This is No Longer the Picture You’ll Find in the Dictionary Next to “Biker”

February 25, 2013 | Eugene Reznik

A “biker” is no longer “a motorcyclist, especially one who is a member of a gang: a long-haired biker in dirty denims,” according to the Oxford English Dictionary, which has succumbed to criticism backed by insurance industry research and altered the definition for one of the world’s earliest countercultures as we know it.

According to a poll of 525 motorcycle-riders organized by the firm Bennetts, 21% of people are “outraged and offended,” by the old definition, while 74% believe it was simply inaccurate. Only one-in-10 people who ride motorcycles have long hair, and 42% are “totally free of tattoos, piercings, facial hair or gang markings.”

Data shows today’s biker is most likely to be aged over 35, middle class, working in IT or telecoms and likely to ride a Honda.

The new definition reads: “A motorcyclist, especially one who is a member of a gang or group: a biker was involved in a collision with a car.”

A back-hand concession, you say? That’s what happens when you fuck with OED: according to their “objective” analysis, “bikers” are stereotypically no longer scruffy, but just as clumsy.

(Photo: Dennis Hopper in Easy Rider, 1969)