Cheltenham motorcyclist Mayor Colin Hay agrees that bikers are not "hairy" or "dirty" after dictionary definition changes
BIKERS long ago sped away from the stereotype of being hairy and dirty – and the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) has finally caught up.
After dictionary bosses removed the words 'dirty' and 'long-haired' from their definition of biker, one of Cheltenham's most famous motorcyclists said it was about time the new image of riders was officially recognised.
Mayor of Cheltenham Councillor Colin Hay, who has been a biker since his teens, said OED chiefs were "catching up with the reality" of the modern motorcyclist.
The 57-year-old said: "Now people who have bikes, which are often quite expensive, are very well-heeled. You have to be because bikes often are a bit of an extra as a means of transport.
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"I have rode out with the Harley Owners Group for Cheltenham and they were all very nice, smart men and women." Mr Hay rides a Suzuki GSX 750F and has been a member of the Severn Freewheelers, a voluntary out-of-hours courier service for the NHS, for around five years.
He said the fact many bikers volunteered for good causes dispelled the myth they were degenerates.
The dictionary previously defined a biker as: "A motorcyclist, especially one who is a member of a gang: a long-haired biker in dirty denims."
It now reads: "A motorcyclist, especially one who is a member of a gang or group: a biker was involved in a collision with a car."
Almost three-quarters of 524 bikers polled over the old definition found the old description inaccurate, with one in five 'outraged and offended' by it. The study, by insurance firm Bennetts, found bikers were over 35, middle class, working in IT or telecoms and likely to ride a Honda.
Figures from 2007 to 2011 showed nearly 800 bikers had been injured or killed on the county's roads.