Research Paper on
Motorcyclists and Aggressiveness

By Shojiro Niwa

shojironiwa@excite.co.uk

Abstract

This paper presents a survey of 52 motorcyclists, who were asked complete the flow questionnaire, the Driving Behaviour Questionnaire (DBQ) (Lawton et al, 1997), and the Aggression Questionnaire (Buss and Perry, 1992). The results show that motorcycling can be seen as a ‘flow’ experience, which might be inspired by speeding. Factor analysis revealed three factors; speeding and dangerous driving, interpersonally aggressive violations and highway code violations. There are numerous relationship between a driving behaviour of motorcyclists, the number of active accident and their personality characteristic, aggression. Younger riders were more aggressive than older riders, which contributes to more dangerous driving relative to aggressive violations on the road.

Introduction

As a mode of transportation, motorcycles offer many environmental and space utilisation advantages relative to automobiles. Although people ride motorcycles for practical reasons (e.g., commuting journeys in busy cities, fuel efficiency), a large number of people ride on motorcycles for enjoyment (Rothe and Cooper, 1987). This study focuses on the latter group. We investigate the subjective experiences of these motorcyclists, their behaviour on the road, and their personality characteristic, especially aggression.

There are various activities, which can be perceived as enjoyable. Csikszentmihalyi (1975) has described the common structure and characteristics of autotelic activities (activities done for enjoyment) by means of intensive interviews and questionnaires. Their analysis of diverse autotelic activities (e.g., chess, rock climbing, surgery, dancing) indicates that those who engage in these activity often experience a peculiar dynamic state, which is called ‘flow’ and is defined as "the holistic sensation that people feel when they act with total involvement" (Csikszentmihalyi, p36, 1975).

Csikszentmihalyi and Csikszentmihalyi (1988) see the main dimensions of flow as:

1. intense involvement

2. clarity of goals and feedback

3. deep concentration

4. lack of self-consciousness

5. loss of a sense of time

6. intrinsically rewarding experience

7. transcendence of self

8. a balance between skill and challenge

According to Csikszentmihalyi, the balance between skill and challenge is seen as a prerequisite for flow and is re-emphasized in Csikszentmihalyi (1991, p71) which summarizes the elements of enjoyable flow, or the common characteristics of optimal experience as :

"a sense of that one’s skills are adequate to cope with the challenges at hand in a goal directed, rule bound action system that provides clear clues as to how one is performing. Concentration is so intense that there is no attention left over to think about anything irrelevant or to worry about problems. Self-consciousness disappears, and the sense of time becomes distorted. An activity that produces such experiences is so gratifying that people are willing to do it for its own sake, with little concern for what they will get out of it, even when it is difficult or dangerous."

Reviewing the results of the studies of rock climbing, dance, chess and other autotelic activities, Csikszentmihalyi (1975, p30) notes that "the underlying similarity that cuts across these autotelic activity regardless of their formal differences, is that they all gave participants a sense of discovery, exploration, problem solution, in other words, a feeling of novelty and challenge". Some activities (chess, surgery, dancing) are not dangerous, however, other activities such as sky diving, rock climbing, scuba diving are dangerous, and, in extreme cases, are life threatening.

One aspect of motorcycling seems to be autotelic activity, which can be found in a ‘flow’ experience, for those who ride motor-bikes as a sport or hobby. However, there is a strong stereotypical view of motorcycling that seems it as one of the high risk activities (Pedersen, 1997). There are a significant number of accident and safety reports about motorcyclists (Preusser et al, 1995: Clarke and Langley, 1995). Preuser et al (1995) have stated that the death rate/registered motorcycle in the US (59/100,000) is approximately three times higher than the death rate/registered passenger car in the US (17/100,000), however, they (Preuser et al, 1995) have pointed out that per mile travelled, the death rate for motorcycles is estimated to be 22 times higher than the comparable death rate for passenger cars. In their study, the most common cause of fatal accidents among motorcyclists is running off road while speeding (41%).

In UK, report of personal injury accidents (Derbyshire Constabulary, 2000) from Butxton town centre along A53, A54 and A537 to the county border of Cheshire, where many motorcyclists enjoy their riding, has indicated that there were 12 accidents involving motorcyclists between 1/1/95 and 31/12/99. All of these accidents occurred during fine weather conditions. Seven of the accidents were actively caused by motorcyclists. Such causes were mostly over taking slower vehicles and over speeding into bends, and five of the accidents were serious. On the other hand, there were 31 accidents that occurred involving passenger cars, light trucks and heavy vehicles between 11/1/95 and 31/12/99. One accident was fatal and seven accidents were serious. Five of these fatal and serious accidents occurred in wet conditions. This report suggests that a motorcycle is more risky vehicle than other types of vehicles, and also that serious motorcycle accidents might not be affected by the road condition as much as car accident, and that reckless driving behaviour on the part of motorcyclists may play a part.

