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VIC Why Vic doesn't deserve Phillip Island

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' started by b12mick, Oct 28, 2014.

  1. http://www.motorcyclealliance.com.au/why-victoria-doesnt-deserve-phillip-island/

    By Dave Cooke, Manager, Motorcycle Alliance.

    Many of us refer to Phillip island as “The Holy Isle”. Or even just “The Island”. It is a much revered place for motorcyclists, and is the only real race track that is more important to motorcyclists than it is to car racing fans. It is one of the great race tracks of the world, loved by local and international racing stars. It is ours, and over the years we have seen countless chapters of heroic stories played out before our eyes by amazing men on dazzling motorcycles. We forgive it its lack of decent dunnies, and the variable weather, and write it off as part of the pilgrimage that many take every year, sometimes multiple times a year.

    We gather with our friends in our thousands to ride from all parts of Australia for events like MotoGP, WSBK, The Island Classic and the Australian Superbike Championships.

    And for years we’ve put up with the voracious fervour that besets the Victorian Police when these events roll around. VicPol is famous around the country for its over the top policing regime, with unmarked fixed cameras on every second street and officers hiding in the bush, ready to spring out and destroy the licenses of people travelling 10kmh over the limit, or committing such heinous crimes against society as having a modified rear fender. But under the guidance of Commissioner Ken Lay, VicPol has now taken things to a new level. They have ditched their traditional blue uniforms for a much more threatening shade of “Paramilitary Black”, and then the HWP boys even get issued with camouflage, so they can secrete themselves in the bush like Rambo, awaiting a kill.

    My last trip to Phillip Island was for a World Superbike event, and as our group crossed the bridge from San Remo to The Island we were detained by the roadside (along with almost every other bike that crossed the bridge) for a good 15 minutes. Nobody had broken the law. Nobody was drinking, speeding, doing drugs, or stealing Zimmer Frames from old ladies. But you wouldn’t know it, the way we were spoken to by the Police. And they were Motorcycle Police too. You’d think there’d be some sort of empathy from them for their fellow motorcyclists, but no, we were treated like criminals. Defect notices were issued for things that were not even illegal, causing major headaches for riders, and some for things that may technically have been illegal modifications, but that were so insignificant that the NSW police had been ignoring them for years.

    What was the point? To send a message. “Don’t misbehave in Victoria”. But there’s another message that comes with it. “We don’t want your type here”.

    Guess which message sticks?

    From the feedback we’ve had following last weekend’s MotoGP, things were even worse. We knew the Police anti-motorcycle activities had been growing, but it has now reached new heights. The police harassment of motorcyclists has, over the years, expanded from The Island and the major roads to it, to all over Victoria, targeting the popular roads used by motorcyclists on their regular trips from interstate to The Island. We are being told of police pulling up motorcyclists at random, including whole groups of riders, to inspect bikes, take down the details of riders, even when no offences have been committed. Breath and/or drug tests are then given in order to justify the “random” stop. Some riders have been held on the roadside for half an hour, with no offences committed and no infringements issued. Is that how you treat a normal law-abiding citizen? How many car drivers was that done to last weekend? We’re guessing very few.

    Meanwhile, a succession of Victorian Premiers has happily turned up at motorcycle events at The Island, to bask in the glory of helping to bring another event to Victoria. Well guess what? Your luck will run out. The promoters have been lucky that MotoGP and WSBK have had competitive Australian riders to bolster attendance figures in the last two decades. But now that Casey & Troy have hung up the gloves, crowd numbers have taken a hit. MotoGP crowds have been down by over a third since Stoner pulled up stumps. So what are the Victorian government doing to help get numbers to the event? They’re fining and summarily detaining those who wish to travel to Victoria and spend thousands of dollars not just on accommodation and food and drink at The Island, but in the dozens of regional towns that are used as overnight stops on the way. These towns benefit massively from the injection of cash that comes from a few hundred riders stopped in each of their communities for a night or two before and after the event. Mansfield, Bright, Mt Beauty, Lakes Entrance, Orbost, Sale, Bairnsdale, and the bushfire ravaged towns such as Marysville, just to name a few, all benefit greatly from our regular pilgrimages to The Island and the money that riders spend on fuel, food, accommodation, etc.

