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Riding Again After An Accident


Ryanme17
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Guest Pete McCrary

Take your time and go at your own pace. Don't let anyone else put any demands on you. Don't put any unrealistic demands on yourself.

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I've found for me that it takes riding the right roads get me back into the groove. Usually the mountains where conservative riding still requires decent lean angles.

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I went ahead and pinned this thread as many riders go through the exact same thing when returning to riding after a drop/crash so hopefully others can also learn from our leaning process! :biggrin:

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Guest Nungboy

Thanks Baileyrock!

And one more thing. This can happen in lots of ways. About 25 years ago I was bicycling to work on a junker lender bike (my new bicycle was being built) and near the college campus two cuties jaywalked right in front of me. I chose to swerve behind them since they were taking my space. Well unfortunately they took two giant steps BACKWARDS right into my path. Short version is she ended up ok. (As she lay there kinda dazed I pulled the gum out of her mouth because I was afraid she would choke. I figured I possibly saved her life.) It was all their fault but a few weeks later her father's high-powered lawyer made noises about suing ME (poor college student...they gave up real quick!). But the point is I was afraid to bicycle; I was afraid to drive or be in a car. I was even tentative WALKING! It took me about 6 months to get back to "normal." We can easily get spooked when it comes to vehicular accidents. It is understandable and we all have different rates of recovery. Anyone who goes through walks a unique path. Take your time and figure out your fears, confront them and then move on. You'll get your mojo back and you'll be smarter and safer for the experience.

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Guest RockCityVFR

I think every one has given you some good info and i really can't disagree with anyone. The piece that i think has been left out, and has been the most helpful to me, is truly understanding the reason you crashed. I've crashed more times then i can count growing up riding in the dirt, and only twice since making a switch to pavement. I've had a nasty high side @ 35mph and a far gentler low side @ approx the same speed. About 35K miles separates these crashes and each happened for different reasons.

The single most important thing for me (and everyone is different) to get comfortable and back in the groove is to understand my crashes. And then followed closely is seat time. I found that if i don't understand the mechanics of how i crashed and why i crashed then my brain is scared it will happen again. My high side was a combination of events that took some time to truly understand what happened. but the low side was simple, i coasted through a traffic circle that i normally am accelerating through. Acceleration shifts weight off the front end and the decreases the demand on the front tires contact patch. By coasting and running the same lean angle, i merely overloaded the contact patch, and hit the deck.

Best of luck, get back in the saddle and ride because you want to, not because you feel you have to.

Edited by RockCityVFR
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I think every one has given you some good info and i really can't disagree with anyone. The piece that i think has been left out, and has been the most helpful to me, is truly understanding the reason you crashed. I've crashed more times then i can count growing up riding in the dirt, and only twice since making a switch to pavement. I've had a nasty high side @ 35mph and a far gentler low side @ approx the same speed. About 35K miles separates these crashes and each happened for different reasons.

The single most important thing for me (and everyone is different) to get comfortable and back in the groove is to understand my crashes. And then followed closely is seat time. I found that if i don't understand the mechanics of how i crashed and why i crashed then my brain is scared it will happen again. My high side was a combination of events that took some time to truly understand what happened. but the low side was simple, i coasted through a traffic circle that i normally am accelerating through. Acceleration shifts weight off the front end and the decreases the demand on the front tires contact patch. By coasting and running the same lean angle, i merely overloaded the contact patch, and hit the deck.

Best of luck, get back in the saddle and ride because you want to, not because you feel you have to.

I'm a newbe, but it might also help to get into a class. (I am not suggesting you do not know how to ride) I just think one of the advanced rider classes (or even the basic class again) through the safety council or local bike shop. This would allow you to get back to basics, and maybe remember why / how you first started riding.

Look at this as an opportunity to start from scratch.

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Coming from someone who totaled his 04' VFR and injuring his knee. I think you already passed the first hurdle by getting back on another bike. With seat time, you'll regain your confidence and be back to your old self.

For me, as soon as I can walk I went out and got another bike. I knew the longer I waited the less likely I'll get on another bike again. Thanks to a great group of friends that I ride with, I slowly worked my way back. Just take your time and hopefully things will return to normal.