Mannering and Grodsky (1995) have investigated motorcyclists’ perceived accident risk in the US. Motorcyclists have a reasonable grasp of the factors that increase the likelihood of accident involvement. These factors include exposure (miles ridden), regularly riding above the speed limits, and passing vehicles on the shoulder or passing between lanes of traffic (over taking). They have concluded that motorcycle accidents are, for the most part, not the result of misjudgements about the overall risk of motorcycling (Mannering and Grrodsky, 1995).

There have been a numerous number of studies focusing on motorcycle safety (Weller and Chandler, 1989; Shankar and Mannering, 1996). Chesham et al (1993) have reviewed a number of motorcycle safety research. They have found that some research is focused on riding analysis, that is analysis of the process of motorcycle riding. Particular attention was paid to skills training, training evaluation and perceived risk. They have also mentioned that, in recent studies, a motorcyclist is defined as an active agent. The theoretical basis of the new research has come from models of social psychology, and the main concern is to use riders’ beliefs and attitudes about safe riding to predict their behaviour on the roads and so their accident involvement.

Although there may be similarities between motorcycling and enjoyable activities in terms of participants’ experiences (flow experience), a major difference is that motorcycling necessarily involves other members of the public (e.g., other road users), whereas other activities such as rock climbing, and dancing seem not to involve non-participants. As mentioned above, accidents may be the result of thoughtless or risky behaviours on the part of the motorcyclist.

There has been a stereotypical view defining the personality of motorcyclists, such as aggression, sensation-seeking, toughness. Jackson and Wilson (1993) have used the Eysenck Personality Profiler (EPP) to investigate the personality of motorcyclists. They have found that the UK’s male bikers appeared as tough, aggressive, dogmatic, sensation-seeking, impulsive, risk-taking, irresponsible and lacking in self-esteem and ambitiousness compared to the general male norms. They have insisted that "one possible interpretation of this finding is that the bike and the speeds obtained with it are adopted in order to bolster a flagging sense of self-esteem, even though this adaptation is apparently not completely successful" (Jackson and Wilson, p242, 1993). They have also suggested that the male bikers were significantly anxious and depressed compared with male norms. In their study, the male motorcyclists have shown some socially assertive traits such as aggression and dogmatism. However, Jackson and Wilson did not investigate whether higher levels of aggression were actually correlated with driving behaviour, and especially, with higher numbers of violations on the road.

The first aim of this study was to confirm that motorcycling is one of the activities, which could invite a ‘flow’ experience. It was hypothesised that eight main characteristics of a ‘flow’ experience would be found, and ‘speed’ factor was also concerned as an additional factor. The second aim of this study was to investigate the behaviour of motorcyclists on the road by means of a questionnaire. We wished to find out whether this behaviour was related to the number of accidents that respondents had been involved in, and we also noted to investigate whether the rate of violations was higher for motorcyclists than for car drivers. The third aim of the study was that a personality of motorcyclists in terms of aggression might be higher than the general population.

 

Methods

subjects

In this study, potential subjects must have had a motorcycle identified as category A.

There were three ways in which subjects were recruited for this study. One was going to a place where there was a meeting of motorcyclists, and conducting an interview with them. A second way was sending e-mail to motorcycle clubs, motorcycle dispatch companies and motorcycle magazines in the UK. The third was asking people whether they rode on a motorcycle or knew people who rode on a motorcycle.

By the first method, subjects were obtained at parking lot in Matlock Bath, where a significant number of motorcyclists go, mostly in the summer. The place was suggested by an editor at motorcycle magazine by e-mail. Motorcyclists were randomly asked by interviewer whether they would complete a questionnaire. 42 male motorcyclists and one female motorcyclist participated, 39 male motorcyclists and one female motorcyclist completed the whole questionnaire.

By the second method, organisations related to motorcyclists were e-mailed asking if they were interested in participating in the study. If they gave a reply, some questionnaires were sent with self addressed envelop. One motorcycle despatcher company in London, one motorcycle club in Leek, one motorcycle magazine and one motorcycle company replied. The questionnaires were sent to them, however, the only motorcycle magazine returned answered questionnaires. 3 male motorcyclists participated, and the all three subjects completed the whole questionnaire.

By the third method, the questionnaire was given to people who rode on a motorcycle or who knew people riding on a motorcycle. 7 male motorcyclists and two female motorcyclists participated, and all the motorcyclists completed the whole questionnaire.

Questionnaire

In the first section of questionnaire, all respondents were asked about gender, their age, and a number of years riding motorcycle. 25 of the total subjects were also asked about the type of their motorcycles, the number of active accidents in the last three years, and their attitude to motorcycles.

