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Erosion of liberties?

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by hornet, Mar 3, 2007.

  1. That phrase got another gallop in the Boris thread and it got me thinking, because every time someone gets pinged for a ridiculous speed, or has his car/bike impounded for hooning, someone cries in his beer about the erosion of our liberties. It seems every time the phrase or the concept is raised, many Netriders fall into line like sheep across a paddock and mutter approvingly that indeed this is happening. But IS IT??? Let me give you a non-motorcycling example, and start the ball rolling there.

    When I was a boy (50 years ago) graffitti around Sydney was almost non-existent. Apart from a few crudely-scratched daubings of political or social comment in railway overpasses near the city (and, of course, Arthur Stace's exquisite "Eternity") the walls, garage doors and streets of the city were free of visual pollution.

    Now if I want to buy a can of spray paint to fix the Hornet's wounds, I have to ask the nice man at the car accessory shop to unlock a cupboard and get it out for me. Why? Because any clear surface in our city has become a target for illiterate scum to daub their ugly tags on, and the free sale of spray paint has been restricted to attempt to stop this happening.

    So my liberty to walk into the car accessory place, like I used to be able to do, browse the rows and rows of spray paint, choose my product and walk it to the counter, has been eroded.

    Am I crying foul because of that? No, of course not. I am happy to pay the price of a little inconvenience on my part if it means the limiting of access to paint on their part. Simple.

    Let's talk about the road laws.

    There are now more and more complex offences on the statute books than there were 30 years ago, or even 20 or 10. Is this because politicians and bureaucrats sit around every Monday morning and discuss what they can make illegal, or increase the fines for, this week? No, of course it isn't. It's because motorists, in many cases the very people who are whining about the erosion of their liberties, are finding new, more dangerous and stupid ways of using their vehicles to behave in an irresponsible manner and endanger themselves and the public. So, laws are beefed up to curb such behaviour. And thus liberties (even if only imagined), are eroded. So, where's the problem?

    Let me go back to my youth again. In my teens I lived next door to two very ordinary young men who had two extra-ordinary cars. Although they were (deliberately) stock-appearing on the outside, they were high-performance on the inside, with best available engine and suspension modifications.

    Their great joy was to go into Newcastle on a Saturday night and do 'the cruise'; driving up and down Hunter Street, ogling the pretty girls and trying to impress them, and indulging in the odd traffic-light drag race with their mates and others. They were never booked, never defected and never hassled by the Police, who also did the cruise, looking for illegal modifications and anti-social behaviour.

    "Well,", you might say, "That's all the boys are doing at Noble Park, or Brighton le Sands!". No it's not, and you know it's not. These over-indulged yobbos are using their cars in the same way they use the spray can; they are marking their territory with noise and rubber, and the laws have been expanded and extended to stop them doing it. Thus, my liberties are eroded? HOW SO? I don't WANT to do what they do, and I don't DO what they do, so I am not in danger of drawing the attention of the Police, or being subject to the laws..... My liberties remain untouched.

    So what's my point? Liberties are not being eroded; laws are being framed and tightened in response to anti-social, dangerous, stupid and irresponsible people's behaviour. The everyday rider, you and me, is not effected by these laws because we're not breaking them. Simple, innit???
  2. Crap anaology there Paul. You're talking about the extremes. People doing burnouts was always illegal. It was illegal 30 years ago, and it is illegal today. What has increased is the severity of the penalties. The govt. has now decided to start stealing people's property, rather than punish the individuals themselves directly.

    Further, 30 years ago, the attitude to speeding was far more reasonable. If you got caught speeding, the officer generally used their fair judgement, and/or gave you a clip over the ear for being silly. Speed limits were set at a level that was determined by the general flow of traffic speed. In general, the majority of people could be trusted that they didn't want to die by travelling at stupidly high speeds in dangerous surroundings. This is still true even today. The vast majority of people still don't/won't travel at stupidly high speeds in dangerous surroundings, even if they know that no-one is watching. In general, it's a fairly safe assumption that the vast majority of people don't want to injure themselves, or others, or die themselves or kill others.

    Where liberties have been eroded is that of personal judgement. If I want to overtake that truck that's travelling at 20kph below the limit, and I have 100 meters to do it in, I know that I can very safely do it by temporarily hitting 130-150kph, in complete and utter safety. The overtaking move is quick. There's no turnoffs, no opportunities for other traffic to interfere, and so on. i.e. nothing can go wrong unless the truck deliberately swerves into me, and even then he's not likely to succeed since I would be past before the truck significantly changes direction. If I got caught doing this, I now face the risk of vehicular confiscation.

