAND. Not a protest run but it sent a message loud and clear. Photo courtesy The Age, Melbourne.|
Driver Awareness Rides in Melbourne attracted thousands of riders. There were no problems. Far from upsetting relationships between rider reps and politicians these rides generated respect for motorcycle & scooter riders and their organisations. The October 29 protest rally demonstrated a need for that kind of respect again and the desire of a significant number of riders to do something for themselves, to have a say by getting their bikes and riding.
Damien Codognotto OAM
Independent Riders' Group