All subjects answered the main part of the questionnaire which consisted of three parts. One was to assess motorcycling as an optimal experience. A tailor-made questionnaire was constructed to assess dimensions of flow experience in motorcycling. The dimensions were; intense involvement, clarity of goals and feedback, deep concentration, lack of self-consciousness, loss of a sense of time, intrinsically rewarding experience and the equal relationship between skill and demand. The subjects were asked to rate each item (see Appendices for full questionnaire) on a scale of one (strongly disagree) to five (strongly agree).

Driving Behaviour Questionnaire (DBQ) (Lawton et al, 1997) was employed to measure the driving behaviours of motorcyclists in terms of six highway code violations and six aggressive violations. The subjects were asked to rate each item (table 2) on a scale of one (never) to six (nearly all the time). In this study, two of the 12 items were revised to suit the subjects.

The Aggression Questionnaire (Bush and Perry, 1992) was used to measure the degree of aggressiveness of the subjects in terms of physical aggression, verbal aggression, anger and hostility. The subjects were asked to rate each item (see Appendix for full questionnaire) on a scale of one (strongly disagree) to five (strongly agree).

Results

Demographic data

48 male motorcyclists and three female motorcyclists completed the whole questionnaires. The mean age in years for the total subjects was 34.29 (SD 10.82), for males it was 34.69 (SD 10.86), and for females it was 27.7 (SD 7.41). The mean number of years riding for the total subjects was 19.93 (SD 11.06), for males it was 14.71 (SD 10.91), and for females it was 1.10 (SD 0.29). The gender ratios indicate that there were less female motorcyclists compared to male motorcyclists, however, this ratio is likely to reflect the make-up of the motorcycling population, which is predominantly male. In this study, gender difference was ignored, and males and females were analysed together in the flow questionnaire, the Driving Behaviour Questionnaire, and the Aggression Questionnaire.

25 of the participants were asked for additional information: type of motorcycle, number of active accidents, purpose of motorcycle, and attitude to motorcycling. 16 subjects had a racer type motorcycle, four subjects had a tourer type motorcycle, three subjects had a sports type motorcycle, one subject had a trial type motorcycle, and one had an American type motorcycle. The mean number of active accidents in the last three years for these 25 subjects was 0.75 (SD 1.34). Five subjects answered that a motorcycle was for both transport and pleasure, 19 subjects answered that their motorcycle was for pleasure, whereas only one subject answered that a motorcycle was for transport. It can be seen that the majority of the subjects saw the motorcycle as being for pleasure, rather than for transport. 48% of these subjects answered that motorcycling is more life threatening than any other activity.

 

Table 1


Positive ratios in dimensions of ‘flow’ experience

Characteristics of ‘flow’ experience Conditions Ratios

The balance between skill and challenge

(demand<skill)

46%

The balance between skill and challenge

(demand>skill)

51%

The balance between skill and challenge

(demand=skill)

81%

Intense involvement

(condition 1)

87%

Intense involvement

(condition 2)

71%

Intense involvement

(condition 3)

69%

Deep concentration

(condition 1)

61%

Deep concentration

(condition 2)

73%

Deep concentration

(condition 3)

88%

Loss of a sense of time

(condition 1)

73%

Loss of a sense of time

(condition 2)

69%

Loss of a sense of time

(condition 3)

63%

Lack of self-consciousness

(condition 1)

38%

Lack of self-consciousness

(condition 2)

33%

Lack of self-consciousness

(condition 3)

35%

Transcendence of self

(condition 1)

58%

Transcendence of self

(condition 2)

42%

Transcendence of self

(condition 3)

63%

Intrinsically rewarding experience

90%

Having a Clear challenge

55%

Having an idea of performing

79%

pursuing speed

64%

Note. (condition 1)=without any other road users; (condition 2)=with other road users;

(condition 3)=others as a competitor.

Ratios=Percentage of respondents who either agreed or strongly agreed that

motorcycling had the specialised characteristics.

 

Flow experience

Table 1 shows that percentage of respondents who either agreed or strongly agreed for each items (see appendices) that motorcycling had. In terms of the balance between skill and challenge, motorcyclists preferred an equal relationship between skill and demand (81%), followed by a relationship between higher demand and lower skill (51%).

A relationship between lower demand and higher skill (46%) is the least preference.

In terms of intense involvement, 88% of the subjects answered that they felt intense involvement in condition 1, followed by condition 2 (71%). 69% of the subjects felt an intense involvement in condition 3. In terms of deep concentration, 73% of the subjects needed deep concentration in condition 1, followed by condition 2 (69%), whereas 63% of the motorcyclists needed deep concentration in condition 3. In terms of loss of a sense of time, 73% of the subjects loss a sense of time in condition 1, followed by condition 2 (69%), whereas 63% of the subjects loss a sense of time in condition 3. In terms of lack of self-consciousness, only 38% of the subjects felt a lack of self-consciousness in condition 1, followed by condition 3. Whereas 33% of the subjects felt the statement in condition 2.