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Guest bigjay

I can tell you the following things from direct personal experience. I got nailed by some @$$hat in a scion when I had my first bike in 2002 ( a 1992 yamahaha secaII ). she hit me in a corner by merging into my lane and completely tossed me. it was very suckish and i was literally rendered speachless, I couldnt answer the first responders question of " did you take your helmet off or did it get thrown off" ( i actually threw it off and was fuming mad looking for blood but the offender RAN). I could answer him in my head but it wasnt making it to my mouth.. got some wires crossed for a few I guess. Anyway I, and many of the other guys above, are proof that youll be fine.

Here is what I strongly recommend you do. 1) PLEASE go get new tires, cupped tires arent stable and certainly are not confidence inspiring. 2) go ride dirtbikes.. ride the piss out of them, it doesent hurt to crash in soft dirt and it really helped me feel better on the street afterwards. 3) take long slow scenic rides, im talking a hundred miles or more each way preferably on country backroads with easy corners and not many cagers.

Those 3 things have helped me in the past BIGTIME. I had a bike with cupped tires and thought it was just not a well balanced bike and couldnt handle well ( it was a 1990 zx-7), as soon as I replaced the tires it was so much better and stable in the corners, i felt 100% more confident on it. take care man!

Jay

Edited by bigjay
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Guest Pete McCrary

. . . . . . . . . and don't be afraid to seek professional help if you need to. Sometimes things like what you went through can be hard to get over.

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I have a coworker that laid his bike down in rush hour freeway traffic to avoid crashing into a car. He avoided hitting anything, picked up his bike and rode it home. The next day he was back on his bike riding again even before replacing the plastic.

Similar thing happened to me not too long ago, except it was an inattentive pedestrian I was avoiding and it wasn't technically a freeway. Picked the bike up, apologized for dropping her, made sure everything looked straight and lofted the front a little to make me feel better. :beer:

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When my confidence is shaken I kept on riding at a reduce pace and

treat my condition as a barrier to overcome...

First signs to watch for are my vision... when it starts to narrow and

hunt frantically for my awareness I start to make mistakes... so I

check that by concentrating on pushing my field of vision back to

wide... only with wide vision will I see enough space to stay calm and

begin make accurate decisions that will definitely boost confidence...

Next is breathing... I monitor for first signs of panicky short and

rapid rates and then concentrate on calming it down with long slow

breaths...

Finally I busy my thoughts with the 3 basic tools of cornering more effectively...

1 How quickly do I steer the bike???

2 How much lean angle do I use???

3 Where do I begin my turn in point???

And finally I grade my performance after each corner and assign a number from 1 to 100...

1 did I rolling off the gas to early???

2 did i tighten on the bars???

3 did I narrow my vision???

4 did I fix my attention too long on something???

5 did I steer too early or not quick enough???

6 did I brake when it wasn't necessary???

If I start receiving grades in the 75% range do I begin feeling a real rise in

my level of confidence...

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1. Replace tires stat. Ensure all controls work properly and are adjusted to suit your personal needs.

2. Set a personal goal for another TMAC. We'll be waiting for you.

3. Realize you're not going to ride as smooth or as fast as you used to, eventually maybe somewhere down the road, but NOT right now, enjoy that you're able to at least still ride!

4. Don't play hero. Continue to Ride Red (or a Titanium 1100 :wub: ) just don't RIDE RED (anymore) and enjoy the two wheel experience, whilst paying EXTRA attention to blind spots or whatever threw you off the first time.

5. Avoid any attempts at shaving your lap times on the Interstate as you navigate through the lapped traffic (or blowing by some ahole in an SUV w/ cell phone to teach him a lesson).

6. Stand up to your friend, the curve doctor on the yellow VFR, who means the best, but avoid his request of leading a group of twisty/speed dehydrated Fla COPS through the rainy/misty roads of the Mighty Cherahola, she's a cruel mistress, and there's nothing worse than seeing 8 bikes right on your six, when you're thinking "TelliCafe".

7. Pay attention to your body and what it's telling you. Really focus and learn from it, develop compensation techniques, if need be to ride like you used to, again, if need be.

8. Enjoy the feeling that you're having more fun in a simple commute/ride to work than everyone else on the road in their cage. Idiots.

9. Give Dale (theoxmole) a big kiss and a squeeze for giving you a ride home... he's ok, maybe curious, but ok, I swear... :goofy:

10. Don't be afraid to RIP IT when the time arrives....

Enjoy man, you'll be alright. Pain fades, Chicks dig scars, and leave your brains in the toolbox... jk... Enjoy what others can only dream about doing... :fing02:

See ya at TMAC next year!

