Overcoming fear after a crash?

Message
Author
User avatar
clutch
Rookie
Rookie
Posts: 8
Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2008 4:38 pm
Sex: Female
Years Riding: 5
My Motorcycle: 2004 Harley Street Glide
Location: US Mid-Atlantic Coast

Overcoming fear after a crash?

#1 Unread post by clutch » Sat Oct 04, 2008 5:21 pm

Hi, Ladies

I'm new here. I'm so glad to find this place!

My fiance has been riding for about 20 years. I've been riding as a passenger for 2 years.

He surprised me and got a Honda Rebel 250. I completed the MSF beginners course in June so I could start riding.

On my first trek outside of the neighborhood, I crashed. I was trying to keep up with him while going around a curve, but I ran off the road.

Three months later, my leg has finally healed up enough to try riding again. So I tried to ride today. I just stayed on our neighborhood street.

Although I thought I was ready physically & emotionally, the fear took over. The only thing I could think was "I'm going to crash! I'm going to crash! I'm going to crash!" I never made it off of our street. And I almost crashed twice!

I want to ride, but I'm afraid to get back on the bike.

How do you conquer your fear after a crash?

User avatar
Thumper
Legendary 500
Legendary 500
Posts: 577
Joined: Wed May 10, 2006 11:40 pm
Real Name: K.A. Thompson
Sex: Female
Years Riding: 9
My Motorcycle: '14 BMW F700GS
Location: Dixon, CA

#2 Unread post by Thumper » Sat Oct 04, 2008 5:46 pm

Back in February, I locked up the front brake on my SV (giant blue car pulled out on front of me...no swerving room, but I still should not have locked the brakes up like that) and was launched off the bike. Hitting the ground was not a happy experience (and the moron in the car watched long enough to see me hit, then he left. Such class...) I didn't think I was hurt, but dang I was glad they gave me Percoset in the ER. The next few days were not made up out of happy fun time. Well, other than the Percoset buzz. I did enjoy that.

Once I wasn't so sore, I took my Rebel out for a spin. Didn't think a thing about it until I was actually headed out into traffic...and then it was OHMAYGAWD SOMEONE IS GONNA HIT ME!!!

Where I was comfortable before, suddenly it was NOOOOOOOOOO!

So I kinda get where you're coming from.

What I did, while I waited for my SV to be repaired, was to take the Rebel to a nearby parking lot, and practice. I pretended like I was starting from scratch, relearning the controls, practicing braking, weaving...all the things you do in the BRC.

Then I made my way slowly around the neighborhood...I didn't push it as far as getting out into traffic. I think if I had, I might have stopped riding altogether. The fear is very real and it's normal to have it...just get back on slowly, at your own speed, and don't let anyone push you into tackling traffic or speeds higher than 25 until you're ready to.

By the time I got my SV back, I was good to go...the height of the bike presented some post-accident problems, but that's a whole other story. What matters is that by taking it at my own speed, not pushing myself to get onto "real" roads too quickly, I was able to get back to riding.

blues2cruise
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 10042
Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2005 10:28 pm
Sex: Female
Years Riding: 16
My Motorcycle: 2000 Yamaha V-Star 1100
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
Contact:

#3 Unread post by blues2cruise » Sat Oct 04, 2008 11:38 pm

Hi clutch....

First of all......:welcome5: to TMW. :)

Don't beat yourself up about being afraid or nervous...it's normal....

After my crash I could not ride for several months.....when I finally did decide to try I stayed close to home and only went for a few blocks and came back. I just wanted to see if I could do it.....

I got a friend to come along when I decided to go a bit further to a parking lot for practice.....I was tense, I clenched my jaw, my shoulders were hunched up around my ears and I had a death grip on the handlebars....just like when I first learned....

I had problems in the parking lot for the first few times doing uturns and going in circles.....I was afraid to lean the bike and I was making my circles and turns very large....

I was also quite jumpy....everytime I saw a car in a driveway or a side street waiting to come out, I tensed up....
for the first little while I wasn't sure I even wanted to ride anymore.

It wasn't fun. I felt like the joy had been taken away.....however.....not being one to "quit"....I kept at it.....

I am getting so much better now...I still have some trepidation now and then....I sometimes just ride in the slow lane with the slow traffic until the passing lane is empty for as far as the eye can see....I feel a sense of uncertainty about passing as yet.....but...it is getting so much better.

If you got back on your bike that is good. Just go a few blocks and then go home.....build up slowly. Get to a parking lot to practice....go for short rides and then go home......

