Intimidated by traffic

KevP

New Member
Hi all

Before Christmas I was knocked off my bike twice in two days, the second time bad enough to trash my bike and break my leg.
The trouble now is that, I admit with some trepidation, that I am too scared to go out for a decent ride.
Its not easy for me to admit this as I am quite a blokey bloke who isn't the timid type but I have to admit I have lost my bottle big time road riding.
I never really did alot of road work, mainly off road which I find little interest in now, but I was really starting to enjoy road riding and the way the miles seemed to melt away.
I have tried everything since I started again in April, slow and short local rides have me so shaky I'm a danger to other road users, I cannot shift this fear of being hit from behind no matter how much I try. I can walk on the road, and even in the direction of traffic (not my usual technique for walking) and this is fine, but atop a bike I am in a mess.

Can anyone sympathise and/or share any techniques with me?
I really want to get back on road.

Ps I have tried off road and I am pretty much fine, but I dont want to off road! Thats why I took up the road.
 

summerdays

Cycling in the sun
Location
Bristol
I can sympathise ... even though I've not experienced that bad a crash. For me when I've had more minor crashes I've found that after the even I'm very nervous in the same area for a while afterwards or with the same type of vehicle. And I broke my arm last year after hitting a pothole and loosing control - which has left me more inclined to not always signal.

For me I had to start back on really quiet roads and try and avoid similar circumstances to those in the accident. Literally cycling around the block to begin with (although that was also due to the weak broken arm).

Perhaps finding a cycling buddy to go with you to give you confidence or getting some cycle training - but definitely finding really quiet roads with very little traffic to begin with.

Good Luck
 

Rebel Ian

Well-Known Member
Location
Berkshire
As summerdays says, go out with another rider to build up confidence again. Twice in two days is unlucky. I've only had two incidents in 32 years!
 
summerdays said:
Perhaps finding a cycling buddy to go with you to give you confidence or getting some cycle training - but definitely finding really quiet roads with very little traffic to begin with.

Good Luck
This is probably the best advice you'l get on this thread !

If you can ride with someone else as Summer suggest's then perhaps they'l be happy to let you take the lead until you overcome your fear of being hit from behind

I wish you all the luck in the world Kev ... keep going mate you'l get there

Simon
 

monnet

Veteran
I can sympathise entirely and definitely recommend riding with someone else. I was pushed off a couple of years ago by an oik on a scooter.

I'd call myself an experienced club rider but it really shook me up. I used to live in Spain and at one point I was seriously thinking of packing up my stuff and moving back just because I'd become afraid of riding on the roads over here.

I bit the bullet and started commuting again but was very twitchy. Riding a couple of times a week with the club really helped me get my confidence back - people who understood what I'd been through but weren't going to let me lie down and take it, 'get to the front monnet, it's your turn to work' and the like! It wasn't long before my confidence returned. I will admit though, whenever I hear the whine of a moped engine I do start to feel a bit nervous.

I wish you lots of luck and really hope you get back to enjoying riding - the fact you're on the bike and wanting to get going and conquer your fear makes me think that in time you will.
 

lukesdad

Guest
Join a club and go out on their weekend club run , youll find it reassuring to be in a group ride and youll have a good time which will take your mind of some of the issues and help give you your confidence back.

There maybe some members of CC who live near you, who can point you in the right direction of a club or even offer to go out with you nice guys that they are.:smile::biggrin:
 

StuartG

slower but further
Location
SE London
Yes, you have been very unlucky or possibly too cautious. Confidence is knowing you are riding the right way. Checkout your local council. Some, like mine, do a free one to one training course on a route of your choice. I've cycled off and on for fifty years and I had much to learn/unlearn.

I feel more in control of the road as a result. Hope this, or something like this may work for you.
 

Krypton

New Member
Location
UK
Company to start with is a good idea, especially if they can cover the rear and sit just a little further out into the road so cars don't pass too close.

A local club or maybe even a CC'er who lives nearby and wants to help out (try asking in the Rides forum further down the home page)?