LMAO @ #6 Rob......too funny! We did have a blast that day......and you kept a good pace. It was no Rossi curve doctor yellow VFR pace (Tracy!) but then again only Dave on his C14 could keep up with him anyways--------as we all found out in the end!

Okay back to this thread:

I would suggest taking some advanced rider courses. You can never stop learning about motorcycles. I watched National Geographic TV about some motorcycle crashes......think it was called crash science and I learned quite a bit about how and why certain crashes occur. Good information. Take some advances courses and practice, practice, practice. I don't mean taking track days. I mean practice going about 35mph or so and then boom maximum braking to slow down......then swerve to avoid an potentional crash. It will improve your reaction times drastically if you practice monthly.

I too had the jitters after my crash. I took some advanced training (and realized I wasn't as good as I thought I was...at that time:-) My confidence was not only restored but improved. As was my lust and love for motorcycling. Just take your time and keep a good pace.....there will always be someone faster out there....

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  • 4 months later...

As many of you know, I recently totalled my beloved 2003 VFR, and replaced her with a clean 2002 ABS model. Now that I'm riding again, I'm a little jumpy, I almost feel nervous back in the saddle. Part of it could be the worn and cupping D208's making the bike feel twitchy in corners, but it's probably mostly me. I've only done about 350 miles on the new bike, but I had thought that would be enough to get back into the swing of things. Anyone ever experience anything similar or have any advice?

Not sure how much I can help you other than tell you to get right back to riding.

When I went down in august of 2008, I did not have the luxury of taking my time. My bike was my way of getting to work everyday. So I was back on a bike in about a week (with my still cracked ribs).

And it was not a perfect machine either, It was my three week old RC51. I bought it as a theft recovery and it had lots of little problems. The big ones were a slipping clutch, a busted throttle tube and an Iron hard shinko rear tire (in the wrong size of course).

Maybe having to focus on making it all work as best I could, while I got parts in was how I got past the worries and fears.

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Although I have never been down on the street, I did find my skills in doubt when I changed from my 02 to my 03. After much study and help here, I found that the bikes setups were just that different. Worked on the 03 and got back in shape. Just sayin that maybe its not you as much as you think. Good luck with it.

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Guest motorhead1977

Hey Ryan, How you doin man? Saw this thread come up and it got me wondering. How do you feel about being on the bike after the rest of this past season? Just kind of looking for an update. Let us know. :fing02:

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Hey Ryan, How you doin man? Saw this thread come up and it got me wondering. How do you feel about being on the bike after the rest of this past season? Just kind of looking for an update. Let us know. :blush:

Funny you should ask that, I was just thinking about this, actually.

Well, I ride differently, but I'm not sure if that's a bad thing. The main problem was that I would get tense. Too tense, tense to the point that I couldn't react as quickly or appropriately. This has mostly been solved with saddle time, but not completely. Also, I haven't enjoyed riding quite as much because I'm worried about crashing and my insurance going up. Not about dying, mind you... I have focused on my riding a lot and I'm more smooth, but there's still just a little bit of that tension left.

Also, I feel like I ride at a much slower pace, but perhaps it just feels slower because I've focused so much on technique.

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:goofy: I would say that :beer: :beer: :beer: heavily before riding should do wonders for your confidence!

Then you can be all :ph34r: :squid: :wheel: and stuff.

Just let us know beforehand, so that we can get it on :blush: and be all like :lurk: :blink: :ohmy: :excl: :fing02: when you crash.

Then, we'll go all +1.gif and post it up on VFRd while you're in the hospital and you might even make the homepage!

And if you believe all this, then.... :491:

Srsly, I have no idea, but ask me next year when I get my bike back together. Hells, even when I drove a car for the first time after my accident, it felt weird. A little like vertigo.

