Are motorcyclists psycopaths? - TonyP
Okay a generalisation I know but it got your attention!

When I turned 16 there were 3 youths of similar age in my neighbourhood that decided motorbikes were the way to go as opposed to a car. Within 6 months one was dead and the other two had more than one extensive stay in hospital. They all had one thing in common - they all thought they were invincible jack the lads.

Many years later I still see acts of reckless motorcycling that amazes me. For example the persistent weaving in and out of traffic at speeds well in excess of the limits without considering the consequences that another driver may not see them and pull out/overtake at the wrong moment. Another favourite is when the traffic on the opposite side is at a standstill so they decide they'll use the spare lane instead ie the lane I'm driving in in the opposite direction. Result is that I have to pull over as far left as I can go to avoid hitting them. My toots of disapproval are met with two fingers yet they're in the wrong!

The racing away from the lights, including wheelies, like they're in some kind of drag race makes me hope, and I am not ashamed to admit this, that they crash before they kill some other innocent driver or pedestrian. What makes them behave like this? Surely they must realise they're more vulnerable on a bike than in a car and in which case make them ride at sensible speeds and adhering to all rules of the highway? Obviously not in most cases. Only this morning a colleague was delayed getting to work as he had to witness the fire brigade scooping up a motorcyclist of the road!!

I know people will argue that you see just as many bad car drivers and I agree but proportionally you see more motorcyclists breaking the rules than you do car drivers.
Are motorcyclists psycopaths? - martint123
I know people will argue that you see just as many bad car drivers and I agree but proportionally you see more motorcyclists breaking the rules than you do car drivers.


Thats because you're sat in a queue and only see the car in front and behind whereas the bikers 'make progress' so you see preportinally more. (makes up for getting wet when it rains)

Martin
Are motorcyclists psycopaths? - Thommo
Being a biker you would expect me to leap to their defence but really this is a non-issue for me.

Yes there are mad bikers but unfortunately they soon become organ donors, you never get old mad bikers.

And yes I will say it car drivers are MUCH worse because:

1. There are more of them and so there are more chances of them being nutters.

2. They can (or believe) that they can do stupid things and not get hurt/die.

3. It is possible to drive a car with brain in neutral and a lot of the bad car driving you see is down to simple lack of attention, it is not possible to drive a bike thus as you will almost immediatly fall off/hit something. To take the example you quote weaving in and out of traffic may be stupid but it takes concentration and timing or you will hit the first car hard.

Are motorcyclists psycopaths? - TonyP
Wrong. The time I leave in the morning and come home I very rarely have to sit in traffic. I would say that out off all car drivers I would see in a day either in front, behind or oncoming, a minute proportion of those would be, in my opinion, driving recklessly. Whereas I would consider 80% of all motorcyclists I see are riding recklessly and 10% of those just have a death wish.
Are motorcyclists psycopaths? - jeds
When other road users complain about bikers blinding them with full beam the bikers will usually say something like; 'well I'm afraid it's tough, my safety is more important than irritating a few car drivers'. That always makes me smile.
Are motorcyclists psycopaths? - Cliff Pope
I'm not getting involved in arguing about the generalisation, just making the observation that in my experience 90% of bikers ride about ten feet behind me, regardless of speed, while they are waiting to overtake.
Does the 2-second safe distance rule not apply to bikes?
Are motorcyclists psycopaths? - BrianW
No: the two second rule applies equally to motorcycles.
However, it may be that their width means that the two seconds ends in front of the car they are following because they can see that far ahead into clear space which will take a bike but not a car.
When on a bike, because the view to the rear is more restricted that in a car, I find it safer to be travelling SLIGHTLY faster(and it do mean only a little bit faster) than the surrounding traffic because then one can concentrate on what is happening in front and spend less time looking (fairy inefficiently) behind.

