Cairns bikers criticise new law

Nick Dalton

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Cairns Post

A GROUP of Far North motorcycle enthusiasts fear they won't be able to go on rides together again after they were followed and their registration numbers were noted by police at the weekend.

The members of the Patriots Australia Cairns chapter were at a service station at Innisfail on Saturday when a police car drove in, an officer got out and jotted down their registration numbers.

Former chapter president David "Robbo" Roberts said the six riders noticed the police car turn and follow them to the service station.

"We asked him what he was doing and he said they were looking for bikies," he said.

Mr Roberts said they were not a bikie gang and did not wear back patches.

He said Patriots Australia was a motorcycle club for regular, reserve and ex-serving members of the Australian defence forces navy, army and air force.

Mr Roberts said it was an organisation dedicated to members and their families with a common interest in motorcycles. Its membership throughout the state and country provided a social camaraderie for current serving and ex-serving members of the defence force and provided support, both physical and financial, to charitable organisations.

The Cairns chapter was established in 2008 and the Patriots in 1993.

Mr Roberts said they were annoyed at being targeted.

"Soon we won't be able to go out together. There was a statement on the news that they will start looking at certain groups of three so we won't be able to ride together. It's ridiculous," he said.

Under Queensland's proposed new anti-bikie laws motorcycle gang members riding in groups of three or more could be charged.

Mr Roberts said they were travelling to Ravenshoe at the weekend to attend the Military Muster and always rode together. He said the club of 14 members went on a ride at least once a month and other ad-hoc rides.

"We often go on charity rides such as at Christmas and on Anzac Day," Mr Roberts said.

Last month the club and other motorcycle riders took part in a ride from the city to Palm Cove and back again to raise money for cancer sufferer Melissa Rennings.

"Will we be able to do that again? I don't know."

Mr Roberts said he would raise the issue with local Members of Parliament.

Cairns police Sen-Constable Russell Parker confirmed the group's intercept.

"In light of recent activities of some clubs, especially in the south-east corner, there is an increased focus on the activities and movements of criminal motorcycle gangs," he said. "As a result this group was intercepted at the service station and once it was established they did not belong to a criminal motorcycle gang, no further action was taken and police left."