    Why is it that the NSW Police can police big events such as the Bathurst Car Races, and keep everyone safe, without making themselves the most hated Police Force in the country, while VicPol see all of these events as an opportunity to demonstrate their discriminatory PR policies, and turn themselves into a Gestapo-like group of bullies, who spread themselves across the State with the simple aim of showing motorcyclists how much they detest us?

    We are in the middle or organising a special tour for our members to the next WSBK event at The Island in February, and are busily planning a route that will keep us (hopefully) away from the Vicpol Welcoming Committee Of Hatred. So we will see how things play out.

    If the Victorian Government doesn’t want the MotoGP, and the WSBK, then hand them to NSW, where the Police have learned how to effectively police a large public event without making a laughing stock of themselves. Yes, VicPol, you are a laughing stock. Your determination to marginalise good people who have only good intentions is vile. We have a world class facility at Sydney Motorsport Park, and while it isn’t quite “The Holy Isle”, at least NSW knows how to put on a show without treating law abiding citizens like criminals.

    This isn’t a campaign to get these events back to NSW. We just want the Victorian Police to act according to their code of conduct, and treat law abiding citizens with respect, not like criminals. That attitude starts with the Premier of the State. If the Premier does’t care that his Police Force treat people like criminals and ignore their own Code Of Conduct (google it), then there is no hope for the good people of Victoria. Because if you continue to make life difficult, uncomfortable, and downright confronting for those tourists who come to these events, eventually they will stop coming, and the events will cease to exist.

    Your call Victoria. Make it a smart one. And make it fast, before you ruin it for everyone.
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  2. Didn't want to start a new thread but here is Boris' experience this year on the way to The Island this year.

    Phillip Island GP? I'm done with you.
    I first went to Phillip Island when Mick Doohan won his fifth title. I held it to be one of the great places upon this earth.

    Over the years I have continued to journey south to the most beautiful racetrack in this country, twice a year. Once for the World Supers and again for the MotoGP, revelling in the roads on the way down, spending my money like a sailor and enjoying the company of my friends.

    That ends now.

    I am done with riding to the MotoGP.

    And so are my friends.

    We shall take our money and we shall spend it elsewhere. We shall still watch the MotoGP, and we shall still cheer on the fastest motorcycle riders on earth, but we shall no longer subject ourselves to the grotesque farce that plays out on the way to and upon the Island itself.

    Dave Cooke from the NSW Motorcycle Alliance recently penned a great article, which you can read here. It pretty well sums up how the childish antics of VicPol, urged on by its motorcycle-hating police commissioner, have contrived to destroy this event for me and for many others.

    As a result crowd numbers are in the toilet and sinking each year.

    And I can tell you first-hand that this is exactly the case.

    But VicPol is not alone in its efforts to empty your wallet. The good burghers of Cowes are also complicit in a price-gouging and profiteering racket, the likes of which has not been seen since we started drilling for oil in the Middle East.

    To add to the fact that a can of bourbon and coke was selling for $15 on the main street of Cowes on Friday and Saturday night, and a beer was $10, one must pause and consider what we are also being charged to attend the race.

    It costs $80 for a day ticket. This ticket entitles you to stand in the paddock in the sun (or the rain) and see a small section of track, and maybe a big screen.

    One would think that Lindsay Fox might have built a permanent covered grandstand by now. Maybe planted a few trees for the fans to shelter under, or invested in a few truckloads of gravel so that fans and local racers do not have to stand in ankle deep muck by the side of the track.

    The track itself is a world-class marvel and is rightly loved by all who race there.

    But everything around it is shit. Utter, rip-off shit. Our bikes are still parked in a boggy paddock. The security morons still can’t manage to open the gates for the fans despite the fact that the races have started, or can’t seem to work out that pit crews need to get to the starting grid to assist the local riders, and should therefore be granted crossing privileges ahead of people looking to find a parking spot in Parc Firme. The trackside food is dire. The toilets are a crime against humanity and the trackside expo is yawnworthy.