I agree with the comments about poor observation. I have come off a bike more than once and seen others brought off, and almost always due to a car driver failing to use their eyes. This has included three occasions when I had been stationary.
I do 400 miles a week on a bike in all weathers and have been motorcycling for 30+ years, so have seen a few things in my time.

And yes, there are nutters on bikes, not everybody is perfect.
Are motorcyclists psycopaths? - TonyP
I think people are misunderstanding my post. The point that I'm trying to make is that if I were riding a bike I would make sure that I would ride in a safer manner than I do in a car. For self preservation I wouldn't take risks in weaving in and out of traffic or on the opposite side of the road to get in front of a few more cars. Why is it that I could be doing 60mph on a 50mph road in free flowing traffic(ok breaking the speed limit I know but going with the flow in a safe manner IMO) but literally every motorbike I see is not content at that speed and feel the need to exceed it by at least another 10 or 20mph weaving between lorries and cars!!! Absolute madness to me.
Are motorcyclists psycopaths? - SpamCan61 {P}
I know this is an old, old topic but the proportion of motorcylists I see with no sense of self preservation on the M3 / M27 every day must be roughly 30 - 40 % in summer; much lower in winter : the seasonal 'nutter count' is very noticable. I just can't understand what makes them think that when there are 3 lanes of solid motorway traffic doing around 60 mph it is OK to weave in and out of the lanes, constantly occupying someone else's braking space, at 70 - 80 mph.
I see this happen literally every day.
Are motorcyclists psycopaths? - Vagelis
I think it's simple really. Motorcyclists:

1. Sit higher, see more of the road ahead, and above cars.
2. Are much more "flexible" / can maneuver much more tightly.
3. Have a power-to-weight ration that car drivers can only dream of - can accelerate 'by thought'.
4. Same as (3) but for braking.

All these make them think they're invulnerable. They get away with it, but those who insist don't last, I'm afraid...

Of course, there are also the motorcyclists that play it safe, and those are the ones who last.

Vagelis.
Are motorcyclists psycopaths? - Mudguts
When I was a motorcyclist (16 years ago) I was intent on travelling as fast as possible on the open road but within the speed limits in town.

I rode my motorcycle to my limits and then (as time went on) that of the bike itself at up to 135 MPH.

It took me approximately 3,000 miles on this machine to discover exactly where those limits were: I could have either wheel a fraction from locking in the wet or dry on a corner or in a straight line. I could slide the front or rear wheel whilst in complete control.

I lived to within a millimetre of my death most of the time I was on it but never really crossed 'the line'...

Sure I had a couple of accidents and eventually wrote the thing off to my immense relief.

When you are tidying your room before you go out for a ride so that it won't give a bad impression to those who will empty it after your death it's time to give up.

I learnt enormously about road surfaces, etc... lived to talk about it with my kids and wouldn't change a thing but there is no way I would get on one now.

Are motorcyclists psycopaths? - Garethj
In answer to your headline, I don't think motorcyclists are psychopaths. Some may have a child-like lack of fear but the reason why this kind of driving is seen more by bikes than cars is because motorcyclists do have a lot more choices than car drivers when driving and often they use those choices (not necessarily wisely):

1. Can a car zip past for overtaking quickly? No, it takes a few seconds of 'exposure' to the other lane even in a performance car. Because a bike is much quicker, shorter and more agile you can overtake in a second or less.

2. Can a car drive between lanes on a motorway? No, too wide. A bike can zip through, weaving in the manner that we've all seen!

3. Can a car accelerate away quickly? For £30,000 you can buy a car which does 0-100 in about 15 seconds. For £4000 you can buy a bike which does 0-100 in under 9 seconds.

Bikers take more chances because they can. Some might be insanely dangerous but they have the choice, car drivers don't so they can't.

As has been mentioned, things like this aren't sensible if you want to live for a long time and if something does go wrong it will hurt. Does that make it wrong to ride a motorcycle? Is it wrong to do skydiving / hang gliding / motor racing?

