from http://www.thepunch.com.au/articles/delinquents-give-peace-loving-bikies-a-bad-name/ Author details - Malcolm Farr has lived in Canberra for nearly 19 years and is News.com.au’s National Political Editor. Start of article It is an appropriate time to point out that the overwhelming majority of motorcycle owners do not get involved in drive-by shootings or airport brawls. Not even a little bit. In fact, an increasing number of drive-by shooters and airport brawlers call themselves motorcycle riders but only occasionally throw a leg over a machine. In 1947 the American Motorcyclist Association felt forced to declare that 99 per cent of motorcycle owners were law-abiding citizens. The outlaws took their minority status literally as a badge of honour and adopted patches branding themselves “the one percenters’‘. These days the patches would read “the statistically irrelevant’‘. Making this distinction is important now, before the grubby, dysfunctional bike-based gangs of Sydney and elsewhere give all a bad name, before a chant of ‘four-wheels-good, two-wheels-bad’ starts up. Recently a harmless bunch of Vespa owners went for a run through the Barossa, and obligingly told police in advance. The local police went on alert worried they might not have the brute force to deal with the mob. Until they were told they were scooter riders. They then decided they could stand down. If the police get skittish over just the mention of motorcycle and scooter groups, the general public might be even more concerned. Motorcycle ownership is now mainstream and possibly even boring - except to those who love the fun to be had from their machines. More than 25,000 new motorcycles, scooters and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) were bought in Australia in the first three months of the year, according to figures from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industry. This was a rise of close to 10 per cent over the total for the same period in 2011. There was a 14.5 per cent jump in the number of road bikes sold, and scooter sales went up by 14 per cent. And the FCAI expects continued strong sales. The trend is there and it is accelerating. A glance down any high street will confirm this, and the statistics settle the debate. In 2006 there were 463,057 motorcycles registered in Australia, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. By July, 2011 - the latest ABS figures available - the total registrations had revved up to 678,790 - a 46.5 per cent rise. In 2006 there were just 22 motorcycles registered per 1000 people in Australia. That has risen to 30 for every 1000 people. West Australians love their bikes with at least 43 registrations for every 1000 residents. Queensland has 35 registrations while the stunningly good looking and talented motorcycle riders of Canberra have 34 registrations for every 1000 population. As explained on this site before, many if not most of the new registrations and sales are of relatively low-powered bikes and scooters, not the big beasts usually associated with bikie gangs. The top road bike sales for the first quarter were for a 250cc Honda. Its sales went up 440 per cent over the total for the same period the previous year. This is a firm indication that the growing two-wheel road population includes a substantial number of riders looking for a cheaper commuter vehicle to bypass unreliable public transport and expensive car bills. And many of them will be women enjoying the independence of motorcycle and scooter riding. Plus, as has to be stressed on every occasion, when done safely it is enormous fun. End... Thoughts?