Saturday, 26 December 2015

TOY RUN 2016

All the best for a safe and happy 2016 to you and yours.

"We want you at the TOY RUN for Father Bob."

The IRG has applied for a permit to hold the next TOY RUN for Father Bob on Sunday, December 11, 2016. The venue will be the same, next to LUNA PARK in Melbourne.

IRG membership is free and you can withdraw at any time. You can join through the IRG facebook page. All we want is a name, postcode and email address and we will keep you informed on laws, taxes and activities that effect riders.

Damien Codognotto OAM
Independent Riders' Group (IRG)
PO Box 4330,
Doncaster Heights, Vic. 3109.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015


In 1978, as President of the original Motorcycle Riders Association, I threw down a motorcycle gauntlet in front of the then Police Commissioner, Mick Miller. He picked it up and the BLOOD CHALLENGE began. Victoria's motorcyclists challenged Police to give more blood than riders over the three summer months.

The time limit on giving blood then was once in three months.

This was a campaign that cost the RED CROSS nothing. It was great PR for both riders and Police. It really did some good when regular blood donors were busy before Christmas or away afterwards. It was good publicity for the RED CROSS and it encouraged people to become donors. Other groups like the Scouts and Melbourne Fire Brigade joined the BLOOD CHALLENGE and it became an annual event.

In Melbourne we organised BLOOD RUNS and SWAP MEETS to raise money for the RED CROSS BLOOD SERVICE.

MRA Branches interstate started their own BLOOD CHALLENGES.

In today's AGE it says the RED CROSS expects to run low on blood supplies over the holidays.

How is it that with a bigger population and better transport and technology the RED CROSS can't manage it's donors so blood supplies do not run low and people who need blood don't suffer for lack of the red stuff?

The Victorian BLOOD CHALLENGE , organised by the MRA, ran for 30 years. In my opinion, it was killed off by corporatisation and a police administration that wanted to distance itself from bikies. Victoria Police in 2015 is not the same force it was in the 1970s and 1980s. It has a far more military image and MO today. This article was in Police Life Magazine in 1981.

The RED CROSS changed too. It went corporate. Masters of business studies began to change the nature of the organisation. A media unit was set up. Young career-minded people with diplomas and degrees came to the South Melbourne HQ. There was a high turnover of staff as the masters got a couple of years working for a big name charity on their CVs. Each year we organised the BLOOD CHALLENGES we had to deal with new faces that knew little about life, less about volunteers and even less about motorcyclists. Silly ideas were common.

The Masters began to cut costs. The volunteers that served the tea and cakes to donors after they gave blood began to go as they got tied up in more and more red tape. The booking system changed so clubs and associations could not organise group donor sessions, at least not easily. MRA BLOOD RUNS ended. Many BLOOD BANKS were closed particularly in regional Victoria where they were almost social hubs as well as medical facilities. Many volunteers who had served the RED CROSS faithfully over decades were treated poorly so they left.

The MRA BLOOD CHALLENGE ran into more and more silly ideas and less and less cooperation.

Then one day, the CEO called me into the South Melbourne BLOOD BANK . "We are going to give you an award for organising 30 years organising the BLOOD CHALLENGE " said the woman in the smart business suit. This was a new award. It would be presented by the Federal Health Minister of the day. I said I would accept it on behalf of the MRA. I smelt a rat.

Within a week or two the police said they would not be part of the 31st BLOOD CHALLENGE because the emergency services were going to run their own challenge from now on and we could organise a bike club challenge. That was never going to work with the disunity that was growing in the motorcycle community. I suspect police command were aware of that. The Emergency Service BLOOD CHALLENGE didn't happen. The MRA BLOOD CHALLENGE did not make 31. The longest-running, most cost effective blood donor campaign ended. The interstate challenges declined and ended as the masters dominated RED CROSS BLOOD SERVICE policy.

Damien Codognotto OAM accepts an award on behalf of the original MRA for 30 years of BLOOD CHALLENGES from the Federal Health Minister.
So here we are, another summer holiday and another blood drought and another formula media release from the media unit in the South Melbourne HQ. It calls for donors to give blood over the break. If you can I urge you to give blood before the end of 2015.