    Every day, almost every driver is faced which situations like this on our roads and highways, yet we have stealth cameras and police officers patrolling locations like freeway on-ramps where cars will accelerate out of the way of merging vehicles, just ready to pounce on drivers for travelling a meager 10kph over the limit.

    Our liberties to drive on the road as reasonable adults IS being eroded Paul. Pointing to a few idiots who cause enough trouble to get the law to come down on them like a tonne of bricks aside, the truth of the matter is that in general the populace is getting whipped into a conforming line of automatons staring blankly at their speedometers rather than the road conditions, because so much attention is focused on punishing speeding rather than actual dangerous driving.

    The yobs who do burnouts are at the pointy end of the obnoxious scale, but in the past they got punished, but they also serve as a pointed highlight of just how heavy handed the government is becoming. 30 years ago, they got clipped behind the ear and maybe a $500 fine. Now they face jail time, vehicular confiscation, loss of job/income as a result, all for having a bit of noisy fun.

    It's high time that the govt. recognised and accepted that humans are humans. Yes, some of us are yobs, and we'll continue to be yobs no matter what. If people want to do burnouts, give them a safe place to do it, otherwise they will continue to do what they currently do, and that is find some suburban back-street and start tearing up the neighbourhood. Greater police penalties won't really stop them. There's a never ending stream of new blood willing to flaunt the law. It's in human nature. In the meantime though, the rest of the populace has to endure ever increasing penalties for decreasingly minor offences, and suffer as a result.

    Time for a change, and a new line of thought I say. I don't want people to die, and I'm not arguing for anarchy, but punishing the bulk of the populace with ever increasing penalties has done little to drop the road toll. Improved road conditions, compulsory seatbelts, driver fatigue rest-stops, and vehicular safety has done more on that front than any speed camera will ever do.
  3. I see that "laws being framed" are eroding liberties.

    You want to talk about the past, IMHO hooning was just as rampant, but the media just didn't see it as newsworthy.

    There have, and always will be modified cars - so don't get your point there. Granted I've slowed down a bit, but I've been doing the odd burnout in cars for 25 years :cool:

    Has Maggs been writing your stuff for you :p I don't aim to be an everyday rider, but I want to take the odd risk when I occasionally ride :wink:
  4. I get so tired of this old, "Things were always this bad, they're just being reported more," claptrap, spouted by people who WEREN'T there and don't know what things were like then. It's not an argument, it's a cop-out.

    When Graham Thorne was kidnapped and murdered after his family won the lottery in 1961 (?) it was front page news for weeks in Sydney. Now there is a murder or as bad on every second page of the same papers. Do you really want me to believe that the papers then did not have access to the same information about crimes and the goings-on in Sydney that they have today? RUBBISH...... Any imperical evidence will tell you that crime across the board is on the increase and the laws will respond.

    And Alex, of course guys have always had hotted up cars, I think I said that. What we did NOT have when I was young was cars being used as weapons to thumb the nose at society and endanger innocent people. Only last week someone posted here that some nitwits had put some fluid on a roundabout so that they could do slides around it, and some poor innocent motorcyclist was brought down by it. Is THAT the sort of liberty you want reinforced???
  5. Interesting, why is traveling at less than the speed limit such a crisis.

    That i have seen in my brief but perfect observation of the situation, oops i missed that pushbike that was obscured by the bulk of the truck.
    We all seem to be in a hurry and isolated, the idea of community or concern for others is dying. We have become selfish and laws and penalties now reflect that - people don't listen so get their attention thru their hip pocket.
  6. I lived in Wollongong 83/84 - they were putting oil down up near the north end of the main beach on many Thursday nights back THEN.

    Another area in Sydney were the brickyards out near Auburn/Granville were there used to be "illegal" drags and cars were confiscated/defected back THEN.

    I still say the media is jumping on the bandwagon, the road toll is much reduced from 25 years ago despite a HUGE increase in vehicles on the road.
  7. Not arguing at all about road toll; compulsory seat belts and much, much safer cars are negating lousy roads and lowering both the death and injury toll. We are talking about the use of vehicles as a symbol and action of deliberate anti-social anarchy, and the inevitable consequence of the beefing up of laws in those areas.... I say again, the liberties of the law-abiding citizens are NOT being eroded by such laws.
  8. It isn't for everyone. Many people enjoy travelling at a slow speed. That's fine. They can do that if they want. The thing is, if I don't want to, why should I be forced to? Or are you saying that all traffic should be forced to single file behind the person travelling the slowest?

