Motorcycling, skiing, and horse riding carry a considerable risk to health, or even life, of those engaging in these recreational sport activities. Readiness to take risks has been customarily associated with the male gender. The actual gender composition of the participants in the above three risky sports activities differs considerably. While around 90 percent of leisure-time motorcyclists in the United Kingdom are indeed men, nearly 75 percent of horse riders are women. In comparison, skiing attracts a more balanced proportion, 57 to 43 percent of, respectively, men and women. Existing studies of injuries sustained by the participants in recreational sports activities have primarily focused on the how many aspect of the risks they involve, or on the numbers and frequency of accidents. The why aspect of it, or the question about the reasons British men and women engage in such sports has remained notably under-investigated. My study will address a twofold why question regarding risky sport activities: why people do it and why a gender discrepancy exists in mens and womens preferences for the specific sports pursuits. My investigation will seek answers, from a multidisciplinary, mixed methodology, to four research questions:
1. What factors influence the individuals interest/engagement in risky undertakings in general (e.g. family and peer culture/socialisation, social networks, media)?
2. What psychosocial factors influence the individuals choice of risky leisure sport activities such as motorcycling, skiing, and horse riding?
3. Why is there a gender disparity in the pursuits of recreational motorcycling, skiing, and horse riding?
4. What are the causes of this disparity?
This research is funded by a +3 ESRC studentship.
BA (hons) Sociology first class. University of Essex. Recipient of the 2015 Fuller Bequest Undergraduate prize. Title of dissertation, Once a rider always a rider: Interpreting Motorcycliosts Socialisation and Psychosocial needs for membership of a subculture of risk.
MA Sociology University of Essex. Title of dissertation, Women and the Machine: A comparative analysis contrasting the portrayal of women in 2005 versus 2015 in the popular British motorcycle press.