Gareth
Are motorcyclists psycopaths? - TonyP
Is it wrong to do skydiving / hang gliding / motor racing?

No - but these activities are not on public roads and therefore pose no threat of serious injury to anyone else!
Are motorcyclists psycopaths? - Garethj
Yes they do, haven't you seen the signs which say "Motorsport is dangerous"? Cars / karts or whatever spinning out, debris flying, fire....

If there were as many hang gliders as there are drivers they'd be crashing on to patios the length of Britain.

Aside from my flippant comment, does the thing about motorcyclists *having* the choice to drive badly compared to car drivers ring true?

Gareth
Are motorcyclists psycopaths? - tat
I'm not just saying this to be controversial, but there seems top be a misconception here that driving/riding fast and weaving is "reckless" or "dangerous". I drive/ride fast on both my Bike and in the car but am in total control at all times. I often think when passing people in cars that they are thinking "What a nutter" but the fact is it they only think that because they CANNOT DO IT THEMSELVES !!
Are motorcyclists psycopaths? - Garethj
Also it's a well known fact that everyone who goes slower than you do is an idiot, while everyone who goes faster is stupid.

As you were

Gareth
Are motorcyclists psycopaths? - tat
I take my hat off to anyone who can go faster than me.

ONLY JOKING.
Are motorcyclists psycopaths? - Andrew-T
No, tat, you are only in total control of the parts between your knees. You can't control anything other road users do, so I hope you leave a good safety margin for that.
Are motorcyclists psycopaths? - nick
No contol over that patch of diesel on the bend, or the wet leaves you failed to notice. Or the dog or child that runs out, or the pheasant flying across the road. Riding a bike is inherently more dangerous than driving a car because things that may not even be noticed or only cause minor damage to a car can easily result in the death of the rider and it doesn't make much difference how good or bad the rider is. Is it this feeling of exposure to the world that makes riding a bike so thrilling?
Are motorcyclists psycopaths? - Bromptonaut
No contol over that patch of diesel on the bend, or
the wet leaves you failed to notice. Or the dog or
child that runs out, or the pheasant flying across the road.


Or the fact that I have not seen you in my offside (or worse on m/ways nearside) blind spot.
Are motorcyclists psycopaths? - Sooty Tailpipes
I have seen many accidents over the years.
Some have involved motorcylists.
In fact, most of the injuted/dead I have seen on the road were on two wheels.
Most of these motorcyclists were killed by people in cars not looking in their mirrors, moving sideways into a passing motorcylist, or pulling out in front of them or doing a u-turn in front of them.

I think, by and large, motorcylists cause the least aggro, move over in good time and they overtake/undertake with a friendly acknowledgment and off they go.

Most stupidity I see on two wheels, are spotty 16 year olds riding along with no silencers on little yellow and blue scooters, @£$%ing about.
Are motorcyclists psycopaths? - tat
Granted I have no control over what a car may do, but I think motorcyclists have a much hightened awareness of their surroundings. I remember when I was learning to drive a car my instructor said that people who had ridden bikes prior to cars had much better awareness of other road users etc.. This is born out of neccessity of course.
Are motorcyclists psycopaths? - THe Growler
Live to ride, ride to live. If you have to ask you don't understand, and other slogans off my many HD t-shirts.
Are motorcyclists psycopaths? - Vagelis
"Granted I have no control over what a car may do [...]"

The sad truth (IMVHO) is that we have no control, both drivers and riders. Just think, there are a zillion of things that can go wrong: your motor, the road, other road users, the weather, people not thinking, children running after a ball, a cat crossing the street, ...

One could go on and on. Just because all these things happen to each individual driver rarely, doesn't mean we control things. It's just statistics.