Damien Codognotto OAM
Independent Riders' Group



The festive travel season begins. City drivers on country roads and
country drivers on city roads different times and conditions. A time for
extra care.

Motorcycle and scooter riders will be out there too. They are classed
vulnerable road users with bicyclists and pedestrians. What is just a
bump for someone in a car can destroy a family's happiness in the
festive season.

The Independent Riders Group asks all road users to take extra care
during the holidays. Prepare for longer trips. Stay alert. Heed
the VicRoads' message. "SHARE THE ROAD - Travel Happy".

Damien Codognotto OAM
Independent Riders' Group

Motorcyclist dies in Albert Park crash - Victoria Police News

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Date: Thu, 24 Dec 2015 10:19:45 +1100
From: Damien Codognotto <>

On 23/12/2015 7:43 PM, B wrote:


I am sure you have seen tonight’s news showing a motorcycle rider has
been killed after hitting a taxi that was doing a U turn.

It looks to me very much like the Taxi driver not only U turned in front
of the rider but also U turned over a SOLID WHITE LINE.

You will no doubt have grasped that the taxi driver was committing not
just one offence, yet after the newscast most people believe another
dangerous motorcycle rider has been killed due to his own fault.

I hope the riders family and the general public get to appreciate
exactly who was at fault here and that all are made well aware the rider
had no chance and was not anyway at fault.



Thanks for the info B.

I didn't see it. I don't have TV. What a terrible start to the Festive

In my opinion, a lot of the reason the media makes misleading reports on
motorbike crashes is that some taxpayer-funded media units bias their
output on bike crashes to indicate the bike rider was the cause of the
crash and/or in the wrong too often.

This bias may, or may not be, policy. It may be ill-informed crash scene
reporting and ignorance on the part of media unit staff. This situation
is unlikely to change while the State Government permits VicRoads
appoint motorcycle and scooter reps.


Tuesday, 22 December 2015


From the Herald Sun in Melbourne - December 23, 2015.

Thursday, 17 December 2015


The owner of the Vulcan with trailer, rego IU 752 won a year's subscription to HEAVY DUTY magazine at the TOY RUN for Father Bob on December 13, 2015. Please contact the Independent Riders Group and well post your prize to you.

Monday, 14 December 2015


Series 4 Episode 12 : Sunday 3 pm on ONE in Sydney.  

We go on the inaugural NSW Politicians Ride and find out who is the surprise packet of the Parliament.We discover the reason Helga rides a purple Ducati. Irish from Moto DNA updates us on those doing his training course.Rod from Pirates Seachest reveals the origin of his nickname. Johann from Oz Trikes shows us his latest weapon of choice. Hirsty remembers the last time he saw Kings Cross Bikers’ founder Animal OAM and reflects on Eternity plus we discover what it takes to be a distinguished gentleman and look at what could happen at Daytona Beach if you are quick!

Make sure you check your local TV Guides for time variations in different states and territories plus weekly episode repeats.


Damien Codognotto OAM
Independent Riders' Group (IRG)

Friday, 11 December 2015



BIG JOHN YOUNG OAM and his lady Leanne flew to Melbourne from Newcastle to go on the TOY RUN for FATHER BOB. Cate picked them up from Tullamarine Airport and brought them in to our regular coffee stop at Muleta's this morning. Saturday, December 12, 2015.

BIG JOHN was awarded his Order of Australia Medal last June for his work for children's charities. He has organised 37 annual TOY RUNs in Newcastle.

Make he and Leanne feel welcome at the TOY RUN for FATHER BOB in St Kilda tomorrow.


Thursday, 10 December 2015


Another TOY RUN is generating more good publicity for motorcycle & scooter riders. The Herald Sun Cars Guide listed the TOY RUN for Father Bob on its' What's On page. They ran a great photo too. Positive publicity wins riders respect on our roads. The Herald Sun gets to a lot of Victorian car drivers.

