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  1. #1
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    getting over the fear

    I got hit the other night and i got pretty shook up about it. I got right back on the bike seeing how it is my only form of transportation. I have actually been really scared of cars and intersections. For those of you that have been hit how do you get over the fear of riding again.

  2. #2
    Philly bike nerd nocoins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mpatrick
    I got hit the other night and i got pretty shook up about it. I got right back on the bike seeing how it is my only form of transportation. I have actually been really scared of cars and intersections. For those of you that have been hit how do you get over the fear of riding again.
    that fear is VERY natural, and it will last a little bit. After I was hit I found myself riding more towards the middle of the street (I was doored by a car pretty bad). A few weeks later I was back to dodging cabs. I think the best advice is to just RIDE. The fear will subside over time as you get your confidence back. One of the things that REALLY helped me was to go on some Group Rides... i guess I just felt safer in a crowd. I am sorry about the accident ... the fear will go away over time, just stay on the bike.
    bike bike bike bike bike bike bike bike bike

  3. #3
    idée fixée iamjberube's Avatar
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    i agree about the group rides, and yeah, just ride. this too shall pass.

  4. #4
    Retrogrouch in Training bostontrevor's Avatar
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    I think a large part of the answer is understanding WHY you got hit. Were you riding too close to the door zone and out of the flow of traffic, making you less visible to the driver? Did you get left hooked? Understand what led to the collision and anticipate/correct for it.

    If it was a question of you putting yourself in a dangerous position (i.e. door zone), don't. If it was a case where the driver didn't see you, realize that every intersection represents a potential for that sort of accident and look for it.

    I've only been hit by a car once, but I know exactly why it happened. In fact, at the time I made some very conscious decisions about putting myself in a bad (but legal) position as a matter of expediency knowing full well that it compromised my safety. As a gamble it didn't really pay off. Basically, learn from the accident and realize that having survived it, you can be safer for having had it.

  5. #5
    無くなった HereNT's Avatar
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    I was rearended last year in a bike path, doing everything right. The driver simply drifted in the turn. I was fine, rear wheel was toast (didn't even fall, just wrapped it around the bumper and skidded until the car stopped). It took two months for me not to brace for impact every time that I heard a car coming up behind me. I had to change my route to work to avoid that stretch of road, too.

    Eventually it goes away. You just have to ride through it. But some of it will always be there. I still ride the different route to work. Try to learn from it as bostontrevor says. You survived, and that is a good thing.

  6. #6
    troglodyte ryan_c's Avatar
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    However, in response to what BostonTrevor said, sometimes you couldn't have done anything to avoid the accident. Not on a bike, but in a car, I was hit from behind (while basically locked in traffic) by a drunk driver in an SUV doing about 50, which threw us into oncoming traffic, and the car got sandwiched. There wasn't a darn thing my dad (who was driving) or I could have done to avoid that situation that he didn't try to do, and that is pretty scary.
    Even after the bones healed, it took us both a while to get comfortable behind the wheel again.

  7. #7
    I need more bikes!!! Mr. Shadow's Avatar
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    It just takes time. I still see flashes of myself going over the bars and crushing my shoulder.
    I started by riding on greenways and focused on riding the bike. I have only ridden fixed since then.
    "We are few now, but one day we will rule." That's what one of my fixies whispered as I walked by. I nodded in agreement, and thanked it for not waking the others.

  8. #8
    Retrogrouch in Training bostontrevor's Avatar
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    Yup, I meant to mention the unavoidable/unanticipatable case. Fortunately, those are the exception. Most car/bike collisions can be anticipated and avoided. Overtaking collisions are actually quite rare. The left hook is the most common.

  9. #9
    Frankly, Mr. Shankly absntr's Avatar
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    Having just been in a accident, I can relate. However, since the bike is back, I'm back too. I was itching to ride (even got on the old mountain bike) and just did it. Last night I passed the place where I got hit and it creeped me out mildly but you just got to get back in there.

    I suppose to use an old phrase or saying or whatever: if you fall you have to get back up.

    Take it easy, take it slow if you have to, but ride, just ride.

  10. #10
    Senior Member filtersweep's Avatar
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    Frankly, after I was first hit by a car, I was relieved. I was able to continue riding with nothing more than a bunch of road rash and scraped up bars and pedals and some shredded clothing. I was relieved in the sense that "that wasn't so bad"- no broken bones, no time off the bike, no serious damage...

    One thing to think about- I've been in a bunch of car accidents- fender benders- never had a car that wasn't driveable or bodily injuries. When people think of an accident, they usually think "serious accident"- but for every serious accident, there are untold numbers of minor scrapes. Sounds like you just had a minor scrape, and can realize how survivable it is. You can use that to give you more confidence: you've been hit- it wasn't that bad.

    My attitude is that accidents WILL happen. I don't like hitting the pavement, but I'm sure it will happen again. Seems like I'm good for about 7000 miles per mishap.

  11. #11
    Beausage is Beautiful Fugazi Dave's Avatar
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    Ride and work back into it slowly - don't rush anything. It took me a couple months to get comfortable with riding again after I got hit. For a while all I did was solo rides after midnight on the deserted bike path. But I kept riding and I eventually got back into the swing of things, my confidence coming back bit by bit. I don't fear riding any more, though I am definitely more cautious than I was before.

