Biker gangs terrorise streets at night – how many times have you read such a headline? Many a time actually. The word 'biker' has in itself been misused by those who don't quite understand the whole scenario. No, all motorcyclists are not a member of a 'biker gang'. No, they're not all rednecks. There are several stereotypes revolving around the reputation of motorcyclists that I'd like to throw some light on today and help people understand better that just because we prefer two wheels over doesn't mean we have a death wish. So, here are some of the common stereotypes affecting 'bikers' or motorcyclists, however you'd like to say it, all over the world:
Let's start with our home country. Biker gangs in India are referred to groups of rowdy men who have no respect for law and like to go stunting around the India Gate circle. And because of these, the rest of us are also called 'bikers', like it's a bad word. I actually remember a girl in my school once say, “Oh my gawd! I hate these bikers. Such show-offs.” Truth is, most of us respect traffic laws.
Leather to look cool
No, we don't wear leathers to look cool! Protective gear is essential on a motorcycle. After all, they only have two wheels, so falling and breaking your bones coming in direct contact with the road is always impending. Hence, we prefer to wear riding gear, even on our office commutes. If you think that looks cool? Thank you.
Coming to helmets. Motorcyclists are more vulnerable to cracking their skulls than people in cars, and we realise that. We don't want any of our rides to be the last ride, so it's only common sense. Why I brought this up is an incident involving our ed.
He was a Ducati Supersport and was clad in riding gear. He got in a conversation with a man in a car about the bike, which is fine, but then the man's wife asked our editor is he was a novice rider! He was obviously surprised and found out that the lady thought the reason he was wearing so much protection was that he was afraid of being on a bike because he was new! MASSIVE FACEPALM!
Some of us may like to do a wheelie or a stoppie or if someone's even more into it, then hands off handlebar, backside off seat and one wheel off the ground is also possible. But, no not all motorcyclists are hooligans who don't ride like a regular Earthling. For most of us, two wheels are the minimum we need.
Vlogs in our names
You may have seen action cameras on our heads or our motorcycles, but that doesn't mean that we go home and get to editing the clips into a video we upload on our YouTube channels. Those clips are just for memories of a touring adventure, maybe or just like that. Some do run vlogs though. But some, not all.
Bikers hate cars
If you ask me personally, I'm not as fond of cars as much as I am of motorcycles but I don't hate them. It is true, cars take more space, but it isn't the cars we blame but the absent-minded drivers on our office runs who tend to swerve from lane to lane. But most of us grew up with, say, Lamborghini posters on our walls and Hot Wheels cars. (Image: Eurotuner)
We all have a road rage problem
There have been several videos that surfaced online showing a motorcyclist letting his rage get the best of him. Some things on the road do tend to trigger the rage, but that's mostly because we're more vulnerable on the road and know the consequences of that vulnerability. You bump a car, there may be a dent in the bumper, but you bump a motorcycle, the rider may break his hand or leg or head even. Even then, most of us don't want to kick the car, smash the windscreen, pull out the driver and beat the shiznit out of him. We just want to get out of a hairy situation without hurting ourselves or our motorcycles.
We all have a death wish
Motorcycles do have a level of danger attached to them. And the fact that we are riding one means that we are aware of the danger and are embracing it. It doesn't mean that we don't care or else we wouldn't be clad in safety gear. I know an uncountable number of people who don't ride because they think it is dangerous. True, it is, way more than a car. Someone who doesn't ride can say that motorcyclists don't have much regard for life or safety, but in truth, we ride to feel more alive. If this sounds confusing to you, it's alright.
Oh! and another stereotype in India: Women can't be motorcyclists. It is time you grow over it!