It will get better. :)
Image

User avatar
goodies
Veteran
Veteran
Posts: 92
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 10:29 am

#4 Unread post by goodies » Sun Oct 05, 2008 6:39 am

The fear is very real. I had a "almost" accident my second day of owning mine, (way to much way to soon), that was in July. Since than I have completed the MSF, and practiced in parking lots and neighborhood, and have not been out in traffic. Today I am planning on a "real" road ride, nothing far, it is Sunday AM so not as much traffic. I go at it little by little. But I know I will get there.

One thing that has really helped with the riding in traffic has been riding 2 up with a friend of mine. That may sound off, but it helps me getting the feeling of traffic coming at me.

User avatar
clutch
Rookie
Rookie
Posts: 8
Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2008 4:38 pm
Sex: Female
Years Riding: 5
My Motorcycle: 2004 Harley Street Glide
Location: US Mid-Atlantic Coast

#5 Unread post by clutch » Sun Oct 05, 2008 9:26 am

Thank you all so much! It really helps to know that I'm not crazy or inferior for being scared. When I asked some guys about the fear, they treated me like I was stupid. So I'm really glad this ladies forum is here.

I will try your parking lot suggestion today. (Although I have this ridiculous temptation to get some hockey goalie gear and practice in that, lol!) I still remember the exercises from the MSF class -- so thank you for reminding me.

I've been riding 2-up for a few months after the accident. I just have to keep in mind that his touring-sized Street Glide will feel different from my tiny Rebel 250. That difference freaks me out sometimes and makes me wonder if I'm doing something wrong, or there's something wrong with my bike. I guess experience will help with that?

And good luck on your real road ride, Goodies. Let us know how it goes :)

Thanks again, ladies!

User avatar
goodies
Veteran
Veteran
Posts: 92
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 10:29 am

#6 Unread post by goodies » Sun Oct 05, 2008 10:13 am

Guys are always so relaxed about it. "Just do it" It must be nice to be like that! I envy them that.

The ride went great, not far we road to a little restaurant and had breakfast. But there was so many good experience variable. In town, down a 4 lane, (not interstate, which was really easier than I thought it would be), side roads, stop lights.

I was pretty relaxed, than all of a sudden I started getting nervous, and not riding as well as I did when I first headed out. So I knew than it was time to call it a morning. But that is ok! This time last weekend I would not even attempt it.

User avatar
Lion_Lady
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 1880
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 12:44 pm
Real Name: Pam
Sex: Female
Years Riding: 17
My Motorcycle: 2013 BMW R1200R 90th Anniversary
Location: Lynchburg, VA
Contact:

#7 Unread post by Lion_Lady » Sun Oct 05, 2008 4:58 pm

Were you wearing gear when you crashed? How do you think that effects how badly you were injured?

It certainly sounds like your determination is there, you've just got to take baby steps to regain your confidence. Remember to keep your practices short (the stress/adrenaline will wear you out much more quickly than you can imagine) and end on a positive note.

Good luck and keep us posted!

P
Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity - Alice Paul

User avatar
clutch
Rookie
Rookie
Posts: 8
Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2008 4:38 pm
Sex: Female
Years Riding: 5
My Motorcycle: 2004 Harley Street Glide
Location: US Mid-Atlantic Coast

#8 Unread post by clutch » Sun Oct 05, 2008 6:28 pm

Lion_Lady wrote:Were you wearing gear when you crashed? How do you think that effects how badly you were injured?

It certainly sounds like your determination is there, you've just got to take baby steps to regain your confidence. Remember to keep your practices short (the stress/adrenaline will wear you out much more quickly than you can imagine) and end on a positive note.

Good luck and keep us posted!

P
Yes, I should have been wearing more gear.

I was wearing a full face helmet, long jeans, and motorcycle boots. I WISH that I had also been wearing gloves and an armored jacket. Armored pants could have helped, but I've never been able to find any that fit.

The parking lot ride went well today. I practiced the MSF exercises. The confidence is coming back a bit, but I'm going to stay off the streets for a long while!

Thanks again for all of your suggestions and support!

mazer
Elite
Elite
Posts: 171
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2008 8:49 pm

#9 Unread post by mazer » Sun Oct 05, 2008 6:45 pm

Just keep around your house for a bit just like you did before you ventured away and started freaking out. Test your comfort zones a bit at a time. Always end on a positive note. You mentioned in your OP that you
ALMOST crashed
twice, but you didnt. Just keep trucking on...I have been reading about people who were in accidents so bad they lost consciousness or were temporarily paralyzed but love motorcycling so much they made their way back to riding, some having to make alterations because of permanent damage. Breathe through those panic attacks and remind yourself that was then and this is now...good luck I know it is hard getting back on the horse.

