The chair I sit in at work everyday is an interesting one.
It provides me a vantage point on what's going on in the world of motorcycles that few have.

I get to see it all from road racing, motocross and drag racing news to the politics of being a cruiser/touring rider.

Off road riders are constantly fighting to keep places to ride, street bikes are always subject to extra police services scrutiny and if you ride with a club anything that happens with 1% clubs has the potential to disrupt your riding life....

Like most people who ride a motorcycle I just want to ride.

I really don't care about what the supposed good guys and bad guys get up to....but and there is always a but....if you do keep an eye on what's going on, if you keep yourself educated and informed you can prevent yourself a world of frustration.

In the US right now the Mongols MC - a 1% MC, is under siege in a way that has a potential to affect the rights of others....what do I mean?

Well....a judge in the US has decided to grant Federal Prosecutors the rights to the "gang's" name and all associated imagery.

Intellectual Property is now under attack.

And I quote:
“U.S. District Court Judge Florence-Marie Cooper on Wednesday granted an injunction that prohibits gang members, their family members and associates from wearing, licensing, selling or distributing the logo, which typically depicts the profile of a Mongolian warrior wearing sunglasses. ……That way, federal authorities say, they could outlaw the gang in part by preventing them from using the name and imagery, and by seizing property and assets that carry it, including clubhouses, motorcycles and even gang members' clothing. This would allow any police officer "who sees a Mongol wearing this patch ... to stop that gang member and literally take the jacket right off his back," U.S. Attorney Thomas O'Brien told Reuters."

I guess that means that if these guys wear their logo as a tattoo that the authorities can either peel the hide off of them or confiscate the person wearing the tattoo....

Now you ask; how does this order affect the ordinary rider….

And I further quote:
"The judge initially issued an injunction Tuesday, but that order was limited to barring the sale or distribution of the logo. New language was added, saying the gang members and their affiliates "shall surrender for seizure all products, clothing, vehicles, motorcycles ... or other materials bearing the Mongols trademark, upon presentation of a copy of this order."

You can be sure that Canadian authorities are going to watch closely what happens with this newest twist in the "fight against crime" south of the border and will be looking for ways that they can implement the same strategy here.

When that strategy is implemented here in Canada - not if it is implemented but WHEN - if you have certain paraphernalia/intellectual property on you or your machine, on your tool box or the wall of your home or garage - the government may actually lay claim to it...because they would own the trademarks and the intellectual properties.

Think of the sweeping ramifications - books, pictures, posters, stickers, tee shirts, jewellery, tattoos and art work- all of these items are covered under intellectual property.

Here's a scene that has played out in my head, you tell me if you can see it happening:

You have a "Support XYZ MC" Sticker on your bike- you bought it because you either thought it was cool or you support freedom of expression. You have been at an event where a 1% MC has attended. (Remember - These gents are always followed to events by their ever faithful watchdogs, undercover officers - who photograph and catalogue everything including license plates.)

You are stopped by an officer who doesn't particularly care for you, he sees the sticker, he confiscates your bike and a case is built against you that you are a "Known Associate/Affiliate" because you, your bike and plate were photographed at an event with 1% ers costs you a filthy fortune to prove your bike is yours courtesy of hard work - Extreme? Perhaps - but is it possible? YUP as long as police officers are human - it’s possible...

Everything 1% clubs do affects the rest of us who wear black leather BECAUSE of the Police Services and governments of all levels - in my humble opinion, who don't exercise much in the way of common sense at times and their knee jerk reactions to situations often gives us laws that frankly are ridiculous and some are down right scary.

If you look at Myrtle Beach SC and the fact that they as a municipality have decided to super cede State law by introducing their own helmet law....

Look at my own bike show in Olds AB - the police services used the 1% clubs potential for attendance at the event to create fear in the municipal government and to extract $10K out of me for enhanced policing and they put so many restrictions on the event that I almost ended up in jail and lost $100K.

To educate yourself as to the latest in the saga I recommend you read:

If you are lucky enough to still be riding - please ride like they are out to get you....

Belt Drive Betty

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  1. Good post...but... is there some paranoia here....?
    I've been ridin since I was 14, on the family road, then as soon as I turned 16, I got my driver's license and started driving cars and riding bikes all over the place.
    I'm now 56 and I must say, I was never harrassed or stopped by cops cause I was riding a bike..and some of them were pretty loud b/cause of modified mufflers.
    Did something change in their attitude or am I just an old blind riders.

  2. No - no paranoia - My own personal experience in dealing with police services and the tactics used by some of the people who are supposed to "Serve & Protect" when it came to me hosting a bike show are what cause me to feel the way I do.

    They were appalling - it was nothing short of fear mongering and bullying to extort $10k dollars for enhanced policing for an event with an excellent track record and it's own paid security team and it is a tactic they use over and over again.

    The minute you try to apply for a license to hold a motorcycle event of any size - the first question they ask is "What about the Illegal Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs"

    I have personally experienced the same bullying tactics twice in two different locales.

    Have you been riding blind?
    No - You have been fortunate because not every officer out there has that attitude.

    Have things changed? Yes and no. The fight between good and bad will always exist.

    But the tactics with which the fight is being fought - those have changed and not necessarily for the better - you see sometimes its hard to tell the good guys and the bad guys apart.

    Extortion for enhanced policing and extortion for protection on the streets - it's one in the same thing when bullying and fear mongering are the tactics used -

    I feel that somehow its worse and even more wrong when it comes from those whose job it is to Serve and Protect.

    Is the scene I painted in the article all that unrealistic - in my personal experience - no.