Biking: it's officially in the Blood!

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Bennetts work with leading psychologist to reveal a genetic predisposition to biking

With over one million active bikers in the UK, a study released today reveals motorcyclists are born with biking already in their blood, according to Bennetts, the UK’s No.1 Bike Insurance Specialist.  Working alongside leading psychologist Donna Dawson, the findings* reveal evidence of a genetic predisposition in the form of a ‘novelty-seeking’ gene, proven to bring out a tendency for impulsive, exploratory and risk-taking behaviour which is being passed down through the generations.

The study, which investigated the determining factors involved in how and why people ride motorbikes in order to see whether it is nature or nurture that attracts bikers to two wheels, highlights the presence of a ‘novelty-seeking’ gene (also known as the ‘NS’ or ‘D4 dopamine receptor’ gene**).

The research shows 85% of bikers were introduced to biking by a family member, with only 15% influenced by environmental factors such as a friend (11%) or non-relative (4%) including a partner or colleague.

Identifying a range of genetically pre-determined behaviours possessed by bikers, the findings show over three quarters (76%) admit their bike provides them with a sense of escape and release, and an average 74% were found to possess personality traits associated with the innate, pre-determined ‘NS’ gene, made up of risk-taking (72%), low boredom threshold (71%) and spontaneity (69%). 

With nearly seven out of 10 (68%) introduced by an immediate family member, 9% by an aunt, uncle or cousin and a further 8% by a grandparent, biking appears to run ‘in the blood’, with as many as 83% of bikers currently having at least one relative who rides.

Commenting on the findings, psychologist Donna Dawson said; “Psychologists know from studies on twins that up to 60% of personality traits are inherited; however, environment, in the form of upbringing and opportunity, also has a role to play. Our research tells us that most bikers were introduced to biking through a family member and that all questions related to the ‘NS’ gene personality traits (such as being a risk-taker) and the biker’s emotional attachment to his or her bike resulted in very high scores. This reveals that the majority of biking families will be passing on an ‘NS’ gene, which in turn is also being reinforced by an environment in which bikers are setting an example and sharing their love of biking - it’s certainly ‘in the blood’ from what I can see!

Living and breathing all things biking, the study commissioned by Bennetts also evaluated the importance of bikes in their lives, with nearly three-quarters (73%) of motorbike owners going as far as to say their bike defines who there are. As many as 62% couldn’t live without their beloved bike and others even admitting their bike is like a family member (61%) or an extension of their personality (70%).

Hannah Squirrell, Associate Director at Bennetts said; “It is clear from our findings that some people are really born to ride, with as many as 83% of bikers in the UK currently having at least one family member who rides a bike and nearly a third (32%) with three or more. We brought psychologist Donna Dawson in to help explain this who has highlighted that some of the key biking characteristics such as spontaneity and a sense of release are passed down by generations of biking families and that the ‘novelty-seeking gene’ really does run in their blood.”


posted by Bennetts @ 09:00

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^FREE Helmets & Leathers insurance is only provided for qualifying items of protective clothing (such as leathers and all weather clothing, back protectors, helmet, boots and gloves) that are purchased from the BikeNation store with an individual purchase price of £100 or more. Cover is valid for 12 months. Loss, theft or accidental damage (other than from a motorcycle road traffic accident) is excluded. £50 excess applies. Click here for full terms and conditions.

*In February 2015, a survey of 456 bikers by independent research company, Ipsos MORI, found Bennetts cover to be one of the most recommended by riders.

**Prize draw available to direct quotes only obtained before 31st October 2015. Alternatively, entries to win the Suzuki can also be made when visiting the Bennetts Stand at the Isle of Mann TT between 5th – 13th June 2015 and completing the ‘That’s why I ride’  quote and supplying us with your personal information.  For full Terms and Conditions please visit

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