    And surrounding all of this is the nauseous miasma of police harassment, which has reached Biblical proportions and doesn’t look like relenting down any time soon.

    Fair enough. This is what has been justified in the “public interest” and until this public starts feeling our disdain and contempt manifest itself in its hip pocket, nothing will change.

    fcuk you until then.

    Are we having fun yet?

    And if you trained and uniformed apes wish to make my trip to the island and back a shit-fight flavoured with pointless “intelligence gathering”, dumb arrogance and retarded lectures about “road safety”, then that’s fine too. You may also go and fcuk yourselves.

    I am done. You are free to revel in your New World Fascism all you like, but you shall no longer revel in it at my expense.

    I would just like to advise you that you are a disgrace. A shameful, non-professional, non-accountable collection of revenue-raising lickspittles who are held in contempt by every rider you’ve ever harassed, and who continue to act entirely against the public’s true interest.

    And make no mistake, monkeys. We may ride bikes. But we are also the public.

    But like I said, I am done with you and your bullshit.

    I had already decided not to attend the MotoGP again (I think it was on Saturday night when the price of drinks in the main street was making my brain bleed with horror), and my friend Bly and I were making our way back to Sydney, having come out onto the Hume at Benalla. We were riding at the speed limit and just grinding out the miles, hoping to get home before dark, when 40km out of Albury a VicPol motorcycle pulled us over.

    And so it begins.

    Or more accurately, pulled Bly over. I pulled over as well, since one does not leave one’s mates in the clutches of the forces of darkness and evil.

    What followed, over the ensuing two-and-a-bit hours, beggared my belief, and would have passed as some kind of comedic masterwork written by Woody Allen or Mel Brooks, were it not so deadly serious.

    The police officer who dismounted was not a big man, which is immediately a bad sign. Physically small police officers tend to have large chips on their shoulders and large guns worn gunslinger style low on their thighs.

    Such was the case here. The bonsai-cop made every effort to look down his nose at us, which was hard from his altitude, but he made the effort.

    “May I ask why we have been pulled over, officer?” I said pleasantly.

    “Your mate was riding with his feet on the back pegs, which is illegal and I don’t like the angle of his numberplate. I also don’t think he can see much out of his mirrors.”

    Bly was non-plussed. His mirrors worked fine, his numberplate angle was not illegal by any stretch of the imagination, and sticking your feet on the back pegs is one of the ways we cope when we ride a Streetfighter at 110km/h on the freeway.

    He demanded our licences and proceeded to defect Bly’s bike.

    Not a lot of love for the numberplate here.

    He then informed us he would conduct a random roadside breath test and drug test.

    We both blew a negative alcohol reading, but after swabbing our tongues and leaving the samples on the side of the road for a few minutes (to bake scientifically in the sun presumably) informed Bly that his saliva was not kosher. He informed me that mine was kosher, but he was gonna swab me up again just to make sure. So he did. This time, my saliva was poorly flavoured.

    “What does this mean?” Bly asked.

    “I’m going to conduct a more extensive roadside drug-test,” the bonsai informed him. “Will you submit to it?”

    “What if we refuse?” I asked.

    “Then I shall seize your keys.”

    He then got on his radio and called for back-up which arrived in due course and in the form of two older and much larger police officers in a station wagon.

    They produced an aluminium suitcase. From this suitcase the bonsai produced two plastic swabby lollipop things which he required us to hold in our mouths with our heads down until he said not to do so any more. This took forty minutes. One of the older cops took pity upon me and gave me a fold-out chair to sit on while my saliva made its way into the lollipop.

    “Gravity pushes things down,” he informed me, after he removed the unco-operative swab from my mouth, peered at it and asked me to place it back in my mouth.

    No-one was wearing gloves and there looked to be very little scientific rigour involved in their saliva-gathering.

    It was very warm, and apart from the bonsai, who was busily filling out forms, everyone looked bored and yawned and sighed and wandered in circles trying to stay out of the sun.