In terms of transcendence of self, 63% of the subjects felt the statement in condition 3, followed by condition 1 (58%). Only 43% of the subjects felt the statement in condition 2.

Majority of the subjects (90%) stated that motorcycling was intrinsically rewarding experience. 55% of the subjects had a clear challenge in motorcycling. 79% of the motorcyclists had an idea of what they performed on a motorcycle. 64% of the subjects pursued speed as fast as they could go.

Table 2


Means and Standard Deviations for DBQ Violation Items

Violation items Mean SD

DBQ 1. How often do you become angered by another driver and give
chase with the intention of giving him/her a piece of
your mind (av)

2.98

1.50

DBQ 2. How often do you drive when you suspect you might be over
the legal blood alcohol limit? (hv)

1.23

0.61

DBQ 3. How often do you stay in a lane that you know will be closed
ahead until the last minute before forcing your way into
the other lane (av)

2.46

1.54

DBQ 4. How often do you over take a slow driver on the inside? (hv)

2.56

1.69

DBQ 5. How often do you pull out of a junction so far that the driver
with the right of way has to stop and let you out? (av)

2.04

1.20

DBQ 6. How often do you cross a junction knowing that the traffic
lights have already turned against you? (hv)

2.08

1.20

DBQ 7. How often do you drive so close to the car in front that it
would be difficult to stop in an emergency? (hv)

2.10

1.10

DBQ 8. How often do you sound your horn or flash headlight to indicate
your annoyance to another driver? (av)

2.73

1.36

DBQ 9. How often do you race away from traffic lights with the
intention of beating the driver next to you? (av)

3.56

1.72

DBQ 10. How often do you become angered by a certain type of driver
and indicate your hostility by whatever means you can? (av)

3.19

1.50

DBQ 11. How often do you disregard the speed limit on a residential
road? (hv)

2.94

1.50

DBQ 12. How often do you disregard the speed limit
on a motorway or country road? (hv)

4.35

1.30

Note. (av)aggressive violations; (hv)=highway code violations

DBQ item 10 and DBQ item 8 are revised to suit the subjects from the original form of the DBQ.

 

Driving behaviour of motorcyclists

The means and standard deviations of the 12 violation items of DBQ are shown in Table 2. The first point to note is that the most common violation is speeding on a motorway or country road (4.35). A race away from the traffic signal is the second most common violation (3.56), followed by aversion and indicating hostility (3.19). Significantly, the top six violations are related to speeding and aggressive driving behaviour, whereas the least common violation is drinking and driving (1.23).

Table 3

Factor Structure and loadings of the 12 violation items


Violation items Factor 1 Factor 2 Factor 3

DBQ 8. Sound horn or flash headlight (av)

.77

DBQ 9. Race from lights (av)

.76

DBQ 4. Risky overtaking (hv)

.72

DBQ 7. Close follow (hv)

.70

DBQ 12. Speed highway (hv)

.64

DBQ 5. Force your way out (av)

.56

.45

DBQ 1. Anger, give chase (av)

.79

DBQ 10. Aversion, indicate hostility (av)

.76

DBQ 3. Push in at last minute (av)

.61

DBQ 6. Shoot lights (hv)

.59

.54

DBQ 11. Speed residential (hv)

.43

.55

.41

DBQ 2. Drink and drive (hv)

.89

Note. (av)=aggressive violations; (hv)=highway code violations.

Factor loadings of less than .40 were omitted for the sake of clarity.

 

Factor analysis

Responses to the 12 violation items were submitted to a principal components analysis with oblimin rotation due to the fact that the relationship between the underlying dimensions was unknown. Three factors had Eigenvalues greater than 1, and while the scree plot suggested a two-factor solution, the three-factor model was more readily interpretable. The three nonorthogonal factors accounted for 63.1% of the total variance. Table 3 shows items loadings on these three factors.

Factor 1 accounted for 43.0% of the variance and consisted of items that have speeding and hostility to other road users in common. The items loading most highly on this factor were : sounding horn or flashing headlight (.77), race away from traffic lights (.76), and speeding on highway or country road (.72). Therefore, this is labelled as aversion and speeding.

Factor 2 can be regard as aggressive and in terms of directing hostility is directed to other road users. This factor accounted for 11.2% of the variance, and its highest loading items were: anger, giving chase (.79), and aversion (.76). This is referred to as anger/hostility.

Factor 3, accounting for 8.8% of the variance, consisted of violations that are potentially dangerous driving violations. The items loading mostly highly on this factor were: drinking and driving (.89), and jumping lights (.54). This factor represents maintaining progress.

