Prejudice against motorcyclists

Do you ever find some people automatically assume you’re a Hell’s Angel member because you ride a motorbike? I’ve often found myself in conversation almost being shouldered with the blame for other motorcyclist’s antics on the road. Some of my friends are very anti-motorcyclist, oddly enough all them are self described “petrol heads”, they usually go on about how dangerous bikes are - despite some of them do some very dangerous driving and also some previous under the influence driving (many years ago). However, they’re quite opinionated on the dangers of motorcycling. I’ve sometimes felt they’ve been rather lecturing towards me when they talk about how the saw one crazy rider on the M1 doing 130+ - as if almost I’m in the same chapter.

It’s almost if people don’t merit any individual riders, but they see everyone who rides a motorcycle as to blame for any sporadic hooligan riding encountered.

Of course I’ve seen idiots riding about before, I’ve been a little foolish myself (speed wise, never done anything stupid like terrorizing the population of Walton-on-Thames) but I’ve seen a damn sight more crazy drivers than motorcyclists in my time. Had much more run in with car drivers (even as passenger in friend’s + family’s cars) than any other cars, why? Because pretty 90% of all vehicles are cars on the road. But I’d never think to say “ALL CAR OWNERS ARE WANKERS!” Why? Because my dad drives a car, my mother does, my friends all do, 80% of people where I worked did… the list goes on. I know that not all car drivers are wankers because there’s loads of them. The only reason why motorcyclists are demonised by - quite a few - is because they’re a minority.

Now you may very well think that, hold on, I know loads of bikers and they are the stereotypes, they’re crazy, reckless and have little or no regard for the public’s safety. But statistics speak for themselves, whilst you are much more likely to incur injury or death through a motorcycle crash they are rarely involved in fatal crashes that cause massive devastation (there are the odd few), cars still kill the most people, whether it’s on the road or on the pavement - pretty much because there’s just more cars on the road than anything else. It isn’t about just killing people though, cars also have the most drunks on the road, driving under influence of drugs, dangerous driving and other violations of the road traffic act (again mainly because there’s just much more of them on the road).

The main point is, people tend to generalize, if we were all pedestrians we’d probably assume anyone driving a car was rolling the dice with their lives or had a complete disregard for the safety of others. One of the core problems is that it’s not just a simple “I don’t like motorbikes” issue, but that it’s one of real prejudice, you can even feel it sometimes out on the road, people get het up and annoyed for simple legal things like filtering to the front of the lights. I’ve even had someone tick me off before for parking in a car-park bay at PC world when there was no parking provided at all (bit weird).

Of course, unlike most forms of prejudice, when you’re not on the bike, wearing a helmet or talking about bikes, the prejudice ends. It is easy to see how people generally - almost naturally - form prejudice thoughts against anyone in a minority and prefer to act upon statistically unlikely information based on limited anecdotal experiences rather than an objective evidence-based view. It speaks volumes about humanity in a way, it seems that it’s been a constant issue for any minority throughout time. It’s like if you’re in a minority any kind of bad behaviour is immediately noticed and generalised. It might be a common natural human experience, but it doesn’t make it right of course. Of course I’m being realistic, this form of prejudice isn’t going to cost you your job, have you run out of society or marginalized but some people might think less of you.

(Also I am aware that I am criticizing an anecdotal view on motorcyclists whilst only really supporting with anecdotal views myself, but the frequency of occurrence is fairly huge and you only have to check the youtube comments on motorcycling videos to see 30-40% of comments say “**** off and break your neck”, the same certainly isn’t said for car owners)

One comical point, is that some people have quizzed me on the accuracy of Sons of Anarchy for just riding a motorbike :smiley: , I have to remind them we don’t all sniff crank off a switchblade whilst riding away from “the man!”

I think we’re what sociologists call an out-group, people seem to attribute every bit of bad riding they see to all of us.

Happens on the pushbike a lot. I gave a friendly ‘Oi’ to someone who was rolling back towards me the other day - he turned around and gave me a load of verbal about how I don’t stop at red lights. That was while I was stopped at a red light, if I’d jumped the light I wouldn’t have been behind him!

