Given a choice it’s perhaps more reassuring to encounter a smiling skull riding a bike instead of a grim one.
In fact, the skull is a scarf which Muhammed Tabish Khan now pulls off this extremely humid afternoon, revealing his very friendly face.
“The scarf is designed to have the skull’s teeth fall directly onto my lips,” explains the 25-year-old here in central Delhi’s Max Mueller Marg. “But, no, no! I don’t mean to scare anybody!”
His sister did think it looked terrifying when he bought it online, “while my mother said why, oh why, have I ended up buying it?”
In real life Mr Khan, who lives in neighbouring Ghaziabad, is studying to be a company secretary. This afternoon he’s just gotten out of a class in personality development skills “where I want to improve my English pronunciation.”
He goes on to explain, in fluent English, why he loves riding bikes and long rides as well.
“The bike is my true soul and my body merely a skeleton. The face is merely a skull,” he says mysteriously. “That’s why you see many serious bikers with skull key chains.”
Mr Khan doesn’t just cruise around the city with his bike. He has taken her to long memorable trips, too. “I rode all the way from Delhi to Manali to Ladakh,” he says. That trip with “four or five friends” was an adventure untainted with any mishap or scare. “It was pure enjoyment,” he says in a quiet tone.
Mr Khan now pulls back the scarf, transforming himself once again into a grinning skull. And cheerfully takes off down the road.