Vagelis.
Are motorcyclists psycopaths? - v8man
Hear hear. Motorcyclists, unlike car drivers also know that if it is cold or wet that there is an incey wincey chance that the road may be slippery. The average car driver makes no allowance for this in their nice heated cabin and carry on driving up the pink fluffy dice of the vehicle in front regardless. This is highlighted every winter when it starts raining with multiple pile ups on the motorways.I\'m a motorcyclist and car driver and resent the generalisation that we are all nutters. As usual it is the minority of prats that get us all tarred with the same brush. As a generalisation, bikers are more alert (because it\'s cold mostly) and observant than car drivers. A couple of insuarance firms - Norwich Union I think - used to acknowledge this and offer better premiums on car policies for experienced motorcyclists.
Are motorcyclists psycopaths? - Martin Devon
Never mind the Pheasant. What about the Deer!

Now that really hurts. GOODNIGHT USUALLY!

Regards.
Are motorcyclists psycopaths? - Flat in Fifth
Just an observation.

Interesting that most if not all of the pro biker comments seem to be along the line of, we ride like this because we can.

As for the comment about "motor sport is dangerous." With respect that is so spectators know exactly the situation they are getting into and are therefore willing parties to the arrangement.

I don't think that pedestrians on a village street are willing parties to the hazards generated by wheely/stoppy pulling bikers, accident looking to happen pizza delivery bods in bike or car, "Essex tartan" baseball cap wearing Corsa drivers, or middle aged moron fixing a deal on the mobile.

Or have I got the wrong end of the stick?
Are motorcyclists psycopaths? - Garethj
Whatever the comments, motorcyclists are covered by the same set of rules as car drivers (except for filtering in traffic) so someone who breaks the law should be prepared for the consequences. I don't believe anyone thinks they're exempt or above this so what's the problem?

Developing the point, what does anyone think is a solution? If we need one?

Reasonable comments from Flat in Fifth, but if there are any people who think they are safe from dangers when they're on the street are mad. Just because you cross on a pelican crossing doesn't mean you're protected by a halo of safety as you cross. Weren't we taught as children that it's dangerous? I am obviously at risk daily because I take the train, the tube and I'm a pedestrian in London - surely I'd be safer taking up aligator wrestling?
Are motorcyclists psycopaths? - GrumpyOldGit
To actually answer TonyP's question.

"Psychopath:
A person with an antisocial personality disorder, manifested in aggressive, perverted, criminal, or amoral behavior without empathy or remorse."

As a biker I can say categorically that a) No, not all of them as I am not, and b) TonyP's spell checker isn't working.
Are motorcyclists psycopaths? - cockle {P}
'"Essex tartan" baseball cap wearing Corsa drivers'

FiF, excuse me being dense, but I'm afraid as an Essex lad born and bred I've never heard the phrase 'Essex tartan'. Could you enlighten me as it sounds like a phrase I could enjoy using, with your written permission of course!

Cockle
Are motorcyclists psycopaths? - Flat in Fifth
'"Essex tartan" baseball cap wearing Corsa drivers'
FiF, excuse me being dense,


Never never would accuse you of being dense Cockle!

Essex Tartan = Burberry. ;-)

Use it away. Franchise docs in the post.

Are motorcyclists psycopaths? - NowWheels
Okay a generalisation I know but it got your attention!
When I turned 16 there were 3 youths of similar age
in my neighbourhood that decided motorbikes were the way to go
as opposed to a car. Within 6 months one was dead
and the other two had more than one extensive stay in
hospital. They all had one thing in common - they all
thought they were invincible jack the lads.


My nurse friends tell me that many nurses and doctors have a simple term they use to describe motorcyclists: organ donors.

Bikes are inherently less stable than cars, and offer less protection to the rider than any car does its driver, and they go much faster than pedal cycles. Add in wet or icy roads, poor visibility, and the increasing congestion on our roads, and you see why motorbikes are are so important in maintaining the supply of healthy organs from young people who have died suddenly. (Mind you, I suspect that cars are probably the next biggest source of organ dfonations)

Every generation of young men seems to include a number who live dangerously -- it often seems to me to be an almost inevitable part of growing-up for young men, which is why the armed forces have always had so many volunteers.

