Everyday bike riders are being unfairly targeted under the state’s anti-bikie laws, according to the peak motorcycling body, but police say the laws are needed to protect the state from organised crime.
MOTORCYCLE club members should not be judged by the reputations of “outlaw clubs”, the state’s peak motorcycling body says.
Tasmanian Motorcycle Council president Paul Bullock said the insignia and consorting laws introduced in this state as part of the crackdown on outlaw motorcycle clubs was a “total over-reaction”.
Legislation restricting members of outlaw gangs from wearing club colours or insignias in public was passed in August 2018, with anti-consorting legislation passed in September 2018.
The first warning notices in the anti-consorting laws were served in February last year, and the first bikie to be charged under the insignia legislation was a 21-year-old Bandidos member from Devonport in January 2020.
“If anyone breaks the law, our point all along has been charge them, throw them in jail, throw away the key if you have to,” Mr Bullock said.
“But why do they all have to be blamed when it’s the individuals?”
Mr Bullock said since the implementation of the laws, he had heard of legitimate motorcycle riders running into issues on the roads.
“I’ve heard of people that have been pulled up and questioned, that aren’t part of the groups,” he said.
“If you’re on the road, you don’t know who’s who.
“You don’t know if they belong to a club or not.
“Now that they’re unidentifiable if I had a complaint against a certain club, how am I supposed to know who they are?”
Many members of the community see members of motorcycle clubs in a positive light, with individuals taking part in toy runs and charity rides.
However, police believe some members from outlaw motorcycle gangs use this as a front to mask more sinister operations.
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Tasmania Police said the anti-consorting laws were put in place to protect the state from organised crime, and had helped to stem actions such as group runs.
Detective Inspector Damien George, of the Serious Organised Crime Unit, said motorcycle clubs used their runs to demonstrate their strength.
“If they can’t wear that on their run, then it almost removes why they’re doing it here,” he said.
“The consorting is the same.”