 

Table 4

Correlations between DBQ items and the number of active accident, and age

Violation items

Active accident

Age

Anger, give chase (av)
Push in at last minute (av)

-.390**

Force your way out (av)

.577**

-.387**

Sound horn or flash head light (av)
Race from the lights (av)

-.279**

Aversion, indicate hostility (av)
Risky overtaking (hv)

.477**

Drink and drive (hv)
Shoot lights (hv)

.510**

Close follow (hv)
Speed residential (hv)

-.304**

Speed highway or country road (hv)

Note. (av)=aggressive violations; (hv)=highway code violations

**Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed)

 

DBQ and active accident

The relationship between the number of active accidents and the 12 violation items were analysed and shown in Table 4. There is a correlation between the accidents and forcing your way into the other lane (.577), another correlation between the accidents and risky over taking (.477) are reported. There is also a correlation between the accidents and shooting the light (.510). These violations clearly put the motorcyclist into dangerous situations, and thus predispose them to accidents.

DBQ and age

Age and the 12 violation items were computed and shown in Table 4. There is a negative correlation between age and pushing in at the last minute (-.390), and another negative correlation between age and forcing your way out (-.387). Age and speeding in residential roads were correlated negatively (-.304), and ageing and a race from the light were correlated negatively (-.279). Three of these are defined as aggressive violations. The results from ageing scores indicate that if the motorcyclists get older, the frequency of these four violations is reduced.

Table 5

Means and Standard Deviations for the Aggression Questionnaire

20's

30's

Over 40's

All subjects American male

students

Mean SD

Mean SD

Mean SD

Mean SD Mean SD

Physical Aggression

27.0 12.5

22.9 12.7

21.5 12.2

24.4 12.5 24.2 7.7

Verbal aggression

14.7 5.7

14.3 6.4

13.3 5.9

14.2 5.9 15.2 3.9

Anger

18.9 8.0

18.2 8.9

16.4 8.3

18.0 8.3 17.0 5.8

Hostility

21.2 8.5

17.8 9.2

17.9 8.9

19.5 8.9 21.3 5.5

Total score

81.8 34.7

73.2 37.2

69.1 35.3

76.1 35.6 77.8 16.5

Note. 20’s age group (N=25); 30’s age group (N=11); over 40’s age group (16); all subjects (52); American

male students (N=612).

Aggression of motorcyclists

29 items of the aggression questionnaire (see Appendices) are divided into four categories (Bush and Perry, 1992); anger, hostility, physical aggression and verbal aggression.

The mean scores and standard deviations of each category are shown in Table 5. Subjects in the 20’s age group had significantly higher total score compared to the age group of 30’s, over 40’s and American college students (Buss and Perry, 1992). Due to the fact that the age group had significantly higher score on physical aggression, and slightly higher score on anger compared to the other groups. However, standard deviations for the scores must be considered. Generally, scores of four categories seem to be declined among age in motorcyclist.

Table 6

Correlations between DBQ items and anger, hostility, physical aggression and verbal aggression

Violation items

Anger

Hostility

Physical aggression

Verbal aggression

Anger, give chase (av)

.336*

.476**
Aversion, indicate hostility (av)

.336*

.404**
Speed residential (hv)

.417*

.395**
Speed highway or country road (hv)
Drink and drive (hv)
Force your way out (av) .449**
Risky overtaking (hv)
Push in at last minute (av) .354**

.284*

Shoot lights (hv) .285*
Close follow (hv)
Sound horn or flash headlight (av) .298*
Race from the light (av)

.300*

.352*

Note. (av)=aggressive violations; (hv)=highway code violations.

**. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 levels (2-tailed).

*. Correlation is significant at the 0.05 levels (2-tailed).

Aggression factors and DBQ

The relationship between the four aggressive items (anger, hostility, physical aggression and verbal aggression) and the DBQ items were analysed and shown in Table 6. There is a positive relationship between anger and speeding residential area (.417), and another positive relationship between anger and aversion, indicating hostility (.336) is reported. There is also a positive relationship between anger and anger, giving chase (.336). The other positive correlation between anger and a race from the light (.300) is found. Three of the four items of the DBQ are categorised as aggressive driving behaviour, whereas no significant relationship between hostility and the DBQ items is indicated. There is a positive relationship between physical aggression and anger, giving chase (.476), another positive relationship between physical aggression and forcing your way out (.449) is found. There is also a positive relationship between physical aggression and aversion, indicating hostility (.404). Physical aggression and speeding residential area (.395) is correlated positively. There is a positive relationship between physical aggression and pushing in at the last minute (.354), and another positive relationship between physical aggression and a race from the light (.352) is found. There is a positive relationship between physical aggression and sounding horn or flashing headlight (.298) is found. Physical aggression and jumping the light (.285) are positively correlated.

Six of the eight items of the DBQ can be seen as aggressive driving behaviour. Verbal aggression is only positively correlated with pushing in at the last minute.

