A motorcycle crash whether it’s your fault or not can often knock a rider’s confidence. But how do you regain your confidence to get back on the bike? We asked former World Superbike Champion Carl Fogarty for his tips on getting back in the saddle.
“A lot of the time when you’ve had an injury or an incident it really helps if you know why it happened.” Fogarty explained: “When I was racing, I would know why an accident happened. If you don’t know why your accident happened, then it affects your confidence a little bit and it can be harder to get back on the bike.
“There’s a few things you can do if you’ve lost your confidence after an accident.”
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Foggy’s tips for getting back in the saddle
Get yourself to a track day
When it comes to track days you may be mistaken for thinking these are about racing round a track in groups or for fun. However they are a great way to regain lost confidence after an accident.
“Going on a track day is a great place to start,” Fogarty explains.
“Whether that’s with friends to make you feel more secure in a group, or going on your own. Just riding solo on the track will allow you to get used to being back on the bike, knowing no one else around you can cause an accident.”
Get out when the roads are quiet
Motorcyclists can at times be anxious about riding on a busy road after an accident and it can often take a while before they feel comfortable being on a main road again.
But Fogarty believes if you get knocked down, it’s best to get back in the saddle straight away.
He explains: “Another tip is you could go out when the roads are quiet. If you’ve been hit in an accident by a car, then going out when it’s quiet and there’s less vehicles on the road would be really helpful. Or you could go out with fellow riders so you have a friend who is close to you.”
Presume no other drivers have spotted you
But when it comes to tips, Fogarty has one clear message to all riders.
“My main advice to anyone who’s had an accident is just be wary of anyone around you,” he said. “When you get to a junction or a roundabout just presume the driver to your right or left hasn’t seen you.
“It mentally drains me sometimes when I’m on the road. I’m concentrating so hard and thinking that everybody driving their car, truck or bus are the worst drivers in the world. Even if I’ve got the right of way, I’m aware of the vehicles around and thinking they haven’t seen me.
“I think the best bit of advice I could give anybody at the moment riding a bike is just be aware that everyone around you has not seen you and be ready for the unexpected to happen.”
Foggy’s own personal injuries
Fogarty himself is no stranger to accidents, he’s legendary Superbike career did not always run smoothly and among the many injuries he encountered includes breaking multiple bones, yet he always tried to ensure his confidence didn’t take as much of an impact as his body did.
“The only time my confidence was knocked a little bit is when I broke my leg and I was in and out of hospital for eight to nine weeks when I was 21-years-old,” Fogarty explained.
“If you’re carrying an injury, you’re aware when you’re not 100% fit and I’ve raced with a broken wrist and a broken collarbone. It’s just more difficult when you’re injured, knowing if you go down again, chances are you’ll be back to square one again with your recovery.
“I think that’s the toughest thing, riding with injuries, but it was my job at the time and I was fighting for a world championship. I raced with my wrist in a cast in 1994 to try and score some points and I did that and went on to win. But I had to go out there and be confident in my ability.
“The injury I didn’t get to come back from was the last I ever had on the racetrack in 2000. I smashed up my shoulder really badly and had a head injury and ultimately that was the accident that finished my career.
“I’ve had the niggly ones like the broken rib and I still carried on racing with it. At the end of the day, it was my job. The doctor would give us a painkiller and I’d get on with it. The adrenaline takes over when the red light turned to green and you kind of forget about the small injuries,” he added.
Did Foggy receive any advice at the time?
Yet despite how bad the leg break was for the four-time World Superbike champion at the time, when it came to racing again he wasn’t offered any advice from his peers.
“As I’ve already mentioned, the worst injury I’ve had was when I broke my leg badly at 21, which kept me out of action for a while. By the time I got back on the bike it was six months after, and it did take me a while to get my confidence back because I was still quite uncomfortable on the bike.
“I wasn’t really given any advice. I think confidence ultimately comes from how you feel on the bike. When I eventually got back on it at Oulton Park in March and it had been a long time. The accident happened in August and I got out of the hospital at the end of September. I felt so uncomfortable on the bike because I couldn’t bend my leg as far back as I could before the accident.
“The reason why my confidence was low was because I didn’t feel comfortable on the bike. It was difficult to come back from at a young age, but as soon as I got accustomed to the bike and I knew the leg was really strong I started to get back to my best.
“When I got my confidence back I started winning races again so it took a while to be confident again after my injury to my right leg. Personally I wasn’t given any advice on how to get it back, now I give advice because I’ve been there and done it and know how to come back from it.”
Be prepared for that spill and have Bikesure on your side
Many people believe when it comes to accidents it’s not a matter of “if” but “when” you have one if you ride a motorbike. With that in mind, doesn’t it make sense to have a specialist motorcycle insurer such as Bikesure on your side?
Bikesure have access to more than 40 different motorbike and moped insurance schemes and have been providing affordable cover for people just like you for almost 30 years.