    After forty minutes, the bonsai collected our samples and went off to play with them on the bonnet of his car. He then returned with forms and asked us a series of questions…

    “How many cannabises have you had today?”

    “Have you taken any drugs since you were pulled over?”

    Apart from the syringe full of smack I hammered into my bicep when you had your back turned, no.

    “Have you ingested any drugs in the last 24 hours?

    Yes, I took pills for my heart condition.

    “What are they and what dosages do they come in?”

    You need to speak to my doctor about that.

    He walked off, conferred briefly with the two larger cops, then called us over to the car.

    “My tests have detected the presence of cannabis in your system.”

    I looked at him.

    “Is there any reason why there would be cannabis in your system?”

    “None at all.”

    “Were you around people that were having a puff?” one of the older cops asked politely. He had a twinkle in his eye.

    “Without a doubt,” I stated.

    “Then you certainly breathed it in.”

    “So what happens now?” I asked.

    The mobile drug-testing lab arrives.

    I assumed that since there was allegedly cannabis in both mine and Bly’s systems according to plastic stick we had both been sucking for forty minutes, the next step was obvious. We were to be locked in handcuffs and all of our belongings would be kicked up and down the freeway verge until the marijuana that was not in our system was discovered. Then back to the cop station for charging, etc.

    The older cop, yawned and scratched his belly.

    “Nothing much,” he sighed.

    The bonsai strutted forward.

    “I require you to remain here for four hours,” he stated.

    Bly and I blinked at him.

    “Where?” I asked.

    “Here,” he indicated with his arms.

    “By the side of the road here?”

    “Yes,” he affirmed.

    “You gonna stay with us?”

    I swear one of the big old cops stifled a grin.

    “No, he said. “I have lots of paperwork to do thanks to you two.”

    I thought this was a great pity, but I didn’t tell him so. He may well have shot me for my insolence.

    “So do you have any water?” I asked. “It’s very hot and we may struggle to survive out here for the next four hours without any water.”

    “You could catch a cab into town,” he leered.

    I nodded. That was certainly an option. Not a great one given how many cabs had not whizzed past us 40km outta Albury.

    The he got on his bike and rode away, while the two big policemen packed up their suitcase.

    “What’s going to happen if we ride off now?” I asked one of them.

    “Well,” he said in a fatherly manner, “if you ride off while we’re here, we have to book you. If you wait until we’re gone, we probably won’t see you. And if you wait a bit longer, the motorcycle officer would have turned off so he won’t see you either because he really does have a lot of paperwork to do.”

    “Are we being charged with anything?”

    “No,” the policeman shook his head. “We’re just collecting saliva samples and sending them off to the lab.”

    “And what happens when the lab send the results back?”

    The policeman shrugged. “That will depend upon the officer who took the samples.”

    “How?” I said. “How is the lab able to establish a degree of impairment to by riding abilities? What is the number? With DUI it’s point-o-eight. Is there a marijuana number? How many cannabises am I allowed to have in my system”

    “We’re just here to collect saliva samples,” the policeman said flatly.

    Then they left too.

    Bly and I waited ten minutes, drank the water we had with us, then rode off after them.

    Ten kilometres further on, their station wagon was parked on the road shoulder. They gave us a wave and a smile as we rolled past.

    We have been held, but not under arrest, on the side of the road for more than two hours while this farce played itself out.

    We were not charged with any offence, but we both had a small vial of our spit sticky-taped to a sheet of paper stating who had taken the sample and when. The sample that was taken from us was not refrigerated, nor was it dealt with in a sterile, scientific manner. For all I know, the positive result came from the police officer’s own hands when he was handling it.

    Were we intimidated? No, not really. We’re too old and scarred for this kinda stuff to be intimidating to us.

    Were we harassed? Certainly.

    Was our way impeded? Absolutely.

    Were we breaking some law? Well, Bly was riding with his feet on the back pegs and had a numberplate that was perched at an angle the policeman didn’t like – so I guess we have to cop it sweet in that regard.

    Was any of this inane bullshit justified in any way?

    I’m sure you can make your own minds up about that.