Discussion

The results of the present study have shown that motorcycling can be explained as

pleasure as 96% of the subjects stated. The study tried to find out motorcycling as a ‘flow’ experience in terms of 8 dimensions. The most important characteristics of ‘flow’ experience (the equal relationship between skill and demand, and intrinsically rewarding experience) were confirmed by over 80% of the subjects. For the most characteristics in various conditions, over 50% of the motorcyclists confirmed the statement of ‘flow’ experience, however, one of the unique characteristics for ‘flow’ experience, lack of self-consciousness, could not be confirmed. This might be an indication that motorcyclists need to keep self-consciousness to enjoy motorcycling. 64% of the subjects answered that they pursued ‘speed’ in motorcycling. This factor should be taken into account for additional dimension of ‘flow’ experience in motorcycling. If ‘speed’ factor were not important, majority of the subjects (80%) would not have racer or sport type motorcycles.

The results of the Driving Behaviour Questionnaire have revealed that, as expected, speeding on the motorway or country road is the most common violation among motorcyclists. In addition, 64% of the motorcyclists stated that they pursued ‘speed’ as fast as they could go. Five of the top six violations were categorised as speeding and aggressive driving behaviour.

The mean score of six violations of motorcyclists (DBQ items 1, 3, 4, 9, 10 and 12) are higher than the mean scores of these six violations of car drivers studied by Lawton et al (1997). Four of the six violations are seen as aggressive driving behaviour. However, as raw data for car drivers were not available, no statistical comparisons could be carried out. Nevertheless, the scores suggest that there may be higher amounts of aggressive violations among motorcyclists, and this is clearly a topic worthy of future investigation.

The least common violation was drinking and driving. This might be explained by saying that motorcyclists know the effect of alcohol, which influences the balance in terms of controlling the motorcycle. Motorcycling is a complex task, requiring excellent motor skills and physical coordination (Rothe and Cooper, 1987), and keeping the balance is the most import factor for riding a motorcycle (Colburn et al, 1993).

Factor analysis revealed 3 factors among motorcyclist, speeding and risky riding, more interpersonally aggressive violations, and highway code violations. Factor 1 seems to describe a driving behaviour of motorcyclists in general public point of view. Factor 2 might be related to a higher degree of aggressiveness to other road users, especially younger motorcyclists, which is supported by the results of the DBQ items and the Aggression Questionnaire. Factor 3 is the least common, it explains that motorcyclists violate some highway codes.

There is a negative relationship between age and four DBQ items (3, 5, 9 and 11). Three of these items are concerned with aggressive driving violations. Such violations seem to decrease with age. In addition, these aggressive violations are significantly positively correlated with physical aggression, as revealed by the aggression questionnaire. The decrease in aggressive violations with age is therefore clearly consistent with the finding that physical aggression also declines with age.

In the present study, there is a correlation between the number of active accidents and forcing your way out, jumping traffic lights, and risky overtaking. According to the accident analysis report (Mannering and Grodsky, 1995), risky overtaking is one of the common manoeuvres inviting serious fatal accidents in the US. The UK’s accident report (Derbyshire Constabulary, 2000) also supports the high possibility of accidents among risky overtaking. However, the results of this study do not confirm a relationship between speeding and a number of active accidents, which is the most common manoeuvre causing serious accidents in motorcyclists.

The total mean score of aggression in motorcyclists is slightly lower than the total mean score of aggression in American university students, however, motorcyclists in the age group of 20’s seem to be more aggressive than American university male students (Bush and Perry, 1992). This result, particulary 20’s age group, supports Jackson and Wilson’s study (1992), however, Jackson and Wilson only had 22 subjects, and the researchers partially stated that their subjects had assembled for a particular purpose (sociable holiday) and their findings may not apply to motorcyclists in general. The present study has a larger number of respondents and a wider age range. Greater aggression is not found among all motorcyclists, only those in 20’s. The cultural differece British and American subjects should be taken into acount for the result. In addition, scores of the Aggression Questionnaire in general population should have been used compared with the results of motorcyclists to get more fair analysis.

Jackson and Wilson (1992) have stated that motorcyclists have a unique personality compared to the general male norm, however, they did not investigate whether this was manifested in driving behaviour. In the present study, there are numerous number of correlations between aggression and the DBQ items, especially aggressive violations.

A high degree of aggression does manifest itself in driving behaviour.

The study has some methodological limitations. First, the number of motorcyclists that participated in the study were relatively small (49 males and three females), and most of the motorcyclists were found in a single region in the UK (the North), some caution must therefore be urged in generalising the results.

Second, a period of the research (early December to the middle of April) limited research activity due to the weather conditions in the UK. If this research had been conducted in the summer, the number of subjects might be increased. There is also the implication that if this study could have been associated with any motorcycle organisations or events as previous studies have been (Mannering and Grodsky, 1995; Robertson and Minter, 1996; Jackson and Wilson, 1992), the number of subjects would have been increased. However, two of these studies also could not find large number of subjects (Jackson and Wilson’s study: 22 male and seven female subjects, Robertson and Minter: 140 subjects).

