Motorcyclists have long suffered from a poor public image, which is derived from old stereotypes and perpetuated by the media promoting fear and mistrust. There is now evidence that the promotion of such negative stereotypes can have safety implications for motorcyclists. It also has broader significance in relation to their inclusion in transport planning and facilities, road user consultations and the development of countermeasures to address motorcycle crash incidence.
A study for the Federal Office of Road Safety in 1995 found that motorists tended to be influenced by old 'bikie' stereotypes and feel an emotional distance from motorcyclists. They had little understanding of the riding activity or risks associated with it, nor did they have any knowledge of how to interact with motorcyclists as road users. (Maxine Kriege,1995).
A number of studies have found that drivers who were also motorcyclists or knew people who were motorcyclists, were less likely to be involved in motorcycle crashes. Essentially these studies suggest that this is because such drivers are predisposed to watching out for motorcycles and understand the handling limitations of a motorcycle. (Hurt et al, 1981, Brooks and Guppy, 1990, Maguzzi et al, 2006)