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Motorcycle activists needed


Motorcycle riders will continue to be marginalised victims of society unless they stop being keyboard warriors and become real activists, says a rider representative.

Motorcycle Riders Association of Queensland president Chris Mearns says he is frustrated by the riders willing to criticise, but not help.

The last time riders rallied in numbers was during the Freedom Rallies against the VLAD so-called “anti-bikie” laws.

2014 Freedom Rally

One recent example is the issue of almost 200 CBD parking spaces lost in Brisbane with the development of the casino.

Council has so far only been able to replace 33 spots, well short of its promised 94.

The Brisbane Motorcycle Parking Progress Group Facebook site has been quick to admonish council, despite council’s offer to form a working group with riders to identify potential parking areas.

Fight on for lost motorcycle parking activists
Lost CBD spaces

Social media blamed

It has been almost impossible to get volunteers together for the working party.

Chris blames social media saying it has become a vehicle for expressing people’s frustration but not for getting issues resolved.

“If the matter that is needing action only has one answer and does not require any negotiation or additional interaction then there is hope that social media may generate sufficient pressure to get a result,” he says.

“However, once further face-to-face discourse is required, only old-school direct interaction will get the matter advanced.

“Unfortunately it is becoming evident that the general population has become way too complacent and unwilling to go the extra mile and engage in the old-fashioned way.”

Call for activists


Chris has called on riders to become real activists for rights.

He says the state-based rider associations and Australian Motorcycle Council are filled with “passionate people” who have been fighting for riders’ rights for many years on “limited budgets with limited resources”.

“In various states there are people that have given extraordinary amounts of time, and even their own finances to attempt to resolve the perennial issues afflicting riding some of which can on occasion take years of input to bring to finalisation,” he says.

“Unfortunately, as social media has gained traction there has been a corresponding reduction in the amount of people willing to offer their direct services to these organisations because of the belief that if they make a statement on a social media outlet then they have done their part and all will be made right.”

He called on “passionate and talented” people to become activists, join state rider associations and help fight for riders’ rights and liberties.

“Only real people can make a real difference,” he says.

CBD parking problem

Riders to help solve CBD parking scarcity activists
Brisbane CBD parking

Meanwhile, Chris says their representative on the council working group will negotiate on behalf of riders, if no riders come forward to assist.

“If riders can’t get their act together, we will get in and do it,” Chris says

“Our representative has previously actually worked for council.

“He has distinct suggestions not only to replace lost street bays, but to add discounted motorcycle parking in council’s two parking facilities.

“For example, the bottom floor of the King George Square parking facility is usually vacant. One suggestion is to get heavily discounted motorcycle parking on that floor at maybe $20 a week.”

  1. Social media is often just a wailing wall, but it can make a difference if it’s used to publicise and garner support for things like public protests and petitions such as those on they can even be a toe in the water to see if there will be support for something to come, but that’s where it can fall down. If there is nothing that comes it’s just a bunch of strangers yelling at a brick wall.
    There is also a fear that goes with lending your voice to any call to action and that is the fear that you are pitching in with a bunch of ratbags or looneys or both. Often the people who shout the loudest are not the best suited to champion a cause as they are just looking for something to shout about and can do more harm than good. Most people who want to get involved are often scared off by those kind of people, which is why a good social media campaign with a petition to sign can build into a movement where just pleading for help will get you nowhere.

    1. Good point Al, particularly the second paragraph. I went to the 2014 rally because the issue was so important, not only for riders but also from a broader perspective. I’ve been riding for nearly 35 years, but I don’t feel nor even want to feel a part of the visible biker community.

  2. That’s old news, most people love to whine, but very few are willing to go out and do something about the issue, that’s human behavior and politicians know it very well, that’s why they keep throwing the same crap at us over and over again.

  3. The biggest hurdle to changing legislation remains the crippling apathy, residing within a population well entrenched in the idea that government is always right and ‘its not in my backyard so it dont affect me” culture.
    To remove bad laws, you first must unite the opposition to them. The quandary is how do you change a persons mindset? I think education, and the application of ‘if the mountain can’t come to mohammad, then the mountain must be brought to mohammad’.
    Rallies and bike runs alone will never work; not until you gain moral commitment from the population.
    The key to changing bad laws is to reduce the gulf between bikers and the wider population.
    Concerts, fund-raisers, being part of the infrastructure of government, writing books, winning media support are good starting points. There is no quick fix. The strategy needs co-ordination and a long-term understanding of changing the hostile image saturating the bias of the QPS fed media.
    In short, SOLIDARITY IS THE PRODUCT OF STRATEGIES AIMED AT DEFEATING A COMMON ENEMY. It will never just occur without a strategic plan.

  4. Not all of us are leather clad patch wearing Harley riders. Most riders commuting into the CBD are public servants and office types. Now, being a public servant, ones personal activity is still covered by numerous behavior standards set down by the government and the particular department they work for. This, more often than not, all but rules out taking any ‘old fashioned’ protest action. Many of the riders that I have approached personally said they couldn’t afford the time to dedicate to a protest movement. However, social media did give them a voice. Keyboard vigilantes perhaps but at least we were able to gauge the depth of the problem. Indeed, last time there was a protest movement relating to this issue it failed because of a lack of numbers. Lastly, this is the first time I’ve heard Chris Mearns name mentioned in relation to CBD bike parking. Hopefully someone can continue to lead the Brisbane Motorcycle Parking Progress Group and take it to the next level. We’ve decided to leave Brisvegas for greener pastures, so good luck to you all.

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