User avatar
amysue529
Rookie
Rookie
Posts: 14
Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2009 9:46 am
Real Name: Amy
Sex: Female
Years Riding: 2
My Motorcycle: 2009 Kawasaki Ninja 250R
Location: South/Central Michigan

Re: Overcoming fear after a crash?

#10 Unread post by amysue529 » Fri Feb 19, 2010 10:33 pm

Last year was my first official year with a bike. I really wanted to start out on a 250, since id never ridden before, even dirtbikes or anything similar. I dont know what made me do this, but I went out and bought a brand new 250 Ninja. Within 3 days we (my boyfriend and I) were riding everywhere... I was getting SO confident. A little too confident. We went down his favorite curvy road.. a few curves in, he hit some gravel, went off the road a bit, but didn't crash or anything. A few curves later, Im staring at the pavement (not looking through the curve like I was supposed to be) trying to avoid any gravel, and I crashed into a pretty deep ditch. My brand new bike was pretty messed up. I hit my head pretty hard ( even wearing a full faced helmet) but fortunately just got bruises and scrapes. I had no choice but to ride it home... but you bet I went like 35mph... lol.

A few weeks went by and my bike got fixed.... I was terrified to go riding. :cry: I went around the block for a few days. I was so scared of curves that I froze up trying to go around them. I wouldn't lean and slowed way down, and eventually went around them very very stiffly.

I too am SO sick of the way men deal with this stuff. "Get over it" or "Just loosen up".. I guess it doesn't help that I am the only girl in a pack of speed-loving sportbike riders. :frusty: Eventually, it will get better. But dont let anyone tell you how to deal with it. We each deal with things differently. My crash was in April, and by August I was 100% more confident than I was after my accident. Don't let the fear of crashing keep you grounded though.... We all ride for a reason, and one accident shouldn't be good enough to take that joy away from you. Take baby steps and only do what you are comfortable with. I found that after the guys finally shut up and I could hear myself think I was able to be more comfortable... getting everyone else's input on how you should deal with stuff only creates more stress and anxiety about it.

It will get easier each time you ride, as long as you take it at your own pace. I felt like it was almost easier to ride by myself, on familiar country roads... I gained a lot of confidence that way. Good luck!
We're here for a good time, not for a long time

User avatar
Lion_Lady
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 1880
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 12:44 pm
Real Name: Pam
Sex: Female
Years Riding: 17
My Motorcycle: 2013 BMW R1200R 90th Anniversary
Location: Lynchburg, VA
Contact:

Re: Overcoming fear after a crash?

#11 Unread post by Lion_Lady » Sat Feb 20, 2010 7:48 am

clutch. Where are you in the "Mid-Atlantic"? I'm in Maryland, outside Baltimore. I grew up in Alexandria and have been all up and down the east coast. I'm willing to ride to you and offer some support or guidance, whatever you want. PM me.

Having crashed badly myself almost 6 years ago, I know what you're going through to some extent. Part of dealing with it, is being able to figure out what you did wrong, so you can do things differently next time. You seem to have part of that - you were trying to keep up with your sweetheart. The rest is just gaining some confidence and comfort in your own skills.

Let me know!!

Pam
Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity - Alice Paul

User avatar
Triumphgirl
Legendary 300
Legendary 300
Posts: 340
Joined: Mon Dec 15, 2008 10:24 pm
Sex: Female
Years Riding: 100
My Motorcycle: Triumph America 07
Location: ALBERTA, CANADA

Re: Overcoming fear after a crash?

#12 Unread post by Triumphgirl » Sun Feb 21, 2010 9:44 pm

Its not fun crashing, I was so eager last year to get out in spring, I took a chance on the roads in spring. With all the sand they put on the roads over the course of 5 months of snow, it builds up. So I was making a left turn into 4 lane traffic, it was downtown Edmonton and busy. I had a break to get out and was going a tad to fast and hit the sand build up and down I went. Few scrapes on the bike and body. But mostly the pride took a hit. A guy helped me lift my bike, i started it and kept riding. I was upset but it taught me things. I was nervous for a while but went right back out immediately. Had I been seriously injured I may feel differently. I hit a moose one time with my car, few years back, it took me a long time to not feel jumpy. My car was a write-off, and thank god me and my kid didnt get killed. Still to this day I watch more intently for eyes in the ditch. Then I got thinking about, what if I hit a deer or moose on my bike? I try to be an alert rider, but in all honesty, if its going to happen? Its going to happen, and I try not to let fear dictate my life. One day at a time :)
I keep trying to Think...but nothing hAppens

Wrider
Site Supporter - Gold
Site Supporter - Gold
Posts: 5285
Joined: Wed Aug 16, 2006 7:46 pm
Real Name: Ryan
Sex: Male
Years Riding: 4
My Motorcycle: 2005 Kawasaki Z750S
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Contact:

Re: Overcoming fear after a crash?

