General Question

jca's avatar

Why do young guys on motorcycles insist on going over 100 mph?

Asked by jca (26838 points ) July 16th, 2012

All the time, when I’m on the road, there are young guys on motorcycles (usually Japanese bikes, not Harleys, which the guys usually ride laying back, cruising-style) driving over 100 mph. I know they’re going that fast, because if I’m going 75 or 80, they fly right by me, weaving in and out of lanes. That’s on the highway. I live on a rural road, and when I’m home, they go sooo fast on the road – it’s like a high pitched “zooooom!” and they fly by.

I used to work with a guy who had a bike like that, and I asked him “aren’t you afraid of getting caught by the cops?” and he said the cops couldn’t keep up with him. I am friends with a cop, and he said they usually don’t chase guys like that because by the time he turns the car around, the motorcycle is long gone. Plus chasing a motorcycle like that would put the motorcyclist, the cop and the public in danger.

It’s nuts, and there are public memorials on the roads when one of them is in an accident, because at those speeds, the driver is not likely to survive. Why do guys insist on going that fast?

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50 Answers

fremen_warrior's avatar

I don’t ride (yet) but I have a few friends that do (most of them women), so first of all I resent your bias in this question – women also have the occasional “need for speed” as it turns out (my neighbor’s wife for instance killed herself this way, a few years back). Secondly – as for the why I suppose – the answer is simple “because it can be done”. Some people just crave a bigger adrenaline rush with their morning coffee that’s all ;-) I’d say biology is somehow involved here, but I am not schooled in such matters, so I will get back to doing other things.

marinelife's avatar

It’s the young,stupid male gene that makes them think they are immortal.

fremen_warrior's avatar

@marinelife you are generalizing, and perpetuating stereotypes…

Coloma's avatar

Holy shit…don’t even get me going on this one! lol
I live in a tourist zone with a very popular highway ride that brings bikers of all kinds out here on the weekends. These ninja boys on their suicide bikes scare the crap outta me. I am always pulling over to let them fly by.

Fine with me, and when I come around the bend and your down because you nailed a deer at 90mph….well…..I’ll call the ranger so he can dispatch you with one well placed shot to your empty gas tank for brains. lol

ETpro's avatar

These are people who make the incorrect calculation that getting a video to go viral on YouTube outweighs the almost certain arrest for reckless endangerment when police watch the video and follow the clues back to the poster—and oh yes—outweighs any concern for their own life and the lives of other innocent motorists they may kill. In other words, it’s social Darwinism at work. Leave it resolve itself.

jca's avatar

@fremen_warrior: It may be generalizing, but I’m sure if I obtained stats, they would show that the death rate for motorcyclists is way higher for males than for females. In a somewhat related category, it is for this reason that insurance rates are higher for young males than for young females. Are the insurance companies generalizing? Or are they utilizing statistics that show them that young males are more likely to engage in risky behaviors than young females?

Coloma's avatar

@ETpro LOL..yeah. like monsoons and man eating tigers in India. Natural population control.

jca's avatar

I just googled “death statistics motorcycles males vs. females” and came up with a report from 2007 (nrd.nhtsa.dot) that cites the following: In two vehicle accidents involving a motorcycle, 97% of the fatalities were male, 3% were female. In general, 63% of those involved (in a two vehicle crash, one of those vehicles being a motorcycle) were male, 36% were female.

JLeslie's avatar

Young and dumb.

My husband never rides that fast on a bike.

Our Amber alert signs have been showing auto and motorcycle fatality numbers for this year. I think the motorcycle was up to 50 something. That’s just TN! The automobile fatalities were much higher, I can’t remember if it was two hundred something? Not sure.

athenasgriffin's avatar

If I had a motorcycle, I’d probably do the same exact thing. It must be invigorating. I have certainly gone faster than that in a car.(And I’m female.)

However, I am also terrified of hurting a motorcyclist in my car. They are so small and vulnerable. I don’t like to keep them at least five or ten carlengths away from me, and I will switch lanes and slow down to avoid being anywhere near.

Paradox25's avatar

Maybe it’s the highlight of their rather unproductive lives, so they need to showboat at least something about themselves that they think will impress others, I don’t know. I feel more sorry for the unfortunate drivers out there who these reckless idiots on bikes share the roads with.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Did you see the video of the guy riding at 180 to 190 miles an hour through traffic? My s/o says he’s nut. I agreed, but it sure looked like fun. She thought I was nuts too.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Those Japanese crotch rockets can get uncomfortable, so they have to get where they are going quick before they get saddle sore.

The old guys on the Harleys have got most of the need for speed out of their system so they choose a bike that is comfortable for longer rides. That and Harleys cost a lot to repair.

Some of those Harleys can keep up with the crotch rockets, they just don’t choose to.

ragingloli's avatar

The speed, young jedi, the speed.
That and the lack of sense for risk.