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I think one of the biggest problems many riders encounter returning after a crash and especially if you happen to hit something or slide on that unseen dirt/gravel/oil is a habit of looking right in front of the bike(front wheel) to make sure you don't hit something again. :fing02:

Doing this instead of always looking as far forward as possible just messes everything up as it overloads your mind! :wheel:

Yep......and, from someone that has totaled Motorcycles and Race Cars, don't rush it. If You see Your mind isn't into it fully on a particular day, do something else...let it run it's course...You will eventually get back to where You were in due time. My Wife laid a Bike down a coupla' years ago after several seasons, and several thousand miles of riding. I would simply put Her on the back of mine, or drag out the car if She was havin' an anxious day. She eventually got right back to Her level of riding (and beyond) that She was at before the wreck......JUST ENJOY THE RIDE for a while, at whatever Pace, and still practice all of the right techniques while doin' it.....GOOD LUCK... :blush: :goofy:

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  • 1 year later...
Guest wheelywong

Sorry to hear about your fall.

Losing confidence can suck big time. For mine terminex nailed it. Go back and do some lessons. That will iron out any bugs or confirm you are doing it right. And that all helps confidence quicker than being thrown in the deep end of the pool all by yourself. Hey if guys like tiger have to always go back and see a swing coach. What makes us riders any better ??? I know I am not that good. And hey it's a fun day in a safe enviroment,

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As many of you know, I recently totalled my beloved 2003 VFR, and replaced her with a clean 2002 ABS model. Now that I'm riding again, I'm a little jumpy, I almost feel nervous back in the saddle. Part of it could be the worn and cupping D208's making the bike feel twitchy in corners, but it's probably mostly me. I've only done about 350 miles on the new bike, but I had thought that would be enough to get back into the swing of things. Anyone ever experience anything similar or have any advice?

take/retake an MSF course or private rider safety course.

Some track day groups will offer entry level instruction for track days and this is never a bad thing. The riding school I work for offers beginner sessions and encourages people who just obtained their motorcycle license to try it. It is not "racing" school or about being fast, you get 20 min on the track with some 1:1 instruction, 20 min classroom instruction and a 20 minute break. It is a great day and you will build your confidence/skills.

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Boy I forgot about this thread and how good it was, thanks for reviving it guys! :fing02:

Funny I pinned this thread just a few months before breaking both my legs in a track crash! :blush:

This crash actually had little effect on my confidence or ability to ride again, it was only wondering if I ever would again and then concerns about re-injuring my legs once I did start to ride again. :huh:

I've been down several times at the track all lowsides and up in the mph's, but always walked away. The highside was very different as is street riding.

Last weekends Deer and cartwheeling bike incident shook me a little more for some reason, I've run a rapid Pace for over 100,000 miles and have never given too much thought to deer before. Now I'm imagining them behind every bush. :blink:

Haven't ridden since, but may head out tomorrow and will just have to see where my mind is.

BR

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Boy I forgot about this thread and how good it was, thanks for reviving it guys! :fing02:

Funny I pinned this thread just a few months before breaking both my legs in a track crash! :blush:

This crash actually had little effect on my confidence or ability to ride again, it was only wondering if I ever would again and then concerns about re-injuring my legs once I did start to ride again. :huh:

I've been down several times at the track all lowsides and up in the mph's, but always walked away. The highside was very different as is street riding.

Last weekends Deer and cartwheeling bike incident shook me a little more for some reason, I've run a rapid Pace for over 100,000 miles and have never given too much thought to deer before. Now I'm imagining them behind every bush. :blink:

Haven't ridden since, but may head out tomorrow and will just have to see where my mind is.

BR

About a month ago I was riding a section of local twisties I've done a hundred times, and for the first time everything clicked in place. You know the feeling when the bike just turns itself, yet you're in complete control. Everything is smooth and all you can do is smile. So, a year and a half for complete mental recovery?

When I got the new VFR back in June of 09 I immediately replaced the tires (that was obvious) took the Lee Parks course, and just focused on technique for a year. It just took me a long while for the new technique to turn into muscle memory. I am the type of person to immediately tackle any obstacle when I fail, and so I wanted to get right back on and ride as fast and as smooth as I had before, and when it took time I would get frustrated. What really helped was just letting time pass and staying relaxed while staying in control and focusing on technique. At times I would try to focus on technique and I would be "in my head" too much. If this happens I would just have to slow down, ride relaxed and wait pass.

In summation:

Make sure bike is in good running order, good tires can equal confidence.

Work on technique.

Ride slow, ride relaxed while realizing it may take some time and work for everything to flow smoothly again, but we'll get back there.

Thanks for your help everyone! It's nice to be able to look back on this.

Let's keep this thread going.

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