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An Independent Member's Motorcycling

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Written by  | Published in: Personal stories

Australia & N.W. USA/Canada BC

LUKE BRYANT – continues, it as self evident:


“There is a lot more to a person’s sexuality, other than being gay.”

After years of being cocooned in cars and constantly observing motorcyclists from time to time in danger from car drivers, I’d became seriously concerned about their apparent indifference toward two wheels – and the lack of Government action. I decided to become a “Motorcyclist” (Not Bikie) to have the pleasure of fresh air my my face and the freedom to explore the countryside - and perhaps help change car driver and Government attitudes in ways yet not understood.

 

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In 1977, several academic staff at University (my employer) thought that at age 47, I was having some sort of mid-life crisis ( Perhaps it was) when I first arrived for work - in full leathers and knee high boots, riding a motorcycle! (All riding gear designed for body protection, not fancy dress!)


In the same year, the first official meeting of the Motorcycle Riders’ Association (MRA Victoria, Inc.) was held. Their aims were to prompt Government that road safety also meant protecting motorcyclists, establishing improved laws that related to riders, and for MRA to help produce a improved image of motorcyclists. Clearly, this was for me and as my second bike was a Honda CB400F. it provided justifiable membership of the Association. My fourth and last bike was a shaft-driven GS1000G Suzuki.


motorcycle2Within a couple of years, the MRA Melbourne Branch had established itself in a 3-story building with workshop facilities and recovery vehicle on-site. Branches were established in other States as membership in Victoria reached 4000 and similar numbers in other States, all Branches committed to improving safety, reporting poor road design, loose gravel, spilt oil etc. that remained major dangers. Further, the total lack of sensible City parking facilities for motorcycles, continued to be a major concern needing urgent attention and eventually, the State Government agreed by donating $9,000 toward our efforts re road safety, by user education, Christmas toy runs, blood donation challengers and more. Our efforts were supported by the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, Victoria Police and the Media.


By 1978, I’d investigated many road safety problems via the Road Traffic Authority and had discussion with medical experts, so the MRA elected me to their Committee as Road Safety Education Counselor. In that office I presented a few lectures entitled, “ROAD AWARENESS, TWO WHEELS & YOU!” to Schools, the Insurance Group, Juvenile prison inmates and other organizations. In the same year, MRA Victoria, decided to form the Motorcycle Riders Association of Australia and (MRAA) I was asked to act as Chairman of what was a two day National Conference consisting of Club Presidents from all Australian States and it was held in our city location. In 1983, the President of MRA (Vic) appointed me as Chairman of the Victorian Branch, but soon after, a gay member, resentful of my appointment, disclosed my sexuality to several members. It was a time when homosexuality was rejected and sometimes violently by some macho guys that ride motorcycles. All this was shortly before the introduction of Victoria’s Sex Discrimination Act 1984, but sadly, a Legal document not understood until much later, so with little recourse I resigned. Following 20 years employment in the University, I retired in 1982; this permitted extended time for motorcycling through parts of Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales.


pic3In late 1983 I began corresponding with a Foundation Member of Border Riders Motorcycle Club, a gay group based in NW USA/Canada BC. By coincidence my friend was about to leave for Australia as an International Exchange Teacher, he was to be stationed for one year about 50 miles South East of my residence and on most weekends, he was a guest in my home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Later, during a visit to Australia of other members of BRMC, I was granted BRMC Honorary Membership in 1985, for assisting their member while in Aussie. (Years earlier he lost a leg in a motorcycle accident.) In 1991, the Canadian members celebrated their 20th “Victoria Day” bike run and I traveled through Stephens Pass in the Cascade Mountains to Grouse Creek, Washington State, USA for a most enjoyable long weekend with American and Canadian gay motorcyclists touring the local areas, or just relaxing around the camp fire. To my surprise, in November 2009, two decades after my resignation from the MRA, presumably because being gay was now legally accepted, their Membership Secretary, Anton Lange, (Not gay) presented me with a "Letter of Appreciation" from the Motorcycle Riders Association of Victoria, Inc. The photo is from their “Newsletter” An extract reads, "For the outstanding effort and work done for the benefit of the motorcycle riding community, etc." So community attitudes toward gay persons have changed - and my police insignia still displays, “Uphold the Right” It’s clear, justice is seen to be done. Sadly, in a branch of my environment, there still remain distrusters that have an aversion to law enforcement.

 

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Last modified on Friday, 01 November 2013 14:13
Luke Bryant

Retired, following 20 years at Monash University, Dept. of Physics as Head of Photographic Laboratory from 1962 to the end of 1982 – to become openly involved with Gay/Lesbian issues in Law Enforcement, particularly those of Gay/Lesbian Victoria Police Officers.

I'm also a member of the Victoria Police Blue Ribbon Foundation,  formed  to perpetuate the memory of members of the Victoria Police killed in the line of duty. This is achieved through fund raising with money going to specialized medical facilities in Victorian public hospitals. 

To date, the Blue Ribbon Foundation has allocated more than $3 million to community projects that give specialized treatment and medical care to over 65,000 patients each year.

* See: Articles in Prime Timers, "ACCEPTANCE - NOT TOLERANCE AND HATE-CRIMES"  Pages 10 & 11, February 2012 and "TIMES PAST" Pages 10 & 11,  August 2012. 

Much of my history and photos can be found throughout my website on Yahoo “flickr”.  See below.

Website: www.flickr.com/photos/rlukebryant/

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