Judi's avatar

I can tell you, that I am a much more cautious driver (in general) at 51 than I was in my 20’s or 30’s. There was a sense of immortality back then. Now, that it’s not uncommon for people my own age and a bit older to be dying, there is a sense of living on borrowed time and not taking any moment for granted.

mowens's avatar

They are testing Natural Selection

Buttonstc's avatar

A few primary reasons.

Testosterone levels are at their peak during the teens and early twenties.

The frontal cortex is not yet fully developed and won’t be till mid 20s. This is the part of the brain involved in rational decision making. The ability to forsee consequences. That sort of thing.

Many people that young have a sense of immortality totally disproportional to reality. They think that death and accidents always happen to somebody else, never themselves.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

For the people going that fast, it’s virtually impossible for me to judge their age or sex. I will give you this: it isn’t the Harley riders that go zipping by at top speed, even if they are passing.

While I am willing to believe the 2007 statistic that was posted about males being 97% of the fatalities and females only 3%, it may have more to do with the number of males that own and ride one than their breaking the speed limit. Motorcycle helmet laws by US state, as well as the personal choice on whether to wear one or not, may be another factor.

Linda_Owl's avatar

I don’t think the ‘need-for-speed’ is limited to the “younger generation” ..... I think it goes with the ‘mystic’ of riding a motorcycle (sometimes even Harley riders push the envelope where speed is concerned).

zenvelo's avatar

Why do they do it?
Because they can.
@marinelife When you say young,stupid male I think that’s called “being redundant”.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

Because it is exhilarating. Whatever your arguments against it, the feeling of doing something so dangerous that it requires all of your concentration and ability is addictive. The consequences are not considered, because a life without danger is really quite boring.

Jenniehowell's avatar

Answer 1 – ego
answer 2 – ego compensating for some inadequacies – like attracts like – fast driver = fast finish (ever heard of the one minute man?) ladies beware of the crotch rocket rider – the longest lasting joy between
his legs is the trip to visit you but the arrival will come early.
Answer 3 – a death wish
Answer 4 – trying to win the Darwin Awards

These guys are idiots – nothin wrong with motorcycles but you can never trust the car drivers near you to be able to have a reaction to you that will be a safe one. For that reason motorcycle drivers need be more defensive than speedy.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh You get it. The other’s are so out of the loop. It is so far from ego or stupidity.

dabbler's avatar

As far as outrunning the cops, an acquaintance once told me, “You can outrun a Dodge, but you can’t outrun a Motorola”. (Police cars were often Dodge with a big lovely Hemi engine in them). If the cops feel like it they can radio ahead and get colleagues to apprehend the speed demons.

JLeslie's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh Just do it when there aren’t other cars around, or on a track where everyone else is concentrating as well as Speedy Gonzales. Blasting through traffic and surprising other drivers who have a decent chance of overreacting is so dangerous to the other people on the road. Forget about harming oneself, how does speedy live knowing he harmed other people? Oh yeah, he could be like so many people I know, rationalize it was their fault they overreacted, or weren’t pay attention to the road well enough.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@JLeslie That’s the downside to this kind of behavior. I’ve never put a scratch on another person, and that is my greatest fear in my life. But I so love the adrenaline rush. When I was a kid I did take more chances with other’s lives. I was so lucky to get away with it. I’m much more careful now, but I still like the rush.

JLeslie's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe That downside is a big downside. Seriously, go to autocrosses and track events, or speed when no one else is around. Trusting other motorists to do the right thing is suicide and homocide.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@JLeslie You’re 100 percent right. But I love that rush.

Crashsequence2012's avatar

Because they can.

Seriously.

Also: Explaining it away as “ego” simply means you’ll never understand.

Coloma's avatar

I like speed too, but my speed is a fast horse. At least when I come galloping down the trail you’ll have time to step aside and the worst that will happen is you’ll eat my dust, not be dust. haha

@Crashsequence2012 I think we understand the rush, but, it is not cool to risk others on the road because of a selfish need for a speed rush. I really don’t want your brains smeared across my windshield.

Crashsequence2012's avatar

I sense my piloting skill is being called into question.

Crashsequence2012's avatar

All motor here.

You?

Coloma's avatar

Roping quarter horse, from 0 to 45 in 60 seconds. haha

Brian1946's avatar

Perhaps some of them are laboring under the testosterone-addled delusion that the minimum speed limit is 100 MPH. ;-)

Crashsequence2012's avatar

@Brian1946 I’m aware that the OP is at fault for starting the sexist bent in this thread.

You didn’t have to perpetuate it.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Crashsequence2012 But I think there is merit to the idea it’s a guy thing. I have known a few women that were into cars, but usually it is guys. My S/O hates car shows. I like them. Not saying that’s definitive proof, but it’s what I have observed.

