March 5, 2010

Ever thought there might be more than one kind of person who rides a motorcycle? No flies on you then. Definitive new research carried out for the DfT by the top-secret Transport Research Laboratory has discovered that there are in fact no fewer than seven different kinds.

Are you a biker? Then see below to find out which kind you are! If not, keep reading anyway for the sheer joy of ploughing through a lot of neologistical jargon-mongery.

Performance disciples (PDs)
Worshiping at the altar of speed, these loons ride flat out all year round, taking no prisoners along the way.

Performance hobbyists (PHs)
For these summer-only hedonists, TRL claim, “riding is all about individual experiences and sensations.”

Riding disciples (RDs)
Sworn devotees of the bike messiah, these guys live to ride, bond strongly with other bikers, and, allegedly, with their bikes.

Riding hobbyists (RHs)
Mild mannered “weekend warriors,” usually bearded and bulbous in their leathers, typically into the social aspect.

Car rejecters (CRs)
Don’t like bikes much, but like traffic jams still less – can sometimes turn out to be ladies when they remove their helmets.

Car aspirants (CAs)
Would rather have a proper motor, but can’t afford one yet.

Look-at-me enthusiasts (LAMEs)
These young, or mentally retarded, bikers are enthusiastic about being looked at, obviously, making up in recklessness what they lack in having the faintest clue what they are doing.

RDs and RHs are the least likely to have accidents. PDs crash often – but then they ride a lot further. CAs and LAMEs are most likely to be involved in accidents – basically because they don’t know what they are doing. CRs and PHs are also a bit suspect on the riding skills, but since they ride less far, they crash less often.

Each type has its own distinctive attitude to risk. PDs adopt what TRL call “precautionary fatalism,” fending off death with a combination of skill and “armour.” PHs like the idea of danger, but ride cautiously in practice. RDs are like PDs, only cautiouser.

RHs “tend to avoid potentially risky situations altogether,” usually by leaving their bikes at home, presumably. CRs are hating every minute of this, and are acutely aware of risk. CAs tend not to take the whole thing too seriously, because they’ll be buying a car soon. LAMEs deliberately court danger, accepting that biking is risky, but thinking they’re somehow immune.

Disturbingly, TRL reckon that one in four UK bikers is a LAME. Twice as likely to have an accident as RDs, LAMEs will come a cropper once every 29,000 miles. According to a TRL spokesperson, LAMEs “are the group least likely to hesitate about riding in jeans and a T-shirt.”

Typically males under 25, LAMEs “cite acceleration, power and sound as the most important factors when choosing a bike,” and choose protective gear based on looks above performance.

This country needs more young men with that kind of spirit!


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