The relationship between venturesomeness, past personal experience of specific hazards and perceived characteristics of certain voluntary and involuntary hazardous activities was examined using data from a postal survey of 102 English nonstudent adults. Risk perception was related to both venturesomeness and past risk experiences but the nature of the relationship depended on whether the hazardous activity was voluntary or involuntary. Involuntary risks were more likely to be perceived as more unfamiliar, uncontrollable and involuntary by those who had greater personal experience of hazardous activities. Voluntary risks were more likely to be regarded as better understood and perceived to be assumed as a matter of choice by those who had greater personal experience of hazardous activities. Whilst no significant relationship was established between venturesomeness and perception of voluntary risk activities, it was related to perception of involuntary hazardous activities. High venturesomeness was associated with perceiving involuntary risk activities as having delayed effects and being unfamiliar.