AS A MOTORCYCLE LOBBYIST FOR FOUR DECADES I've seen plenty of examples of prejudice and bigotry against the motorcycle & scooter community.
Some bigotry is in decisions made by road authorities.
The decision VicRoads made to spend $4 billion on wire rope barriers between 2015 and 2020 while country roads are dangerously neglected is an indirect example.
The ignorant and arrogant lights-on law (2015 GLS) requiring novice riders to have their headlights on at all times is a more direct example. The author did not know that most motorcycles & scooters on Australian roads are hard wired, probably 99% of bikes used by novice riders have their headlights permanently on. One phone call to a bike shop would have saved Dr Douglas the embarrassment.
The most direct and dangerous bike bigotry is on-road in decisions made by car drivers conditioned to say "I did not see the bike" after a collision. Road rage against motorcycle & scooter riders is real and it can be deadly.
In recent months three large "patch" clubs toured Tasmania in groups of 300 to 400. Two were 1% clubs. One was a Christian bike club.
Police spent up big on road blocks and overtime and flying officers in from Victoria and NSW. With over 1000 "bikies" riding and partying round the Island State, the papers said there were a few minor charges laid and one minor prang involving locals following one national run. I was staying in a hotel in Devonport when hundreds of bikies rolled in. I reckon it was the best behaved pub in Tassie and not a cop in sight.
Before any of you start, I know there are some very bad bastards that ride motorcycles & scooters. But not all who are called bikies are bad. Just as not all pushbike riders or car drivers or pedestrians are bad, some but not all by a long shot.
The media had plenty of police quotes on how unwelcome the bikies were in Tassie. But The Advocate surprised even me with quotes from a retired god botherer calling on people to "pray for God's destruction of these evil groups".
So when you're out there over the Christmas break, beware the bike bigots behind the wheel. They are as dangerous behind the wheel as drunks and texters and incompetents.
Ride Safe into the New Year.
Damien Codognotto OAM
Independent Riders Group