Don't be scared to tell people what has happened and how it has left you feeling. Other cyclists are more than likely to sympathise and want to help.

It doesn't matter if your 6' 10" tall, built like a brick out-house, and a black belt in origami - your body is healed but it's your mind isn't and it is your nerves that need fixing now and that takes a lot of time - a LOT of time, believe me.

Your confidence will come back. Slowly but surely, and it may take 12-18 months before you feel anything like comfortable and confident again on the road out alone, so don't expect to feel nerve-free after the first couple of rides. It'll take time.

Also, your mind also won't forget the incident (even if you do - if that makes any sense?) so there will be flashbacks long after you feel comfortable again - just popping up to remind you.

It's a strange thing being held to ransom by your own mind, but I'm confident you can and will get over it in time. It's definitely doable. :biggrin:

You've made the first big step, you've started to look for a solution.

Good luck with it all, and if you have any "downer" monents just come and chew the fat with everyone here - they're a very understanding and supportive bunch.
 

Crankarm

Legendary Member
Location
Nr Cambridge
Kev,
Did you sue the people/drivers that knocked you down for damage to your bike and personal injury? I ask this as it would seem that you may be suffering from moderate PTSD - post traumatic stress disorder for which you can get treatment and also receive damages.

As for the practical suggestions by others good advice - quiet roads and an experienced cycling companion. Also get a head cam.

Good luck.
 

battered

Guru
I sympathise, I was knocked off my bike and badly hurt in Nov. Fortunately it was witnessed by Poilice and the driver has been prosecuted. I'm now sueing his ins co for dmages as I'm still unfit for work.

I'm out again on the bike and have recently gained the confodence to ride after dark. It takes a long time, so take your time. Suggestions here of quiet roads and mates are good ones.
 

jimboalee

New Member
Location
Solihull
After being bumped off deliberately, my confidence was knocked for a couple of weeks when I got back on the bike.

My decision to go 'head on' with it involved riding round Birmingham's outer circle No.11 bus route on the last Friday of my sick leave.

I saw that NOT every motorist was out for my blood and soon got back into the swing of things on the dual carriageways and narrow sections through the route.
 

JediGoat

Formerly Phump
Location
London
I was walloped from behind on my motorbike, and know exactly how you feel. It really is just a matter of time, and carrying on that will help. Whether you do this alone, or with another rider is your choice, but it does get better.

(It does help than when I feel someone drive to close to me now, they get angry women in crash helmet screaming at them...and they tend to back down. I used to be such a placid rider...)
 

mik

New Member
Location
accrington lancs
This time of year if the forcast is good I tend to go out very early in the morning before the traffic starts. I realize that if you like to sleep that its a bit of an effort but going out about 4am guarantees you almost traffic free conditions in the towns and A roads for about 4 hours (enough time for a good run) and its good for seeing and enjoying the sunrise and wildlife.

I know this isnt a solution to riding in darker times of the year but it may help to restore some of your current (hopefuly temporary) fragile confidence.....and yes I hate riding in traffic too..after all it only takes one idiot...
 

PaulSB

Legendary Member
Kev,

Just to add a little to the confidence thing. I would class myself as an experienced leisure rider and I've been fortuntae to only have one accident in the years I've been riding. Just over two years ago I was knocked off at around 20mph, broke my hand and dislocated a thumb. I got back on the bike as soon as I had sufficient strength in my broken hand to use the brakes and was very cautious and lacking confidence intially. After 5-6 months I suddenly realised all my old confidence had returned, I hadn't really noticed the change it just happened.

Your confidence will return it's just a question of time. Good luck.

If you haven't sued for compensation you should consider this, I received £3000 after my accident, though it did take two years to get.
 

skudupnorth

Cycling Skoda lover
There with you mate,after i got knocked off i was mega wary of anything with an engine whilst on the road but i carried on with it and now everything is good....it must be because i rode to Cornwall from Manchester along some of the busiest A-roads going ! Just keep at it and and you should be fine.
 
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