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Are riders still public enemy number one?

Public enemy number one motorcycles sturgis bandana

Despite motorcycle rider numbers growing faster than any other road segment, we still seem to be public enemy number one in the eyes of the police, politicians and many members of the public.

It probably goes back to the days of Hollister, The Wild One and Easy Rider. They were rebels and freedom lovers, and god knows the public hates people who don’t conform.

But there’s a lot of things riders do today that may still make us outlaws in the public’s eyes.

That might be fine by many riders, but don’t whinge when the road and safety planners ignore you, or when the politicians slug you with extra fees and/or fewer services, or when the police harass and target you.

Why riders may still be public enemy number 1:

  1. Pack riding: Some riders love riding in groups, but be aware that you could be creating a danger to other traffic. If you ride too slow you are worse than caravans and trucks to pass. If you are riding too fast, you may be intimidating to other traffic.Public enemy number one motorcycles sturgis bandana
  2. Intimidating rider gear: A leather race suit with a tinted visor makes you safe, but to the public you look like Judge Dredd, Robocop or Darth Vader. You might be on your way to a toy run, but to the public you could be any sort of villain or terrorist under that outfit. Try giving a wave! Or how about dressing up to look like outlaws? Are you really an outlaw? It’s a free country and you can wear what you like, but don’t complain if you are run off the road because you looked intimidating to a young family in their SUV.Public enemy number one motorcycles sturgis bandana
  3. Skull face masks: This could have been included in the previous point, but we think it requires a whole separate section. Are you going to a Halloween party, or just trying to scare little kiddies?
  4. Hooning: We’re talking about excessive speeding, wheelies, stoppies, burnouts, etc. Join a stunt club or go to a track day to get your knee down. Don’t do it around the town roundabout! It looks dangerous and, if you come unstuck, don’t expect help from the public – expect laughter. You guys also make us public enemy number one on the insurance risk hit list! That’s why our premiums are so high.

5. Rude overtaking. By all means use your superior acceleration to overtake slow-moving vehicles, but don’t tailgate for several kilometres, whizz past just inches from their wing mirror, then cut in right on their front bumper. Perhaps give them a short flash of the lights or a quick horn beep to tell them you want to pass and when you do, give them room and perhaps a thank-you wave once past.

6. Loud pipes scare people: You might believe loud pipes save lives and we won’t go into why that’s a proven furphy. However, we will say that loud pipes do annoy the public. I love the sound of a nice exhaust as it goes past for a few seconds. It’s far less offensive than incessant leaf blowers! However, loud pipes in traffic can cause a sudden fright to drivers who may flinch and jerk the wheel. They won’t hear you coming until it’s too late, anyway.Aftermarket exhaust peeves enemy

7. Speeding through towns: Have some respect for local communities. Don’t speed through their towns. You wouldn’t want people speeding up your street where your children play.

8. Over-revving your bike: It’s fun in a tunnel or in a mountain cutting, but it’s plain anti-social in built-up areas or in rural areas where there is livestock. We’ve seen horses startled into running into barbed-wire fences by riders revving their bikes. If you see people riding horses on the side of the road, pull in your clutch and roll past quietly.

9. Long warm-ups: It’s highly rude to warm up your bike for several minutes on a Sunday morning when everyone else is sleeping in or at a cafe where the fumes get in everyone’s lattes and carrot cake. It’s also pointless if you have an EFI engine. They are made to start and go with little warming up.

10. Lane filtering: Motorists simply see it as jumping the queue. We don’t suggest you stop filtering, but we do suggest exercising some caution and courtesy. There is no chance to explain it’s actually good for all motorists, but at least give people a nod or wave as you ride past. When the lights turn green, make sure you get away quickly. Don’t stall or hold up the traffic on your 50cc scooter!

Let’s all make an effort to be a little less anti-social this Christmas. Consider other road users and passersby. Wave, especially at kids.

And if you’re not wearing a silly soul face mask or a Judge Dredd full-face helmet with a tinted visor, smile!

But it’s probably too much to expect to ever be taken off the public enemy number one position.

  1. I think that the MAMILs on their bicycles have taken over as the motorist’s public enemy #1. But in any case, I have been riding the roads for forty years and the same attitude to motorcycles exists now as back in 1977 when I got my first road bike. And because of that, my attitude now is one of completely not caring what others think. Throughout that time the onus always seems to have been placed on us to make concessions, and it hasn’t really made any difference IMO. TBH, most people are pretty good, except in Sydney. Sydney can be a war zone. A polite short flash or horn beep will often see the other person get out of their vehicle and want to fight you; the same with lane filtering, which even though legal here seems to upset many cagers to the point of apoplexy – deliberately obstructing you or screaming abuse. I don’t dress like a stormtrooper, I don’t wear a skull mask, and I don’t hoon around, but it hasn’t seemed to have made any difference to their attitude, so what the hell. Sorry, but it seems to me that they are the ones that need to be making the concessions, not us.

  2. “You guys also make us public enemy number one on the insurance risk hit list! That’s why our premiums are so high.”

    After reading you article titled – “Wide entry, late apex safest on-road” it is obvious that the incompetent riders are the ones who put up insurance premiums. Don’t blame the highly skilled riders who may pull of some manoeuvres that seem daring if, like me, they are doing it without crashing. I have been riding for over 40 years and have never made an insurance claim, and my premiums are surprisingly low.

  3. Re number 2: kind of dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t regarding dark visors. It’s not like they are going to get a good look at you if you have a full face helmet or open face with a handkerchief over you nose and mouth now is it. Ok I get the outlaw thing but was surprised that race leathers would be a thing (possibly indicates a going fast). So what is the non confrontational motorcycle ‘uniform’ then?

    1. The only peron who thinks race leathers are ‘intimidating’ is the author. I’d caution against taking what he says as gospel – most of this article is based surely on his own conservative views, not some absolute truth.

  4. Good article.

    I am reminded of that old saying.

    “When we do right, nobody remembers. When we do wrong nobody forgets”

    1. Spot on Ric.

      And secretly deep down in side, how many of them, are wishing it was them, see it every sunny day on my daily commute.
      More and more, more than in years gone by, while gassing up, do Mr and Mrs Joe Citizen, say hello openly admire my stead, wish me a safe journey.
      As for the f*#*wit fraternity, that will never change. Its just part of life.

  5. so you reckon we should all be concerned over what car drivers think of us, so they don’t get intimidated? Are you joking? for 40 plus years car drivers have been trying to run me off the road, pull out in front of me, threaten me, try to get me with their door, you name it ive copped, and you think I should be all meek and mild about it and be careful not to offend them? It would seem to me that Hinchcliffe is the enemy, The Govt attack us, the car drivers attack us, the Police attack us and now the , and I use the term loosely in regard to Hinchcliffe, “motorcycle media” attack us. Give me a break.

  6. Struggling for content with this “article”, or is it satire that I’ve missed, or are you some type of refined gentleman time traveller from the Victorian Era?

  7. Totally disagree with everything.l have been riding for 33yrs..all that time l have ridden dirt bikes road bikes and Harleys.l have ridden defensively that whole time to avoid being hit because of the normal excuse, of l didn’t see because of this we wear leathers and full face helmets, fit louder pipes, lane split so we don’t get hit from behind at lights or traffic
    Jams..wake up to your self author as to what we as a motorbike rider have to live with and deal with every day.

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