Sunday, 6 December 2015


Toy Run for Father Bob - Sunday, 13th December, 2015 - 9am to 3pm The Father Bob Maguire Foundation feeds & supports many homeless, and families, facing financial hardship. Donations of non fluffy toys, non-perishable food, clothes, blankets & cash are needed. At 11am the Toy Run will leave Luna Park and travel along the beach to Port Melbourne and back; about 12kms, 1/2 hour. Spectators encouraged along the route, to witness the colourful column of motorcycles, sidecars, scooters & trikes, and their start & finish at O'Donnell Gardens, along with live music and stalls. Riders assemble in Shakespeare Grove, beside O'Donnell Gardens, next to Luna Park from 9am; no registration or fee. Wear fancy dress if you like; there can never be too many Santa's!

Please do not park in front/forecourt outside Luna Park entrance; proceed to O'Donnell Gardens, via Shakespeare Grove.

Please do not overtake on the ride, and observe all road laws.
See below: outer Melbourne ride assembly points for regional riders to join up with; welcome to add more - advise Prizes awarded for best decorated motorcycle, sidecar, scooter & trike; and to best dressed male & female riders. Everybody welcome; tram stop at O'Donnell Gardens/Luna Park.

Assemble from 8:45am at BP, Cooper St, EPPING
Depart: 9:00am
YARRA RANGES RIDERS: Assemble from 8:30am at Beechworth Bakery, Maroondah Hwy, HEALESVILLE. Depart: 8:45am.

RINGWOOD RIDERS: Assemble at BP on Maroondah Hwy, cnr Oban Rd & Old Lilydale Rd, RINGWOOD. Depart: 9:30am. Ride along Eastlink (toll pass required), Eastern Freeway, Hoddle St, Punt Rd, Carlisle St St Kilda arriving at 10:30am for Toy Run parade leaving at 11:00am 
from O'DONNELL GARDENS, next to Luna Park.
BOX HILL RIDERS: Assemble from 9:00am at Mick Hone Motorcycles, 715 Whitehorse Rd, MONT ALBERT NORTH. Depart: 9:30am via Elgar Rd to Eastern Freeway as above.
Assemble from 8:00am at CALTEX, western ramp city bound, WERRIBEE. Depart: 8:30am

WILLIAMSTOWN RIDERS: Assemble from 8:30am at UNITED, Todd Rd/City bound, Westgate Bridge. Depart: 8:50am

BACCHUS MARSH RIDERS: Assemble from 7:00am near Courthouse in Bacchus Marsh Ave. Depart: 7:30am to join Werribee at 8:00am (as above)

Media enquiries to: Damien Codognotto OAM, IRG  Spokesperson 0419 846 855 

Thursday, 3 December 2015


PLEASE NOTE if you are at the TOY RUN for Father Bob in Melbourne on December 13, 2015.

1. No vehicle is allowed on the forecourt in front of the entrance to LUNA PARK, the huge face of the man in the moon. It looks great in photos but you have to take your snaps on foot. We had to get special permission to take the photo with Heather, Father Bob and Bernie.

2. Summer Sundays near the beach can mean traffic congestion and car parking shortages. Non-riders are encouraged to leave the car at home and bring family and friends on trams 16 or 96. The tram stop is right outside LUNA PARK.

This is a great TOY RUN venue. We want this TOY RUN to be an ongoing success so please park legally and no bikes in front of old moonface.



This week the Herald Sun Cars Guide, Motorcycle Trader and Australian MotorCycle News ran ads for the TOY RUN for Father Bob in Melbourne. By supporting this TOY RUN these publications are supporting motorcycling. Return the favour by buying a copy if you have not already done so.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015


It's a great cause and it's good PR for motorcycling and it's FREE! Parade lap at 11 am. Sunday, December 13, 2015. Live music in the park next to LUNA PARK. Scroll down. All welcome. Non-riders can catch the No. 16 or 96 tram to Luna Park. Acland Street eateries, St Kilda Pier, the Sunday Market and more.