I suspect that even if the statistics were printed on the handlebars of every motorbike, plenty of young men would still be keen to take the risks.

Claire

Are motorcyclists psycopaths? - martint123
I suspect that even if the statistics were printed on the handlebars of every motorbike, plenty of young men would still be keen to take the risks.


Don't forget us old geezers as well.
Are motorcyclists psycopaths? - THe Growler
It is the nature of man to take risks, and thus has humankind been able to advance.

The PC nannies would reverse all this and that is why they are a deadly enemy and one which the soft flabby limp-wristed panty-waists we have elected to govern us have not the balls to face.

For me, I hang out at the next bend with the back end of that old Hog twitching and I know the postage stamp footprint of that skinny front tyre is near the limit but I wind it on just the same and Mr Dunlop does his job. The day he doesn't I'll take the fall but I won't owe anyone anything, I never put anyone but me in harm's way, I follow the traffic rules and I'll be damned if I'll let anyone tell me from the cocoon of their cage what I can and can't do on my bike.

I'm coming up to 64 and one of my goals is to match Primo, my club chairman, who is 81 and still getting it on on 2 wheels.


Are motorcyclists psycopaths? - spikeyhead {p}
Well said Growler regarding your view of te nanny state.
I've given up with bikes, had a few too many broken bones from them.
I was a little surprised at being overtaken by a biker last weekend. It was at a motorway intersection, one of those long sweeping bends with an advisory 40mph limit. I won't say here what speed the Imprezza was doing, but it was significantly above this. The bike that went past me was truly on the limit of adhesion. Was he putting himself at risk? yes, but only himself. Was I in a car capable of going past him after he'd overtaken me? Yes, but I had a passenger so kept it a little more sensible.
If someone wants to ride a bike hard on the open road with good visibility then fine, there are far worse crimes to humanity. Let people live as they wish to.
Government only exists to protect people from others, but not from their own failings. I wish they would bear this in mind more often.

--
I read often, only post occasionally
Are motorcyclists psycopaths? - NowWheels
If someone wants to ride a bike hard on the open
road with good visibility then fine, there are far worse
crimes to humanity. Let people live as they wish to.
Government only exists to protect people from others, but not
from their own failings. I wish they would bear this in mind
more often.


Spikey (and Growler), I agree with you both about the importance of maintaining people's freedom to do really risky things, even if others regard them as downright stupid -- as long as they don't harm anyone else.

But TonyP's post which started this thread was about motorcylists who clearly were endangering others. As he put it, "The racing away from the lights, including wheelies, like they're in some kind of drag race makes me hope, and I am not ashamed to admit this, that they crash before they kill some other innocent driver or pedestrian."

Unfortunately, if they do crash in a built-up area, chances are there will be other traffic which has to take action to avoid them, with the risk of a further crash -- even if they don't hit directly anyone else.

Whatever about Growler's new abode, I'm not sure where these fabled empty open roads are in the UK. It's one thing to find a road with no other cars on it, but there are other road users who may not be so visible. There's plenty of times when I'm out walking in the countryside and find that the car and bike drivers travelling so fast that it is near imposible to cross the road without putting myself in real danger -- never mind the noise pollution.

If people really want to go crazily fast, at the limits of adhesion, the place to do it is on a special track -- not on a road used by other people.

I'm sure you two do obey the trafic laws and the speeding laws, and don't need to worry about speed cameras because you always drive within the speed limits anyway ... but the clowns who come whooshing up the hill where I live, doing 45mph and more in a 30mph zone all swear they are in full control of their vehicles.

Not endangering others involves a lot more than not running into them!

Claire
Are motorcyclists psycopaths? - hillman
I agree with a previous comment that applicants for a driving licence should firstly have a motorcycle licence. It is my personal experience that a few doses of gravel rash gives one a different outlook and makes one much more aware of other road users.
 

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