    I’ve certainly made my mind about riding to the MotoGP and the Superbikes again.
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  3. Great articles, sadly this is exactly what VicPol want I think.
  4. Yes great article, but there are a lot of holes in it. But yes, I know what he's trying to say. I didn't go this year but I have heard no feedback like in previous years so I hoped it was better for us riders.
  5. The criticisms are nothing new eg. GP Fun police targeting Riders

    In 2012 (IIRC) we also discussed Vicpol targetting interstate drivers from South Australia for not displaying registration labels.

  6. It does suggest that it's getting worse though. Inch by inch closer to North Korea.
    Forget about complaining to politicians. They have no power here.
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  7. Your right, the criticisms are nothing new.

    But this time Win News has a hold of it - ok only local Gippsland. But thanks to Dave Cooke and the NSW Motorcycle Alliance it is being discussed outside motorcycle forums.
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  8. OK...so we do a "crowd funding" deal........ rent half a dozen big powerful ocean going tugs, get them tied onto Phillip Island some dark and moonless night, and tow the bloody island up north and anchor it just off Broken Bay.

    Problem solved!
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  9. Maybe we can get PI declared as its own country. We could all have official residence there and be officially declared as diplomats, giving diplomatic immunity while travelling through Vic.

    Might be slightly easier than moving the actual Island.
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  10. Its ours, PI's right where it belongs thanks.
  11. You are probably right, mike.

    To be honest, the times I've been down to the Island, I've had no issues with the cops at all, but it would be good if someone could do something about the weather down there.
  12. I was down there for the Island Classic in January: never saw a Policeman there, or all the way there and back.....

    Boris' problem is unique to himself, however. I'm sure that Victoria Police know the number plates of all his vehicles, and those of his friends too, probably, so whenever they want a bit of fun......
    It gives him something to write about, doesn't it?
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  13. No it's not Hornet. Try again.

    I have many friends who are not associated with Boris who have expressed similar concerns over the way the event is policed.

    A couple of them committed sacrilege and drove a car to the Island. They couldn't believe how unimpeded their progress was by VicPol. No random breath or drug tests, no licence checks, no rego checks, no roadworthy checks.
  14. I have an acquaintance in VP (HWP no less) who rides and even he thinks the head office attitude to riders in Vic is crazy. They really and truly think we are all drug dealers (or soon will be, if not stopped).
    Siege mentality.
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  15. #16 b12mick, Oct 30, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 30, 2014
    I lived in Victoria from 1970 until 1992. I still visit every so often to see family.

    In the 80's and 90's the police seemed to have a sense of humour if you like. They were prepared to let minor traffic offences like low level speeding (under 10 over) go without even pulling the driver over - unless there was another reason of course.

    Even my ex brother-in-law, the **** he was, who was in TOG (Traffic Operations Group) as was called then, said that for under 10 over he wouldn't bother. At the time he said their favourite tactic on the Princes Hwy between Geelong and Melbourne was to sit an empty marked car in the centre nature strip, but still visible. Their anecdotal evidence suggested that for 20km either side of the empty marked car no one would speed. They considered that "job done".

    He himself would park on the side of a road leaning on the boot of the car drinking coffee for half an hour - his opinion was that his mere presence was having the desired effect.

    Fast Forward to now and we have power hungry little Hitlers who are nothing more than tax collectors with guns.
  16. I'm not disagreeing with the general concerns about policing, but the policing of motorcyclists going to motorcycle race meetings is hardly new; in the 80s Police used to cordon off Bathurst at Easter and search every person and every bike entering the district.
    My comment about Boris stands alone.......
  17. law enforcement by accountants, You have to provide the paperwork to back up your claim that youre an effective copper or youre shafted. No more prevention is better than cure, its all about trap the buggers and get more points.
  18. So refer to me response to Justus.

    How does you comment about Boris stand alone?
  19. Because Boris is not a normal motorcyclist. He is a high-profile activist/loudmouth whose writing and conduct attracts attention, and, as I said, is undoubtedly known to the Police in terms of his vehicle registrations and associations. As such he draws attention to himself, both favourable from those who like him, and unfavourable from those who he disdains and publicly says so.....