#13 Unread post by Wrider » Sun Feb 21, 2010 10:26 pm

Triumphgirl wrote:Then I got thinking about, what if I hit a deer or moose on my bike?
With how big a moose is you'd probably be better off jumping off of the bike and landing on it like a horse... :kicking:
Have owned - 2001 Suzuki Volusia
Current bike - 2005 Kawasaki Z750S
MMI Graduation date January 9th, 2009. Factory Certifications in Suzuki and Yamaha

User avatar
Triumphgirl
Legendary 300
Legendary 300
Posts: 340
Joined: Mon Dec 15, 2008 10:24 pm
Sex: Female
Years Riding: 100
My Motorcycle: Triumph America 07
Location: ALBERTA, CANADA

Re: Overcoming fear after a crash?

#14 Unread post by Triumphgirl » Mon Feb 22, 2010 2:30 pm

Wrider wrote:
Triumphgirl wrote:Then I got thinking about, what if I hit a deer or moose on my bike?
With how big a moose is you'd probably be better off jumping off of the bike and landing on it like a horse... :kicking:

:laughing: If I could do that, if the need ever arises, I would end up on Oprah.... :cowboy: Giddy up buttercup!!!
I keep trying to Think...but nothing hAppens

User avatar
sunshine229
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 1846
Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2003 6:02 pm
Real Name: Andrea aka Mrs. Total Motorcycle
Sex: Female
Years Riding: 14
My Motorcycle: 2013 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone
Location: Waterloo, ON

Re: Overcoming fear after a crash?

#15 Unread post by sunshine229 » Mon Feb 22, 2010 3:27 pm

Wow - you're a trooper! "They" always say just to get back on the horse and ride it, but man that must be tough after such a frustrating and painstaking crash.

Good on you for starting in a parking lot. Keep practicing all those MSF manoeuvers and wait until you are ready to get out on the streets.

Have you seen the TMW beginner's guide to motorcycling?
http://www.totalmotorcycle.com/school.htm

Hopefully you're getting your honey to ride you to the parking lot, and even more so, hopefully he gives you plenty of good strong positive support! ;)

Good luck girl, we're all behind you!
Andrea :sun:

slbrooks13
Tricycle Squid
Tricycle Squid
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Jul 11, 2011 7:26 am
Real Name: Sherri Brooks
Sex: Female
Years Riding: 9
My Motorcycle: 2011 Suzuki GSXR600

Re: Overcoming fear after a crash?

#16 Unread post by slbrooks13 » Mon Jul 11, 2011 7:57 am

I've been riding for nine years and began with riding school and a Honda Nighthawk 250. I have since built up to my ultimate dream bike, a 2011 Suzuki GSX-R600 sportbike, and absolutely love every minute of it.

Unfortunately, two months after buying my GSXR, I dropped it on a downhill gravel parking lot as I was turning right, and was thrown from the bike. No major damage to me, except long lasting bruises; just my bike and my pride! I now have a very real fear of the bike sliding out from under me when I make right turns. I have been working at conquering this fear for a couple weeks, since I got the bike out of the shop, but I so agree with all the ladies in this forum - it's going to take time. I am able to ride in town and ride to work, but I turn a "snail pace" right turn, having to force myself to lean to make the turn.

I have been humbled by a minor accident, after laying my bike down in gravel. I give credit to any lady who rides, but even more credit to any lady who gets back on the bike after a wreck.

User avatar
sunshine229
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 1846
Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2003 6:02 pm
Real Name: Andrea aka Mrs. Total Motorcycle
Sex: Female
Years Riding: 14
My Motorcycle: 2013 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone
Location: Waterloo, ON

Re:

#17 Unread post by sunshine229 » Sat Jul 16, 2011 6:58 am

clutch wrote:Thank you all so much! It really helps to know that I'm not crazy or inferior for being scared. When I asked some guys about the fear, they treated me like I was stupid. So I'm really glad this ladies forum is here.
Hi Clutch,

Sorry to hear about your crash! It's a shame when you can't turn to friends or other riders you know and get the support you need. I'm glad you can find some comfort on this forum though!

You will find that everyone around here is very sensible, regardless if they're male or female. We haven't restricted the Ladies Lounge to just ladies and the men know they must be sensitive and sensible in here... or else we delete their post and PM them in anger! ;)

Keep taking it easy, praciticing your skills in a parking lot rather than on the road. Get your confidence back by practicing until you are bored of it. Then you know you'll be ready to get into some traffic and give it a go.