    Yes, 'cos when I overtake a truck, I didn't first check that I could clearly see the road ahead, and bicycles always suddenly appear out of no-where on the right hand side of trucks. :roll:

    ...and forcing others to travel at your own pace is not selfish then, eh? Not everyone on the road has the same agenda. Oh, and since when is overtaking someone and getting as far away from them as possible selfish? They want to enjoy their peaceful drive without someone sitting impatiently on their tail, and I'm happy to oblige them.
  9. Hi all,

    Couldn't help myself!!!!
    this issue is a difficult one because the focus on the "erosion of liberties" seems to come down to speeding as an act of irresponsible behaviour in the eyes of people here.
    On one hand, I fully support the Hoon legislation and the REAL reasons for introduction of the laws.
    On the other hand, in true brainwashing fashion, the government of the day is blurring the lines by suggesting that speeding is irresponsible. (they also keep telling us that speed kills).

    The need to remove morons from the road, the real irresponsible fools who drop oil on the road to do burnouts/drift, the multi car street drags (Thanks to movies like the fast and the furious for encouraging this as "cool") and generally "speed" in built up suburban areas, is real, and the government has a responsibility to protect the public from this. The decision to impound vehicles was seen as an effective deterrent as most of these idiots value their cars more than their public/social responsibility. If the Government had legislated to imprison the culprits for 48hrs instead, then we'd really be hearing about an erosion of liberties!

    Speed on the other hand is not, on it's own, irresponsible. I for one consider that the ability to accelerate rapidly passed traffic/vehicle (IN SOME CIRCUMSTANCES) is totally acceptable and one of the benifits of owning/riding a bike. The fact that we can do this allows a means by which we can remove ourselves from potentially life endangering situations and position ourselves away from other road users.
    Using the falsity that speed kills as an excuse to collect revenue is something that we as the electorate has allowed, but all whinge about.
    Speed DOES increase the risk of fatality in an accident but in the right environment, doesn't present the heightened danger as is being suggested by our policy makers.
    Repeated studies on the Euro autobahns have shown that there is NO INCREASED number of accidents on the autobahn (both limited: 110,120,130kph and unlimited speed sections) than on other motorways and yet we're told here in Aus. that it does.
    To me, the 3 most important things to safety would be driver/rider training, vehicle condition and road surface.

    Are we to believe that speeding (as a part of the hoon laws) is simply a means to deflect our attention away from the government not spending our tax dollars where it should go?

    I can sit on the Hume at 110kph and yet doing the same on the Princess Hwy will get me $135 fine. Same type of road, same surface conditions, same traffic flow, similar stretches of road undulation, but one is OK and one isn't. @ 110kph I'm 1/3 of the way to losing my bike!
    Drop at back a few gears and open up to pass that Patrol (the one that has never gone off-road) towing the caravan at 75 (isn't he being irresponsible too, by not pulling over to allow traffic to pass?) and I'm gone for all money!

    I agree with the hoon legislation in principle, but the speed element fo it, leaves a lot to be desired.
    As an aside, I was under the impression that under certain conditions, it was acceptable to go over the speed limit when overtaking. (only on single lane freeways/highways)....can'/t remember..

  10. According to the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research:

    What interests me is your perception that crime overall is on the increase. This study examined people's perception of the crime rate in recent years. Interestingly, older respondents were more likely to be of the view that the crime rate had increased considerably over the relevant period. This is despite the overall reduction in the actual overall crime rate over the period.

    I'll be the first to concede that the study only looked at the crime rate in recent years. It didn't compare perceptions of the current crime rate against the rate of crime in the Good Old Days. Nevertheless, two conclusions can reasonably be drawn, I think.

    First, people's perceptions can mislead them. They aren't always an accurate reflection of the true situation.

    Second (as a general proposition), older people are more likely to be of the view that the crime rate is worsening - despite the evidence to the contrary.

    I just thought that as one of the more 'senior' contributors to Netrider, this information may be of interest to you...

  11. I'd have to agree with Paul.
    The brickyard drag racing that was mentioned WAS NOT anything like what is going on these days, it was an occasional drag, between two cars, on empty industrial backstreets, with spotters posted at any intersection or similar problem. I know because I WAS THERE. I'll also say vehicles were not nearly as dangerously modified as today.
    Now, I've owned many, many non standard vehicles, but have not drawn attention to the fact. I've also enjoyed doing many burnouts, but in appropriate places, and apporpriate times. 3am in a resedential street is not appropriate.
    I've been pulled over a few of times and have never received a ticket. Why? Because I don't start foaming at the mouth and spouting attitude. I generally talk to the police, they see I am just an enthusiast and I am on my way with a warning.
    Personaly, I am all for stamping out anti social behaviour, the type that has become cool amongst younger people. I'll also mention house parties that don't stop at midnight anymore, and when a neighbour does something about it, it's "stepping on their civil liberties". :roll:
    The fact is, there are laws, and plenty of fun can be had at appropriate times. If you are stupid enough to do it where you'll get caught, then suffer.

