Oxford Dictionary changes definition of `biker` to avoid offence

Updated: Feb 26, 2013, 08:43 AM IST

London: Oxford English Dictionary has dropped references to “long hair” and “dirty denims” in its definition of “bikers” after motorcylists claimed that its description was outdated.

Oxford University Press, publisher of the Oxford English Dictionary, yielded to pressure from the UK’s two-wheeled community, the Telegraph reported.

Earlier, the online version of the dictionary had defined a biker as, “A motorcyclist, especially one who is a member of a gang: a long-haired biker in dirty denims.”

However, figures showed that today about 9 percent male bikers have long hair.

Furthermore, about 42 percent of British bikers are totally free of tattoos, piercings, facial hair or gang markings.

Now the Oxford Dictionaries Online definition of biker is, “A motorcyclist, especially one who is a member of a gang or group: a biker was involved in a collision with a car.”

The study, which was commissioned by insurance firm Bennetts, showed that today’s biker’s are most likely to be aged over 35, middle class, working in IT or telecoms and likely to ride a Honda.

When the term “biker” was used in the 60s and 70s, it described gangs of long haired, leather clad trouble makers, who generally drove at dangerously high speeds, often to confront rival gangs elsewhere.