Third, the study relied on the rider’s self-reports when riding. It is possible that some respondents embellished their answers or were economical with the truth. Some motorcyclists asked the interviewer whether the questionnaire was for a police investigation.

This study might give some concerns to psychologists and road safety researchers about the behaviour of motorcyclists. In the present study, the relationship between the behaviour of motorcyclists and personality trait seems to be confirmed, whereas most studies have been focused on accident analysis. If these accident reports were associated with aspects of personality, the combination would give insight into a relationship between the behaviour of motorcyclists and the number of accidents. This knowledge might be applied to training and education for motorcyclists.

References

Buss, A.H., and Perry, M. (1992). The aggression Questionnaire. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 63, 3, 452-459.

Chesham, D.J., Rutter, D.R., and Quine, L. (1993). Motorcycling safety research-A review of the social and behavioural literature. Social science & Medicine, 37, 3, 419-429.

Clarke, J.A., and Langley, J.D. (1995). Disablement resulting from motorcycle crashes. Disability and Rehabilitation, 17, 7, 377-385.

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1975). Beyond Boredom and Anxiety. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

Csikszentmihalyi, M., and Csikszentmihalyi, I.S. (1988). ‘The flow experience and its significance for human psychology’, in M. Csikszentmihalyi and I.S Csikszentmihalyi (eds.), Optimal Experience. Psychological Studies of Flow in Consciousness. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1991). Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. New York: Harper Perennial.

Colburn, N., Meyer, R.D., Wrigley, M., and Bradley, E.L. (1993). Should motorcycles be operated within the legal alcohol limit as automobiles? Journal of trauma-injury infection and critical care, 35, 2, 183-186.

Jackson, C., and Wilson, G.D. (1993). Notes and shorter communication: Mad, bad or sad? The personality of bikers. Personality and Individual difference, 14, 1, 243- 245.

Lawton, R., Parker, D., Mansted, A.S.R., and Stradling, S. (1997). The role of Affect in Predicting Social Behaviours: The case of Road Traffic Violations. Journal of Applied Psychology, 27, 14, 1258-1276.

Mannering, F.L., and Grodsky, L.L. (1995). Statistical analysis of motorcyclists’ perceived accident risk. Accident analysis and prevention, 27, 1, 21-31.

Pederson, D.M. (1997). Perceptions of high risk sports. Perceptual and motor skills, 85, 2, 756-758.

Preusser, D.F., Williams, A.F., and Ulmer, R.G. (1995). Analysis of fatal motorcycle crashes: Crashing typing. Accident analysis and prevention, 27, 6, 845-851.

Personal injury report data in Buxton area between 1/1/95-31/12/99 (2000). Derbyshire Constabulary.

Robertson, S.A., and Minter, A. (1996). A study of some anthropometric characteristics of motorcycle riders. Applied Ergonomics, 27, 4, 223-229.

Rothe, J., and Cooper, P. (1987). Motorcyclists: Image and reality. Vancouver: Insurance Corporation of British Columbia.

Shankar, V., and Mannering, F. (1996). An exploratory multi-nominal logit analysis of single-vehicle motorcycle accident severity. Journal of safety research, 27, 3, 183-194.

Weller, R.B., and Chandler, E.W. (1989). Motorcycle safety and motorcycle education- past research and results. Journal of public policy and marketing, 8, 93-108.

Appendices

Gender : male female

Age:

Occupation:

Years of driving a motorcycle:

A number of active accidents on the motor (in the last 3 years) :

A motorcycle is for 1) transportation 2) pleasure or 3) both

Type of your vehicle (e.g., racer, touring) :

 

Flow Questionnaire

The following statements concern your ways of acting in different situations. Please express your agreement or disagreement with the following statements.

1 - Strongly 2 - disagree 3 - Neither agree 4 - Agree 5 - Strongly agree

disagree or disagree

1. I feel enjoyment when I ride on the motor in a traffic jam.

1 2 3 4 5

2. I feel enjoyment when I ride on the motor on the road, where the demands are above my skills.

1 2 3 4 5

3. I feel enjoyment when I ride on the motor on the road, where there is an equal relationship between my skills and its challenges.

