How do you regain confidence after a motorcycle crash?

It’s said that two types of biker exist. Those who have already come off their bike, and those who are still to come off their bike.

It knocks your confidence when you take a tumble. So we asked Bikesure customers who have recently experienced an accident for their advice on getting back in the saddle.

You can also read superbike legend Carl Fogarty’s advice.

“Get back on a bike as soon as you can…”

Catherine Haymes was stationary when a car backed into her at a motorway service station in Surrey last year. She came off her bike and fortunately only suffered minor cuts and bruises.

“The driver was a good 10 to 15 metres in front of me and just started reversing from nowhere,” she said.

“He hadn’t seen me, can’t have looked in his rear view mirror and started accelerating towards me. He smacked into the front of my bike and threw me off.”

Her Honda NC700X wasn’t in a good way afterwards – the incident resulted in about £2,000 of damage to the bike. But she was able to hire a similar model and was back riding on two wheels within a week.

She said: “As a general rule, fear develops the longer you wait to get back on. So my advice would be to get back on as soon as you reasonably can.”

Many bikers find that analysing what happened in their head also helps with moving forwards from the incident.

Catherine agrees, and has figured out a mental process to get back in the right mindset for riding again after close calls.

She said: “Every time something happens that could’ve been nasty, I ask myself afterwards: ‘Do I still want to ride?’

“If the answer is ‘yes’, and the answer has been ‘yes’ every time so far, I get to the bottom of what’s stopping me from getting back on the bike.

“Going through that process helps me get into the right mindset again. As soon as I’m back on, I’m passionate about riding again.”

Coming from a family of dedicated bikers also helps for moral support. Earlier this summer, they organised a family ride up to Scotland for a short break away.

Nothing’s stopping her now…

“I believe you should learn from every experience….”

After an incident, analysing what happened is advice echoed by Steve Whittet, who was struck by a turning vehicle at a crossroads.

His Suzuki DL1000 was written off as a Category N (Non-structural damage) and he has since bought the bike back and repaired it. As a keen motorcyclist for around 45 years, he couldn’t imagine life without a motorcycle in it.

Steve, who lives in Orsett, Essex, said: “I am obviously more cautious in similar circumstances to the accident, however I believe you should learn from every experience whether negative or not.

“My advice would be to take a long breath, look at everything that happened and ask yourself: ‘Did I do everything possible to avoid the accident?

“If the answer is ‘yes’, get straight back on the bike. If the answer is no, think about improving your riding, consider additional training with something like a Bike Safe course.”

Similar courses are offered at motorcycling schools across the country, some even have specialist confidence building sessions.

Consider extra training – even if you’ve been riding for years

motorbike crash - John J Millar

John J Millar, 72, a retired ship’s captain, experienced two motorcycling accidents in the space of 18 months.

His first, on a BMW R1200RS, happened when he was on a Spanish tour. He was riding on a gravel road and as the bend tightened up, he slid into a stream which was about a metre deep.

John, from Duston in Northants, said: “I’m afraid my ambition overcame my ability….

“In the second accident, I was on a roundabout and I was knocked off by a car entering without stopping. Classic “SMIDSY” – Sorry Mate I Didn’t See You…”

The second time he was riding a Triumph Tiger – and both machines were written off in the crashes. John himself suffered niggling knocks and bruises in his ribs, knees, shoulders and arms. It took about six months to fully recover.

John added: “Neither crash really put me off, but waiting for insurance completion gave me time for reflection.

“My wife, though not actually saying, thought it was time for me to stop riding. But I couldn’t really stop. Riding a motorbike is still the most satisfying thing you can do.”

In fact, he bought another bike and was back on the road once the insurance was through.

For John, the odd spill comes as an occupational hazard – but two accidents in pretty close succession has made him more aware and more cautious on the road.

“Especially with the number of careless motorists on the roads these days,” he added.

So what were John’s final words of wisdom for those struggling with their confidence?

“Never, ever relax or become complacent,” he said. “Extra training, even though you may have been riding for years, is essential…”

Have you experienced a spill on your bike recently? How did you regain your confidence afterwards? Let us know in the comments below.

Advice on how to regain confidence after a motorcycle crash

Don’t start riding again until all your injuries have healed.

If you ride while unfit, it may affect your performance.

Evaluate what happened in the accident.

Even if it wasn’t your fault, could it have been avoided with improved hazard perception?

Consider getting some extra training.

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been riding for, top up training or additional sessions with an instructor can be worthwhile.

Invest in quality gear afterwards.

Replace your helmet and consider whether your protective clothing did a good job. If not, upgrade it.

Make sure your repairs are done by a specialist motorcycle repairer.

Make sure genuine replacement parts are used and the work is guaranteed for at least two years.

Start with an easy route for your first ride.

Choose a clear day and perhaps ask a friend who is a biker to join as well. Take a route that’s familiar, perhaps for a ride around an industrial estate at a quieter time, when there’s less traffic on the road.

Ride with a group of friends.

Maybe you’d feel safer in numbers until you’re confident enough to be on your own.

Take it steady – there’s no rush.

Corner with care, accelerate smoothly, signal and brake in good time. Gradually build your confidence and take time to find your rhythm again.

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August 8, 2023