WHILE the State Government crackdown on bikie
gangs and their associates may not have reeled in masses of violent
criminals, it has certainly impacted on the motorcycle industry.
And founder of the Australian Motorcycle Business
Chamber Travis Windsor wants Campbell Newman to know.
Mr Windsor said businesses had been losing up to
an estimated $5 million per week at the outset of the campaign.
He said the crackdown had driven lawful riding
enthusiasts off the streets, fearing unnecessary persecution.
"Businesses that specialise in Harleys and Harley
modifications, some have never recovered while others have managed
to come back a little bit," he said.
"Those riders doing nothing wrong are concerned if
they do ride they may be put off the road for having too loud
mufflers and the like.
"There's 480,000-odd licensed riders in Queensland
and nobody's sure whether you will be targeted or not."
Mr Windsor is desperate to hold discussions with
the Premier, to forge a non-inflammatory resolution to the current
We're not targeting riders on the road who use
motorcycles for recreational purposes.
With a significant business background, including
lecturing at LaTrobe University for five years as well as his
current role in business development as part of the State
Government's Small Business Solutions program, the life-long
motorcycle enthusiast feels he is well-placed to conduct effective
dialogue with Campbell Newman.
Central Region Assistant Police Commissioner Mike
Condon reiterated that officers were not out to target recreational
bikers, but were committed to the anti-bikie campaign.
"At the end of the day, we target CMGs," he said.
"We police the roads 24/7 and that does mean
everyone who uses the roads.
"We're not targeting riders on the road who use
motorcycles for recreational purposes."
Mr Windsor, who devotes most of his time to
assisting businesses make connections, connecting schools with
businesses, coaching businesses and championing causes such as motor
neurone disease research, is determined to find a way to work with
the State Government to help it achieve its goal of targeting bikie
gangs, but not to the detriment of his and many others' passion -
the recreational motorbike ride.
By the numbers
40 addresses across the state identified as
known bikie clubhouses
US-based Mongols have begun to settle in
State increased rewards to $50,000 for
certain anonymous information
ON YA BIKE: Geoff Trewin,
dealer-principal of Rockhampton Harley-Davidson, says the anti-bikie
laws have impacted on the industry.
AUSTIN KING Mike
How will it affect CQ? Here's what our
motorcycle dealers have to say
AS the much-publicised crackdown on criminal
motorcycle gangs continues, Rockhampton Harley-Davidson
dealer-principal Geoff Trewin has revealed the State Government
campaign has hurt the industry.
"All Harley dealers have noticed a very big drop,
especially in the workshops," Mr Trewin said.
"It's caused job losses in our industry and it's
another nail in what is a tough economy."
The regional dealer said there had been many
meetings with the State Government to ensure the focus was not on
recreational riders, the lifeblood of the motorcycle industry.
"There's been a lot of meetings with government
and they keep assuring us they're not targeting recreational riders,
but how do they distinguish?" he asked.
Mr Trewin said the region's police had taken a
common sense approach for the most part, noting the real intensity
of the crackdown seemed to be focused in Brisbane and the Gold
But his concern was with how recreational riders
perceived the approach of the authorities.
"It's more of a concern about the fact that
they're out there harassing mums and dads on motorcycles," he said.
"If they want to target criminals, then do it."
However, dealer-principal of Harbour City
Motorcycles Ben Vowles still believed true motorcycle enthusiasts
would continue to enjoy their two-wheeled pride and joy.
"I don't think dedicated, die-hard bike riders are
going to give away their bikes because of these laws the
government's thrown in," he said.
"There's a lot of learner riders coming up through
the ranks now buying their first bikes.
"People are buying their first bikes after not
having one for years and we have a lot of mid-life crisis buyers."
Mr Vowles said while there might be criminal
elements in some bikie clubs, he argued the same criminal element
was present in every walk of life.
He said there was more to motorcycling than bikies.
"Motocross and off-road riding is a lot more
popular now then it was when I was an apprentice," he said.
Ben Vowles says most passionate
motorcyclists are still enjoying using their bikes, despite
current VLAD laws.
Mike Richards GLA100214BIKE