1 2 3 4 5

4. I feel intense involvement when I ride on the motor without any other road users.

1 2 3 4 5

5. I feel intense involvement when I ride on the motor with other road users.

1 2 3 4 5

6. I feel intense involvement if I chase others as a competitor.

1 2 3 4 5

7. I need deep concentration when I ride on the motor without any other road users.

1 2 3 4 5

8. I need deep concentration when I ride on the motor with other road users.

1 2 3 4 5

9. I need deep concentration if I chase others as a competitor.

1 2 3 4 5

10. I lose a sense of time when I ride on the motor without any other road users.

1 2 3 4 5

11. I lose a sense of time when I ride on the motor with other road users.

1 2 3 4 5

12. I lose a sense of time if I chase others as a competitor.

1 2 3 4 5

13. I lose self-consciousness when I ride on motor without any other road users.

1 2 3 4 5

14. I lose self-consciousness when I ride on the motor with other road users.

1 2 3 4 5

15. I lose self-consciousness if I chase others as a competitor.

1 2 3 4 5

16. I feel extraordinariness of myself when I ride on the motor without any other road user.

1 2 3 4 5

17. I feel extraordinariness of myself when I ride on the motor with other road users.

1 2 3 4 5

18. I feel extraordinariness of myself if I chase the others as a competitor.

1 2 3 4 5

19. I think riding on the motor is an intrinsically rewarding experience.

1 2 3 4 5

 

1 - Strongly disagree 2 - disagree 3 - Neither agree or disagree 4 - Agree 5 - Strongly agree

20. I set myself clear challenge when I ride on the motor.

1 2 3 4 5

21. I have a clear idea of how I am performing when I ride on the motor.

1 2 3 4 5


 

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Driving Behaviour Questionnaire

The following questions concern your ways of acting in different situations. Please express your agreement or disagreement with the following questions.

1-Never 2-Hardly ever 3-Occasionally 4-Quite often 5-Frequently 6-All the time

1. How often do you become angered by another driver an give chase with the intention of giving him/her a peace of your mind?

1 2 3 4 5 6

2. How often do you drive when you suspect that you might be over the legal blood alcohol limit?

1 2 3 4 5 6

3. How often do you stay in a lane that you know will be closed ahead until the last minute before forcing your way into the other lane?

1 2 3 4 5 6

4. How often do you overtake a slow driver on the inside?

1 2 3 4 5 6

5. How often do you pull out of a junction so far that the driver with right of way has to stop and let you out?

1 2 3 4 5 6

6. How often do you cross a junction knowing that the traffic lights have already turned against you?

1 2 3 4 5 6

7. How often do you drive so close to the car in front that it would be difficult to stop in an emergency?

1 2 3 4 5 6

8. How often do you sound your horn or flash your headlight to indicate your annoyance to another driver?

1 2 3 4 5 6

9. How often do you race away from traffic lights with the intention of beating the driver next to you?

1 2 3 4 5 6

 

 

10. How often do you become angered by a certain type of driver and indicate your hostility by whatever means you can?

1 2 3 4 5 6

11. How often do you disregard the speed limit on a residential road?

1 2 3 4 5 6

12. How often do you disregard the speed limit on motorway or country road?

1 2 3 4 5 6

The Aggression Questionnaire

The following statements concern your ways of acting in different situations. Please express your agreement or disagreement with the following statements.

1-Strongly disagree 2-Disagree 3-Neither disagree or agree 4-Agree 5-Strongly agree

1. I am sometimes eaten up with jealousy.

1 2 3 4 5

2. I tell my friends openly when I disagree with them.

1 2 3 4 5

3. I flare up quickly, but get over it quickly.

1 2 3 4 5

4. Once in a while I can’t control the urge to strike another person.

1 2 3 4 5

5. When I am frustrated, I let my irritation show.

1 2 3 4 5

6. At times, I feel I have got a raw deal out of life.

1 2 3 4 5

7. I often find myself disagreeing with people.

1 2 3 4 5

8. Given enough provocation, I may hit another person.

1 2 3 4 5

9. Other people always seem to get the breaks.

1 2 3 4 5

10. When people annoy me, I may tell them what I think of them.

1 2 3 4 5

11. If someone hits me, I hit back.

1 2 3 4 5

12. I sometimes feel like a powder keg ready to explode.

1 2 3 4 5

13. I can’t help getting into arguments when people disagree with me.

1 2 3 4 5

14. I get into fights a little more than the average person.

1 2 3 4 5

15. I am an even-temper person.

1 2 3 4 5

16. I wonder why sometimes I feel so bitter about things.

1 2 3 4 5

17. I know that "friends" talk about me behind my back.

1 2 3 4 5

18. If I have to resort to violence to protect my rights, I will.

1 2 3 4 5

19. My friends say that I am somewhat argumentative.

1 2 3 4 5

20. Some of my friends think I am a hothead.

1 2 3 4 5

21. I am suspicious of overly friendly strangers.

1 2 3 4 5

22. There are people who pushed me so far that we came to blows.

1 2 3 4 5

23. Sometimes I fly off the handle for no good reason.

1 2 3 4 5

24. I sometimes feel that people are laughing at me behind my back.

1 2 3 4 5

25. I can think of no good reason for ever hitting a person.

1 2 3 4 5

26. I have a trouble controlling my temper.

1 2 3 4 5

27. When people are especially nice, I wonder what they want.

1 2 3 4 5

28. I have threatened people I know.

1 2 3 4 5

 

 

29. I have become so mad that I have broken things.

1 2 3 4 5


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