Motorist sees a car overtake at silly speed = That driver is a knob
Motorist sees a motorbike overtake at silly speed = bloody bikers are all knobs, always speeding

Last week I told someone at work that I rode a motorbike and he actually visibly winced at the danger of it. When I told him that i also cycle to work he nearly fainted :stuck_out_tongue:

Society has lost the ability to think and evaluate for itself. People prefer to recite what they have been told, without really taking time to understand important issues. Unfortunately, this symptom now manifests itself daily in one form of ignorant prejudism or another.

if I had a pound for every time when I said I ride a bike to hear "my … died/got seriously injured on a motorcycle "

I had two good friends who died in car accidents I never feel the need to tell people that when they say they have a car!

I find everyone is allowed an opinion just that there’s is wrong

the minority always frightens the majority

Personally I wouldn’t worry about a few peoples opinions especially on Youtube!

It’s a similar reason to why people often attribute all crime to: immigrants, people on benefits, people from other races etc etc… As monkimark says we’re an out group so one person does something, people perceive everyone who is like that (and note: therefore not them) are the same…

In all honesty everytime I come across attitudes like that I just cut the conversation short and usually call the person a close minded idiot… :smiley:

Agreed! As if we, who do ride, don’t know the risks!

I blame Clarkson to be honest.

Jeremy or Kelly?

I find it best to engage them with a blank stare somewhere about 10 ft behind them as they talk … then when they finish inform them of how much importance I put on their opinion but unfortunatley I ran out of fucks to give somewhere back in the 90s ,but if I ever get any I will ensure they are the last person to get one .


Yeah, I see it a lot aimed at people on the dole. There’s never been such a diverse amount of people who’ve been washed up as jobless but there’s never been so many stories in the papers about how all of them are lazy school leavers living in palaces who want nothing more than to idle the hours away in front of violent games whilst completely off their faces on super-drugs.

What about all the redundancies? The fact there’s barely any jobs? There’s no encouragement for skills retraining? People leave university without skills?

I’m getting away from the point, but it seems all to convenient for people just to tar a minority of people with just extreme examples. It’s certainly a deficit in how some people think.

Yeah but you have people who read The Express, The Mail and The Sun… there’s bound to be a deficit in intellect somewhere.

Let them think that, hopefully people will be more inclined to stay the **** out our way :smiley:

don’t read newspapers… suddenly the world will seem really tolerant and full of real people instead of made up stuff and stereotypes…

Just revel in the fact that you’re now in one of the few groups left that hasn’t been completely watered down for the masses…When we were growing up Metal was a minority group and you used to get chavs shouting “Iron Maiden” and other crap insults at you because they didn’t have the intellect to come up with something original…now everyone loves a bit of Metallica etc it’s all gone mainstream…

Biking is like marmite you either love it or hate it and it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, bike is an international language, those that don’t understand are great they keep our tribe from going mainstream…and those that do, well, they’re friends, enjoy

Very philosophical there stretch! :stuck_out_tongue:

I love the fact that people who don’t ride feel the need to tell you about bike accidents they see! Also love it when someone finds out I’m a biker and thet say something along the lines of “I’d love ot ride a bike but i’d probably end up killing myself” WTF!! haha

Poeple haved asked me if I’m one of those annoying bikers that weaves through the traffic…err yes, thats called filtering and if done safely its perfectly legal!

Bikers have been the rebels since way back and I think we will always be classed as such.

I see it quite often on here from a few when my occupation is mentioned.
Prejudice and ignorance isnt a pleasant thing whatever it is aimed at.

Dick Emery has a lot to answer for…

Never been asked if I was an HA meself - but that might be because of my age…

Years ago shopkeepers would throw change at me in my leathers but called me ‘sir’ if I had a suit on…

…I think things have got a lot better since then, Little England has forgotten Rockers smashing up Margate but you are still treated with some suspicion …