I used to think it was just me that got unnecessarily nervous when I saw a member of the constabulary parked in his jam sandwich, watching me ride past. Even when I’m doing absolutely nothing wrong. And if locking eyes with PC Plod whilst he’s parked up is bad, being tailed by him is even scarier. But I’ve learnt over the years I’m not the only one that suffers from Capiophobia (the fear of being arrested). And for some unknown reason, the condition seems particularly prevalent in sportsbike riders. But what’s to blame? Is it the guilty conscience of the sportsbike rider? Or is there something else at play?
The illusion of speed
Most modern sportsbikes look fast, even if they aren’t. And because we know they do, it’s never that big a surprise when we’re pulled over by the feds; whether we’re speeding or not. I don’t think I ride sportsbikes faster than, say adventure bikes (on the road) but I’ve definitely been pulled over more when I’ve been on sportsbikes. An adventure bike or a big touring bike just doesn’t have the same ‘illusion of speed’.
I’m sure that’s one of the reasons policemen and women scare me more when I’m on a sportsbike.
Who’s a naughty boy then?
Ever since the dawn of time, it’s been fairly rare to see a sportsbike on the road that’s completely bog-stock. If it’s not race tyres or a noisy exhaust, it’s carbon fibre bling (aka tat) and aftermarket indicators. Of course, not all non-standard parts are illegal but let’s face it, a lot of them are. We know it and the coppers know it too.
Hopefully the officer isn’t looking for an easy cop, and you’ll get off Scott free, with your “not for highway use” can. But that won’t stop him putting the willies up you, when you roar past him at 110dB.
Antisocial behaviour order
We all know that the real ASBO brigade actually kick around on mopeds these days. But that doesn’t mean the scenes of wheelies and burnouts, amid crowds of revellers on the high street are completely relegated to the history books. It might not be as popular now as it was in the 90s and 00s, but it doesn’t mean us sportsbike riders aren’t tarred with the same brush; the antisocial behaviour brush.
When I see a policeman, I can’t help but imagine him, imagining me pulling a great big stand up wheelie. And if he imagines me doing that, he’s bound to nick me; or so my subconscious tells me.
The guilty conscience
Perhaps the reason we get all anxious when we see a copper watching us, is just because the sportsbike rider does indeed have a guilty conscience. We feel guilty because we know everyone thinks we’re speeding. Guilty because we know our end-can is probably louder than it ought to be. And guilty because we used to do wheelies and burnouts and skids at any given opportunity (before they were frowned upon).
But I say every sportsbike rider should forget about his guilty conscience. Hold your head up high. Be proud. And don’t let that policeman ruin your day.