The fatal allure of an audience


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!


With the motorized bicycle industry teetering on the very brink of oblivion, grey men in the capital – with hammers in hands and coffin nails clenched between teeth – are set to sound the sector’s death knell.

Bike sales are 27% down year on year, as the credit crunch bites and the weak pound pushes up prices. And now the Government wants to increase vehicle excise duty on two-wheelers by 4-6%!

But moral support for the sector has arrived from an unexpected source. The Black Mafia Family is a multi-million dollar drug trafficking organization out of Detroit with major hubs in Atlanta and LA and direct links to Mexican drug cartels.

The BMF has now come out in support of Britain’s beleaguered bike industry. “This is all wrong,” a BMF spokesman said. Bikers need to show the strength of their feelings, he continued, urging bike people to go straight to the top and tell Prime Minister Gordy Brown just what they think.

“The motorcycle industry is struggling to stay solvent,” the spokesman said, “and motorcyclists are being treated unfairly.” The Government should freeze VED and look at other ways of stimulating demand for bikes. Seen!

Any Bankstone News readers who’d like to add their voices to those of our cousins from across the pond can sign up to the BMF’s petition by clicking here.


More from those freewheelin’ funsters at the Motor Cycle Industry Association, who, in their latest press release, bent over backwards to hollow themselves out into a veritable mine of information on matters bikes and biking:

“Why do bikers bike?” the Associates asked themselves rhetorically. This calls for a survey, somebody inevitably decided. And, lo, there was a survey. So what is it people like about riding a Motor Cycle?

Is it because they want to go fast?

Not really (4%).

Because they are looking for thrills?

Not so much (4%).

Er, for the adventure?

Not really (4%).

I know: it’s because they want to save money and/or can’t afford a proper vehicle with the standard number of wheels!

You are still pitifully wide of the mark (9%).

Look, this is all getting pretty tedious.

This is Bankstone News, remember!

Could you maybe just tell me?

Well, since you ask, the top three things bikers like about biking are, number one: Freedom (26%), number two: practicality (23%), number three: it’s a friendly form of transport (18%). Others like it because it is fun (11%).

Thank you for those startling revelations. Got anything else?

Well, the same You Gov survey from which the above gems were excavated reveals that one third of 24-34 year olds are jealous of motorcycles passing freely though stationary traffic, as are one fifth of all Southerners (stop whingeing and buy a bike, we say without even being sponsored by the MCIA or Devitt). Car drivers and bus passenger are the most jealous of motorcycles passing freely though.

Enough with the jealousy already!

OK, how about this nugget: One-third of commuters are ‘sometimes’ late for work because of traffic and congestion, whereas 67% of bikers are “never” late for work!

Correct me if I am wrong, but 100 minus 67 leaves 33, making bikers precisely average in their late-for-work propensity.

You may have a point. But I bet they could get there on time if they wanted! Oh, hang on, here’s some solid gold statistics to get your teeth into:

FACT: The active UK rider population is 1.5 million and an estimated 3.8 million people in the UK have a driving licence with a moped/motorcycle entitlement.

FACT: 14% of the people who took their test in 2007/08 were women: 12,061 of them in all, compared with 75,884 men.

FACT: 17% more people passed their test in 2007/08 than in 2006/07 and
20% more people passed their test in 2008/09 than in 2007/08.

FACT: Motorcycle commuters can cut their journeys by 12% compared with car drivers – up to 34% in London (Source: Regional Transport Statistics 2008).

FACT: A typical scooter consumes between 55% and 81% less fuel than a car on the same journey.

FAT: The motorcycle industry in the UK employs more than 15,000 people and turns over in excess of £3 billion a year.

So we should all get out there on 15th July for the MCIA-sponsored National Ride to Work Day.

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