Andrea :)
Andrea :sun:

User avatar
Brackstone
Legendary 1500
Legendary 1500
Posts: 1567
Joined: Sun Jul 29, 2007 5:17 pm
Real Name: David
Sex: Male
Years Riding: 3
My Motorcycle: 2010/Ducati/Monster 1100
Location: New Jersey
Contact:

Re:

#18 Unread post by Brackstone » Fri Jul 22, 2011 11:12 am

clutch wrote:Thank you all so much! It really helps to know that I'm not crazy or inferior for being scared. When I asked some guys about the fear, they treated me like I was stupid. So I'm really glad this ladies forum is here.
I've seen people suggest that if you can't start on a certain size bike you have no business riding. Or if you ride certain bikes you have no business riding. etc. etc etc.

People around you need to support you in doing the things you love. Everyone here is usually very helpful and/or nice. Welcome to the forums and keep your spirits up you'll be fine.
Ducati Monster 1100 (Vrooom!!)
Aprilia Shiver 750 (sold)
2007 Kawasaki Ninja 250cc (sold)

mytony
Tricycle Squid
Tricycle Squid
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2011 9:40 pm
Real Name: susan01
Sex: Female
Years Riding: 8
My Motorcycle: 2010/China/fenghuang

Re: Overcoming fear after a crash?

#19 Unread post by mytony » Mon Jul 25, 2011 9:50 pm

I have no gear.

Links removed by moderator.

User avatar
sapaul
Legendary 2000
Legendary 2000
Posts: 2381
Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2005 9:45 am
Sex: Male
Years Riding: 90
My Motorcycle: 2011 R1200R 07 BMW GS, Kymco 250 little
Location: South Africa

Re: Overcoming fear after a crash?

#20 Unread post by sapaul » Tue Aug 30, 2011 3:39 am

clutch wrote:Hi, Ladies

I'm new here. I'm so glad to find this place!

My fiance has been riding for about 20 years. I've been riding as a passenger for 2 years.

He surprised me and got a Honda Rebel 250. I completed the MSF beginners course in June so I could start riding.

On my first trek outside of the neighborhood, I crashed. I was trying to keep up with him while going around a curve, but I ran off the road.

Three months later, my leg has finally healed up enough to try riding again. So I tried to ride today. I just stayed on our neighborhood street.

Although I thought I was ready physically & emotionally, the fear took over. The only thing I could think was "I'm going to crash! I'm going to crash! I'm going to crash!" I never made it off of our street. And I almost crashed twice!

I want to ride, but I'm afraid to get back on the bike.

How do you conquer your fear after a crash?
Hi all, thought I would chip in.

Just reading your post immediately makes me think of panic. I have been an advocate of "overcoming survival instincts" for many years now after reading and studying "Twist of the wrist"

Now men are for the most part stupid when we ride, but not in the way you think. You see, we commit our brains to riding, but because most men are mechanically competent, we tend to master the physical side of riding quickly. When we do this it leaves a portion of our brain "empty". In essence we have processing power left to deal with any potential situation that could harm us.

Women multitask, this means that the processing cpu is on full go all the time. So let's assume that a female has all the basics. She knows how to work the controls of the bike and can make it go. It's at this point you become your worst enemy. You allow the other factors in your daily life to intrude on the most important aspect of riding skills. Committing your brain to riding, and further to this, only committing 50%. You need the other 50% to be "empty". You need processing power to analyze all the potential problems and to pre-empt them before they occur or as they happen. When you are riding and thinking of what is in the fridge or how much washing you need to do, it takes up the space that men keep as "empty". When there is no computing power left,

instinct takes over

I have just read what I wrote and it sounds patronizing, but I really do not mean to be so, I am just speaking from experience. I have found that when I am teaching, women are the best students. Out on the road by yourself, the lack of confidence and "full head syndrome" cause all kinds of problems.

In summary: First off arm yourself with as much "off bike" knowledge as you can. Read "twist of the wrist". No excuses, make time for it. Read as much as you can find out about riding techniques.

Next time you get on the bike, commit to riding the bike ONLY. Chase away all other thoughts and leave some room for computing. Think only about each and every action you do on the bike and commit to doing that thing the best you can until such time as it becomes thoughtless, thus freeing up more computing room.

learn to overcome those survival instincts

Most of all enjoy riding, take pleasure and pride from it, we are after all part of a unique 2% of the world that rides on 2 wheels
I spent my therapy money an a K1200S
The therapy worked, I got a GS now
A touch of insanity crept back in the shape of an R1200R

Post Reply