    Regards, Andrew.
  12. So you'd be happy with your bike being impounded if either wheel lifts off the ground at any stage, Andrew?

    Because that's what the law allows (unless the loss of traction is involuntary).
  13. Well, I agree with the intent of the hoon laws, but certainly not the application, especially with respect to speed.

    I know for a fact that 30-40 years ago my father and his colleagues, all in the motorvehicle industry, were regularly doing 100mph (160Kph) in vehicles that were far less safe, on roads that were far less safe, and not one of them was killed or even had an accident. All of them were good responsible family men, and wouldn't do anything stupid. Unfortunately it is now considered stupid to do even 3Kph over the posted limited. Well, I guess it is, not because it is unsafe, but because we are over-policed and they would likely be booked.

    Remember back then most roads were still two lanes with no separation between them, even the Hume Highway in Victoria. Country roads were even worse.

    When the Hume freeway was made 100-110-100-110Kph (another story) my father got a cruise control for our car, as it was the only way he could avoid being booked for speeding when travelling on the highway. Old habits and all.

    So, I'm in Cathar's camp, and I agree that the law needs to take a new approach. At the same time, people who do burnouts on public (particularly residential) roads late at night have always, and should always, be punished for their stupidity and lack of consideration for others. Do it during the day somewhere known to be safe, and organise people to make sure it remains safe, by excluding traffic and so on. Otherwise, loose your vehicle, maybe permanently.

    BTW, good writeup Slowandsteady.
  14. As determined by the police officer, not by you. :roll:
  15. I take all your points, Clive, but you also conceded that I wasn't talking about recent trends, but balancing events of today with 35 - 40 years ago, and perhaps more. They were the generations after the War, and perhaps the world was reacting against the horror and violence of those events, but I don't think that you can sustain the argument (if indeed you were), that there's just more reporting of crime today, and not more crime. Even if there IS just more reporting, it is still going to draw the same response from Government; more and more stringent laws.

    On a broader front, the same sorts of people who are complaining today about loss of liberties have always complained about them, back to Roman times and perhaps earlier. There can't be ANY left if it really is happening :LOL: :p.

  16. Agree with you on all points Paul except your disbelief of reporting.
    Yes there is more reporting going on resulting on more accountability.
    As society becomes more and more technical and result oriented you will see even more accountability.
    We need another destructive war to loosen us up a bit like in post war australia etc.
  17. #17 HooNz, Mar 3, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 14, 2016
    Damn right they do , ever wonderd why a camera or gun is at the bottom of a hill or just around a corner , they parasite off human psyk ology using syk ology to do the deed , earn money "and" make it your fault at the same time....1 small example.

    The common mistakes are picked on , Like , is is not "nature" to cruise down a hill without wasting energy , by appling brakes all the way down keeps one in the speed limit but wastes , just so you do a extra 5 to 10 k's because of that common nature , IS against the law , they know that and they sit there at the bottom , Good little Parasites. :LOL:
  18. Mate, I reckon the stories getting around about merely lifting a wheel and a bike being impounded are bullshit frankly.
    Personally, I think there's a whole lot more to those stories than "I just picked the rear up for a nanosecond"...more like "I was riding like a tool for 10 mins and did not see the undercover police car following me".....
    Considering I don't find a need to be picking up either wheel in my daily riding, it doesn't worry me either.

    Regards, Andrew.
  19. I want a genuinely documented case of a person on a clean license popping a monentary mono and having his bike impounded, please. Otherwise, see Andrew's comments above, and Incitatus' comments in the Boris thread.......

  20. Funny that. either do I. So I guess that's a +1 from me

    And Like Hornet600, I don't actually know anyone who's had their bike grabbed either. I guess I must only ride with old farts and safety nuts.
    Most of the blokes I know in the Police Force are pretty reasonable blokes and although they might be inclined to pull a rider over for a "chat" about pulling a mono off the lights or sliding the clutch a bit, they're not going to go hard on someone unless they've been a tool.
    I could refer to another thread about someone who had their bike impounded for pulling a stoppie in town.
    everyone was talking about ways in which said person could argue themselves out of the crap but how about "stop acting like a f*ckwit"? But I guess doing that sh*t where no-one can see you and "be impressed" defeats the purpose right?