Crashsequence2012's avatar

I just don’t think the gender angle adds anything to the discussion.

Young minds have trouble properly assessing risk.

100MPH seems astronomical to anyone who never reaches it.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Crashsequence2012 Yeah, agree with you there. Gender doesn’t add anything. I’ve been 120mph. I loved it so much. Fortunately I survived and got a little wiser.

Crashsequence2012's avatar

I read on the internet that my Legend LS Coupe 5 speed would do 141.

Sure enough…

Brian1946's avatar

@Crashsequence2012

My previous post was not a serious assertion that testosterone actually deprives males of the ability to understand the basic concept of speed limits, hence the ”;-)” at the end of said post.

Crashsequence2012's avatar

You’re right.

I should have payed greater attention.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@JLeslie I agree. If people were given the opportunity to get that thrill safely, maybe it wouldn’t happen so much. However my point is that when you get the craving for speed and danger, the consequences don’t play a role in the decision making process. As much as the consequential approach makes sense to people who don’t understand, to those who feel the craving it is irrelevant.

For the record, I have never ridden a motorbike. I drive a car, sometimes quickly, but always away from traffic. Traffic dulls any exciting road, so I just sit back and put on some music until they’re gone.

JLeslie's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh I don’t know. Are they really craving danger? Or just the speed? I think they don’t perceive the danger maybe? That is the difference between the thrill seeker and the person too afraid I always thought, but that is just my thought, nothing I have read or studied. When my husband drives 100 on the interstate I am afraid, he feels great! When he drives on the track, well he has voiced that he knows one mistake and he can hit a wall, so he knows the danger exists, but I think especially at those very fast speeds around sharpish curves and blind hills his intense focus on the driving is all consuming. The average guy driving 90 on the highway is not all consumed. He has most likely 3 lanes to play with, a fairly straight road where he can clearly see ahead for quite a ways. He seeks the thrill of the speed. I guess if he is weaving through a lot of traffic he is much more aware and focused.

athenasgriffin's avatar

@JLeslie I personally only enjoy driving super fast when the terrain is difficult enough to devote my whole attention to it. I turn off the radio, ignore the distractions, and let myself become absorbed. This can’t happen at low speeds, like the posted speed limits, because 70 is never challenging on the highways (Excepting poor conditions, such as traffic, snow, and rain, where I won’t speed due to less control over the circumstances) ,as you point out. However, 100 can be challenging on certain highways on a sunny day with medium traffic. Out of control fast isn’t fun. But then I’m female, and the invulnerability of youth seems to be tempered by estrogen.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@JLeslie I think it can be both, depending on the person and the mood. When I drive quickly, I do it for the speed and to push my driving ability. However I rarely speed for fun on straight roads – I prefer winding mountain roads, where there are a range of corners and good use of the gears is required. However there are also times when I crave danger. I don’t address that craving on the roads, but I understand what it is like to do something precisely because it is dangerous. Either way, I think it is the focus and the clarity of mind that is the goal, and that can be brought about by speed or danger.

JLeslie's avatar

The accident I was recently in, I couldn’t figure out if the driver didn’t perceive how what she did could be dangerous, or she just was seeking the thrill of going fast. As we went speeding down the hill, and I became afraid she said more or less “don’t worry, I’ve done it before, I know it’s scary, but it will be fine.” So, she believes it will be fine, nothing bad will happen, but likes the thrill, and understands it feels scary. It wasn’t about driving skill in this instance, but I do understand what everyone means about skill. I own a Porsche, it’s fun for me to accellerate out of a curve, I get it, and definitely I understand that the person driving 90 is probably driving better than the guy driving 60, because the person speeding knows where every car is at on the road, primarily because that person just past the cars, while the slower driver is trying to keep track of the cars that keep changing around them as they approach from behind. The very dangerous part about driving fast is the slower driver not being able to predict what a fast driver is going to do, because they don’t understand it. The other danger is something unexpected in the road of course, and not having the stopping time. Probably rarely someone just simply loses control, but I have no data on it, it does happen of course. And, in the case of my accident it was a loss of control, but that was a golf cart, and someone who had very little experience driving the vehicle. I feel like she was behaving like a 17 boy, that would be my stereotype.

JLeslie's avatar

Just to clarify, it was about driving skill in the sense that a more skilled driver with more knowledgeof the vehicle might have been able to keep it under control, or regain control, what I meant was, I don’t think she was craving challenging her skill, her plan was to roll straight down the hill fast, no gas, no brakes, no turns.

kerrt's avatar

If the road ahead is endless and your sitting on a powerful machine, what will you do? those who dont speed are afraid to test the limits of their bikes, they need to ride 150cc bikes, no point of getting bigger bikes if you dont plan to go 100mph+

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