The Queensland government’s anti-bikie laws are scaring people away from participating in RSPCA Qld’s charity motorcycle ride.

‘Ruff Riders’, organised by RSPCA Qld to collect funds for veterinary services, is a motorcycle charity ride that raises hundreds of much-needed dollars for the Queensland charity.

The ride, led by racing legend Craig Lowndes, is scheduled to leave Wacol on Saturday 3 May and head down to Lismore but is struggling for numbers despite being hugely successful last year.

“People are ringing us up and emailing saying they’re reluctant to join the ride because they’re frightened of being targeted and arrested,” said RSPCA Qld CEO Mark Townend. “We realise the legislation was introduced with the best of intentions but unfortunately, in our case, it’s proving to have an unfortunate side effect.”

Townend, who is a proud Harley owner, says the Premier himself needs to make a public statement to assuage people’s fears.

“We’ve done all the right things and informed the police and registered the ride but people are still nervous,” says Townend. “We’re calling on the Premier to announce that this RSPCA charity ride will not be affected by the anti-bikie legislation. People need to hear it from him. Our assurances are not working.

“It’s not that people don’t want to join. They’re just nervous.”

The charitable drive will fund the increasing costs of advanced veterinary operations so needs to be very successful, says Townend.

“Over the past two years we’ve made a commitment to go the extra yard with the more complex veterinary operations,” he says. “Orthopedic and eye operations are now the norm rather than the exception. In the end it’s all about giving animals a second chance.”