1st FAIR GO RUN - MARCH 16, 2013.
Do you remember when motorcycle riders with a pillion were not allowed
to go faster than 80 kph in Victoria. Country, two-lane roads where
semis often did 120 kph, were scary. It was dangerous but no one
Also in the 1970s motorcycle & scooter learners had different speed
limits to licenced riders. That meant experienced riders could not
easily teach novices on-road which was a feature of the club scene.
And, bikes had to have front number plates. Bikes could only park in
marked car bays which drivers hated. There were moves to make riders
wear yellow and have all machines painted yellow. Similar laws and
proposals existed across Australia.
In 1978 we started the Motorcycle Riders' Association in Melbourne and
Bikers Ltd began in Sydney. They were people power organisations that
encouraged rider involvement. In 1980 we initiated the 10,000 BIKE RUN
and worked with Bikers Ltd and the Federation of Australian
Motorcyclists (ACT) to make it happen. We rode on Canberra to let all
governments know that we were a well-organised voting block and we
were not going to take it anymore. More than 12,000 bikes from all
over Australia rolled into the nation's capital demanding to be heard.
Big runs demonstrated rider groups organising abilities and political
muscle. Thousands of riders in disciplined columns showed politicians
that we would would remember them at the next election and told car
drivers that we have a right to ride. There were far fewer registered
motorcycles & scooters in the 1980s but the protest runs were much,
The attached pictures are from the second pillion law protest run. It
went from Melbourne to Geelong, obeying the law, riding at 80 kph in
the left lane. Traffic that usually travelled at over 100 kph banked
up as only one lane was available to pass the column of more than 4000
bikes stretching an estimated 10 kilometres.
One of the pillions that day was a young back-bench MP named Jeff
Kennett. Kennett was on Chris Swalell's Kawasaki 900. As semis roared
passed in the rain Kennett came to understand why the 80 kph pillion
speed restriction was just plain dangerous (as were the differential
limits for novice riders).
The 80 kph pillion law was repealed that year.
Bikers' Ltd led the national fight to rid us of from number plates.
Over the last decade rider representation became the role of the few,
not the many. Moves to bring back front number plates, make flouro
gear compulsory, govern bike motors, bring in anti-association laws,
restrict Victoria's footpath parking, separate motorcycles & scooters
from car traffic and more have been made by various authorities. TAC
used our money to make a series of TV ads vilifying riders and
justifying bad/aggressive car driving.
Rider participation in public events dwindled. Even the BLOOD
CHALLENGE ended after 30 years in Victoria when police withdrew with
Red Cross blessing. Again this summer the blood bank is making
desperate appeals for donors as blood stocks dwindle over the
holidays. The Melbourne TOY RUN is no longer in Melbourne. Driver
Awareness Rides ended.
The MRAV declined and became a social club! Of necessity the
Independent Riders Group (IRG), which began as a think tank around
2006, went formal on July 1, 2012.
In 2012 400 bikes at the A'Beckett Street Protest on October 29 was
considered a reasonable show of strength. That event grew out of a
facebook page. It was a grass roots response to discrimination
against motorcycle & scooter riders.
In December 2012 the Parliamentary Inquiry into motorcycle & scooter
safety (PIMS) delivered it's report. The recommendations are good but
they are just that, recommendations. If you don't want the
recommendations brought in, DO NOTHING.
The PIMS recommendations include abolishing the discriminatory TAC
antibike tax. The hidden TAC tax means riders pay over $70 a year, and
rising, on most road bikes.
If YOU want those recommendations to become realities, YOU have to use
political muscle. That means very public, on-road people power, as in
the 1980s. We have to tell our politicians that we know there's a
state election in 2014 and we'll vote according to their actions
implementing the PIMS recommendations.
We also need to send a clear road safety message to car drivers. Too
many of us are having our property smashed, our bodies broken and, too
often, our lives taken because a car driver does the wrong thing. Too
often car drivers get a slap on the wrist for it. Take a moment to
think about the last rider you visited in hospital or the last riders'
funeral you attended. We are legitimate road users who pay our way and
we demand a fair go on our roads.
The first FAIR GO RUN will be on Saturday, March 16, 2013.
Riders are invited to assemble at the BP servo on the corner of Cooper
Street and Scanlon Drive in Campbellfield - Melway map 181, reference
E 11. All welcome. The more flags and banners the better. Businesses
and organisations are welcome to attend to show solidarity with their
The column will depart for the marginal seat of Seymour at 10.00 am.
It is about an hour's run up the Hume to the electoral office of Cindy
McLeish MP in Wallis Street. Riders from the north, east and west are
invited to join us there. We are all in this together.
About 11.30 am speakers will tell the government, opposition and the
media what can be done to win votes from Victoria's 326,000 strong
motorcycle & scooter community. Members from both sides of parliament
will be asked to speak to the assembled riders.
After the speeches riders are invited to lunch at the Flowerdale Pub -
Melway map X927, reference J 2. The Flowerdale is the hub of some of
the best riding roads in Australia.
PLEASE use this material as you see fit - put it on webistes and
facebook, pin it on notice boards, email it to friends, use it in
magazines and newsletters and raise it at club meetings. Get the word
out there. Watch the blog for more details.
Join the IRG. It's free. You can withdraw anytime. All we need is a
name, post code and email address.
Please pass this on.
Have a safe & happy new year!
Damien Codognotto OAM
Independent Riders' Group