  12. #12
    Just riding andygates's Avatar
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    You'll be fine mate, just keep on riding. Like the other say, review what you were doing and see if you could improve your road skills, but don't turn into a bike-lane-and-sidewalk rider, please! The fear soon fades and you come out of it with a much more realistic understnading and respect for the road and for traffic. Trust me, I've had more "offs" than I can remember.

  13. #13
    hang up your boots ostro's Avatar
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    As bad as accidents are to cyclists, they have a real positive effect, in that these cyclists are more likely to advocate for safer biking conditions as well as become more conscious riders.

  14. #14
    i left my soul in mpls
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    I think it helps to understand that the driver will probably be more alert now! Drivers kind of get into a video game mode...until something actually happens. So a lesson was maybe learned by the driver, and that is beautiful. Now I don't know all the details, but hopefully this is true.

    What do you all mean by a "left hook"?

  15. #15
    Retrogrouch in Training bostontrevor's Avatar
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    Ooops. I guess it's called the left cross.

    http://bicyclesafe.com/

    Anyhow, oncoming auto makes a left across your path either striking you or cutting you off so you hit them. Apparently the left hook is just like the right hook, the driver is going in the same direction and cuts left (or right) across your path.

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    Senior Member jordache's Avatar
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    I've been doored, as well as hit by a car racing out of a blind alleyway. I now subconsciously ride far away from doors and slow down and peer into all blind alleys. The shakiness goes away pretty fast if you remember you have every right to be on road that motorists do and assert yourself.

  17. #17
    cab horn
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    Quote Originally Posted by mpatrick
    I got hit the other night and i got pretty shook up about it. I got right back on the bike seeing how it is my only form of transportation. I have actually been really scared of cars and intersections. For those of you that have been hit how do you get over the fear of riding again.
    Did you have lights...?

  18. #18
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    Just keep riding. Glad you're okay. Venting here also helps. Be well.

  19. #19
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    (time to be the a'hole)


    Suck it up and keep riding you wuss. Sheot happens.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

  20. #20
    Senior Member GeezerGeek's Avatar
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    You will never forget this experience but you will lose your obsession with it. What is it going to leave you with, i.e., hatred for cars, fear of cars, fear of bikes, respect for cars, or fearlessness. The best answer is respect for cars that comes packaged with a new alertness. As cars do not always see bikers, bikers do not always see cars or predict what cars will do. If you think twice about "can I make it" or going through a red light and decide it is not worth the risk then you will be a safer biker and you may spare yourself by avoiding the BIG ONE.

  21. #21
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mpatrick
    I got hit the other night and i got pretty shook up about it. I got right back on the bike seeing how it is my only form of transportation. I have actually been really scared of cars and intersections. For those of you that have been hit how do you get over the fear of riding again.
    The only way to get over it is to get back on the bike. Keep riding, it's the only way to overcome the fear. It's an emotion, and there's no way to reason away an emotion. You have to prove to your fearful mind that it's ok by riding again.

    But remember--you there is a reason you got hit. Learn what you can do to avoid it in the future, if possible.
    No worries

  22. #22
    Junior Member bluegirl's Avatar
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    bike safe, make sure you can be seen, try to 2nd guess what the stupidest thing a driver could do, and how you could avoid getting hit. one of the useful things i learned when taking motorcycle classes was always having a way out of a situation.
    i was doored the first time i got on my bike in brooklyn (after years of cycling in toronto with nary a mishap). that kind of shook me up, but wiping out trying to avoid a "right hook" really spooked me.
    if you bike in the city, take over a traffic lane, you might get honked at, but cars won't be whizzing by 2" from your handlebars.
    maybe listen to music (i use only one earpiece so i can still hear traffic) or sing to yourself...that sometimes helps me calm down when i'm jittery.
    "Get a bicycle. You will not regret it. If you live."
    Mark Twain "Taming the Bicycle"

  23. #23
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    The first time I got hit by a car (side-swiped), I was still 70km from home on a long-ish ride. Guess I didn't have a choice but to get over it. However, I think the best thing to do here is just ride. If you stop and think about it, you'll come up with all sorts of reasons not to. Just do it. Then look at possible reasons for your "accident", and try to prevent those factors from developing again.
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
    "We invite everyone to question the entire culture we take for granted." - Manic Street Preachers.
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  24. #24
    Retrogrouch in Training bostontrevor's Avatar
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    Heh. Glad to see I'm not the only one who uses the music trick. Of course it's nice to have chunes in any event, but I also find that it helps me stay chill and shut out the morons, keeping me out of scuffles at lights (which has happened in the past).

  25. #25
    No, GIR, that’s bad. Konakazi's Avatar
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    I've been a few accidents, thankfully never anything too major. The last time I had someone drift in to the bike lane and their rear view mirror hooked my handle bar, knocking / dragging me. Not fun.

    At any rate, it was in the middle of the day, but the result was that I became much more aware of myself as part of traffic in general. I've since upgraded my lights, and even bought a reflective vest to throw over my dark jacket.

    So some good can come out of a traumatic situation like that...

    Oh did I mention her insurance bought me a new bike?
    "Ooooo! You've got CHICKEN LEGS!"

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