Riders fined at Poker Run

Last updated 13:00 10/03/2014
Hayden Squance
FAIRFAX NZ
MASS TURNOUT: Hells Angels and other riders at the Vanguard and Gloucester streets at a recent gathering in Nelson.

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Police who shadowed a Poker Run in Nelson say they were disappointed at the behaviour of motorcycle gang members and their associates.

Around 95 motorcyclists, including gang members, took part in the group ride in the Nelson Bays area over the weekend.

Police issued more than 50 infringement notices to members of the group, the majority for speed, careless driving or riding on the wrong class of licence.

One rider travelling to the event was caught travelling at 104kmh in a 50kmh zone. He received a roadside suspension and will face court action, a police spokesperson said.

A further three riders received roadside suspensions for riding on the wrong class of licence. They were required to arrange for someone else to ride or uplift their bike.

Three vehicles were also impounded over the weekend.

Police kept a close watch on the visiting gang members and their associates for the duration of their visit to ensure they complied with the law.

Police last year hailed the Red Devils Poker Run as a triumph because of the strong police presence. The motorcycle club said then that the police kept a low profile and left them alone for the day.

During the Poker Run, participants collect a playing card at each stop. Prizes are awarded for the best poker hand at the end of the day. The runs are held internationally with motorcycle gangs claiming they are fundraising events.

First-aid provider MediMax had been chosen as the charity in Nelson because of the organisation's involvement with helping those suffering motorcycling injuries.

The emergency service's managing director Maxwell Clark has always said that accepting the donation was no different from accepting money from pub charities.

He felt Saturday's event went well, with no apparent problems among the riders, and there were no accidents.

"They go on an unknown, pre-determined route that goes from one place to another. They play a

game of cards and some of the prize money goes towards the donation," Mr Clark said.

He said riders taking part also made a donation to the cause.

He declined to say how much MediMax had received in donations and did not know the combined total of the worth of equipment bought without tallying it up.

So far he had purchased a variety of emergency medical equipment from the donations, including a traction splint and a pulse oximeter, which is used to measure a patient's oxygen saturation levels.

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The Poker Run is associated with the Red Devils whose members started it in 2002, seven years before the club was formed in 2009.

St John Ambulance refused further donations from the ride a few years ago.

Numbers taking part in the Poker Run have dwindled over the years. At its height there were up to 300.

- Nelson

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